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8 Ways to Remove Hard Water Stains from Common Household Surfaces

Hard water can leave noticeable stains on everything it comes in contact with. As if it wasn’t already hard enough to keep your house looking sparkling clean, hard water makes that job even more difficult.

For this reason, we have encompassed several efficient methods if you want to know how to remove hard water stains in your household.


What Causes Hard Water Stains?

Hard water has more calcium and magnesium in it than softened, distilled, or pure water. The more minerals, the harder the water is. And the harder the water is, the more visible the stains. Hard water can also cause limescale, a calcium carbonate deposit that leaves hard yellowish stains on your bathtub and other fixtures.

We’ve already talked about how to remove limescale from your home. So today, we will be focusing solely on hard water spots. These are caused by calcium and magnesium in combination with soap scum. The particles stick and form a chemical reaction when combined with soap, which produces sticky soap scum.


1.    How to Remove Hard Water Stains from the Glass Shower Doors and Mirrors

You can remove those nasty-looking streaks from your bathroom mirror and shower door by using a mixture of half water and half white distilled vinegar in a spray bottle. Shake the container well to get the ingredients to mix properly.

Afterward, spray the solution on the mirror and shower door and let it sit for a while. Typically, 10 to 15 minutes is enough. Next, get a squeegee or soft sponge and wipe the mixture away using continuous linear movements. The acidity in the vinegar combats hard water deposits’ alkaline mineral levels, which is why the solution works so well.


2.    How to Remove Hard Water Stains from your Toilet Bowl

You can use a mixture of either baking soda and vinegar or a combination of borax and vinegar. Use whichever one you want, as they are both just as effective.

Get an empty jar and place one cup of baking soda and a cup of vinegar inside it. Alternatively, mix a quarter cup of borax with one cup of vinegar in the jar. Once the mixture is ready, pour it slowly on the hard water spots inside your toilet bowl and scrub away with the toilet brush.


3.    How to Remove Hard Water Stains from Faucets

If you have hard water, one of the most affected fixtures will inevitably be your faucets. It doesn’t matter if it’s the one in your bathroom or kitchen. Both are just as vulnerable. Vinegar is once again the ingredient you’ll need.

Soak a clean rag in vinegar and drape it over the faucet. Make sure to cover as much of the area as possible. Let it sit for about an hour and then remove it. Scrub the faucet thoroughly with a non-scratch sponge until you start seeing an improvement. Repeat these steps as necessary to get rid even of the toughest hard water stains.




4.    How to Remove Hard Water Stains from Sinks, Tubs, Hard Surfaces and Showers

Removing hard water stains from these types of surfaces is similar to the process used to clean toilet bowls. Apply a mix of borax and vinegar on a scrub brush, clean sponge, or pad. Scrub thoroughly and you should start seeing results. Alternatively, for tiles, you can use ultra-fine sandpaper or steel wool.

5.    How to Remove Hard Water Stains from Your Shower Head

Your showerhead is probably the easiest one to remove hard water spots from. Remove the showerhead and place it in a bowl filled with vinegar. Let it sit there for about an hour and then remove remaining tough spots with a brush. Alternatively, you can also use the method we described for cleaning a faucet.

6.    How to Remove Hard Water Stains from Plastic Containers

Plastic is tough to clean in any condition, be it in a dishwasher or by hand. You’ll need:

  •  A spray bottle
  • A soft cloth
  • White vinegar
  • Soft-bristled scrub brush
  • Enzyme digester
  • Lemon
  • Water

Mix water and white vinegar in a spray bottle equally. Spray the mixture on the hard water stains and let it sit for about 15 minutes. For oval containers that don’t allow the mixture to sit on a specific spot, you can spray the solution on a cloth and thoroughly wipe the stained area.

For really stubborn stains, you can let the solution soak for several hours. And you might also want to use undiluted vinegar instead of the previous mix. Remove the cloth and scrub with the brush. If somehow the vinegar doesn’t remove the stains, you can try an enzyme digester. Another alternative is to rub a lemon over the mineral deposits, let it sit, and then scrub with a brush.

7.    How to Remove Hard Water Stains from Granite and Marble

Marble and granite are a little trickier. They usually require a specific type of cleaner from a specific brand. We recommend asking your provider which cleaner is best for your specific setup.

Alternatively, you can use a fine steel wool grade #0000 by wetting the stain and lightly rubbing the steel wool in a circular motion.

8.    How to Remove Hard Water Stains from Clothes

Yes, hard water stains can even appear on clothing. While it doesn’t happen too often, it can occur from time to time, especially on black clothes. Fortunately, you can solve this issue with a simple clothing iron, a wet cloth, and a white towel.

Place the white towel on top of an ironing board and turn the piece of clothing inside-out. Place it over the towel with the hard water stain downwards. Now put a wet cloth inside your clothing piece, right above the stain you want to remove.

Press gently until some of the moisture gets inside the clothing. Now iron the clothing as you would normally do until the moisture completely evaporates. Repeat this process for all the hard water stains you find.

How to Prevent Hard Water Stains

As you can see, dealing with hard water stains is quite the ordeal. It takes a lot of time, and it makes cleaning your house harder than it should be.

The solution to prevent hard water stains is to get rid of hard water in your household completely. “But how do you do that?” you might ask.

The solution we recommend the most is getting a water descaler. This device works by actively changing the shape of mineral crystals in hard water. As such, the minerals no longer stick on surfaces.

Because the minerals no longer stick, you’ll get no more hard water spots, and you’ll also prevent limescale. The frequency of the capacitive water descaler also reduces the existing amount of limescale deposits inside your pipes.

Can I Use a Water Softener?

Yes, you can. But be aware that water softeners might also come with certain disadvantages.

First, water softeners require professional installation. You’ll need to pay a hefty installation fee to an expert. The plumbing system will have to be modified accordingly, depending on the model.

Secondly, softeners require salt packs to work. This adds to the overall cost in time. Hard minerals get replaced by sodium, which solves the issue with hard water spots, but makes the water almost undrinkable. A high sodium intake negatively affects people with heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney disease, nursing women, and healthy adults alike.

Finally, a water softener requires maintenance. Modern models don’t require it as much as older versions, but they can still be bothersome to clean.

Advantages of Water Descalers

A water descaler is simple to install. You need no plumbing skills whatsoever. You just wrap its coils around your main water pipe, plug it in a power outlet, and that’s it.

Water descalers only require electricity to work. And even then, it doesn’t consume much. Otherwise, you won’t need to buy any extras ever. You’ll get softened water and also save money in the process. And no sodium or other chemicals get added to the water.

You can still drink water, use it on your plants, give it to your pets, children, etc. Because the minerals stay intact and only their crystals get reshaped, descaled water doesn’t lose any of its health benefits. The Cambridge Water Department has also made a study regarding the health benefits of hard water.

Getting a descaler means that you still get hard water’s benefits while also enjoying the good things brought by water softeners. Softer skin and hair, no more hard water stains, no more limescale buildup, and no more risks of damaging your appliances earlier than expected.


Final Thoughts

A water descaler is by far the best method of preventing hard water stains. While the initial investment might seem discouraging, you’ll be saving a lot more in the long run.

If you can’t afford a descaler right now, save up some money and use the methods mentioned above. They’re suitable substitutes until you can get a practical, elegant, and modern solution.