how to remove hard water stains

If your once shiny faucet and glass shower door have taken a dull and stained colour, then the remedy could be how to remove hard water stains. 

Seeing cloudy patches on glasses, faucets covered in white stains, deposits on tile surfaces, and appliances with stains can look unattractive. These are all signs of hard water stains. It does not matter how often you wash them; ridding the residue can be quite a nuisance. Learning how to get rid of hard water stains permanently and without undergoing a lot of effort can save time and effort in washing. Let’s learn how to remove hard water stains from different surfaces quickly.

What Are Hard Water Stains? 

Hard water stains are different from other types of stains because they are caused by the minerals in the water, not by dirt or other substances. Nearly all households and commercial buildings show presence of hard water strains.

Hard Water Stains

Water with a lot of dissolved minerals, such as magnesium and calcium, is referred to as hard water. And, hard water stains are actually deposits of these minerals that harden after drying. 

Normally, these stains appear white but may sometimes be brown or rust like, depending with the minerals present in the water. For example, chalky water stains is due to dissolved magnesium or calcium, and orange/black stains indicate iron or manganese.

Common Places Where Hard Water Stains Occur  

If you reside in an area with hard water, your bathroom and kitchen are highly vulnerable to these nasty stains. Common areas where hard water stains occur include:

  • Bathroom fixtures and showerheads: An excess of minerals can also affect the water supply to your bathroom through the shower head and the faucet. This can reduce water pressure and cause flow unevenness. 

  • Tubs and toilet bowls: Hard water deposits appear as brown rings or streaks in toilets and tubs.

  • Sinks and faucets: Your porcelain sink might have an odd surface after all the water has dried up due to stains. Mineral deposits can also pile up in aerators and restrict water flow through faucets. 

  • Tiles and grouts: Calcium deposits as white or greyish spots occur on bathroom tiles.

  • Glass surfaces: Water spots on glass fixtures—showers, mirrors, windows—are difficult to fully remove and give off an unappealing appearance. They leave white, cloudy, or streaky marks if not removed. 

  • Dishes and glassware: Hard stains can even interfere with the clean dishes by leaving behind some hard water stains.

  • Appliances: Hard stains can affect the efficiency of appliances such as dishwashers, coffee makers, ice machines, and washing machines, as deposits clog jets, hoses, and pumps.

How to Remove Hard Water Stains?  

Hard water stains, while they may require some effort, are not as permanent as they might seem. In fact, there are several straightforward approaches that can show you how to remove hard water stains from glass, toilets, appliances, tiles, and other surfaces.

Natural Solutions

There are natural cleaners that can be used for cleaning hard water stains:

  • Baking Soda 

Baking soda can soften water and remove calcium buildup easily. Use a mixture of baking soda with equal parts of water on the stained areas and let it sit for several minutes so that it soaks properly. Scrub tiles gently with a tooth brush. Combing baking soda and white vinegar also do wonders.

  • Hydrogen Peroxide

The extra laundry hydrogen peroxide does an excellent job of cleaning product buildup, soap scum, and water stains on bathtubs, particularly those with metal fixtures. To add more scrubbing action, try a mixture of the cream of tartar. Leave it on for up to 30 minutes and then wash off with a sponge dipped in warm water.

  • Fluoride Toothpaste

To your surprise, this little bathroom essential is pretty handy in cleaning hard water deposits too! Apply toothpaste on small metal fittings, glasses, or even dishware.

  • Vinegar

Another guaranteed all-purpose natural cleaner that softens the water is white or apple cider vinegar. Just fill a bottle with equal parts of water and spray it on any surface except soft stones such as marble or granite. Let it sit for 15 minutes, and scrub it with a brush. You can also soak paper towels in vinegar for cleaning glass surfaces. 

  • Borax

If vinegar is not enough and you still don’t know how to remove hard water stains from the toilet, then add borax to your list. Make a thick paste of vinegar and borax and pour it into the toilet bowl or edges before scrubbing. 

  • Fresh Lemon Juice

Lemon juice can be used separately or blended with salt/vinegar to tackle hard water. Spray on areas with hard water stains and leave for 10 minutes.

Commercial Cleaners

When it comes to tackling hard stains, you have a range of options. CLR (Calcium, Lime, Rust), Bioclean, Bring it On, Pumice, Mr. Clean Magic Erase for glass surface, and Bar Keeper’s friend are all excellent choices. These non-abrasive cleaners not only make your surfaces clean but also offer protection from future stains. Remember to always use products on different surfaces as directed in the instructions. 

How to Prevent Hard Water Stains? 

Now, let’s learn how to prevent the formation of deposits. Because hard water stains not only form deposits on tile surfaces but are also a nuisance as they can gradually block the flowing of water in the drains.

1. Install a Water Softener

Consider the installation of a water softener. This effective solution not only softens water, eliminating the formation of hard water stains, but also prevents common issues associated with hard water. These include blocked faucets and showerheads, reduced efficiency of water heaters, dull-looking clothes, weak and coarse hair, and skin rashes.

2. Use Resin Water Filters

    In order to bid hard water an absolute farewell, a resin filter that neutralizes ions in the water supply has to be installed. This water purification system filters the water, removing difficult deposits, thus keeping your pipes and fittings clean. 

    While researching how to get rid of hard water strains, the best reverse osmosis system for hard water from SimPure T1-400 UV seems to be the most effective. Thanks to its specially-designed RO membrane, the top water filter for hard water has a TDS removal capability of 95%+, making it one of the best water filter for calcium and magnesium removal. 

    Furthermore, equipped with the newest high-precision water pressure gauge and 8 filtration stages, this best RO water purifier for hard water is more efficient than many competitors.  

    3. Regular Cleaning Routine

      Routine cleaning will go a long way in preventing and controlling the growth of hard water deposits. Cleansing your toilet bowl with vinegar or toiler cleaner should be done monthly. It is advisable that you occasionally check the hardness level of water and handle the issue before it escalates.

      4. Dry Surfaces After Use

        By drying the sinks, showers, and countertops after every use, the buildup of these minerals can be significantly reduced. Although it may require commitment, this has to be the best way to avoid hard water stains.

        5. Protective Coatings

          Affixing preventive coating on the tiles and other fixtures can help minimize the formation of minerals that stick to surfaces. Treat the external glass surfaces with a coat of paint or with a water-repellent solution so that water does not stick and leaves mineral deposits on it.


          Most hard water stains develop in the areas near bathtubs, tiles, faucets, or surfaces where water is frequently used. Minerals tend to form a buildup on any surface and become progressively worse as time goes by. Therefore, routine cleaning must be done to keep the fixtures and appliances operating efficiently. You can use natural cleaners or commercial cleaners to remove hard water stains from toilets, glass, sinks, and tiles. Since hard water is a common issue that can affect your household water system in various ways, it is advisable to install a water softener or water filtration system.

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