How to remove hard water stains from glass


Hard water stains can appear as whitish, cloudy spots on glass surfaces. This is brought about by the build-up of alkaline and other minerals in the water. Although these stains are difficult to remove, you can use both liquid and non-liquid cleaners to restore the sparkling appearance of your glass. Luckily, there are various ways to prevent hard water stains from forming again once you have successfully removed them. Read further to learn ways on how to remove hard water stains from glass.

Steps on how to remove hard water stains from glass using liquid cleaners

Let’s take a look at the techniques on how to remove hard water stains from glass.

  • Acidic cleaner. Since hard water stains are alkaline, the best way to remove them is to use a potent acid. Use a cleaning product that contains either sulfuric, phosphoric, or hydrochloric acid since they can effectively break down the hard water stains. You must carefully read the instructions on the label and wear protective gear.  
  • Salt and water. Prepare a mixture of salt and water to remove the mineral buildup. Salt can be used as a scouring powder and can cut through the stain. Apply on the stained area using a clean towel or cloth and rub in a circular motion. Rinse the glass surface thoroughly to remove any leftover salt residue.
  • White vinegar. Vinegar is an acid that can loosen the mineral deposits. There are various ways in which you can use white vinegar to deal with hard water stains.
    • Combine lemon juice and vinegar to improve its effectiveness as well as add a fresh lemon scent. 
    • Mix vinegar and lemon juice in a spray bottle and warm slightly in a microwave. This will be more effective in lifting stains. Spritz the solution on the glass and let it sit for 2-3 minutes before wiping it clean with paper towels or a dry, lint-free cloth.
    • When dealing with hard water stains on drinking glasses or other small items, fill a bowl or basin with a 50/50 solution of water and vinegar. Let them soak in the solution for several hours and rinse thoroughly.
  • Use a rinsing agent. A rinsing agent can remove hard water stains from your glass items. Fill the designated area in your dishwasher with the rinsing agent along with your preferred dishwashing detergent. 
  • Ammonia. You can use ammonia to cut through stubborn hard water stains.

In case these techniques cannot provide the desired results, you can find strong products from your local hardware store. Make sure that you will carefully follow the instructions on the label.

How to get rid of hard water stains using non-liquid cleaners

There are also other techniques that you can use to deal with hard water stains. You can also try out these methods. 

  • Use non-abrasive scrubbing sponges or a “magic/eraser” cleaning pads to safely scrub the glass surfaces. You can use baking soda since it works as an abrasive but avoid using hard-bristled brushes or abrasive tools when cleaning glass. Take note that scrubbing works best on small hard water stains or new ones and those that were not yet firmly set in.
  • Toothpaste can be used as an alternative to baking soda. Apply regular toothpaste on a damp towel and rub it over the stain in circular motions. Let it sit for a few minutes and rinse the paste using equal parts water and vinegar to remove any leftover residue.
  • Paste cleaner. You can find various commercial cleaning products that can deal with hard water stains that are available in paste formula. If you are using a paste cleaner, it will not leave any streaks or watermarks. 

How to remove hard water stains from outside windows

It is important to note that water is not the same. There are areas in which the water has a high content of minerals such as calcium and magnesium which is called hard water. 

Once the water evaporates from the surface, such as the outside windows, it leaves behind spots called limescale or calcium deposits. Initially, these are not noticeable but after a while, the deposits accumulate and eventually turns into a thick whitish glaze. During the early phases, the deposits are easy to remove but as they are baked by the sun, they become difficult to remove. Let’s take a look at the steps on how to remove hard water stains on your windows.

  • Prepare a solution that contains water and white vinegar in equal amounts.
  • Saturate a towel or cloth in the solution.
  • Press the towel or cloth over the hard water stains on the outside windows. Let it sit for 1-2 minutes. The acidity in the vinegar will soften the mineral deposits so that it is easier to wipe them away. You can also drape the towel over the window if it will remain hanging.
  • Wipe and gently press the towel or cloth on the window until the hard water stains vanish. You might have to repeat the process a few times until the stains are gone. 
  • Dry the windows using a clean rag. Add a shiny luster to your outside windows with a window spray.

How to remove hard water stains from glass shower doors

Hard water stains can be readily removed by using common household items such as white vinegar. 

  • Fill a spray bottle with a combination of water and white vinegar. 
  • Spritz the solution on to the glass shower doors. 
  • Wipe the solution on the surface with a moist sponge.
  • Allow the solution to sit on the glass shower door for a few minutes. 
  • Continue applying the solution as it dries. Make sure that the door is moist for at least 5 minutes.
  • Rinse the solution using warm water. 

If the hard water stains linger, you can try adding more vinegar to the solution and repeat the process. 

How to remove hard water stains from drinking glass

When your glass starts to turn foggy and dingy, the cause might be your water. Your glasses can become cloudy over time, but it often occurs in both areas that have hard water and soft water. In some instances, the dishwasher might permanently scratch the surface of your glass.

The best way to prevent the formation of a hazy film on your glasses is to keep them out of the dishwasher. It is recommended to wash them by hand using mild soap, rinse thoroughly and dry right away.

Soak a small cloth or towel in a small amount of white vinegar and wipe the glass with the cloth. If the glass is no longer cloudy, it was caused by the buildup of hard water. 

Any buildup by calcium and magnesium ions in hard water can be removed by wiping the glass with acetone and gently scrubbing with a mild detergent. Another effective home remedy is to soak the glasses in plain white distilled vinegar for 15 minutes. 

Final thoughts

Hard water stains on glass surfaces or objects can be unappealing to look at. If you want to restore the sparkling and clean appearance of your glass surfaces or objects, you might want to check out these effective cleaning methods. With the methods described, you can remove hard water stains from glass properly and keep glass clean and pristine. 

teammichael

Michael René, consultant, is the leading stain removal expert in Denmark. Read about him and the rest of the team here

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