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How To Remove Hard Water Stains

hard water stains on shower door
hard water stains on shower door

How To Remove Hard Water Stains


Hard water is an all-too-common source of irritation for municipal and well water users alike. Dry, irritated skin and brittle hair are just the beginning; hard water can cause problems for your home, too — and these take plenty of time and money to fix.

Here’s what you need to know about hard water and how to remove hard water stains.


Hard Water 101: What is hard water?

top 5 ways to remove hard water stainsBefore you can start removing hard water stains, you need to know why they occur in the first place.

Hard water is caused by a mineral buildup. Calcium and magnesium, the two biggest culprits, are part of the natural environment — which means they can be picked up while your water travels from the source to your tap. The more mineral content is present in your water, the higher the hardness level.

Because mineral levels vary depending on the geography of a given location, water hardness may differ depending on where you live. However, since hard water is a widespread problem throughout the U.S. and Canada, it’s likely that you’ll run into it one way or another.

The good news is that, although hard water might have an unpleasant taste, it’s safe to drink. You might spot its effects when you bathe or wash your hands with it, as hard water can cause irritated skin and dry hair. However, the biggest negative impact is often on your home.

Why? When hard water evaporates, it leaves mineral deposits behind. These deposits have many names — limescale, hard water spots, mineral buildup — but they’re all hard water stains. It’s not dangerous to touch or live near these stains, but they can cause many problems for your home, including:

  • Causing sinks, showers and dishes to look dirty
  • More time and energy spent cleaning
  • More money spent on cleaners, soaps and detergents
  • Reduced efficiency or performance of water-using appliances
  • Impacted water pressure due to mineral buildup in pipes

Hard water spots and other stains aren’t permanent, but they will reoccur as long as your water hardness levels remain high. That means you might feel like you’re stuck in a constant cycle of cleaning, watching stains build up and then cleaning again. To break the pattern, it’s smart to invest in a long-term solution like a water softener (and to know a few hard water stain removal tricks in the meantime).

   Download Now: Your FREE Hard Water Guide


Best Ways to Remove Hard Water Stains

Now that you know what hard water stains are, where they come from and why they’re so stubborn, it’s time to get to work on removing them. Here are a few tips to help get rid of water spots and mineral deposits throughout your home:

How to Remove Hard Water Stains from Faucets and Fixtures

Hard water can make brand-new faucets look like antiques — and not in a trendy way. To remove hard water stains from faucets, start by soaking a rag in vinegar and draping it over your faucet for 30-60 minutes. Once the vinegar has broken up the mineral deposits, gently scrub each stain until your faucet looks clean.

For other fixtures like your shower head, you’ll need to get a bit more creative. Fill a plastic zipper bag with vinegar and use a rubber band to secure it to your shower head for about an hour. The mineral deposits will break up and you’ll be able to clean those stubborn hard water stains — just be careful not to spill the bag and its contents on your shower floor.

How to Remove Hard Water Stains from Sinks, Bathtubs, Shower Walls and Toilets

Porcelain and ceramic are probably plentiful in your bathroom. To remove hard water stains from these surfaces, find a sponge or scrubber that allows you to apply significant pressure without creating scratches. Once you have the right tool, all you have to do is soak it in vinegar and start scrubbing.

How to Remove Hard Water Stains from Windows and Glass

When it comes to any glass surface like your shower door, hard water stains most often appear as water spots. Find a spray bottle and fill it with equal parts warmed vinegar and liquid dish soap. Spray it onto the glass and wipe it off with a cloth that won’t scratch the shower door or other delicate surface.

How to Remove Hard Water Stains from Drinking Glasses and Dishes

Hard water stains on dishes can look like a crusty mineral buildup or a hazy film covering glass cups and plates. Luckily, there’s no scrubbing required here — just fill your sink with hot water, add a cup of vinegar and let your dishes soak.


Preventing Future Hard Water Stains

Does all that scrubbing, soaking and cleaning sound like a lot of work? Are you worried that hard water stain removal will be part of your life forever, including all that wasted time and money?

The good news is that there’s a more permanent, long-term solution for hard water stains. Water softeners are a simple, efficient and stress-free way to address every stain at its source — which is, of course, your hard water. A water softener works by filtering water through resin beads, which attract calcium and magnesium ions from your water supply. The result is water that doesn’t irritate your skin or leave mineral deposits on your faucets. Better yet, some water softeners even allow you to control softness levels so you can fully personalize your water experience.


Say Goodbye to Hard Water with a Water Softener

There’s plenty to know about hard water and its impact, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend time, money and energy worrying over every hard water spot. A water softener can help eliminate recurring hard water stains at their source. Say goodbye to negative effects on your hair, skin, dishes, appliances and fixtures — soft water is just around the corner.

Before you can choose the right water softener for your home, you have to find out your water’s hardness levels. There’s no need to guess — a local Culligan expert can perform a water test to provide the answers you’re looking for.

To take the first step toward soft water, schedule a free, in-home water test today.

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