How to Remove Calcium Build-Up From Crystal or Glass

When a misty, or cloudy film covers the surfaces of your newly washed crystal or glassware, you are experiencing calcium build-up.

"Hard" water is the culprit and it can confound even the most conscientious cleaning efforts. Water is considered hard when a large amount of dissolved minerals are found suspended within it. These deposits form a residue when water air-dries from the surface of glass, crystal, aluminum, steel or chrome. Because the problem lies within the water itself, normal cleaning won't get rid of the stains. Fortunately, you probably already have the solution sitting in your kitchen pantry.

Fill your sink or a large nonmetal bowl with clear, distilled, full-strength (undiluted) vinegar. Place your glassware or crystal into the vinegar, submerging it, if possible.

Leave the item or items in the vinegar for half an hour or overnight, depending on the extent of the residue and how long it has been present. Spray the entire surface with the vinegar or apply it with a cloth if the surface you wish to clean is large. Let the vinegar remain on the surface without wiping or deliberately drying.

Remove the submerged items and rinse them repeatedly in running water. Dry them immediately with a clean, dry cloth.

Wipe away all traces of the rinsing water from the crystal or glass. Apply one more layer of vinegar and rinse with plain water for larger surfaces that were treated. Dry the surface well.

Repeat this process once or twice a year to prevent future calcium deposits from accumulating on the surface of crystal or glass.

Things You Will Need

  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Clean sponges or cloths
  • Non-metal bucket or bowl
  • Spray bottle (optional)

Tip

  • If there is a very heavy layer of calcium film on the surface of your crystal or glass items, or if it has been present for more than a year, you may find that two or three applications of vinegar may be required to remove it completely. Once it has been removed, use this method every three to six months to maintain the clarity of the cleaned surfaces.

Warning

  • Heating the vinegar sometimes yields faster results. If you choose to do this, avoid inhaling the acrid fumes directly and make sure your working area is well ventilated.

About the Author

Genae Valecia Hinesman, former banking executive, entrepreneur and fashion model, began writing professionally in 2002. She is a Cum Laude graduate of the University of Southern California where she studied business, finance and exercise physiology. Her articles featured in Living Healthy: 360, Life 123, the American Chronicle and Yahoo Voices.