How to Remove Hard Water Stains? (4 Best Methods) – WaterFiltersAdvisor

If you live in a place with hard water, over time you will notice water stains in your bathroom appliances. These stains, caused by the hard water, are often hard to remove, particularly as they build up over time. In this article, we will explain how to get rid of hard water stains as well as give you some tips to prevent these stains from developing in the future.

4 Ways to Remove Hard Water Stains

Sink with hard water stains that need to be removed

There are a few ways to remove hard water stains, all of which are quite simple. Many of these methods also only require items that can be found in most households, so you should be on your way to a cleaner bathroom in no time with these tips. Let’s review 4 different methods to remove water stains:

1. Vinegar

For this method, you will need:

  • Vinegar
  • Spray bottle
  • Old toothbrush
  • Paper towels (optional)

Using vinegar to remove stains is one of the most affordable methods to try. Further, not only is vinegar affordable, but it’s also a safe and non-toxic option that still does a great job removing hard water stains. To use this method, start by putting vinegar in a spray bottle. Several types of vinegar should work, including apple cider vinegar and white vinegar. Then, spray vinegar onto the surface with hard water stains and let it sit for 10-15 minutes so it has time to break down the minerals.

If the surface starts to dry within that period, spray it again with the vinegar. For vertical areas such as shower doors, you might want to use paper towels to keep the surface wet for longer. For this approach, soak a few paper towels in vinegar and then put them directly on the stained glass to keep it wet for longer.

After 15 minutes have passed, scrub the area with an old toothbrush. At this point, if the stain isn’t fully removed, you may want to buy a cleaning vinegar that contains more acid.

2. Hydrogen Peroxide and Cream of Tartar

For this method, you will need:

  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Cream of tartar
  • A cup
  • A sponge

Not too many people know that hydrogen peroxide does wonders against hard water stains, particularly when paired with cream of tartar. To use this approach for your hard water stains, mix equal parts hydrogen peroxide and cream of tartar in a cup to create a paste. Then, apply the mixture to the stained area and let it sit for half an hour. Finally, scrub the mixture with a sponge to remove the mixture along with the stains.

3. Baking Soda

For this method, you will need:

  • Baking soda
  • Water
  • A cup
  • An old toothbrush

Another option using household ingredients is to remove your hard water stains with baking soda. To follow this approach, mix equal parts baking soda and water to create a paste, and then apply the mixture to the stained spot. The baking soda will reach deep into the stain and dissolve minerals in just a couple of minutes. After waiting a few minutes, simply scrub the spot with an old toothbrush and the problem will be solved.

4. Fluoride Toothpaste

For this method, you will need:

  • Fluoride toothpaste
  • An old toothbrush

Fluoride toothpaste is another common item in most households. However, many don’t know that, just like for cleaning teeth, fluoride toothpaste can also remove stains from other surfaces. In fact, you can use fluoride toothpaste to remove hard stains from multiple services, including glass, metal, and dishware. To use this method, simply smear the toothpaste on the stain and let it sit for a couple of minutes. Then, scrub with an old toothbrush.

Other Disadvantages of Hard Water

Unfortunately, stains are not the only problem that hard water causes. Here are several other issues to keep in mind:

Taste and Smell

To start, hard water directly affects how your water tastes and smells. Due to the increased amounts of calcium, magnesium, and chloride in the water, hard water often tastes quite metallic. These water characteristics are not dangerous to human health but can be a turn-off when you want to drink a glass of water.

Difficult Dishwashing

When washing your hands with soft water, you may notice that the soap produces tiny bubbles. However, by comparison, using soap in hard water will not create the same tiny bubbles, making it more difficult to wash your hands and face. Hard water can also cause minerals to stay on your dishes while dishwashing, eventually leaving spot marks on the surface. You’ll ultimately need to dedicate more time to cleaning when using hard water compared to soft water, which can add up over time.

Limescale Buildup

Another problem that hard water causes is limescale buildup. Although it doesn’t affect the aesthetics of your appliances, this buildup directly affects their efficiency. For example, if you use hard water for your water heater, limescale will build up over time, causing it to be less efficient while still consuming the same amount of energy. Eventually, the water heater might even stop working and you would have to buy a new one.

Corrosion in Pipes

Finally, many people don’t know that hard water also causes corrosion. Corrosion in your plumbing system can affect the water flow in your pipes, which will cause them to wear down faster. To prevent your pipes from bursting or otherwise needing replacement, you should look to soften hard water in your home.

How to Get Rid of Hard Water

We already mentioned that hard water causes more problems than just stains. But how can you solve your hard water problem? Here are a couple of ways to deal with hard water in your home, avoiding both hard water stains and the other problems listed above.

Softening Water for Small Uses

One of the ways to soften water for laundry or other specific purposes is to boil it. However, boiling the water only removes some types of hardness and might not work for everyone. To try this technique, boil the water for a few minutes, then wait a couple of hours until it cools down. After boiling, some of the hard minerals will fall to the bottom, allowing you to scoop water from the top of the pot, leaving the minerals behind.

Another option to soften water is to order an ion exchange filter. Some units are built to be attached directly to a faucet, while some come in pitchers. However, you should know that the filter won’t remove hardness unless it has an additional carbon filter or reverse osmosis filter. You should check the packaging to make sure you have all the right filters when following this approach.

Specifically for doing laundry, you can try adding a non-precipitating conditioner to your washing machine. Add the conditioner to the machine during the rinse cycle and it will trap minerals and prevent them from attaching to your clothes. Finally, you can also treat hard water spots on your clothes with vinegar. Apply a 50/50 mixture of water and vinegar and scrub the affected spots until the stains have been removed.

Softening Water for the Whole Household

If you want to soften water for your whole household, the first step will be measuring the hardness of your tap water. To measure hardness, you can easily find affordable test strips online. After using the strip, you can identify and find the right size softener by calculating overall water hardness depending on how much water your household uses.

For example, if the hardness of your water is 10 grains per gallon, multiply that by the number of gallons your household uses per day. The average person uses 100 gallons per day, so if your family has four persons, it’s 10 * 400 = 4,000 grains per day of hardness.

Now that you know the right softener size, you can choose between sodium chloride, potassium chloride, or a reverse osmosis water softener to meet your specific needs. Of these, the most effective solution is reverse osmosis, but its also the most expensive. Sodium chloride is a more affordable alternative that’s slightly better than potassium chloride, but potassium chloride is the most affordable option of the three.

Bottom Line

As you can see, it’s quite simple to remove hard water stains. However, if you don’t resolve your hard water problem completely, it will continue to cause stains and may even lead to larger problems in your pipes and home appliances. We hope our tips for how to soften your water will help you avoid hard water stains and any other related issues.