Follow Up: Limescale Challenge

The last time I tackled the soap scum and limescale problem on my shower doors, I confidently declared a winning cleaner. Bar Keepers Friend, specifically the cooktop cleaner version, was the best at cleaning the soap scum and hard water spots off my shower doors.

After I published my post, a reader named Kimberly commented about another shower cleaner she liked: Shower Power.

“I liked to call it ‘miracle in a bottle,’” Kimberly wrote. “NOTHING worked better to clean showers and tubs/enclosures, and it was EASY. No fumes, in fact it smelled kind of nice. (Not a ‘recreational use’ kind of nice, just … pleasant.) You just sprayed it on, waited a bit, wiped (maybe a little scrubbing was needed) and I swear, the shower SPARKLED LIKE NEW. It was actually kind of creepy in a way.”

Kimberly said that Shower Power wasn’t available in stores anymore, but after searching online, we found it was still being sold directly to consumers. She purchased two bottles, and gave me one to test.

It took about six weeks for my shower doors to get dirty enough to merit another cleaning. I put Shower Power up against the reigning soap scum and limescale champ: Bar Keepers Friend. Let’s take a look at the results:

Before cleaning: The limescale is obvious in this picture.

After using Shower Power: I followed the directions on the bottle carefully, spraying, waiting for one minute, then wiping with a damp cloth. The shower door was noticeably cleaner afterward. The soap scum was completely gone, but the limescale wasn't. Shower Power removed about 50 percent of the limescale build-up. When I ran my hand over the shower door, the glass wasn't smooth.

After using Bar Keepers Friend: I applied Bar Keepers Friend with a damp sponge, gently rubbed the door surface a couple times, and then wiped it clean. The difference is clear in the photo - Bar Keepers Friend removed about 90 percent of the limescale on my shower door. The shower door was also smooth, and felt like clean glass.

Shower Power worked well, but it couldn’t knock out the champ. Even if both cleaners worked the same, I would still turn to Bar Keepers Friend. First, it’s a heck of a lot cheaper. A 13-ounce bottle of Bar Keepers Friend costs $3.29, and I only used a couple tablespoonfuls to clean both shower doors. Shower Power is only available directly from the manufacturer, and two 32-ounce bottles (the smallest size available) cost $14.99, plus another $7.99 for shipping.

Bar Keepers Friend is also a lot easier to use. In thick liquid form, it’s easy to spread around the shower door with a sponge. This keeps the smell down, too. Shower Power sprays on, which means it’s much harder to breathe in the confined space of the bathtub.

Thanks so much to Kimberly for giving me the Shower Power to test. There’s no question it’s a good product that works well – it just doesn’t work as well as Bar Keepers Friend.

 

  • Anonymous

    Great info — thanks! We have three bathrooms in our house which used to mean lots of moaning and groaning on cleaning days. But a couple of years ago my husband starting insisting that we wipe down the shower that he and I use every single time we use it. We found an awesome squeegee-thingy at our local Ace Hardware store and use it religiously after every shower (it’s awesome because it’s got a short, fat handle, and the rubber blade is really stiff, so it’s not bending and flopping everywhere). It was annoying at first to have to spend the extra 60 seconds every morning using the squeegee to wipe down the walls to avoid limescale and soap scum. We even wipe up the the shower floor to remove excess water that can pool in the corners and turn into that pretty, pink slime. But now it’s routine, and guess what? We don’t ever have to clean the shower, at least not in the deep-cleaning-I-hate-this! kind of way. Our kids haven’t caught on yet, and their Saturday mornings are filled with scrubbing and grumbling. I’m going to tell them about Bar Keepers Friend, and after their showers are sparkling clean again, we’re going to spring for more squeegees to help keep them clean!

    • http://themanlyhousekeeper.com Mark Evitt

      I’m impressed you’ve trained yourself to use a squeegee. We have one hanging in our shower, but rarely use it.

    • Jnee1

      I do this at home too, we have the telephone-style shower heads so after shower I’d spray all the walls and door of the shower and then use the big-fat squeegee to wipe up the shower walls, doors, and finally the floor.  However, it is hard to get family members to buy in (probably because they don’t do the cleaning)!

  • Kimberly

    Wow, so the Bar Keepers Friend absolutely outcleaned the Shower Power! That is good to know, because as you noted the SP is *really expensive* especially in comparison to the BKF.

    The apartment I had before when I used the SP did not have shower doors — I used shower liners and curtains in both bathrooms, and the SP did clean the shower/tub enclosures *beautifully.* However, the apartment I am now has shower doors and the build-up of whatever that stuff is? soap scum, hard water, rust, etc.? is REALLY obvious. I guess I can use the SP on the enclosures (I’ll have to! I’ve got a 32 oz. bottle just sitting there!) and the BKF on the doors, at least until I run out of the SP, then it will be BKF for me from now on.

    Thanks for doing your test and posting the results. And you are welcome for the bottle of SP, I hope you can find a use for it (maybe on your sinks?).

    • http://themanlyhousekeeper.com Mark Evitt

      I’m sure I’ll find a use for it – like you said, it’s good cleaning other places. I’ll have to figure out a system for using and/or disposing of cleaning supplies … right now I have at least five full bottles of different products.

    • Sean Rolsen

      Interesting. Barkeepers Friend would be hard to use on a shower curtain. Unless… you make it into a sprayable form by watering it down (with filtered water maybe?)

      My folks have a lot of bathrooms in their big house and cabin (14 total) so this info will go a long way!

      Thanks

  • http://www.kitchenssimply.co.uk/ Kitchen cabinets

    My colleague also still using this liquid cleaner. As per the your experienced, I think that i also bring it for home. Hope that it make glass neat-clean and soft.

  • K Duffey

    I use Tilex Fresh Shower religiously after every shower, including on the glass door. You just spray it on after your shower–no scrubbing at all–and it works. It takes a few weeks of use to get the full effect, but is really so easy and well worth the wait. However, I find there is still a slight residue that remains at the bottom of the glass door, and for that I can’t wait to try Bar Keeper’s Friend. Where does one buy it? I haven’t seen it at Safeway, for example. Thanks, Mark!

  • Rsattin

    Apple cider vinegar works pretty well on soap scum, too!

  • Kk

    i would still say lime-a-way is better because of the spray

  • http://www.buyecloth.com/ microfiber lady

    After seeing this – that you re-tested Barkeeper’s Friend against Shower Power, and declaring that BKF removed 90% of limescale from your shower door, I had to write to tell you that Norwex’s DeScaler, which is non-toxic, will remove 100% of limescale. Any Norwex consultant will sell you some. I get mine from http://www.healthy-home-cleaning.com. It is hands-down the winner of the limescale challenge. I would LOVE you to put it to a head-to-head test with BKF! (No, I do not sell Norwex… in case you are wonndering)

  • Wildrosebud

    About BKF and shower doors…I tried full strength vinegar and pumice stone. I let the vinegar set for 15 min or so then just went over the top half of one shower door…using the stone lightly, back and forth a few times…I had tested the stone to see if it scratched the glass and it didn’t. After scrubbing over the glass, I wiped it with wet sponge, then another clean dry sponge…then rinsed. It took off the hard water spots and scum. I noted that the stone had the residue from the glass on it…washed it in hot water with a brush to remove the “stuff” from the window. Since I read all the posts and didn’t see anyone else using this combo…wondering what you think.

  • Southwest Jen

    I followed your advice, got the cooktop Barkeeper’s Friend, and went to work. My shower doors were very scaly, so it took a long time to clean. I ended up coating sections and using a plastic putty knife (very gently) to scrape through the scale. It worked SO well! My shower doors are crystal clear. I have tried every other solution, and this was the only thing that truly worked. Standing in the shower for over an hour, I was very pleased that there were no harsh fumes. (We are now strict squeegee users.) Thank you so much

  • James

    I have had similar problems however I found a way to essentially prevent
    the problem in the first place. I bought this stuff called Water Armour
    (www.waterarmour.ca)
    and coated my shower with it. the water doesn’t stay on the glass at
    all and therefore no more stains! It’s fantastic! I wouldn’t definitely
    recommend the stuff to anyone else.

  • Sunshine Mom

    What about the shower “tracks”? Is it safe for that type of metal (whatever it is)? I get more build up in my shower tracks than on the doors.

  • bridgit

    Have been looking for the Barkeepers friend multipurpose cooktop cleaner and can only find it online. have found Barkeepers friend in the liquid, but don’t think this is the same thing. Is it? Thanks!! Am really wanting to try it!

  • J. Nev

    I found Bar Keepers Friend to be CRAP!!!

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