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Article by george@lockstep.media / May 1st, 2022

Removing Hard Water Stains from Windows

Proper Window Maintenance in the Houston Area

Although we all prefer sparkling, crystal-clear windows, the reality is that windows are notoriously difficult to keep clean. Hard water stains can build up extremely quickly, and once they do, they can be difficult to remove. These stubborn stains are even worse in cities with hard water or industrialized neighborhoods. 

Hard water refers to water with higher-than-average mineral content. This happens when water moves through limestone and chalk. Calcium and magnesium carbonates are the two primary minerals at play, and over time, these minerals can form a chalky build-up. Most homes with hard water use softeners that help improve the taste of the water, but unfortunately don’t do much to prevent staining and build-up on your home’s surfaces. Windows are the most common area where this problem is displayed, as they are often in contact with rain, sprinkler or lawn care water, leaky gutters, or any other outdoor elements. Glass is easily manipulated by mineral deposits, so not only are hard water stains unappealing, but they may also cause damage to your windows over time. In worst case scenarios, windows may have to be completely replaced. 

Why You Should Remove Hard Water Stains from Windows

Like other types of preventative care like power washing your house or replacing the roof, window cleaning is easiest when done regularly. Homeowners want to maintain the value of their homes, and window cleaning is an important aspect. Windows are often the first thing noticed by guests or neighbors. Their appearance is an indicator of how the homeowners take care of their house. There are plenty of reasons to take care of your windows; the pride of homeownership is only one of them. 

Preventing Degradation

Grit and other particles can easily enter the pores of the glass, eventually causing cracks and scratches. If this continues, over time the window will become structurally damaged and need replacing. Maintaining your windows now will save you more money down the road. Depending on the location of your home, regular maintenance may be even more vital.

Preventing Health Hazards

Over time, the dirt and minerals built up on windows can turn into mold. Once this happens, homeowners officially have a health hazard on their hands. Long-term exposure to mold can cause the home’s residents severe lung problems and other health issues. Take notice when your home begins to feel stagnant; it may be that the windows need cleaning in order to freshen up the air. You’ll be protecting your loved ones, as well as your home. 

Improve Heating Efficiency

During cooler weather, if you’re surprised to find your heating bill increasing, then it could be time for a window cleaning. Grime build-up on your windows can block sunlight, which may not seem like a big deal at first. But over time, losing out on that extra bit of natural heating will add up when it comes time to pay the heating bill. 

Better Curb Appeal

Even if your lawn is perfectly manicured and your siding is sparkling clean, dirty windows have the final say. Windows caked with hard water stains reflect a dirty image, which can negate any efforts you’ve made to improve your home’s curb appeal. Fresh, clear windows reflect a home that is regularly taken care of. Your neighbors and guests will be impressed. 

Better Views

Dirty windows tend to block out natural light. Even the light that does shine through is cast in a dingy, scattered filter. A home feels fresher when the light can pour in, illuminating the home with energy and sunshine. Not to mention that windows are meant for viewing things outside the home. Ignoring dirty windows essentially means shutting yourself out from the neighborhood and community. 

Tips for Removing Hard Water Stains on Windows

Although dealing with hard water stains can often be difficult, there are a few ways to tackle the problem yourself. There are a few tips and tricks that will aid in removing hard water stains from exterior windows and from interior windows. As difficult as the task may seem, there is hope. These methods can help reduce the appearance of hard water stains, if not remove them altogether.

  1. Vinegar – If the water stains are fairly new, then vinegar might be enough to remove them. Mix a simple solution of vinegar (white distilled) and water, and using a spray bottle, spray the solution to trouble spots on your windows. Let the vinegar solution sit for 2-3 minutes before cleaning off with a cloth. 
  2. Lemon Juice – Often, lemon juice can be just as effective as vinegar, as they have similar chemical properties. Mix lemon juice with water and, using a spray bottle, target the hard water stains. Allow the mixture to sit on the stains for a few minutes before wiping clean with a gentle cloth. 
  3. Baking Soda – If your water stains are more deeply ingrained, then vinegar and lemon juice may not do the trick. Baking soda is more abrasive and will be more effective in removing long-term stains. Use a baking soda and water combination to create a paste. Using a dry cloth, scrub the stains with the baking soda paste. 
  4. Toothpaste – For smaller stains, toothpaste could do the trick. Using a bit of toothpaste on a cleaning pad, with a dash of water, can lessen the appearance of hard water stains. 
  5. Rubbing Alcohol – A combination of rubbing alcohol and water could work to remove milder stains. This is a good measure to take when you first notice small stains appearing and is considered good window maintenance overall. 
  6. Hard Water Stain Remover – Your local hardware store should have a few options of hard water stain removers to choose from. These stain remover solutions aren’t natural remedies, but they are effective. The stain remover should come with instructions for use. 
  7. Finish with Traditional Glass Cleaner – Once you’ve done the hard work of scrubbing hard water stains, finish the job with a traditional glass cleaner. This will get the last of any leftover residue or grime, ensuring that your windows stay clean longer. 

Should you choose to clean your windows yourself, there are a few things to keep in mind: 

  • Wear gloves while cleaning, as hard water cleaning solutions tend to be acidic in nature.
  • Make sure your area is well-ventilated so that you aren’t only inhaling cleaning solutions.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after cleaning and be careful not to touch your face during the cleaning process. 
  • Confirm that your chosen cleaning products are safe to use on glass. 

Removing hard water stains is not for the faint of heart, which is why many homeowners choose to hire a professional window cleaning service

Hard Water Stain Preventative Measures

Once hard water stains set in, they can be extremely difficult (and tiresome!) to remove. A good rule of thumb is to take as many preventative measures as possible when it comes to your windows. With a bit of intentionality, you can protect your windows from further damage. 

  1. Routine Cleaning – Consider window cleaning to be annual—or even bi-annual—home maintenance. Regular cleaning can keep hard water stains from setting and becoming more difficult to remove later. 
  2. Awnings – Adding awnings above windows can help protect them from the elements! While you’re at it, fix leaky gutters as well, so that dirty water isn’t dripping onto your windows and causing stains. 
  3. Rain Repellent – Glass sealants or polymer coatings can protect windows by sealing up the pores of the glass. This keeps dirt, hard water minerals, and other particles from setting deep into your windows and causing damage. With a protective coating, dirt and grime remain just on the surface of the windows, making them significantly easier to keep clean. It also keeps water from clinging to the windows, causing it to roll right off instead. No water in the glass pores means no hard water stains! 
  4. Hire Professionals – Hiring a highly trained technician to clean the windows for you ensures that your windows are getting the best possible treatment. Outsourcing the job saves you time that can be spent elsewhere, without worrying about your windows. 

Window Cleaning in Houston

Homeowners in Houston have their own unique issues when it comes to window maintenance. The warm temperatures with significant amounts of rainfall can cause a high level of humidity. Humidity can damage furnishings by causing stains and decay. Decay caused by humidity encourages the growth of mold and other health hazards. Dirty windows are already prone to mold, meaning Houstonians are at a higher risk if preventative measures aren’t taken. With the added chance of damage, it may be necessary to schedule frequent window cleanings. 

Hiring a professional team of window cleaners is the most effective way to rid your windows of hard water stains and prevent them from returning. With a home maintenance company like Advantage Pro Services, your washed windows will sparkle. Perfectly clear windows will rejuvenate your home, allowing energizing natural light to return, making your house feel brand new. We clean the inside and outside of your windows, and we also handle the sills and screens. Using our water-fed pole method, we leave no stone unturned when it comes to your windows. 

At Advantage Pro Services, we provide a technician consultation before the work begins, to make sure we create the best action plan for your home. We customize a proposal, and then together we decide on the next steps. 

We’ve been serving Houston communities for over twenty years. Our team of experts cares for each home as if it were our own. We offer a 100 percent money-back guarantee on all window cleanings—we are confident that you’ll be thrilled by your sparkling, clean windows. While we’re at it, Advantage Pro Services can also handle your home’s power washing, gutter cleaning, and basically anything else that needs a good scrub. 

If you’re noticing hard water build-up on your windows, give us a call at (713) 597-3716, or schedule a free consultation online. We look forward to filling your home with sunshine once again.  

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