How to Clean and Recaulk Your Sliding Shower Doors

A blue bathroom with a sliding shower door.

Day in and day out, your shower sits in moisture, waiting for the next round of suds and splatter. With all that wetness comes mold, mildew, and grime. If you own a shower with sliding glass doors you know that cleaning the shower adds up to frustration when trying to eliminate the black accumulations massed where the doors overlap and inside the guides that hold the doors in place. The black grime often finds its way under the caulking around the doors too. But don’t worry, giving your shower a proper clean and recaulking is an easy DIY project that will have you scrub-a-dubbin’ in a mildew-free space in no time.

Step 1 - Take a Shower

The first step in the process is to ensure that you won’t need your shower for a bit because the caulk should dry for 12 to 24 hours. Jump in and clean up before dismantling the doors.

Step 2 - Remove the Doors and Hardware

A sliding shower door.

To get a proper clean on all areas of your glass doors, you first need to access all those little overlapping sections. The best way to do this is to remove the doors completely. Look for the guide at the bottom of the doors with a single screw holding it in place. Remove the screw and lift the doors out, beginning with the one on the inside of the shower. These work in basically the same way as closet doors if you have prior experience removing those.

Step 3 - Clean and Reinstall

For a proper clean and better seal with your caulk, you may also want to remove the frame that encases the doors. The top typically lifts off. The sides each have a few screws. You will want to score the existing caulking with a sharp razor all the way around so you can pull the frame pieces off. Then use a razor to scrape away the remaining caulking and debris. A gunk remover such as Goof Off is helpful if you have a lot of build up. The porch or backyard is a good spot to give your shower doors a good cleaning without too much of a mess. Alternately, you can leave them inside the shower and clean them there, which eliminates some of the hassle of carrying them. Once everything is clean and dry, reverse the removal process and put the frame and doors back in place.

Step 4 - Caulk

A woman caulks a shower.

The final step in the process is to recaulk all the way around both the inside and the outside of the door frames. Be sure the caulk you choose is mildew resistant and matches the color of your shower or is clear. Use a caulking gun to apply a steady stream of caulk and then run a wet finger across the bead of caulking to gently press it into place and create an even look. Allow the caulking to dry for 12 to 24 hours, or as directed in the instructions.

When the caulk has fully dried, visually examine the seam all the way around, ensuring that there are no gaps where leaks could occur. Then enjoy your clean, mildew-free space.