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How to Get Rid of Water Spots

Victoria is a stay-at-home mom, author, educator, and blogger at Healthy at Home. She currently lives in Colorado with her family.

How to Get Rid of Water Spots

How to Get Rid of Water Spots

How to Remove Hard Water Stains: My Story

One of the biggest cleaning problems in your home is about to be one of your easiest. For longer than I could imagine, water spots on my glass shower doors, on my faucets, in my sinks (not to mention soap scum everywhere) have been the bane of my existence.

I have tried using all of the most advertised, the most highly suggested, and the strongest cleaners, to no avail. In my efforts to help people all over the world to clean their bathrooms, I knew that this had to be the first topic I wrote about.

In this article, I researched and documented eight of the most suggested cleaners for handling water spots and soap scum. Four of these were regular household items, and four were chemical cleaners. I videotaped the whole process for you. I truly wanted to know the solution to this huge question for myself and for all of those struggling with this issue as well.

In fact, I didn't want to just figure it out and tell you the solution; I also wanted to show you. Of all the research I conducted, not one person could actually prove that their method worked. EVERYONE had a different solution, and then everyone else would document the fact that it didn't work for them, but something else did. Someone had to do something different. I was going to be that person.

You get to try it out right next to me on my very real water-spotted shower door. You get to see me try out eight different possible solutions and ultimately find out which ones really work and which ones don't. The surprise at the end of this article is that only one out of the eight actually worked! Want to know which one it is? I guess you'll have to read to the very end!

How to Get Rid of Water Spots - 1st experiment

How to Get Rid of Water Spots - 1st experiment

Experiment #1

I hope you will follow me through the entire process. It was actually kind of fun and very interesting.

The first thing I did was to grab my first four testing items:

  • a fresh lemon cut in half,
  • a small squirt bottle full of white vinegar,
  • WD-40,
  • and a box of baking soda (along with an armload of clean wash rags).

I grabbed one wash rag for each cleaner, one for washing off the cleaners, one for wiping the glass clean with Windex afterward, and one dry one to dry the glass off before and after the experiment (and obviously the Windex, lol).

As you'll see, in the first video, I walk you through a variety of steps to clean the water spots from the shower door:

  • I used the dry cloth to wipe the glass shower door clean before beginning.
  • I then used one of the lemon halves to clean the first fourth of my shower door. I simply rubbed the lemon, juicy side against the glass to lightly scrub lemon juice into the water spots. I left it there to dry as I moved to the next item.
  • Next, I chose the spray bottle of vinegar. With the spray bottle, I lightly sprayed several times over the second fourth of the shower door. The lemon juice was dripping down a little, but the mixture of vinegar and lemon juice was another suggestion for cleaning, so I figured we would see if those particular drips were super clean. I left it to soak.
  • For my third item, I chose the WD-40. This has been the most highly suggested cleaner actually out of all of them. I sprayed this across the third fourth of my shower door below the handle, leaving it to soak while I finished.
  • Finally, I dampened the end of a washcloth and dumped baking soda straight onto the towel, and scrubbed it just like that onto the bottom and final fourth of my shower door.

Applying Experiment 1 Cleaners

How to Get Rid of Water Spots - 1st experiment

How to Get Rid of Water Spots - 1st experiment

The Results

This is where the first video ends. So my experiment has begun with these four basic household items. Most likely everyone already has these available just in case one of these cleaners works.

So I waited 20 minutes, and in the meantime gathered the materials for my second cleaning experiment. When I got back, I wiped the door down with my clean wet cloth, cleaned it with Windex, and then dried it completely with my dry cloth.

The results were surprising. The lemon helped a little bit. One corner of the door had come completely clean, but the rest of that part remained rather foggy.

The vinegar (even the parts with the lemon drippings) and the WD-40 didn't really do anything. For the most part, the door looked the same over those parts as it had before I had gotten started.

Startling though, the area where I had cleaned with the baking soda had come completely clean. Seriously. There was a definite line between the WD-40 area and the baking soda area. I could see through the door perfectly, and it looked as it probably did brand-new.

I had placed my bets that it was going to be the vinegar area. I clean anything and everything with vinegar. I was sure that one was going to win. Boy, was I wrong!

Experiment 1 Results: Applying Experiment 2 Cleaners

How to Get Rid of Water Spots - 2nd experiment

How to Get Rid of Water Spots - 2nd experiment

Experiment #2

Now for the second experiment! I would be remiss to ignore the four chemical cleaners I had received suggestions for in my effort to help you clean the water spots and soap scum in your bathroom. What if one of the following chemicals cleaned them even easier than did the baking soda?

While I was waiting on the first set of cleaners to soak in for my first experiment, I went through the house and gathered our next four:

  • Pine-sol floor cleaner,
  • Bar-Keeper's Friend cleaning powder (I actually had a soft cleanser that I thought might work better),
  • Oxi-Clean, of course,
  • and finally CLR (which is extremely powerful and dangerous on the skin).

I definitely needed a separate washcloth for each of these cleaners and an extra thick one for the CLR, and I grabbed another couple of rags just in case.

When it was time to begin the second experiment, I wiped the surface clean with a clean cloth and went for my first cleaner. Because these were powerful chemicals, and I didn't want to risk mixing them and causing a dangerous reaction, I kept the amount to a minimum to prevent drips.

As you'll see in the next video, I walk you through the steps to applying all of the next cleaners to the second piece of glass. (Note that I'm not trying them on the same glass for research purposes.)

  • First, I put some Pine-sol on the first cloth and wipe it generously across the first fourth of the glass. I wiped it across a few times and then left it to soak in.
  • Next, I put some Bar Keeper's Friend on another cloth and used it to clean the second fourth of the glass. I scrubbed it in really good and then left it to soak.
  • I purposely used the Oxi-Clean next, wetting my rag and dumping some on directly. I then scrubbed the wet cloth and dry powder onto the third fourth of the glass, making sure not to drip any.
  • Finally, I used the CLR. I used it last on purpose because it was the most dangerous. Just like toilet bowl cleaner, you're not supposed to get any on your skin at the risk of burning them. I poured the CLR carefully onto a clean rag and wiped the final chemical onto the last fourth of the glass and left the whole thing to dry.

Experiment 2 Results: Final Reveal

How to Get Rid of Water Spots - 2nd experiment

How to Get Rid of Water Spots - 2nd experiment

The Results

This is where the second video ends. I chose the regular household ingredients first because if one or more of them worked, these would be the ideal cleaners for most households being easy and cheap.

Chemical cleaners are a little bit more expensive, and sometimes a lot more expensive, and may be harder to get a hold of for most people. These are also more dangerous to have around children and pets, and therefore not the ideal cleaner to keep around.

While I was waiting 20 minutes for the cleaners to soak in and dry, I made productive use of my time and used the baking soda to continue cleaning the door of the shower. It worked so well the first time that I figured I might as well clean the rest of it.

I show you the results of this in our next video along with the results of the second experiment. I didn't expect this!

None of them did anything! I'm telling the truth! Check out the video. You can also see by the picture that minimal cleaning was really done by any of the chemicals. I then take you back to the door of the shower and show you how the baking soda was actually working.

I even left some of the grime on the door where the WD-40 had been used, to show you the baking soda literally wiping the water spots right off the door ON VIDEO!

How to Get Rid of Water Spots - Clean Door!

How to Get Rid of Water Spots - Clean Door!

Water Spot Cleaner Experiment Conclusions

I was shocked at the results of both experiments, to tell you the truth, and after cleaning the entire door with the one that worked in the first experiment, I've already scared myself walking past it twice now.

I'm not used to it being clean. Neither one of us is! Check out the before and after photos. The little sliver of glass next to the door shows you what the door looked like this morning, and the door shows you what it looks like now after finally being clean. Surprising huh? Who would have thought that baking soda out of all of the other cleaners was the one that would do it and do it REALLY well?

I highly suggest you try this yourself on your own surfaces. Tomorrow, hopefully, I can get up the motivation to use my baking soda on all of the other surfaces in the shower and on all of the faucets in the house. I hope you enjoyed the videos! I'm obviously not an expert. Now you truly know what will clean those frustrating spots. Have fun cleaning!

Questions & Answers

Question: There are water spots on my bathroom mirror. What do I do?

Answer: This happens because you splash water when washing your hands or brushing your teeth, which is perfectly normal. You should be able to clean water spots as my article recommends, with baking soda.


PuckNuts on May 11, 2019:

Invest in a squeegee. After every shower, we wipe the walls, doors, floor with the squeegee. Then just hit any remaining areas with a towel. About once a month, we do a lemon juice clean and rinse. Stays like new. The glass doors on our shower look like brand new 100% of the time after 5 years. It only takes a few extra minutes...

Nanny on September 24, 2017:

Add some vinegar to the baking soda thick paste and scrub. You think it is a new door.

Victoria Van Ness (author) from Fountain, CO on September 09, 2014:

Nice! Thank you for all of the wonderful suggestions!

Susette Horspool from Pasadena CA on September 08, 2014:

Nice validation! I use baking soda for almost all of my cleaning. Others have winced when I've told them that, so I haven't pressed it on them, but I haven't found anything yet that works as well as baking soda. (Although for kitchen sink drains I usually pour vinegar down the drain after the baking soda to get a spritz effect.) I even use it on my hair, followed by an apple cider vinegar/water rinse.

Victoria Van Ness (author) from Fountain, CO on October 05, 2013:

I'm so glad this has been so helpful to you! I've been so tired of all of the articles that just say something works, but when you try it yourself, it obviously doesn't and it's back to the drawing board. I wanted to try all of these recommended solutions and SHOW you what worked and what didn't. :) I love that it turned out so well and helped so many people. I guess I will be writing more cleaning articles!

Tom Schumacher from Huntington Beach, CA on October 04, 2013:

Interesting experiment. I too was surprised to learn that you had the best results using baking soda to clean with. I have hard water build-up on my shower hardware that neither CLR or Comet is able to penetrate effectively. Given tomorrow is chore day, I will try your recommendation and look forward to using a baking soda-water solution to clean mirrors as well. Voted up...thanks!

Samita Sharma from Chandigarh on October 04, 2013:

Hi VVanNess its very interesting article.. I will definitely keep this info in mind for future use. Thanks for sharing !

Angela Kane from Las Vegas, Nevada on October 04, 2013:

Thanks for doing this experiment, I was always told that vinegar was good and on occasion lemon juice for cleaning. But I am not surprised that the Baking Soda ended up being the one that worked the best. You have saved me a lot of money.

Victoria Van Ness (author) from Fountain, CO on October 04, 2013:

lol It would!

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on October 04, 2013:

Very helpful! Woe, wouldn't this make a Great science fair project for school. Thanks for sharing this!

Victoria Van Ness (author) from Fountain, CO on October 04, 2013:

You know something funny. We felt like exhibitionists with a clean shower door lol It's never been so clean and we've never been able to see out quite so well. Be careful and know the consequences of cleaning. lol

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on October 04, 2013:

I also use baking soda for shower doors and so much more! Excellent hub and videos. Yay for a clean shower door!!

Victoria Van Ness (author) from Fountain, CO on October 04, 2013:

Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed it! I do have over 200 Hubs on weddings, marriage and relationships, caring for, buying and selling your home, cooking, and parenting! Check out some of my other articles for more!

Crystal Tatum from Georgia on October 04, 2013:

Congrats on Hub of the Day. A very deserved honor. Happy to have you here on HubPages. I don't have this problem, but I'll remember this hub if I ever do.

Victoria Van Ness (author) from Fountain, CO on October 04, 2013:

Thanks! Yeah, I'd rather not use chemicals if I can use something safer for my family. But thanks for the recommendation.

Barbara Badder from USA on October 04, 2013:

A chemical product that does work is "The Works for Tub and Shower", but why not use baking soda and stay away from chemicals. I've used baking soda for a lot of projects around the house. Congratulations on getting Hub of the Day.

Victoria Van Ness (author) from Fountain, CO on October 04, 2013:

I felt the same way! Just wait and I'll get you my tricks for cleaning the bottom of your shower, and tons of other places in your home that will shock you!

Your Cousins from Atlanta, GA on October 04, 2013:

I have tried just about everything to clean my shower door and some of the cleaners are quite pricey. I had no idea that I already had the best product -- in my kitchen cabinet! Thanks. Voted Up and Useful.

Victoria Van Ness (author) from Fountain, CO on October 04, 2013:

Thanks! You too! Be sure to let me know if there's something else you'd like to see. :)

Thelma Alberts from Germany on October 04, 2013:

Congrats on the hub of the day! This is a very useful informative hub. Thank you for sharing. Have a great weeekend!

Victoria Van Ness (author) from Fountain, CO on October 04, 2013:

I'm so glad everybody is enjoying it so much! And I'm glad I can offer some helpful information! Beth, check out my videos. :)

Benjamin Chege on October 04, 2013:

Hi VVanNess. Did not know baking soda had so many uses. Extremely informative and useful. Thank you for the information.

RTalloni on October 04, 2013:

Congratulations on your Hub of the Day award for this helpful look at getting rid of water spots! Thanks, too, for doing all the research and putting it together so well for us. I'll be checking out your other work.

healthmunsta on October 04, 2013:

I like to clean my faucets with baking soda sometimes, for that extra special shine.

I also always save lemon rinds and use them on the sink, cleans grime and also leaves a refreshing delicious scent behind.

Great hub! Nice going through your experiments and results!

Keri Summers from West of England on October 04, 2013:

Have just added Baking Soda to shopping list!

Beth37 on October 04, 2013:

I noticed that baking soda was used at the bottom. Did the other products drip down? I was just wondering if the test was affected by that variable. Great job!

Foodstuff from Australia on October 04, 2013:

Excellent hub! I have been using this paste called Doctor Power but that's no longer available. I am glad to hear that baking soda works like a charm as well on shower doors. I use baking soda and vinegar for most other cleaning and am definitely going to extend its uses for the shower. Thanks!

Victoria Van Ness (author) from Fountain, CO on April 29, 2013:

Thank you both! I did work really hard but I had a lot of fun too. I was just as interested in how to clean my shower as I'm sure everyone else was. However every article I read just told me something different. In fact, many if the articles contradicted each other. I thought it best to show you rather than just being another person telling you.

Mrs Frugal from United States on April 29, 2013:

Finally was able to watch the videos. I liked how you compared and showed the difference with each cleaner. Hard work gal! Way to go! Voted up, useful, and awesome! Hope you have a wonderful day~

JanitorialWeb from Miami, Florida on April 29, 2013:

Wow is excellent, I like this. Thank very much for this article.

Victoria Van Ness (author) from Fountain, CO on April 27, 2013:

Thanks! That was actually a lot of fun! Did you like the article? The videos? I love that now I have a clean shower door!

Mrs Frugal from United States on April 27, 2013:

Wow! You put a lot of work in this hub! Lot's of great information! I don't deal with a lot of water spots, but I will definitely keep this in mind for future use. Hope the rest of your weekend is great~