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Removing Stains From Windows

A painted sign on a commercial window.

How To Remove Paint and Hard Water Stains From Windows

Getting certain objects and stains off of windows can be a challenging task. In the Phoenix metro area of Arizona, we commonly run into 3 major culprits that leave our windows not looking their best. The most common hard-to-remove items from windows in Arizona are paint, hard water stains, and glue (mostly from weathered window sealants). We are going to cover how to remove these items from your windows yourself and the process to remove them correctly. Even if you decide that you would like to have your windows professionally cleaned, you must know the correct process for removal. Unfortunately in Arizona, we have a lot of companies started by people who watch a couple of Youtube videos on window cleaning and think they can do it on a professional level. After reading this article you will understand the right process and will be able to identify a professional versus an amateur when making this decision. 


In Arizona, people usually get their homes painted every 3-5 years. Most painters do a great job of taping off but no matter how good of a job they do there is usually going to be some paint and overspray that still reaches your windows. Removing paint from windows is a fairly easy thing to do most of the time. 

Step 1

Get the paint wet. Grab a paper towel, spray bottle, or clean rag and get the paint wet. If you are removing paint from several windows, then just work on a specific area to start. In Arizona, water dries quickly so if you create a big working space then by the time you come back to an area that water may have already dried. Start by picking a window or two to work on and move on to more windows after you have finished removing the paint. 

Step 2

Scrap the paint. Utilizing a paint scraper or razor setup simply scrap the paint off the window. Scrape cautiously as you do not want to scratch your window and if needed you can become more aggressive on harder areas after removing a few spots. The vast majority of paint will come right off with very little effort.

Important: Scraping glass without getting it wet first increases the likelihood of scratching your window and it is not recommended.

Paint Still Not Coming Off?

In the rare occurrence that the above steps do not remove paint from your windows, you should contact a professional window cleaning company. You can research the type of paint on the window and what paint remover is likely to help take it off. When dealing with paint removers on glass you must know what you are doing which is why we recommend contacting a professional. You could damage a window enough to have to replace it which is far more expensive than hiring a professional. 

Hard Water Stain Removal

In Arizona, we experience a lot of hard water stains on windows. A lot of people will use a hose to clean their patio or even spray water on their windows directly. It is important to know whether you live in Mesa, Gilbert, Scottsdale, Phoenix, or any of the metro cities in Arizona you want to avoid using tap water on your windows at all costs unless you are removing it immediately. Our tap water sitting on glass will cause hard water staining which is a lot more difficult to remove and takes a good amount of effort. Hard water stains can also be caused by rain coming in contact with debris on your roof or the exterior of your home and then dripping down onto your windows as well. 

Step 1

Mix dish soap and water in a bucket or bowl and apply it to the affected area with a cloth. To remove hard water stains the most important aspect is to have the correct tool to do the job. For this, we are going to recommend using quad-zero steel wool. It is imperative that you use this specific type of wool and it is not the same as what you can buy at a local store. This steel wool can be used on glass without scratching and most steel wool cannot. 

Step 2

After applying the dish soap and water to the hard water-stained area we are then going to proceed to scrub it with the quad zero steel wool. You are going to need to use some elbow grease and you may have to clean the same area 3-4 times to remove all the hard water stains from the glass. In my experience, you will rarely get all the hard water stains out on the first pass. Eventually, with patience and persistence, you will be able to get it all out. If the hard water has been on the window or glass for a long time, it may even take you multiple cleanings to get it all removed. You do not have to get it all off the first time unless that is your preference. You could also just clean it a few times every weekend until it has all gone away or hire a professional window cleaning company to do the job for you. 

I followed The Steps but the hard water stains are still not coming off

In Arizona, we have a lot of double-paned windows. By using this method you can remove the hard water stains from the sides of the glass that you can access. Unfortunately, if the windows aren’t regularly cleaned and maintained (we recommend every 3 months) dirt and debris will start to deteriorate the rubber sealing that protects things from getting on the inside portion of a double-paned window (the part you can’t access). If you have a double-paned window and you are unable to remove the hard water staining there is a good chance that the stain is actually on the inside of the double-paned window and unfortunately will not be able to be removed. Once this occurs your only option is to replace the window. Preventative measures can eliminate this from occurring and which is why we recommend getting your windows cleaned every 3 months. If you are interested in a professional window cleaning service or learning how to clean your windows like a professional please contact us or look through our website for information. We have a lot of helpful information on window cleaning and power washing tips. How to do it yourself and what you should look for in a professional.

Removing Hard Water Stains From Glass Showers

The same tips listed above will also work to remove hard water stains from glass showers. To prevent the issue from occurring further I would also recommend squeegeeing the glass after every shower. Hard water stains occur from the water sitting on glass not the exposure to water itself. By buying a shower squeegee and squeegeeing after every shower you will remove that water from sitting on the glass preventing future labor-intensive cleanings that you would encounter otherwise. 

Glue and Sealant Removal

You may notice a gunky substance on your windows that smears when you try to clean it. This is typically from the rubber seals. In Arizona, the sun damages everything it comes in contact with for extended periods and the rubber sealing on your windows is no different. To remove this you can utilize both methods listed above but I would lean towards using the steel wool to create an easier job. The most important thing you need to know about identifying this substance on your windows is that your rubber sealing has deteriorated and will probably continue to do so. Cleaning and maintaining your windows is extremely important to avoid having to pay for replacing them. Make sure you set up a regular cleaning schedule for the interior and exterior of your windows by cleaning them yourself or hiring a professional. 

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