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How to remove hard water stains from glass

How to remove hard water stains from glass
Posted at 2:05 PM, May 11, 2023

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If you have a glass shower door, you know how nice it feels when it looks crystal clear. Yet that perfect glass vibe doesn’t happen magically. It takes work. Bathrooms are subjected to an onslaught of elements that can cloud up glass surfaces, such as water mineral residue and soap scum.

When hard water hits a surface, like a glass door, repeatedly, mineral deposits in the water — usually calcium and magnesium — can build up. These stains don’t damage the glass and they aren’t bad for your health. But the chalky residue can be challenging to remove, especially if you let it build up over a long time, and may cause issues depending on where it lands.

While cleaning your glass shower door every day might help eliminate the haze, that may be unrealistic based on your lifestyle. Sometimes you’re in a hurry or aren’t able to make it a priority. Luckily, you can remove hard water stains using a combo of stain-fighting ingredients you probably already have and good old-fashioned elbow grease. Here are a few different ways to make that glass door sparkle again.


Remove Hard Water Stains With Vinegar

A water-vinegar mixture works just as hard as leading commercial brand window cleaners — and it does a number on hard water stains, too. Mix equal parts water and distilled white vinegar in a spray bottle and shake to combine. The Spruce suggests using cleaning vinegar because it is 20% stronger than white distilled vinegar.

Starting at the top of your shower door, spray the solution to coat the entire surface. Be sure to open a window or turn on your bathroom fan as the vinegar can smell pretty potent. Let it sit for up to 30 minutes before scrubbing the glass with a brush. Rinse the area with clean water and squeegee. Finish by wiping the surface dry with a microfiber cloth.

What makes this method effective is that the vinegar acts as a mild acid that breaks down the connection between the mineral residue and the glass. Depending on what tile you have, you may want to spread an old towel on the floor to catch any droplets because vinegar can cause etches in marble.


Use a Lemon

If the hard water stain won’t budge, try rubbing the surface with a lemon. It’s a fairly straightforward process. just cut a lemon in two, sprinkle it with salt and rub it across the stain. The combo of abrasiveness and acidity should disintegrate that stain on the spot. You can also spray lemon juice onto glass walls after cleaning to keep stains away longer.


Create a Baking Soda Paste

If the above doesn’t do the trick, try sprinkling your brush (or rag) with baking soda. It can be mixed right into the vinegar spray solution. Gently rub the door to loosen the stain. Just don’t scrub too hard because the abrasiveness of the paste can potentially scratch the glass.

Baking soda in wooden bowl and jar with scoop

Use the Magic Eraser Method

For stubborn stains, you could try using a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser (or another melanine sponge product) to wipe away the chalky deposits. Run it under water briefly to get it damp and wring it out to get rid of any excess water. Then rub it across the door with a small amount of pressure. Rinse the area with water and then squeegee.

How to Prevent Hard Water Stains

If you already know your home has hard water and you can’t seem to get a leg up on the issue, it might be time to consult a professional. You may want to invest in a water softener, which can help prevent spot buildup.

Since it can be time-consuming and expensive to remove hard water stains, prevention is the best tool. Next time you’re in the shower, take notice of where water is spraying. Something as simple as repositioning your shower head so less water hits the glass door can be incredibly helpful over the long run.

Since stains appear after the water has dried, squeegeeing the glass regularly can go a long way. It takes less than a minute. Use long streaks for the best results. However, if you’d rather not mess with squeegeeing, you could pick up a shower cleaner that’s meant to be used daily that doesn’t need to be wiped off. (Just examine the label before purchasing.)

After showering, leave the glass door open for a little bit. This will help with airflow and allow your shower to dry more quickly.

Giving your glass a quick spritz of the above vinegar solution, along with a quick towel dry, mentioned above, on a weekly basis, is also a good idea. While that might sound like a lot of work, we promise it only takes a few seconds. Once you start to notice how great your glass doors look week after week, you won’t mind the extra effort one bit.

Remember that whether you’re cleaning with chemicals or vinegar, it’s a good idea to protect your skin by wearing gloves.

shower squeegee

Go the Extra Mile

Don’t overlook the joy of having clean shower door tracks. These don’t need to be cleaned as frequently, but keeping soap scum and gunk out of these areas can keep your doors functioning properly. Plus, once they’re sparkling, they can really add to the entire clean-bathroom ambiance. You can use the distilled white vinegar mixture and an old toothbrush to de-gunk the tracks. Wipe off the mess with a paper towel.

Having a clear, clean glass door makes getting into the shower 10 times more pleasant, doesn’t it? Now that you know how to make it sparkle, you can keep it looking good on a regular basis.

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