Removing Limescale from Glass

Tips for Removing Limescale from Glass

Limescale can build up quickly on glass surfaces, especially if you live in a hardwater area, leaving your glass shower doors, windows or mirrors looking dull and nasty.

Fortunately, limescale is rarely as difficult to remove as it looks. It might look abrasive and tough, but you can cut through it quickly without damaging your glass surfaces. 

What Is Limescale?

what is limescale build up in glass

Limescale, or calcium carbonate, is the crusty white (or green) stuff that builds up on surfaces water runs over. It is commonly found in bathrooms and kitchens, with taps, baths, showers, windows, and doors all being affected.

This is especially prominent in hardwater areas. Water in these areas is mineral-rich, and when it streams from your taps or showerhead, it clings to surfaces such as glass, tiles, and fixtures. When the water evaporates off, it leaves the mineral deposits behind.


White Vinegar and Water Solution

white vinegar and limestone solution

A simple cleaning fix for a limescale build up on glass is to use a solution of white vinegar and water.

Simply mix a solution of equal parts water and white vinegar and spray it on the affected surface. Leave it to sit for a few minutes before wiping away and buffing the surface with a dry microfibre cloth.


White Vinegar and Bicarbonate of Soda

white vinegar and baking soda solution

The combination of white vinegar and bicarbonate of soda is a cleaning miracle, and it can make light work of limescale build up on glass too.

First, bring a cup of distilled white vinegar to the boil either on the hob or in the microwave. Carefully set the vinegar down on a surface close to the affected glass and leave it to cool slightly.

Wearing rubber gloves, dip paper towels into the hot vinegar and lay them on the glass. The acidic vinegar will cut through the limescale and loosen the deposits.

Leave the vinegar to sit for around 30 to 60 minutes, spraying the paper towels with more vinegar every now and again to keep the glass wet.

Next, remove the paper towels, and sprinkle a damp cloth or sponge with a generous amount of bicarbonate of soda. This will react with the vinegar giving you that extra-effective cleaning power you love.

Wipe the glass down carefully, taking care to be gentle to avoid scratching the surface.

Finish by pouring water (ideally distilled!) over the glass. If any limescale remains, repeat the bicarbonate of soda scrub until the build-up has been removed.



cleaning limescale on glass with WD-40

You may have a can of WD-40 laying around for when your door handle or hinge starts creaking (if you don’t, you can pick one up on Amazon here), but you probably haven’t considered using it to break down limescale before.

One of the things that WD-40 was designed to do is tackle residue, and so it can help you to cut through limescale on glass.

Simply spray the affected area, rub the stains, and wipe over the area with a clean microfibre cloth.



use of toothpaste to clean limescale on glass

A surprising amount of people report that toothpaste actually does a great job of tackling limescale build up.

Gently scrub the surface using the toothpaste and a sponge or old (soft!) toothbrush and leave it for a few minutes. Rinse the toothpaste away and buff the area with a clean microfibre cloth.

You don’t need to use fancy toothpaste for this method – just stick to the cheap stuff.


Top Tips

To achieve best results when dealing with a limescale build up, follow these top tips:

  • Avoid cleaning windows in direct sunlight. This would cause the cleaning solution to dry before it can dissolve the limescale
  • Rinse glass surfaces before starting to scrub limescale stains. Dust and other debris can scratch the glass if it isn’t removed first
  • Avoid using abrasive tools or materials


Preventing a Limescale Build-Up

After you’ve dealt with a limescale problem, taking steps to stop the limescale building up again will make your life much easier going forward.

Water treatment

This method is a little extreme and may be out of budget for many homes. However, if you do live in a hardwater area and have the budget to do so, consider installing a water softener.

Once installed, this will remove some of the minerals from your tap water, stopping limescale from building up quite as quickly.

Vinegar spray

A much cheaper alternative is to simply keep a spray bottle of white vinegar near the surfaces prone to limescale build up. Simply spray the surfaces with the white vinegar after each use and dry the glass with a towel.


using squeegee to clean glass

Another way to prevent limescale build up is to remove the water before it has a chance to evaporate. Keep a squeegee in an accessible place, and simply wipe surfaces down as soon as you can.