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Glass seems to be one of the most stable solid substances - which chemicals, particularly home products that react with glass?

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  • $\begingroup$ Drain cleaner (concentrated solutions of NaOH) but very slowly. $\endgroup$ – Mithoron Jan 17 '17 at 1:51
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    $\begingroup$ Hydrofluoric acid (HF) is an effective substance to dissolve Glass. Its also very effective in killing you in a very slow and very painful way (by basically dissolving your bones). $\endgroup$ – Fl.pf. Jan 17 '17 at 9:54
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    $\begingroup$ Actually, HF kills you by depositing CaF2 in your microcapillaries. Blood flow in extremities diminishes to zero over a few hours, leading to cell death and gangrene. It is possible to reverse the process if it has not progressed too far, but it is a hospital-type procedure. Definitely painful. $\endgroup$ – James Gaidis Oct 6 '18 at 13:02
  • $\begingroup$ Well, HF can hardly be considered as a home product, frequently used/found in households. $\endgroup$ – Poutnik Jun 29 at 10:55
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Some rust and stain removers (like Whink) contain hydrofluoric acid* at low concentrations (1-2.3%) Here is the MSDS for Whink: https://www.whink.com/cmssites/ws0811www.whink.com/uploads/Documents/Rust%20Stain%20Remover%20SDS.pdf

Now, at those concentrations it would probably take a while to dissolve silica, but it would be arguably quicker than a $\ce{NaOH}$ cleaning product.

*I do not recommend playing around with $\ce{HF}$ and its products unless you are experienced with them.

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  • $\begingroup$ I used to buy Whink back in the 1960's (I had a basement lab in high school) and it is still available in many stores in the USA. It was not concentrated enough to etch glass, but it made short work of aluminum! I agree that it is not good to play around with hydrofluoric acid and its kin! $\endgroup$ – Ed V Jun 30 at 1:06

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