A Guide on How to Remove Hard Water Stains from Glass

A Guide on How to Remove Hard Water Stains from Glass

We all love our shiny glass shower cubicles and windows when they’re installed. However, it doesn’t take long for nasty water stains to take over the shiny surfaces. These stains if not cleaned regularly can cause a permanent build-up of mineral deposits on the surfaces. In this article, we are discussing different ways in which you can get rid of the stubborn hard water stains from glass and other surfaces.   

What are Hard Water Stains? 

how to remove hard water stains from glass

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Hard water stains are seen as white, hazy spots that pile up on glass surfaces frequently touched by hard water. Additionally, these hard water stains interact with the fatty acids in soaps and shampoos creating soap scum that further stains the glass surfaces. 

Hard water consists of excessive amounts of dissolved minerals like calcium and magnesium. Generally, groundwater or well-water with high alkaline build-up has hard water. Sometimes, regular water turns hard while journeying through the water systems collecting chalk, lime, magnesium, and other minerals along the way. 

Hard water stains can develop on glass shower cubicles, mirrors, faucets, windows, bathtubs, etc. Removing these stains isn’t as difficult as may seem, however before we get into the methods, let’s first understand how different surfaces are susceptible to hard water stains.   

Causes of Hard Water Stains

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Hard water stains are caused by prolonged exposure to hard water on the surface. The stains develop when they are left to dry on their own instead of being wiped off when wet. Water on the surface evaporates leaving the minerals behind, forming a layer of deposits on surface. 

Hard water stains can also develop on bathroom doors and windows if you have sprinklers on your lawn that frequently spray water on them. If no sprinklers are staining the glass, check for gutter or roof leakages. If the water from the gutter or roof is leaking onto the window, you may see hard water stains on it. Identifying the source of hard water stains helps regularly maintain them if not prevent them.  

Now that we’re on the same page about what are hard water stains, and what causes them, let’s jump into how to remove hard water stains from glass.

How to Remove Hard Water Stains in Shower?

To remove hard water stains, you can either use DIY common household cleaners or commercial cleaning agents. Both are equally efficient in making your surface stain-free. 

1. White Vinegar 

how to remove hard water stains from glass

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Vinegar is a safe mild acetic acid that helps break the bond between the hard water minerals and glass. This aids in the removal of stains from the glass surface. 

Things You’ll Need:

White vinegar (or normal food grade vinegar), water, spray bottle, old toothbrush, microfiber cloth


Step 1: Start by mixing equal parts of distilled white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. 

Step 2: Spray the solution on the stains on the glass. Thoroughly saturate the areas with excess build-up.

Step 3: Leave the solution on the surface for 30 mins. In case the vinegar dries, spray over to keep the surface wet. 

Step 4: Scrub and wipe the solution using a microfibre cloth. Use a circular motion to clean the surface, clean the corners using a toothbrush. 

Step 5: After removing the stains, rinse the surface with clean water and then dry it thoroughly using a microfiber cloth. 

If the white vinegar doesn’t work, try using a cleaning grade vinegar, it is 20% more effective than the normal vinegar. 

2. Lemon

how to remove hard water stains from glass

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Lemon by its nature is acidic and hence acts as a natural cleaning agent. A mixture of lemon juice and white vinegar makes a stronger acid that helps remove the stubborn hard water stains. If you cannot get your hands on fresh lemon juice, you can use the store-bought juice or citric acid instead. 

Things You’ll Need:

Lemon juice, white vinegar, spray bottle, microfiber cloth, toothbrush


Step 1: Start by adding equal parts of white vinegar and lemon juice to a spray bottle.

Step 2: Heat the mixture in a microwave for 20-30 seconds only, a warm mixture increases the efficiency of the stain remover solution.

Step 3: Spray this heated solution on the stains. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes on the stained surface.

Step 4: Wipe the solution off using a microfiber cloth or a dry brush. 

You can get rid of hard water stains by simply using lemon slices. All you need to do is rub the sliced lemon against the stain, the lemon juice will remove the stains from the surface. Wipe the surface with a soft cloth and polish it using a glass cleaner for extra shine. 

3. Baking Soda and Water

how to remove hard water stains in shower

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Baking soda is yet another natural cleansing agent that removes hard water stains from the glass. 

Things You’ll Need:

Baking soda, water, bowl, soft cloth, soft-bristled brush


Step 1: Mix baking soda and water to make a thick paste. 

Step 2: Soak a cloth in this paste and scrub the stained surface with it. Use a circular motion to gently scrub the surface, you can use a brush for this step. 

Step 3: After the stains come off, rinse the glass with regular water and wipe the surface dry.

Step 4: You can spray and clean the surface further using a traditional glass cleaner. Using dry newspaper at the end gives a shiny surface without any residue. 

4. Fluoride Toothpaste

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This is one of the easiest ways of removing hard water stains from glass. The basic fluoride toothpaste that you use to keep your teeth clean can also keep your shower clean. 

Things You’ll Need:

Fluoride toothpaste, water, vinegar, towel, soft-bristled brush


Step 1: Pour some toothpaste on a moist towel and start scrubbing the stains in a circular motion.

Step 2: After you see the stains vanishing, stop scrubbing and let the toothpaste sit on the stains for a few minutes.

Step 3: Rinse the surface with either equal parts vinegar and water mixture or plain water. Finally, pat dry for a stain-free and spotless surface. 

5. Commercial Cleaners

how to remove hard water stains in shower

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There are plenty of abrasive glass cleaners available out there. If you have nasty stains and DIYs weren’t effective on them you can try commercial cleaners. These are typically available in liquid or powder forms and come in different grades. Be cautious about using the glass-specific cleaner as some may damage the glass surface. Depending on the cleaning agent you use, the instructions may vary, typically you can follow the following.

Things You’ll Need:

Commercial cleaner, water, towel, soft-bristled brush


Step 1: Start by wetting the glass surface.

Step 2: Spray the cleaner on the surface if it is liquid, sprinkle if it’s a  powder, and the water on the surface creates a paste out of this powder.

Step 3: Scrub the surface gently using a brush. Do not leave the cleaner on the surface for too long as it may lead to stains as these are string agents. Rinse and dry the surface using water.

Follow the guidelines and precautions mentioned on the glass cleaner for shower label.

How to Maintain a Stain-Free Surface?

how to remove hard water stains in shower

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  1. Try not to splash water everywhere while you’re in the shower. If you do end up with a wet shower glass cubicle, wipe it off instead of letting it dry on its own. 
  2. Clean your shower thoroughly every week to avoid the build-up of hard water stains. 
  3. Use water repellent coatings on your glass surfaces to shield them against water stains.
  4. For long-term relief from the problem altogether, use water softeners. They make the hard water free from minerals like calcium and magnesium. It uses the ion-exchange method to convert the water into soft water before it enters the plumbing system. It can be installed under a sink or a loft as per convenience. 

You can use this guide on how to remove hard water stains from glass on other surfaces such as faucets, showerheads, tiles, etc alike. 


1. What Removes Hard Water Stains from Glass Shower Doors?

You can use several common household items such as white vinegar, lemon juice, baking soda, toothpaste, etc. to remove hard water stains from glass shower doors. You can also use commercial cleaners for the same. 

2. Will Vinegar Remove Hard Water Stains on Glass?

Vinegar is proven to be effective in the removal of hard water stains. You can use it with equal parts water, lemon juice, or mixed with baking soda for a stain-free glass surface.  

3. Which Is the Best Glass Cleaner for Shower?

Distilled vinegar mixed with distilled water is one of the glass cleaners for shower. Cleaning grade vinegar also works wonders in the removal of hard water stains from glass. 

4. Are Hard Water Stains on Glass Permanent?

If not removed in time, hard water stains can blend within the glass surface. This may lead to weakened glass with a reduced life span. 

5. Are Water Softeners Worth Installing?

If you have hard water stains all over your shower and are tired of cleaning them frequently, you should invest in a water softener. It will not only relieve you from the extra chore but will also be good for your hair and skin as prolonged use of hard water has damaging effects. 

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