Do Glass Countertops Stain?

Your current countertop is stained and dinged up to high heaven. You’ve researched countertop materials extensively, and the one you keep coming back to is glass. There’s just one problem. You would hate for your translucent glass countertop to stain. It’d be impossible to hide the stain, and before you know it, you’d be replacing your counter again.

Can glass countertops stain?

Not in the traditional sense, no. If you’re worried about wine stains or food residue marring the appearance of your countertop, that can’t happen with glass. A glass countertop or any other glass surface is nonporous. What this means is that glass lacks permeability, including from fluids, water, and air.

That’s great news, you’re thinking. It is something to celebrate, but you should know that glass isn’t completely stain-resistant. Hard water can stain glass. Although these stains aren’t permanent, they can really wreck the appearance of your glass countertop.

You more often hear of hard water stains in bathrooms, as after all, that’s where you shower. Yet kitchen countertops can fall victim to hard water stains as well. If you and your family members drink tap water, it contains minerals. That’s all hard water really is, an accumulation of minerals. Those minerals evaporate on the glass surface and that’s how you end up with stains.

If you or the kids spill a glass of tap water on the counter, you might not panic much because it’s just water, not wine or grape juice. Yet we still recommend sopping up the mess with a soft, clean cloth immediately. By letting the minerals in the water settle in, they could stain.

You should also always use coasters if you entertain in your kitchen and people have drinks on the counter. Make that a policy for guests as well as your family.

If your glass counter has hard water stains, you’ll know it. The stains look streaky and chalky, and they’re often white from the mineral residue.

You have plenty of options for removing hard water stains, so let’s discuss those now.

  • Baking soda: If your hard water stain is newer and hasn’t had much time to set in, a bit of baking soda on a soft-bristled toothbrush can remove the chalky buildup.
  • Toothpaste: Smooth toothpaste (no gritty stuff, please!) removes the dissolved salts in the minerals that are hard water stains. Squirt some toothpaste on a clean, soft cloth and rub at the stains, rotating the cloth. Wait several minutes and then rinse the residue away.
  • White vinegar: White vinegar is acidic, so maybe try the other options first before resorting to this one. Do know that white vinegar is nontoxic and anti-corrosive. Pour some white vinegar into a spray bottle, mist the stain, and let it sit for about 30 seconds. Then rinse away with residue.
  • Water and salt: Although hard water is partially salt, some table salt and water can combat stains. Make a paste of the two ingredients and then rub gently on the countertop. Salt isn’t so abrasive that it will scratch your counters.