How To Remove Hard Water Stains From Glass – Ultimate Guide (2023)

Last Updated on January 19, 2023 by Mattias

Have you been noticing some water spots on your home’s glass windows or shower doors that make it difficult to see through them or some mineral build-up on your glassware that makes it not look as sparkly as it used to? Then the glass in your home has hard water stains on them.

The ever-annoying and stubborn stains of hard water spots are a common problem that affects most homes with glass windows, surfaces, wares, and shower doors.

So in this article, we will go through how to remove hard water stains from glass surfaces and your home’s glassware, so you can restore their sparkling and beautiful look.

You will also learn the different methods to get rid of these stains and the best methods to prevent hard water stains from forming.

But before we get into the day’s topic, let’s first look at the factors that cause hard water stains on your glass.

What Causes Hard Water Stains On Your Glass?

window with stains

Water Spills Left To Dry On Surfaces

The water that spills on your glass shower door when you take your bath or other instances where you involuntarily spill water on glass surfaces is one of the ways hard water stains form on your glass.

If these spills on your glass surfaces are left to dry, they will form hard water stains and will be difficult to remove later, so you must ensure you swiftly and properly clean any glass surface that water spills on. 

Leaking Roofs 

Most roof tiles are made up of limestone — which has magnesium and calcium as some of its natural ingredients, so when water flows from the leaking roofs through these tiles down to the glass surfaces in your home, the magnesium and calcium deposits in the water dissolves into the glass and causes it to form hard water stains. 

To prevent this, ensure you repair your roof once you notice a leak.

Sprinkled Water 

If your glass doors are close to the grass, sprinkled water can cause stains to form on your glass doors.

Due to the wind and the sun the outside glass doors are exposed to, the hard water sprinkled on them dries up quickly and forms hard water spots in no time.

To prevent this, ensure you regulate your sprinkling system to just the grass you want to water or install a water treatment system to treat the hard water you use to sprinkle on your lawn, garden, or yard.

Metal Fly Screens  

Metal fly screens are made up of iron. When they interact with glass surfaces or glass doors that are wet, their iron ions interact with the glass forming oxidation, which leads to the formation of an insoluble and hard-to-remove hard water stain. 

To stop the formation of hard water stains on your glass doors through this medium, you should ensure you use a reagent to prevent the iron from corroding. 


If your glass doors are framed, and your water has silicone in it, then it is also a course for concern as regards the formation of hard water stains.

Silicone leaches glasses and causes them to corrode, while framed glass doors, on the other hand, trap water.

So if your framed glass door traps silicone-filled water in it, the silicone would cause the glass doors to corrode and form stains which will be difficult to remove in the long run. 

If through a water test, you discover that your water has silicone, then you should go for frameless glass doors instead of framed ones.

How To Remove Hard Water Stains From Glass

girl taking a shower behind the stained shower glass door

White Vinegar 

Vinegar has acetic acid, giving it an extraordinary cleaning ability. It is considered by many as the best way to remove hard water stains from glass surfaces.

It isn’t corrosive, you don’t have to worry about your glass surfaces corroding, and it isn’t toxic, so wearing protective clothing isn’t required when handling it.

To use it, fill a vinegar spray bottle with vinegar and water and then take the bottle top off and heat it for 20 seconds in the microwave for added efficiency.

After taking it out of the microwave, apply it to the affected area and then use a scrub brush or scrub pad to wipe the area until the stain is eradicated gently.

Ensure you scrub it gently, as scrubbing it too hard will leave scratches on your glass, light ones, though. 

Then use water to rinse the scrubbed area and a clean cloth to dry it finally.

Rinsing Agent 

If the hard water stains and hard water spots affect your dishes, you should use a rinsing agent. 

Add the rinsing agent to your dishwasher and watch your dull-looking glassware regain its sparkling look in no time. 


Ammonia is another effective way of removing hard water stains from your glass surfaces.

Add ammonia and a little water into a spray bottle and spray the stained area till it is soaked with the liquid. 

Allow the liquid to stay on the stained area for up to 1 minute, and then use the scrub brush to scrub the area gently. 

You can then use clean water to rinse the area and a clean cloth to dry it. 

Note: Before handling Ammonia, ensure you have protective clothing on, and the area is well-ventilated first.

Water and Salt  

Water and salt are another effective way of removing hard water stains from your glassware.

To do this, pour water and salt into a container and stir until the salt dissolves.

Then, dip your sponge into the mixture and then use it to scrub the stained glassware until the stain vanishes.

You can then use clean water to rinse the glass and wipe it with a clean cloth.

Lemon Juice 

Using lemon juice is another effective hard water stain removal method. The liquid contains acetic acid and can clean hard water stains from glass surfaces.

Pour the lemon juice and water into a spray bottle and shake properly to aid them in mixing, and then spray it on the stained area till it is soaked.

Allow the liquid to stay on the spot for about 1 minute, and then use a brush to scrub the stain till it goes away. 

You can rinse the glass with clean water and then clean it with a dry cloth.

Commercial Cleaning Paste

Some liquid cleaners leave behind marks after they clean glasses, but with commercial cleaners like Bar Keepers Friends, you don’t have to worry about that. 

All the instructions on using these commercial products are always stated on them, so you must go to a store near you, get the product, and follow the guidelines to avoid regrets.

Baking Soda

You can also use baking soda to remove hard water stains on your glass. However, this natural product is most effective for removing smaller stains.

Note: There are other great methods, such as magic cleaning pads, also called magic erasers, a razor blade, and toothpaste which you can also try out if you wish to.

How To Prevent Hard Water Stains From Forming On Your Glass Surfaces

person wiping glass door

Do Not Allow Spills To Dry

Glass surfaces such as your bathroom mirror, shower glass doors, glass dining tables, and glass surfaces in the kitchen come in contact with water very often, so you must ensure you use a dry towel to clean off the water spills on them at all times.

You can also use coasters when serving others on your glass tables to shield the tables from spills.

Ensure you protect your glass surfaces from spills because when water spills stay long on a glass surface, they get tough over time and become more difficult to remove.

Treat Your Glass Surfaces

Another great way to prevent hard water stains from forming on your glass surfaces is by treatment of these surfaces.

You can do this by repeatedly applying a protective coat on your glass surfaces yearly.  

You should also use glass cleaners to clean your glass surfaces often. 

Install A Water Treatment System

Hard water spots are formed by the presence of hard water minerals in your water supply, so ensure you install a water treatment system such as a water softener that can replace these hard minerals with sodium ions or a filter that can help reduce the effects of hard water on your home.

Can You Experience Hard Water Spots After Installing A Water Softener In My Home? 

Yes, you can. 

There are three major reasons why this can happen:

Total Dissolved Solids (TDS)

Inadequate Maintenance Of Your Water Softener 

Sodium Spots.

Total Dissolved Solids (TDS)

Water softeners can reduce the high concentration of minerals that cause water hardness, but they are one thing they can’t reduce, and that is Total Dissolved Solids (TDS).

TDS comprises the dissolved organic and inorganic matter in water that leaves hard water spots on your surfaces and wares whenever the water evaporates.

The best way to handle TDS issues is to install a Reverse Osmosis system, and the best way to know how much TDS is in your water supply is to carry out a water test. 

Your Water Softener Hasn’t Been Properly Maintained

Another possible reason you notice hard water spots is the lack of proper maintenance on your water softener.

These maintenance issues could be from your brine tank:

  • You could experience this if the salt level in your brine tank isn’t as it should be.
  • You could experience this if the salt bridge is formed in your brine tank.
  • You could experience this if there is salt mushing in your brine tank.

Which makes it essential to clean your brine tank regularly.

But aside from your brine tank, you could also experience hard water spots if your resin beads haven’t been properly cleaned after continuous water softening and your water softener isn’t properly set. 

So ensure you carry out proper maintenance on your water softener and ensure all these areas are properly attended to prevent these hard water marks and spots from your glass surfaces and glassware.

Use our troubleshooting guide for water softeners to solve these water softener issues and other common problems your water softener is facing.

Sodium Spots

Through its ion exchange process, a water softener removes water-hardness minerals like magnesium, iron, and calcium and replaces them with sodium to produce soft water. Still, the sodium mineral content in the water that it softens during this process can also cause water spots.

The formation of these water spots is carried out when the water with sodium content evaporates.

The good news is that water spots formed through this medium are easy to remove. 

All you have to do is to use a clean towel and wipe it off, and it will be gone in the blink of an eye.

You can also prevent them from forming by using your hand to rinse the glassware or glass surface and not allow the lather to air dry on its own.

If A Water Softener Can’t Prevent Hard Water Spots, Is There Any Need For You To Install It In Your Home?

Yes, there is. There are a lot of benefits that the installation of a water softener will have to you, all who use the water in your home and all of your home’s water-using appliances, so do not let its inability to remove hard water spots stop you from getting one if you haven’t gotten one yet. 

Removing hard water minerals with a water softener stops the buildup of minerals, and limescale in your plumbing system, boosting the lifespan of your plumbing and all water-using appliances. A water softener can increase a washing machine’s lifespan by 40%.

In addition, the removal of water hardness minerals by this water treatment system prevents you from experiencing hair dryness, skin irritation, red eyes after showering, and dryness whenever you take your bath and also makes your clothes sparkle when you wash them, as compared to when you use hard water for the same purposes.

Installing a water softener also stops the formation of soap scum in your home, improves the quality of your water supply, and helps you save money.

How To Remove Hard Water Stains From Glass Summary

Out of all the methods I have highlighted in this guide on removing hard water deposits, you can choose the easiest way to implement it without stress. 

And I assure you that with a little effort, you will get the best results, and all the mineral deposits on your household items made up of glass will be gone in no time.

PS: If you’re looking into buying a water softener, you should read our Rheem water softener review.