How to Remove Water Stains from Glass

Removing water stains from glass requires nothing more than simple products found already in your kitchen, pantry and bathroom. Water spots can appear on a variety of glass surfaces, from your drinking glasses to shower doors. Hard water increases the stains caused by soaps and minerals on glass, according to the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service.

Remove Water Stains from Glass

Two minerals in particular, calcium and magnesium, build up on glass surfaces causing deposits known as lime scale. While many commercial products offer quick and easy water spot and lime scale removal, they often feature harsh fumes and ineffective cleaning.

Removing Water Spots from Glass Dishes

A variety of glass dishes can spot and become cloudy, especially after going through the dishwasher. If the stains are simply hard water deposits, and not permanent etching, you can easily remove the spots or cloudy appearance of the glass. 

What You Will Need Before You Start:

  • Vinegar
  • Warm water
  • Mild dishwashing liquid
  • Calgon

Mix together equal parts of vinegar and warm water in a dishpan or sink. Submerge the water stained glass dishes in the solution. Allow to rest for up to an hour. Vinegar is a weak acid that will help remove the mineral deposits from the glass. Drain the water/vinegar solution and wash the dishes using mild dishwashing liquid. Dry using a soft hand towel to prevent the remaining water from spotting the glasses. 

If the water stains persist, refill the dishpan or sink with warm water. Add two to three tablespoons of liquid Calgon. Calgon contains sequestrants which capture and deactivate the minerals in hard water. Mix the water and then add the glass dishes. Allow to rest in the water for up to an hour. Drain the cleaning solution and wash the dishes using mild dishwashing liquid. Dry using a soft hand towel.

Removing Water Stains from Glass Shower Doors

It is easy to assume that the cloudy film on your shower doors is soap scum. Basic bathroom cleaners usually remove soap scum, but no the lime scale deposits left by hard water. To remove water stains from glass shower doors, use an acid-based cleaner to quickly and easily make your glass shine. 

What You Will Need Before You Start:

  • Vinegar
  • Baking soda 
  • Sponge
  • Towels
  • Squeegee
  • Stove-top cleaner

Create a paste of vinegar and baking soda. Use the sponge to apply the paste to the hard water stains. Allow to penetrate the water stains for 15 minutes. This helps to loosen the deposits. Use a circular scrubbing motion to work the cleaning paste over the glass. Dampen a towel and wipe the paste off of the glass. Use the squeegee to remove any excess moisture. If the water stains have been building up over a long amount of time, it may be necessary to repeat the process. 

If the water stains are extremely stubborn, you may need to use a commercial cleaner designed for use on glass stove-tops to remove them. 

  1. Apply a cream stove-top cleaner using a clean, dry towel. 
  2. Use the towel to work the cleaner into the glass using a circular motion. 
  3. Allow the cleaner to dry. This usually takes approximately 15 minutes.
  4. Use a clean, dry towel to wipe the cleaner from the glass. 

Repeat the cleaning process every six months to help eliminate the build-up of difficult water stains. Using a squeegee or towel to thoroughly dry the glass after showering will reduce the spotting and staining.

Removing Water Spots from Windows

The exterior of windows often develop water spots and mineral deposits from rain and sprinkler systems. If cleaned on a regular basis, the glass will remain clear and bright.

What You Will Need Before You Start:

  • Water
  • Vinegar
  • Mild dishwashing liquid
  • Spray bottle
  • Clean, lint-free towels
  • Calgon

Mix 1/4 cup vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon mild dishwashing liquid in 2 cups of water in a spray bottle. Spray the solution generously to the glass of the windows. Allow to sit on the stains for a few minutes. Use a clean, dry towel to wipe the window in a circular motion. Apply more solution as needed. Consistently switching to dry towels will help eliminate streaking. 

If thick, hard water deposits remain, mix together 2 cups of warm water and 2 tablespoons of Calgon liquid. Apply to the hard water deposits using a towel. Allow to penetrate the stains, but do not allow the solution to dry. Rinse off with water and allow to dry. Clean to a brilliant finish using the vinegar/dishwashing liquid solution. 

Prevention helps reduce the time spent removing water stains from glass surfaces. Adding vinegar or a vinegar-based spot reducer to the dishwasher helps prevent the build-up of water stains on glass dishes. Drying dishes by hand also helps reduce spotting. Taking the time to regularly clean shower doors and windows helps prevent the build up of difficult-to-remove vinegar deposits. When stains do occur on glass surfaces, don't reach for vapor intensive commercial cleaners, instead turn to your own kitchen and bathroom for effective homemade cleaning solutions.