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Hard water "etching" on glass

wegotrocks's picture

This may be a topic for some other forum, but I was hoping some "glass and mirror" folks would be in here occasionally to try to answer this. 

We have pretty hard water (mountains of limestone in the area).  There's a film on the inside of the glass shower doors that won't come off.  We've tried nearly every product that can be purchased with the same result.  After one attempt by my wife, I remarked that the doors weren't coming clean, and of course, she said something like, "Well, it's your turn to try, then."  We've alternated the cleaning and the product buying, but still the doors have a heavy film on them no matter what method or product either of us tries.  I've even taken them outside and laid them across a corner of the deck railing so I can really bear down.  The last time I used a Teflon pad with some stuff that was so caustic, I was having trouble staying close to it even when I was outside.  Still no luck.

They look OK until they dry, then you can see a heavy film is still on the glass.  I've tried scraping with a plastic scraper, and my fingernails - neither even makes a mark on the film.  The door frames are brass plated, so we haven't used anything that will damage the brass finish.

Any glass folks out there know what's going on?  Are these glass panels permanently etched?



The person who says it can't be done should not interrupt the person doing it. - CHINESE PROVERB

Tried CLR? If it's lime (post #191131, reply #1 of 17)

Tried CLR? If it's lime deposits that should work.

Unless you're showering with hydrogen flouride, I don't see how hard water could etch glass. (But I'm no glass expert).

Just happened to walk back in (post #191131, reply #2 of 17)

Just happened to walk back in the house and saw your reply. 

CLRs info says to not use it on brass or brass plating - so that's out.

It's probably not etched, but it sure looks like it. 



The person who says it can't be done should not interrupt the person doing it. - CHINESE PROVERB

>>>CLRs info says to not use (post #191131, reply #3 of 17)

>>>CLRs info says to not use it on brass or brass plating - so that's out.

You could carefully wipe a bit in the middle of the glass with a rag (and gloves!). At least that would tell you if it's lime deposit.

Yep, permanently etched.  If (post #191131, reply #4 of 17)

Yep, permanently etched.  If not before you did all that cleaning then after.


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

hard water staining on glass (post #191131, reply #6 of 17)

Glass has a surface texture that will retain stains from water,  paint, and most other liquids. Polishing should remove all this. I think it's fairly safe to assume that the glass has a value greater than $35-$40, so polishing might be worth the effort.

Glazing supply companies, and maybe some art glass supply places should be able to sell you a small kit to deal with this. The main things to look for are a mandrel mounted felt polishing head, and Cerium powder. You need something hard enough to cut, but fine enough not to leave swirling scratches.

The ingredients are pretty non toxic, provided I guess, that you don't eat them. Once clean, maybe something like Rain-X applied would slow this down next time ?

I used to polish glass just to increase the looks of it with just crumpled up newspaper.

 

Dave

 

You don't believe that glass (post #191131, reply #7 of 17)

You don't believe that glass gets etched?


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

DanH   I know glass can (post #191131, reply #8 of 17)

DanH

 

I know glass can be etched, intentionally or otherwise. I guess my reasoning was based on the owners willingness to expend some effort to salvage the doors, and the fact that they ARE shower doors, and between the hard water and the cleaners already tried to restore the glass, they are now cloudy or something.

There's really no way to tell without just trying it. It's made for surface cleaning and polishing, and I thought that was the issue.

Personally, I'd just replace the glass, mostly because I am a glazer, and I get the glass wholesale anyway.

Dave

Ditch the glass and reglaze (post #191131, reply #5 of 17)

Ditch the glass and reglaze (or new shower doors) with DiamonFusion coating on the inside.   One of the best products of the last 10 years.

http://www.diamonfusion.com/en/default.aspx

try a razor blade scraper (post #191131, reply #9 of 17)

I have a similar problem.

I use a razor blade scraper to scrape the hard water film off the glass.

I have tried a number of cleaners and nothing works except for the blade scraper. It may not get it as clear as new but it will be a whole lot better.


Andrew

Thanks for all the replies.  (post #191131, reply #10 of 17)

Thanks for all the replies.  I haven't been able to check the forums again until just now.  I'll try the razor blade idea - I have a couple of wide ones.  This problem started when the doors were only about 1 year old.  I guess if they were cleaned every few days the build-up wouldn't happen, but then again - who cleans the entire shower stall that often?

 

Thanks again.



The person who says it can't be done should not interrupt the person doing it. - CHINESE PROVERB

Cloudy Shower Doors (post #191131, reply #11 of 17)

If the doors are coated with calcium carbonate then you can scrub for ever and all your doing is polishing the stone.  Use a mild acid such as vinigar or a citric or muriatic solution.  If the buildup is substantial it may take serveral cleanings to get it off. A good test is to take a rag an saturate it with vinigar, let it lay on the door over night and see what you have the next day.

Al Willems

I have the same problem in (post #191131, reply #12 of 17)

I have the same problem in spades. My shower doors and tile are white with calcium deposits. I've tried everything you can name, vinegar, oxalic acid, muriatic acid, phosphoric acid, CLR, kaboom, Ajax, paint remover, lime juice, lye, coarse steel wool, an electric oribital sander with wet/dry paper, a 4" grinder with a buffing wheel and abrasive, the list goes on and on. I've used a chemical so strong that it removed the pattern from my porceline tiles!  Seriously. All of them make a little difference, none do any long term (1 week) good. Let me know if you find something otherwise learn to live with it.

Florida Licensed Building Contractor, 45 years experience in commercial remodeling, new homes, home remodeling and repairs and all types building maintenance.

If the "white" still remains (post #191131, reply #13 of 17)

If the "white" still remains after all that it's pretty certain to be etching, not simple deposits.


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

Question: (post #191131, reply #14 of 17)

What is it in water that etches glass?  Whatever that component is, would it also be in rain or snow?

It's actually soft water, not (post #191131, reply #16 of 17)

It's actually soft water, not hard, that does the worst damage, and heat, acidity, and detergents add to it.  Glass is soluble in water to a degree (some types more than others), and the etching is due to bits of the glass being dissolved.


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

No, it's not etching. I can (post #191131, reply #15 of 17)

No, it's not etching. I can remove it with a razor scraper.

Florida Licensed Building Contractor, 45 years experience in commercial remodeling, new homes, home remodeling and repairs and all types building maintenance.

cleaning etched or hard water on shower doors (post #191131, reply #17 of 17)

I believe I have found a way to eliminate or at least dramatically reduce the effects of hard water on shower doors.

5000 grit automotive sanding paper.

You wet the area or 5000 grit and take a small area at a time and in a circular motion polish the glass, it does not scratch the glass. It definitely removes it, how much depends on how much time and energy you want to put in it, but what I had, which was pretty bad, came off.

I then made sure the glass was clean and dry and applied RainX to the glass. You might have to repeat the RainX every 6 months or so, depending on shower usage but the water just sheets off the glass with no residue left behind.