There’s nothing more frustrating than to have worked diligently to clean your windows only to be left with hard water stains. Removing these stains requires specific know-how and techniques, and has a lot to do with how old and how bad the stains are.
Here’s what you need to know about “hard” water, preventing the stains, and cleaning them off.
What Is “Hard” Water?
Before you remove hard water stains from your window, you should know what hard water is and why it forms these stains.
Hard water contains a high ratio of minerals like calcium and magnesium, as well as sulfate and bicarbonate compounds derived from soil, rock, and industrial waste. This excess of can cause buildup in pipes and is apt to leave stains on anything you try to clean with it, including windows, vehicles, and shower doors.
How Hard Water Affects Cleaning
If you’ve ever used hard water, perhaps you noticed a lower production of suds in shampoos and soaps. This is because the mineral content in hard water binds with certain ingredients found in cleaning agents rather than dissolving them, as with soft water. Hence, those pesky stains on windows and unattractive soap scum ring in the tub.
While there’s no denying that hard water stains are annoying, if not addressed quickly enough, it may result in permanent damage to windows. This is because glass is porous. Of course, we realize most people don’t want to go out and buy expensive chemical cleaners, so we’ve complied a few natural ways for you to rid your windows of hard water stains. And best of all, you likely already have the ingredients in your home.
Remove Hard Water Stains with a Vinegar/Water Mixture
Vinegar is completely nontoxic and naturally antibacterial which is why it’s so highly regarded by cleaners who prefer a natural alternative to chemical cleaners. Since vinegar is acidic, it works well in breaking down tough dirt, stains, and film that can accumulate on you windows surface.
- 2 Tbsp. White Vinegar
- 2 Cup Water (Distilled or Boiled)
- 10 Drops of Essential Oil of Choice [Optional]
Mix well in a spray bottle and spray as needed.
Remove Hard Water Stains with a Lemon/Lime Mixture
Lemons and limes are also great for cleaning. Their acidic juices can break down tough dirt and stains easily
- ½ Lemon (or lime)
Take the 1/2 of lemon and use the inside pulp to scrub the surfaces. Make sure to squeeze it while scrubbing to make sure the juices from the lemon are coming in contact with the stains.
Remove Hard Water Stains with a Baking Soda/Water Mixture
Most people have baking soda lying around. This multipurpose item has found its way into many different natural cleaning recipes due to its ability to cut through grease and grime.
- 1-part Water
- 3-parts Baking Soda
Mix the ingredient into a paste. Then apply the paste to the window and scrub using a brush, cloth, or sponge.
How to Prevent Hard Water Stains from Forming
Once you’ve successfully removed hard water stains from your windows, there are a few useful tactics that will prevent new ones. For starters, if you have a kitchen windows near the sink, they are notorious for getting water stains.
Prior to washing hands or dishes, get into the habit of closing the curtain. Washing the curtains will be a lot easier than removing stains from the glass. Another option is cleaning it with one of the above mixtures immediately.
On the outside, make sure sprinklers aren’t spraying your window, even if it’s a fine mist. If you have hard water, even a small amount of that water on your windows can cause hard water stains.
Get a Streak-Free Shine, Every Time
After the application of whatever cleaner you choose to use, wipe away with a lint-free, absorbent cloth. Microfiber Cloths are a great option. Also, if you’re just switching from chemical cleaners, you can add a couple drops of castile soap or dish detergent to help get rid of the residue that is often left behind by chemical cleaners.
With regular window maintenance, you can enjoy crystal clear windows all the time. Just follow this simple advice and you can remove old hard water stains and prevent them in the future, for great results every time you clean.