If you find that vinegar is
ineffective, then you may be dealing with stains that have actually
bonded to the surface of the glass. Some people report success
with using a paint-scraper or razor blade to remove bonded stains.
Should you choose to try this method, be extremely careful not
to scratch or etch the glass. Using a blade also carries the
risk of injury and infection. Another possible solution would
be to resort to using harsh chemicals like Lime-away or CLR.
Vinegar and scrapers didn't
work for Vicki Lewis of Cottonwood, Calif., and she didn't want
to use harsh chemicals. When it got to the point where it would
have been easier but too expensive to replace the shower glass
than to clean it, she finally concluded that the only way to
obtain a safe and simple product that would easily remove hard
water stains was to develop one herself.
Lewis consulted professional
cleaners and chemists and found the explanation for why the stains
were so difficult to remove. "To successfully remove the
stain you must break the molecular binding between the mineral
and the microscopic crevices in the glass," says Lewis.
"My initial research centered on how the minerals bonded
to the pits in the glass and how to break the bonds. Even more
research showed how to prevent the minerals from binding to the
glass in the first place."
Twelve years after she started
her testing, Lewis introduced Bring-It-ON Cleaner for removing
hard water stains on both interior and exterior glass surfaces,
without caustic chemicals, harsh odors, or hard scrubbing. Environmentally-safe
Bring-It-ON is a combination of powerful detergents, mild jewelers-grade
abrasive and oxygen bleach, which has the added bonus of helping
to eliminate most odor causing bacteria in the bathroom and kitchen.
In testing, tough organic stains like coffee, berries, mold and
mildew yielded to the formula, as did stains caused by alkali,
rust, oil and grease.
Regardless of whether you use
a home remedy or a commercial product to remove your hard water
spots and stains, apply the solution to a damp sponge or non-abrasive
pad and rub gently in a circular motion until the stain is gone,
then rinse. Most products are safe for use on porcelain, ceramic
tile, stainless steel, fiberglass and Formica, but you should
always test it on an inconspicuous surface before use.
Once the glass is clean, you
can prevent stains from coming back by treating the surface with
a sealant. Lemon or orange oil will provide a temporary coating
and a pleasant aroma. For a longer-term seal you can use an automotive
or furniture paste wax, or try out Lewis' homegrown solution
-- Pro-Tect Shield, a product designed to provide a long-lasting
seal which prevents the minerals in hard water from attaching
to glass and other surfaces in the first place.
Whichever solution you choose,
spray it onto your glass or tile surface and buff it off with
a soft terry-cloth towel. This coating fills the microscopic
pits in the surface to which minerals cling and prevents the
stains from setting in. This process requires just a few minutes
of time. Repeat frequently to ensure that the coating remains
intact. To extend the effectiveness of the sealant, squeegee
the glass after each use. Installing a water softener to reduce
mineral content in the water will also help.
Water spot problems are not
limited to shower doors. These solutions should work for water
and mineral stains on bathroom and kitchen ceramic tile, Formica,
Corian, porcelain and fiberglass. Outside the home, they should
also be effective on windows, automotive glass, pool tile and
outside furniture. Do not use on automobile paint, marble, Plexiglas
or soft plastic.