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Removing Hard Water Spots on Windows

Sometimes the water from the sink or a sprinkler can make stubborn water spots on your windows. This guide is about removing hard water spots.


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13 found this helpful
May 24, 2010 Flag

My husband read so many solutions on removing hard water spots on windows, but nothing ever worked for him. The windshield on our motor home was so stained from the water that would run down it, that we tried everything on the market just like so many others. We bought so many products from acid wash, scrub with SOS, to Comet.


I always use Scrubbing Bubbles for everything in my house. I told my husband for so long to try Scrubbing Bubbles but he always told me, "No that isn't going to work", until one day when he was frantic, he did try Scrubbing Bubbles along with extra fine steel wool. He couldn't believe his eyes. The glass is crystal clear and just like new. Now he won't use anything else just like I won't use any other product except for Scrubbing Bubbles inside.

So every one who is at their worst with hard water spots please use this product. It really does work. I know this sounds like a infomercial, just try for yourself.

Scrubbing Bubbles Fan!

By Peewee the Cat and Family from San Bernardino

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January 16, 20170 found this helpful

Oh my goodness. This was an amazing solution. Not only did it remove the hard water stains made by the sprinklers, it removed stains that I had no idea what they were on the sliding glass doors. When I sprayed the scrubbing bubbles I realized it was dried paint from the house being painted with a sprayer. The scrubbing bubbles took it right off where no other cleaner could begin to remove it. I used to use Scrubbing Bubbles all the time. Guess it is time to go back to doing so again. You are a lifesaver and also saved my wallet over 1000 since I thought I was going to have to replace the sliding glass doors!

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4 found this helpful
September 25, 2015 Flag

I was having trouble getting water spots off my windows until my neighbor suggested using alcohol. I used 91% rubbing alcohol from the drugstore that I already had in the house and paper towels. I didn't even have to scrub. The spots came off like magic.

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Anonymous Flag
April 1, 20160 found this helpful

This works great!

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5 found this helpful
November 23, 2010 Flag

I have had very hard water spots on my windows from the irrigation system for a year. I just tried Colgate Toothpaste as suggested by Chris on ThriftyFun. My windows are now perfectly clear and it was so easy! I put a little Colgate Toothpaste on a damp paper towel, rubbed it on the glass in circular motions, then I rinsed with vinegar water (anything that would clean the paste off should work). and dried thoroughly. The glass is sparkling!

Related Content(article continues below)

By Mary

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December 2, 20100 found this helpful

When direct sunlight hits a water on a window, it doesn't just dry it, it bakes the residue into the window, penetrating the glass. But it doesn't end there. Every time the sun hits the window, the residue continues to bond with the glass until it is nearly impossible to remove. During the early 1990s, I tried everything from various grades of bleach to steel wool, toothpaste, kerosine, gasoline, paint thinner, you name it, I tried it. Someone even suggested burning it off and all that did was to highlight the stain. I should also add that when I was able to scrub out the stain, there was a film that formed on the glass that could be seen at a side angle.

Then I tried a solution I bought online, gamma-butyrolactone (GBL) used to remove nail polish. All I did was to wipe it on and wipe it off. The stains were gone! No effort whatsoever! A professional window cleaner had been working next door and when he saw my windows, he really believed I had replaced the glass. He could not believe there was any product that could be so effective until I demonstrated how fast and easy it worked.

Today, GBL is only available by mail order from outside the U.S. It is used to clean chrome wheels and it really does get the toughest stains out of metal surfaces.

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2 found this helpful
January 7, 2014 Flag

Use shower cleaner, a green scrubbie pad, and water.

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1 found this helpful
April 1, 2015 Flag

A window with water spots on one side.

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Bar Keepers Friend and a soft scrub sponge works best for me. It removes all shower spots and window spots from sprinklers. Window on right had the whole lower half with spots.


2 found this helpful
January 22, 2015 Flag

To remove hard water spots from glass, you need glass cooktop cleaner, a non-scratch scrubbing sponge, a wet rag, and a microfiber towel.

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0 found this helpful
May 20, 2014 Flag

My car windows were covered in hard water spots after mistakenly parking near a sprinkler at work on a hot summer day. I have washed my car three times and paid close attention to the windows, but had no luck getting the spots off. Today I decided to see what I could do with household products.

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0 found this helpful
August 17, 2013 Flag

I water my lawn with very hard water in a very windy area. There is almost no way to keep the water off my windows every time I water. In the past, I had used ammonia to wash the windows and vinegar to get rid of the hard water stains.

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

0 found this helpful
June 26, 2011 Flag

All my windows have spots on them and that makes it difficult to see. I have deep, deep water. I have tried many cleaners. Please help.

By Dennis

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June 28, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

If you have hard water spots on your windows they will be hard to clean. Lime away does work but I don't like the harsh chemical. Spray your window with a window cleaner and use a scraper with a blade (the kind you use to remove paint on a window) to scrape over the hard water spots. Be careful to keep the blade flat and not scratch the window. Wipe the window and spray any spots you missed and scrape these away. If you have a huge build up, ammonia water works better than window cleaner but then again, you are dealing with harsh smelly chemical.

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0 found this helpful
June 11, 2013 Flag

I had washed my car in the afternoon and the water drops dried. I was unable to remove the stains. So how can I remove the stains? My car is a Maruti Suzuki swift.

By rajkamal

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November 26, 20160 found this helpful
Best Answer

Sorry, plain vinegar DOES NOT WORK, I'm a professional window washer, for 15 years, deep water spots won't go away, only if it is on the surface and is new, then Lime Away and a paint scraper will work.

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0 found this helpful
July 4, 2011 Flag

I have four 10'X6' windows (all glass) and about 15 smaller windows of different sizes that get sprayed by water containing calcium, and various other minerals that will not wash off with soap or other washer solutions. I presently use dish soap and hot water and a bit of CLR added. I have used an ammonia solution, vinegar, and rubbing alcohol. Nothing really phases the stains even though the windows get clean, they still show those hard water stains.

We use ditch water to irrigate the lawn by a sprinkler system. Help! I also used automotive products and the products that you are supposed to put on and hose off. They definitely made no difference other than to clean.

By Lula C. from Cimarron, CO

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Anonymous Flag
August 3, 20160 found this helpful

I had acid rain spots that were etched in the glass. I tried everything to get them off,I even took my car to a body shop where they tried buffing them and tried the strongest cleaner they had and they were still there.They were so bad that when driving at night and meeting a car, I could barely see. Now for the good news,go to Bilo and get barkeeper's friend. It's on the cleaning products row and cost $1.99 Make a paste,rub on the window,takes some effort but I promise you it will work.Rinse and you will be amazed.My windows are clear now and look like new.

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0 found this helpful
February 13, 2011 Flag

I've tried to clean my house windows with cleaners such as Windex, Bon Ami, vinegar, Colgate toothpaste, Cascade, Dawn, and baking soda. They are stained with water spots and grime. We live on the golf course and I don't know what all they spray on the fairway, etc., but I can't get my windows clean. Please help!

By Bill from Fontana, CA

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February 14, 20110 found this helpful

What you are describing as water spots sounds more like Sticker spots. Sticker is a chemical that somewhat water proofs another chemical like fungicides. The make-up of this stuff is pretty simple it's like Elmers glue and dish soap, something I have used when landscaping in large complexes.

To remove Sticker spots use alcohol, rubbing will work as will alcohol based hand sanitizers. You may also have to use a light abrasive like baking soda. Dampen a cloth with the alcohol or rub the sanitizer on the window and scrub ( you may want to let the sanitizer sit to work it's way into the stains) then polish with the baking soda and rinse. It may take more than one application to remove all this stuff.

After you get the windows clean seal the glass with a rainex type product. Also check into having the golf course clean up their mess, if this has gotten onto your windows via a pesticide application they could be liable for the damage.

I do not think there is any health concern as a Sticker product in not used with toxic chemicals.

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0 found this helpful
August 6, 2011 Flag

How do I remove hard water spots from glass?

By Barbara G.

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August 9, 20110 found this helpful

Someone once told me that oven cleaner would do it. I have never tried it.

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0 found this helpful
October 4, 2015 Flag

How do I get lime off windows?

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0 found this helpful
August 1, 2013 Flag

I'm not sure what they are called, but I'll say I have windshield streaks. They are lines going straight down all across. This happened during the winter. Anyone know what this is, or how to remove them?

By Jack

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August 3, 20130 found this helpful

"Full strength" white vinegar and a newspaper (not a paper towel) - wadded up newspaper does a better job.

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0 found this helpful
March 10, 2015 Flag

After using a siding cleaner last summer I have noticed what appears to be window streaks. It looks like a trail of water has run down the window. Any ideas on how to remove these?

By Robert

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0 found this helpful
February 5, 2015 Flag

How do you remove water marks on the exterior side of house windows?

By Dave

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0 found this helpful
April 6, 2010 Flag

I have frosted glass by the side of my front door, it is the length of the door. The problem I am having is I can't get the water stains off of it. I've tried several glass cleaners but it always looks the same. Its outside so it gets wet quite often. Is there anything I can use to get those stains off? Please help.

By Dawn from Spokane, WA

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April 6, 20100 found this helpful

Have you tried white vinegar? It should do the job with a wash cloth. Good luck.

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0 found this helpful
August 5, 2011 Flag

How do I get water spots off the outside of a picture window?

By Debbie

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August 8, 20110 found this helpful

Are they water spots caused by hard water, such as that from a sprinkler, hitting your window? If so, vinegar should remove them. Do not dilute when you use it. I would put it in sprayer, and spray on full strength.

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1 found this helpful
November 10, 2010 Flag

How do I remove hard water spots on vehicle windows, that have been driven and exposed to all sorts of elements? Besides hard water stains, there are other unknown spots. Thank you.


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November 13, 20100 found this helpful

Vinegar. I use it in my dishwasher and on my stainless steal sink. What a difference!

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September 25, 2013 Flag

There are so many Scrubbing Bubbles products - which one do you use with the fine steel wool?

By janie

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0 found this helpful
July 29, 2013 Flag

I have parked my car below a water tank. Once the water tank filled; the extra water will fall on the car. So salt water deposited on my car. How do I clean salt deposits off my car?

By N Senthil

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

0 found this helpful
November 6, 2010 Flag

I have water marks on my windows and can't seem to get rid of them. There is also a substance that I think is paint, but I am not sure. I have tried vinegar window cleaners, but with no results. I would appreciate all ideas. I just moved into this house and am a fanatic about clean windows .

Elizabeth from Santiago, Chile

Newspaper and Alcohol

I have used newspaper and a sprayer full of alcohol or alcohol and water with excellent results to get smoke haze off the inside of car windows and smoke haze is hard to remove! It should work on the windows, or try vinegar and water instead. As for the paint, get a widget; hold the blade at about a 45 degree angle to the glass and push it toward the paint dots, should scrape them right off. Just be careful!

By purrplekat

Doobie Pad

I had something that sounds similar on my windows and had to resort to a Doobie pad. It's a nylon scrubber with a sponge inside. I used various window cleaners and just scrubbed until all the spots were off then cleaned as usual with clean cloths. I don't like using newspapers, but many people swear by it.

By Glenn'sMom

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0 found this helpful
July 13, 2010 Flag

How do I get hard water stains off a window? The sprinklers hit it and there is a mark.

Karen from Florida


I just used the pure vinegar on my windows and it worked great! I have been living here, in the Twin Cities area, for two years with cloudy, water spotted windows. Thank you for the tip!

By Michelle

Colgate Toothpaste

I just tried Colgate toothpaste (the white kind) and it worked great. Squeeze a little on a paper towel and add a little water. Apply it as if you were waxing a car. Then clean it off with window cleaner. Perfect results.

By Chris


Try Bring-It-ON water spot remover. It's a paste that you wipe on, leave on for a few minutes to dissolve the minerals, and wipe off. Invented by a gal that got tired of trying things that didn't work!

By donrowlett

Tekon "b"

I called my brother that works in a glass shop and he told me to use Tekon "b." I tried it on my glass windows and it removes the waters spots, and the windows look good. It's supposed to last over a year without reapplying. I swear this product is good. It works like a charm. I lightly clean the windows with a mix of 1 part rubbing alcohol and 4 parts water for maintenance.

By Sandy

"Hot Sauce"

We use this stuff that we use on our boat, it's called "Hot Sauce." It's kind of expensive, but worth it. Not one window or shower door has hard water spots. It's also meant for fiberglass, so it won't damage your showers.

By Amy S

Glass Stove Top Cleaner

I used glass stove-top cleaner. It worked great.

By Linda


I live in Las Vegas, NV and the water here is very hard. The sprinklers had sprayed my brand new sliding doors and the water spots covered the complete bottom areas of both doors. I read this page and decided on the vinegar w/water solution. Together with a Magic eraser and scrubbing, the spots were gone! Amazing something so simple! I had tried Windex, shower cleaner, and nothing. It did take a couple of applications of the vinegar solution, but it was well worth it! Happy cleaning.

By Carlota

Stove Top Cleaner and a Brillo Pad

I used glass oven top cleaner and a Brillo pad. Wish I had known about this trick a long time ago.

By Ted


I work on a private yacht, therefore spots are a common thing with all the salt water/negligent crew previous to me. Obviously the darn thing has to look perfect so here's my secret:

Use Whink. I put some on a rag and rub it in a circular motion on a 12" by 12" square. I rinse and soap once a square is done and keep going. It's important to rub it good so it looks even because at first whink will sort of stain the window, so rub in well until it looks even (elbow grease needed here). Once the whole window is done, soap it again, dry and put two coats of rain x on it.

By David

Vinegar Worked

Tried elbow grease, various window cleaners to no avail. Used full strength white vinegar and they were instantly gone.

By ESL Barbara

"SCOTCH BRITE Cook Top Cleaner."

My wife recently (April 2010) bought a box (about the size of a milk carton) of a product called "SCOTCH BRITE Cook Top Cleaner." It consists of a pad with an ergonomic handle and 6 pre-moistened pads that attach to the bottom surface of the pad, almost like Velcro. But you can use both sides of each pad. And you'll find they go a long way.

Here's the process:
1) Clean the window with regular window cleaner to get regular surface dirt off.
2) Apply the SB Cook Top Cleaner using the provided handle. You'll have to apply some elbow grease, but not nearly as much as the steel wool technique requires. It has a flat pad, so it works great on house windows but I believe it will work on curved car windshields as well.
3) The SB pads leaves an oily film behind, so you'll need to clean your windows a second time to remove that film.

By recrem

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