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3 Easy Ways to Remove Hard Water Stains From Glass

Scott Winfield
Written by Scott Winfield
Last Updated on

Hard water is water rich in mineral content, especially calcium and magnesium. Once the water evaporates or dries after washing, the calcium and magnesium molecules remain stuck on the glass surface – forming white and cloudy stains.

Fortunately, there are several easy ways to remove and prevent hard water stains on glass, which we’ll discuss below.

How to remove hard water stains from glass
Before and After Cleaning Glass

How to Remove Hard Water Stains from Glass

The mineral content of hard water puts it at the alkaline end of the pH scale, and the best way to deal with alkalinity is to use the opposite – organically acidic cleaners like white vinegar or lemon juice.

There are 3 effective methods for removing hard water stains from glass surfaces

  1. White vinegar
  2. Lemon juice
  3. Saltwater

1. Use White Vinegar to Remove Hard Water Stains on Glass

White vinegar is an acid, and exposure to acids can weaken the bonds between mineral molecules. This is why vinegar is commonly used to dissolve mineral buildup in water softeners, pipes and other appliances.

What’s more, white vinegar is one of the rare cleaning agents that don’t have any toxic side effects. These two attributes combined makes it one of the best items to remove hard water stains safely.

White Vinegar
White Vinegar

How to clean glass with white vinegar:

  1. Make a white vinegar and water solution. For one cup of vinegar, add a cup of water.
  2. If you’re going to clean a stained glass surface with the solution, put it in a spray bottle. If you’re going to wash dishes with it, put it in a large pot.
  3. Spray the solution onto the glass surface or put your glass dishware into the pot. Then, let the solution sit on the glass surface for about five minutes to weaken the mineral buildup.
  4. Scrub, rub, or wipe away the stains with a soft sponge, brush, or a microfiber cleaning cloth
  5. Rinse with distilled water
  6. If the stains aren’t all gone, repeat the sequence

2. Use Lemon Juice

Similar to white vinegar, lemon juice has acidic properties that can dislodge mineral molecules from the surfaces they cling to. To remove hard water stains, it’s used exactly the same way as white vinegar.

You just need to make a lemon juice solution with a 1:1 lemon juice and water ratio and repeat the instructions on using a white vinegar solution described above.

Lemon Juice
Lemon Juice

However, beware that if you don’t rinse lemon juice off your dish or windows properly, it will make them sticky. And if you rinse your glass objects with hard water, you’re risking hard water stains once again, so make sure you rinse them with distilled water.

3. Use a Salt Water Solution

Salt Water Solution
Salt Water Solution

You probably know that salt is used in water softeners to flush the mineral buildup in the water softener resin. So, if it works on a device that softens your water, why shouldn’t it work on your glassware?

How to get rid of water spots on glass using salt:

  1. Make a brine solution in a large pot with one teaspoon of table salt per cup of water
  2. Put your dishes that are stained with hard water spots in that pot
  3. Let the brine solution dissolve the mineral buildup on your dishes by letting it sit for about 15 to 20 minutes. You might also shake the pot or stir the dishes inside carefully to create more friction between the solution and the dishes.
  4. Grab a sponge and rub the spots from the dishes until you see foam. The chemical reaction between the salt and the minerals creates this foam.
  5. Rinse the salt off the dishes

How to Protect Glass from Hard Water Stains

The best way to protect your glass from hard water stains is to find a permanent solution to the calcium and magnesium minerals in your water. This would involve flushing out the hard water minerals, and water softeners are the best tool for this.

Water softeners are water treatment systems made specially to remove hard water minerals and contaminants.

There are 3 types of water softeners:

  • Salt-based water softener: Uses sodium or potassium chloride salt to separate the calcium and magnesium molecules in water through a process known as Ion-exchange. We recommend you to buy the Springwell SS1 Salt-Based Water Softener.
  • Salt-free water softener: Uses Template Assisted Crystallization (TAC) to crystallize hard water minerals. We recommend you to buy the Kind Water Systems E-2000 Water Softener.
  • Water Descaler: Uses electromagnetic pulses to prevent calcium and magnesium molecules from binding with water molecules.


Use acidic solutions prepared with nontoxic liquids such as white vinegar or lemon juice to get rid of water spots on glass. A salt solution is also an effective way to deal with such stains, as sodium can dislodge the stubborn minerals that are likely to stick to surfaces.

However, we highly suggest that you permanently get rid of the hard water minerals in your water by purchasing and installing a water softener.

Depending on the level of water hardness in your area, you can opt for a salt-based water softener (99% scale reduction), salt-free water conditioner (90% scale reduction), or electromagnetic water descaler (50% scale reduction).

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Scott Winfield
Scott Winfield
My name is Scott Winfield and researching and writing about water filters and other strategies to purify water has become my full time passion in recent years. I'm glad that you found our site and you can look forward to authoritative and well researched content here to help you get the best in water.
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