In a word, Yes! After 20 years of neglect, the window in this picture had Stage 2 Hard Water Corrosion. This is as bad as it gets before the glass is completely ruined and it must be replaced. With patented processes and industry exclusive equipment, we were able to restore the right pane to optical clarity and then we finished the left pane after taking the photo.
Can you remove hard water spots?
Not all water spots are the same, though. Thankfully, the tap water in Bend is actually very low in mineral content. Some studies have even classified Bend’s tap water as “Spring Water” quality. However, if you have glass shower doors or sprinklers that regularly hit your windows, you know that the water will leave water spots. And because our underground water supply filters through lava rock, the majority of the dissolved minerals are silica based. Silica is the same thing that glass is made of. When silica deposits are left on glass, they bond to the microscopically rough glass surface and become part of the glass. Consequently the only way to remove the mineral stain is through a mechanical grinding and polishing process.
The rest of Central Oregon is not so fortunate in water quality. In Sunriver, Redmond, Powell Butte and other Central Oregon communities, the water has a much higher mineral content and if left to dry on glass will usually show water spots immediately. Caustic chemical treatments may burn or etch off some of these minerals without mechanical grinding and polishing. These acids may reduce the appearance of softer minerals and temporarily make the glass appear transparent. However, the acids used in these products creates invisible pits in the glass and widens the “pores” of the glass. This microscopic damage allows future minerals to embed deeper in the glass making future restoration work extremely difficult or impossible.
After hard water spots are removed, it’s best to put a sealer on the glass and do whatever you can to minimize water drying on the glass. For your windows, this will most likely involve redirecting your sprinklers. (And if you care about not ruining your windows, never rinse or “wash” your windows with the garden hose or a product that runs off of your garden hose.) For your glass shower doors, you should have a squeegee to remove water drops from the glass after every shower. We’d be happy to recommend or supply a simple squeegee for this purpose.