How to Remove Hard Water Stains from Shower Glass

water stains on glass

You’ve finally invested in custom glass shower doors for your home and you love the result. The problem is, over time, the glass began to get those dreaded hard water stains. Now, rather than admiring the sleek and elegant design, you’re left focusing on distracting, cloudy smudges. But you’re in the right place! As custom glass shower door experts, we’re also a great resource for helping you remove water stains from shower glass, and today we’re going to share this with you.

This post will also cover helpful information including what causes hard water stains in the first place, as well as steps you can take to keep them from coming back as quickly or as ferociously. 

What Causes Hard Water Stains?

So, what exactly causes hard water stains to happen? You might be familiar with hard water versus soft water, but let’s do a quick recap just in case.

Hard water: This water has excess calcium and magnesium. These minerals are responsible for deeming this type of water “hard.”

Soft water: On the other hand, soft water is water without these minerals. To make the water soft, it runs through a water softener system that removes the calcium and magnesium.

When it comes to shower glass and hard water stains, here’s what happens: when hard water lands on the shower, the water evaporates but the minerals do not. So, what’s left behind is the cloudy white minerals that were once in the water. AKA: the sediment that causes hard water stains. 

Is hard water bad for your home?

But it isn’t only hard water stains that can be problematic if you have hard water in your home.

For starters, hard water can also be tougher on your pipes, plumbing, and appliances. When hard water runs through them, a lot of the sediment from hard water is left behind. Can you guess what happens next? That’s right: clogs! 

For that reason, experts find appliances in homes with hard water tend to have shorter lifespans than others with water softeners. 

Along with your pipes and plumbing, hard water can also be hard on your hair and skin. Many people who have hard water in their homes find their skin dries out a lot faster. This is because the minerals in hard water can strip the skin of its natural, protective, and moisturizing oils. Additionally, people with hard water often find their hair feels limp, dry, and never sufficiently clean.

Now that we’ve completed this crash course in hard water, it’s time to talk more about how to remove water stains from shower glass.

Things to do & Methods in Removing Hard Water Stains

We’re going to share two different ways to remove hard water stains from your shower in this post. The first is best if stains are mild, and the second is a more aggressive approach.

Method #1: Vinegar and water

What you’ll need

Equipment / Tools

  • Squeegee
  • Microfiber cloths
  • Soft-bristled brush
  • Old toothbrush (for any tight corners)
  • Rubber gloves
  • Protective eye gear
  • Old towel


  • Distilled white vinegar (or lemon juice)
  • Distilled water


  • Mix one part distilled white vinegar (or lemon juice) with one part water in a spray bottle. To water stains that are extra stubborn, you could use cleaning vinegar instead of distilled white vinegar.
  • Lie an old towel on the floor at the base of the shower to catch any drips.
  • Spray the water/vinegar solution, starting from the top of the shower, over all of the glass. 
  • Let the solution sit for at least 30 minutes.
  • Starting at the top of the shower again, use a soft brush or microfiber cloth on the shower glass in a circular motion to remove water stains. 
  • Next, use a squeegee to rinse the glass with clean water. 
  • Dry the glass with a lint-free microfiber cloth.

Method #2: Vinegar and baking soda

To remove water stains that haven’t been eradicated by the first solution, vinegar and baking soda could be just the thing you need! You’ll need the same supplies as listed above for this cleaning method, as well as a small bowl. 


  • Distilled white vinegar (or lemon juice)
  • Distilled water
  • Baking soda


  • Lie an old towel on the floor at the base of the shower to catch any drips.
  • Spray undiluted vinegar on the shower glass and let the solution sit for at least 30 minutes.
  • Mix three parts baking soda with one part water in a small bowl, forming a paste.
  • Apply the paste to stubborn stains with your cloth or brush, scrubbing in a circular motion.
  • Let the paste dry slightly, then spray the shower glass with vinegar again. This part is fun because you get to watch the baking soda and vinegar react to one another and start foaming.
  • Once the foaming stops, use a squeegee to rinse the glass with clean water. 
  • Dry the glass with a lint-free microfiber cloth.

(Are you looking for other eco-friendly bathroom information? Take a look at this post next to read about some of your options for creating a more eco-friendly bathroom)

How to Maintain Your Glass After You Remove Water Stains

You’ve worked hard to remove water stains from your shower glass, and you’re likely not eager to do this again any time soon. Maintaining your shower glass is incredibly important though, as these stains, if left too long, can damage the glass and you’ll never be able to return it to its original shine.

If you plan to use your shower, there’s no way to avoid hard water stains entirely. There are, however, a few steps you can take to limit them and make them a lot less stubborn!

  • Squeegee your shower glass after each shower to remove water droplets. Not only does this remove water from your shower glass, but it can also remove most of the mineral deposits that cause those dreaded hard water stains.
  • Once a week, spray your shower glass with a diluted vinegar solution, rinse, and squeegee. This bit of work can save a much more involved stain removal process if you don’t remove water stains before they get bigger and more stubborn.
  • Consider using water-repellent shower products that help prevent water from staying on your shower glass and forming hard water stains. 

Other Shower Care Tips

Your shower glass is an incredibly important part of your shower, but it isn’t the only part that needs some care and maintenance. Here are some other tips and steps to help every part of your shower look and function at its best!

  • Consider switching to a talc-free soap. Soaps with talc are a big contributor to soap scum that forms in showers. Take a look if your bar soap or body wash contains talc. If it does, give a talc-free option a try. Most people notice their shower looks cleaner for longer after they make this switch.
  • Wipe down any aluminum metal components of your shower with a soft, microfiber cloth after you shower.
  • Use appropriate shower cleaner for the interior surfaces in your shower. This helps prevent soap scum from building up and keeps your shower clean and in good condition.

You also don’t want to forget about your shower tracks! These tight spaces make it easy for water, soap scum, and other debris to form.

In this post about caring for your shower, we share these steps for cleaning your shower tracks:

“To clean your shower door tracks, start by plugging any drains or openings in the tracks. Then, you’ll rely on your trusty vinegar solution yet again! Fill the tracks with vinegar and let this rest overnight. The next day, remove the plugs and wipe down the tracks and they’ll look better than ever! For spots that need a little extra attention, a toothbrush will work well.”

Custom Glass Shower Doors from Coastal Closets & Showers

If you choose Coastal Closets and Showers to install your custom glass shower doors, there are a few things we can guarantee.

For starters, we’ll always offer friendly, professional, and knowledgeable service. Of course, we also go above and beyond to ensure you’re happy with your new shower. Our team will also be happy to speak with you about the best way to remove hard water stains from your particular shower glass to ensure it’s a safe and effective method for your home. Don’t be afraid to ask for these tips as well as any recommendations for specific products that are appropriate for your glass.

Are you ready to learn more about custom shower glass installation for your home? We’re here to help. We design and professionally install both frameless and semi-frameless styles, adding a unique and custom look to your bathroom. Stop by our showroom or schedule your in-home complimentary consultation today. Click here to contact us.

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