I tried getting rid of hard water stains on my shower door, but it was not an easy task. I did a bit of research and came up with several methods on how to remove hard water stains from a glass. Hard water stains commonly form on the glass after the water containing high levels of magnesium or calcium evaporate on the surface. When these mineral dissolves, they leave cloudy or white spots that are hard to remove using standard cleaning detergents.

Below are several methods I tried to remove hard water stains

What To Remember Before Removing Hard Water Stains

If you are using an acidic solution on a new surface for the first time, always do a small spot test to ensure that it works fine.

Never try to remove water stains from a hot glass or glass that is directly under the sunlight. Let the glass cool or wait until the time when the window gets no more sunlight to start cleaning.

If it is hot water stains on windows, Always clean the windows thoroughly to remove spider webs, dust, and dirt before you start removing the hard water stains from glasses.

No matter how tempting it might feel to remove the stains from a scrubber, resist that urge because abrasive scrubbing pads may cause permanent stains on glass windows.

Always use a soft cloth like these for rubbing the glass and remember to rub on all directions to leave no stains on the surface.

Never let the cleaning solution dry up on the glass as this can cause more stains. Use a soft cloth to rub off stains as soon as you apply the cleaning solution. You may let the solution sit for a few seconds on the tough stains but ensure that it does not dry out.

When removing hard water stains from the glass, remember to never let the glass come in contact with materials like stone or metal.

1. Using elbow grease

The first method I tried is the scrubbing method. By using cleaning pads, you can scrub the glasses to remove the stains. However, ensure you do not scratch the surface. This technique works well on smaller hard water stains or new stains that are not firmly set in.

2. Using baking soda

Use baking soda to clean hot water stains

If you are trying to remove older hard water stains like mines, or a significant area build-up, elbow grease will not work. Baking powder is an adequate remedy that can help you remove the stains. Remember, baking soda is an alkaline. Hence, it can be used to remove mineral deposits. It is natural, environmentally friendly, safe and an excellent product to clean the glasses.

There are two methods for using baking soda to remove the stains. You can mix the baking soda with vinegar to make an active paste, or apply vinegar first to the stain, then apply baking soda.

3. Using a toothpaste

toothpaste to clean hot water stains

A good alternative to baking soda is toothpaste ( click to see different uses of toothpaste). You only need to apply the toothpaste to a wet towel, and then rub it over the hard water stains.

Wait for 15 to 30 minutes, and then rinse off the paste to remove the residue.

4. Using commercial paste cleaners

You can get several commercial cleaners for that water stains. The benefit of using paste cleaners over liquid detergents is that a paste cleaner will leave its watermarks. However, it is essential to follow the instructions to avoid any side effects. Most people damage the glasses after failing to follow the instructions.

5. Using white vinegar


Using white vinegar to loosen mineral deposits can help a lot because it is an acid. Since it is colorless, be assured that it cannot cause staining. It is also a cleaner that is natural and cannot burn your lungs or eyes like many other cleaners. Vinegar is also an excellent product for removing other stains on utensils.

6. Using a mixture of water and salt

Some people may disagree that a mix of water and salt can be used to remove hard-water stains. Salt acts as a cleaning powder and helps to remove the mineral buildup. Just apply the mixture to the affected part, then use a clean piece of cloth to rub the stain. Then rinse the glass well after cleaning, to get rid of salt water residue.

7. Using lemon/ orange essential oil

Citrus-based essential oils contain acidic properties that can help remove hard water stains on glass. This has an additional benefit because the oil base serves as a water-repellant to prevent future buildup of spots.

Add a few drops of essential oil to water and use a soft towel or sponge to apply the solution to the glass. Let the stains soak the solution for a while and then scrub gently using a towel or sponge to remove the deposits.

8. Using lens cleansing solution

Hard water stains are not limited to windows and prescription glasses may also have unsightly stains. If left untreated, these spots can obstruct your vision and even damage the UV protection, anti-glare, anti-scratch features.

The best method to remove hard water stains from eyeglasses is to use a lens cleaning solution available at any optical store. These solutions contain anti-static, anti-fogging, and dust repelling properties. Spray a little cleaning solution on the lens and wipe using a soft micro-fiber cloth.

9. Using ammonia and water

Ammonia and water can also be an effective agent for removing tough stains from the glass. However, use the ammonia solution with great caution because it may cause irritation to the eye and mucous membranes.

In some people, exposure to ammonia solution may also cause irritation in the respiratory and digestive tracts. So, cover your nose and wear protective gloves when handling ammonia.

10. Using alcohol

Another powerful method to remove tough stains from glass windows is by rubbing a little alcohol on the stains. As alcohol is acidic in nature, it works as a good stain cutter for mild water spots of the glass panes.

This is a handy solution you can use for window maintenance and unlike other acidic cleansers, it does not cause any irritation.

11. Epsom salt scrub

This concoction can work wonders on a cleaning day. To prepare this mixture, you will need one cup of Epsom salts, half a cup of baking soda, a dash of the liquid dishwasher. What I appreciate about this mixture is that it is eco-friendly and works well on most hard water stains.

Apply this scrub on tough stains and use a sponge to rub in circular motion. You will have sparkling and squeaky-clean glasses in minutes.

12. Consult your hardware keeper

If you have tried the above techniques, but you cannot get the desired results, get help from your local hardware shop. There you can be guaranteed to get some help.

Extra Tips

Bottom-line, One thing I learned is that it is crucial to stop the stains before they form. You can do this by intervening at the source or removing the minerals in the water by a filter to your water system. In case, it is hard to purify the water, make sure you wipe and clean the glass surfaces thoroughly.

What Causes Hard Water Stains In The First Place?

Hard water is used to refer to any water that has not passed through the softening process. As a result, it has high mineral content. Water is known to be a great solvent, hence when it passes through mineral-rich areas, it dissolves minerals like calcium, magnesium carbonates, or limestone.

Although these minerals are safe and do not cause any health problems, they can leave ugly white stains on glasses. When any glass surface gets wet, the water evaporates after some time leaving behind mineral deposits that appear as stains.

Sprinklers, showers, and car washes are common causes of hard water stains on glass. You may have seen uneven white lines on the window panes caused after a drizzle. As the water evaporates, they leave lines showing the path through which water traversed.

As these mineral deposits are alkali in nature, you need a powerful acidic solution to get rid of them. Fortunately, getting rid of hard water stains on the glass is easier than you think. You must look for a cleaning solution that contains hydrochloric acid, phosphoric, or sulfuric to break down even the toughest stains.

Some of the household ingredients contain acid, hence they work as a natural cleanser for removing hard water stains. We will discuss a few ways to remove stains from glass below. But, before that, there are a few things you need to consider.

How To Prevent Future Hard Water Stains On Glass

If the hard water stains are treated at an early stage of their formation, they will be easier to remove. Keep vinegar solution (25% vinegar and 75% water) in a spray bottle and use it to clean glass windows, tables, and mirrors at least once every week.

You may also prevent hard water stains by protecting or sealing the glass surfaces. For example, use glass coasters on tables to prevent water stains from spills and drips. Install blinds or curtains in kitchen windows to prevent the glass from getting wet.

Prevention is the best way to deal with hard water stains on the windows. Don’t let water to rest on and eventually evaporate from the glass surfaces as they can leave behind stubborn spots. If the windows get wet after a shower or mist, wipe the glass with a soft and dry towel immediately.

Invest in a few essential cleaning tools like microfiber soft cloth, and a squeegee to remove standing water from the glass surfaces to keep your home looking clean.

Here, you will be able to prevent the hard water from turning into a stain. Remember, the longer a stain sits on the glass, the harder it is to remove. If you are not confident of any of the above methods or products, you can test it in an ordinary place to avoid any damage. If the hard water stains persist, repeat the process. Try using sponges instead of cleaning cloth. Also, make sure you protect your glasses from future stains by safeguarding or sealing the surfaces. For shower doors, you can use a wax-based protective coat every year, and for the glass table, using coasters under drinking glasses will help a lot. You can have a look at this article for Applying Wax to Shower Doors.

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