How to Treat and Prevent this Common Window Problem
The one thing worse than a window with smudges or dirty fingerprints is a window that’s constantly covered in water spots. If you strive for clean windows every day at your home or business, you might find that you’re constantly battling water spots, which are left behind by the minerals in rain, snow, or your garden’s sprinkler.
Luckily, removing water spots and preventing them from happening again and again is easy! Just follow these tips from the glass experts at Budget Glass in Nanaimo to have your windows shining 24/7.
But before you going through all that effort to remove water spots, it’s a good idea to identify them as such, and think about what might be causing them in the first place.
What are Water Spots?
Water spots are what get left behind when hard water that contains minerals (e.g. calcium and magnesium) is left to dry on a glass surface rather than being dried off with a cloth or squeegee. As the water dries and evaporates, the minerals get left behind on your window or glass panels.
Windows and glass with water spots appear grimy and dirty. Affected windows will look dusty, as if they have a film that is patterned or dotted with whitish circles, depending on the source of the water. They are common on windshields, glass shower doors, glass patio tabletops, household windows, and commercial storefronts.
What Causes Water Spots on Windows?
Common causes of water spots on windows and glass include:
- Leaking Gutters
Preventing Water Spots
Addressing some of the common causes of water spots will help you reduce their occurrence. For example, you can add awnings to windows that need a bit more protection from the elements, fix your leaking gutters, and re-position your sprinklers, and voila!
You can also apply a rain repellent product to your windows. Other things to consider adding to older windows is a glass sealant or some carnauba paste wax. One commercially available product we always recommend is Surface Protector – a transparent polymer coating that protects windows and other surfaces against buildup by actually sealing the pores of the glass. This multi-purpose product also works on porcelain, ceramic, plastics, polished metals, fiberglass, and marble to make the surface water, soil, and stain resistant.
These treatments work by causing rainwater to roll off the windows instead of beading up on the surface. With no rain clinging to your windows, there is no mineral residue left behind to leave a mark.
If you’re thinking about upgrading your windows soon, ask about factory-applied treatments that assist with this issue.
How to Clean Water Spots
Because they are actually minerals and not dirt, water spots are actually alkali, so using an acid to remove them is recommended.
To deal with your existing water spots, check out our top 5 suggestions for removing water spots from windows:
This is a classic window cleaning trick, no matter what type of marks you’re dealing with. Simply mix a solution of equal parts water and white distilled vinegar. Spray onto windows, thoroughly saturating the more problematic areas. Wait a full two minutes, then use a small, rough towel that has also been saturated with the vinegar and water solution to gently scrub the glass. Dry with a soft cloth, paper towel, or even newspaper. Repeat this process as necessary until all the water marks are gone.
You can also use a higher concentration of vinegar if the water spots are severe.
Lemons also work to remove water spots, as the citric acid easily neutralizes the hard minerals. To use the lemon method of removing water spots, simply slice a lemon in half, then rub it on the glass using a fair bit of pressure. Dry off the lemon juice left with a soft cloth or paper towel (no need to rinse). For the most streak-free shine possible, finish off with just a touch of glass cleaner.
You can also use lemon or orange essential oil to remove water spots if you don’t have fresh lemons handy. Just mix several drops in some water and apply as a glass cleaner. This solution has the added benefit of the residual oil preventing (repelling) future water sports from forming.
Baking soda is another great way to neutralize and melt away hard minerals left on windows after it rains. To use this method, make a paste out of baking soda and a tiny amount of water. Use a cloth to apply the paste to the window. Wipe with enough pressure until the baking soda removes the hard water spots. Next, you’ll need to thoroughly rinse the glass with water. Finish off with traditional glass cleaner to remove any remaining residue and streaks from the window.
Commercial Glass Cleaners
There are several commercial cleaning products on the market that have the specific, marked purpose of removing water spots. Simply follow the directions found on the label of whichever product you’ve chosen. Some products may leave streaks, so a final once-over with a window cleaner might be required.
Sparkle Cleaner is one of our favourite commercially available water spot removers. It’s perfect for removing water stains that are too tough for regular cleaning products to handle. Pick some up from our storefront, or have us bring you some on our next trip over. You’ll find that this product is especially effective on your glass shower doors, glass deck railings, and vehicle windshields – in addition to your home’s windows.
Hard water spots can be an unsightly pain to deal with sometimes, especially if you’re maintaining a storefront window day after day. If this sounds like you, Budget Glass in Nanaimo can help! Call us today at (250) 758-3374 to ask about our water spot resistant glass windows and panels. You can also schedule an appointment online to inquire about replacement windows or glass.