Getting Water Spots Off of Glass

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You can thank hard water for those filmy spots that appear on your windows and glass shower doors. Not only are the cloudy stains unsightly, but they can be difficult to eliminate because they often don’t respond to traditional glass cleaning products. But the sooner you remove water spots, the better. Since spots are usually caused by mineral deposits, they can actually etch glass if left for long. Follow the steps below to restore your glass to sparkling new.

Things You'll Need

  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Water
  • Plastic bucket
  • Soft cloths
  • Plastic spray bottle
  • Rubber gloves
  • Safety goggles
  • Non-abrasive scourer or sponge
  • Low-abrasive glass polish
  • Mix two parts vinegar to one part water in a plastic bucket. For a large surface area like a shower door, you will probably need to use at least 1 gallon of vinegar and 1/2 gallon of water.

  • Gently wipe down the surface you wish to treat with a damp soft cloth. Pour the vinegar mixture into a clean plastic spray bottle. Put on plastic goggles and rubber gloves to protect eyes and hands.

  • Thoroughly spray the stained area. Do not wipe away. Repeat several times so that the glass remains soaked for at least 30 minutes. Note that if you are cleaning auto glass, you must instead immediately wipe away the vinegar or it could remove your wax finish.

  • Use a towel if you find the bottle method produces too much over-spray. Soak a soft towel in the vinegar-water mixture. Rub the towel over the surface, squeezing as you go along. Then drape the towel over as much of the glass as possible and let sit for at least 30 minutes.

  • Wipe the glass vigorously with a non-abrasive scourer or sponge. Stubborn stains may require the application of full-strength vinegar.

  • Try a low-abrasive glass polish for especially severe spots that don’t respond to vinegar. These products are usually marketed for car windows and can be found in the automotive section of stores. Because polish compounds are more abrasive than vinegar, start with a pea-size amount to see how your glass will react. Apply the test amount to a small area of glass with a soft cloth and gently rub. If there is no damage, proceed to polish the entire surface.

Tips & Warnings

  • Maintain your glass by regularly cleaning it with the vinegar-water mixture in Step 1. This will prevent future water spots from becoming severe or permanent.
  • Read product instructions before use. If you plan to use multiple products in one time frame, make sure they will not hazardously interact with one another.
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