Glass showers are beautiful. They bring a luxury aesthetic to any bathroom, creating a unique feel every time you use it. Best of all, you won’t see some of the ugly stains that you may see on a porcelain tub or stand-up shower.
Still, there are times where hard water can not only begin to accumulate on the shower doors but also stain them. Those stains can take away from the high-end feel that a glass shower brings, tarnishing each shower experience that it is there.
Thankfully, getting those hard water stains off is not only possible but it is relatively easy, too. Don’t deal with those unsightly stains any longer than you have to. Get them cleaned up and get back to feeling like you are having a luxury shower.
What Is Hard Water?
While it may seem like water is all the same, this is not the case. Water has a hardness level to it that is an indication of the amount of dissolved magnesium and calcium that is in the water. Particularly hard water has high levels of dissolved magnesium and calcium in it.
When that hard water is heated, as it would be in a hot shower, this can create some solid deposits or stains of calcium carbonate. These are the streaks you may see in your glass shower if your area has hard water.
While those stains are definitely a downside of hard water, there are other things to be aware of as well. Hard water in your area can have impacts all throughout your life. The first is that it can lead to dry skin and hair in your showers.
Hard water can fade your clothes, stain your bathtubs, showers, and sinks, and even increase your water bills. With consistent exposure to hard water, you could also have a more frequent need for plumbing repairs that can add up.
Hard water becomes this way because it will work its way through the ground and start to get into our waterways. During this trek, it will begin to pick up the aforementioned magnesium and calcium as well as things such as lime and chalk.
Soft water, on the other hand, has less of those dissolved materials and minerals in them. A good idea of what “soft” water is? Rainwater that falls naturally is soft water. It has no minerals dissolved into it.
How Can You Tell If You Have Hard Water?
There isn’t a big flashing sign telling you that you have hard water, but there are definitely things to be aware of. You will start to see certain signs that there are dissolved minerals in your water, indicating that there is some hardness in your water.
The first is that you may feel a film on your hands when you wash them. The reason for this is because the soap is reacting to the calcium. This forms soap scum and it means that you will need to rinse your hands a little longer to get them properly clean.
Spots can also begin to appear on your dishes, silverware, and glasses when they come fresh out of the dishwasher. This is a good indication that there are deposits of calcium carbonate in your water, “staining” your dishes.
There are also mineral stains that can begin appearing in your clothing. If your clothes seem like they aren’t quite getting clean when they come out of the water, this is due to the hardness of the water.
Not only can there be stains, the clothing can also wear down a bit faster due to the hardness of your water.
You may also notice that you have less water pressure in your home, too. This can happen both in the shower and washing dishes or in one but not the other. This is due to deposits of minerals that can begin forming in the pipes.
Those mineral deposits can basically shrink down the interior diameter of your pipes. This reduces the water flow and, thus, reduces the water pressure in your home.
If you think that your water is on the softer side, you will notice a strong, healthy lather when washing your hands, clothes, and dishes. Your clothes will not only be cleaner in general, but they will show less wear and tear over time.
You will also notice that the water pressure in your home is quite a bit stronger. This can be good when it comes to doing laundry and dishes; the extra water pressure can be great for getting out those stronger stains that can occur on dishes in particular.
You may notice a little sodium taste in your water, but that can be imperceptible.
What Won’t Get the Stains Off
You will no doubt have seen a variety of methods out there that will proclaim that they can easily get those hard water stains off of your glass shower. But the thing is that they don’t work. You can scrub and scrub and scrub only to still have that nasty stain staring you right in the face.
So, if you see recommendations to use lemon, baking soda, vinegar, razor blades, a combo of the lemon/vinegar/baking soda, or something such as Tilex, keep in mind that it might not work.
Avoid those frustrations and go with something that works.
What You Need to Get Rid of Hard Water Stains
There are some tools that you will need to get those nasty hard water stains off of the glass door of your shower. First, white vinegar. It’s a common household item.
Some super fine steel wool will help you get the scrubbing power that you need. Gloves and a facemask will keep you protected. Lastly, some Bar Keepers Friend (it is a cleaning agent meant for tough stains like this).
Some of these things may not be laying around the house and will take a little bit of time to acquire. Make sure you get them, though, because you will not have to deal with disappointment of an everlasting stain when using this method.
Removing Hard Water Stains From Your Glass Shower Door
While we would love to have an easy way to remove those ugly hard water stains on the glass shower door, there isn’t one. This will take some elbow grease to accomplish. If you think that you can spray it once and wipe, you’ll still be stuck staring down those hard water stains once again.
A good idea is to work on sections of the stain. This way, you will see progress to keep from becoming discouraged and you can even get some help for the tougher portions of the stain.
If you see slow progress, don’t get discouraged. It may take a few times of scrubbing to really get all of the hard water stains out of the glass door.
After you have gathered your supplies, you may need to perform a vinegar soak. This entirely depends on just how bad the mineral buildup is. If the stain isn’t quite that bad, you may not have to perform this step. But if the buildup is pretty severe, you should try draping a sheet soaked in vinegar over the shower door.
Press as much of your sheet against the glass as you can; this will essentially soak the stain in the white vinegar. When the sheet starts to dry out, spray it down with some more vinegar. Keep in mind that this will not remove the stain on its own, so don’t expect it to do so.
Let the sheet “soak” the stain for about 30 minutes or so. While you’re waiting, you can even clean the rest of the bathroom to maintain productivity or enjoy a glass of wine if your sole intention is getting rid of that ugly stain.
After the 30 minutes have passed, take the sheet away or simply move it from the stain and then rinse off the sheet with some water. Vinegar is a powerful cleaning agent, but no one wants that smell to permeate their home.
Next, it’s time to prepare the paste. With your Bar Keepers Friend, you will be creating a paste. Start first by putting on your mask and gloves. In a cup or bowl, you will want about ¼ cup of that powdered cleaning agent and slowly add water, mixing as you go. You want to go until you have a paste that you can spread over the hard water stain.
Using your gloved hand to do so, spread some of that paste over a section of the stain on the glass door. Spread it evenly. When you are satisfied with the coverage of your paste, it is time to start doing some serious scrubbing.
This is where your super fine steel wool pad comes into play. Use smaller, circular motions spreading into larger circular motions.
Scrub thoroughly, to the point where you feel like you have been scrubbing way too long. Like, scrub so much that you think there’s no way the stain could have survived.
If you’re lucky and the stain is not too deeply entrenched, the stain may be gone. If it isn’t gone, don’t be discouraged. This will just mean that you need to do at least one more layer of scrubbing (or more) before the hard water stain is fully removed from your glass shower door.
After each scrubbing, make sure that you thoroughly rinse off both sides of the glass door. In the best-case scenario, you will only have to do this once. But make sure that anytime you have to scrub, you thoroughly rinse off both sides of the glass.
Getting Water Stains Off of Toilets
Unfortunately, the shower is not the only place where you will find hard water stains. Hard water can permeate all areas of your life and make basic things a bit more difficult to deal with. It can also make things such as your toilet feel and look dirty thanks to hard water stains.
This process is a little different than getting those stains off of a glass shower door. You’ll need the aforementioned gloves and Bar Keepers Friend, but instead of the steel wool pad, you will want fine-grit drywall sanding screens.
You may initially think that using a toilet brush and industrial cleaner will clean the toilet. In most cases, it should. But hard water is a different beast and requires a different treatment. So, your toilet may actually be pretty clean but those hard water stains can still permeate.
Throw your gloves on and cut out a couple of small squares from your sanding screens, setting them aside for future use. Start to sprinkle the Bar Keepers Friend inside the toilet and then grab that sanding screen.
Use circular motions to start scrubbing but be careful to not press too hard. You want to clean the hard water stains out of the toilet, not damage or destroy the porcelain. Like the shower door, it may take a time or two before the stain completely dissipates so don’t be discouraged.
What to Not Use on Your Toilet
You may get some recommendations on things to use to get those nasty rings out of your toilet. Like the glass shower door, these things either don’t work consistently or don’t work at all. You may hear to use toilet bowl cleaner, bleach, an overnight vinegar solution, or some baking soda.
If you look hard enough, you will find that those do not work on a regular basis. Bleach can actually make those rings worse and, in some cases, permanent. No one wants to have those ugly stains in their toilet permanently, so don’t use those materials.
Also, if you are scrubbing your toilet, be careful about what you are using. Something too coarse or rough can not only damage the porcelain, it can actually destroy it. So, what started out as an ugly stain can also mean needing a new toilet. That is a leap no one wants to make.