How to Clean Hard Water Stains on Common Surfaces

Published October 20, 2020
Dirty faucet with hard water deposits

Learn how to clean hard water stains from your tubs, sinks, glass, plastic, and more. Get tips and tricks for avoiding hard water stains. Find out what exactly hard water is.

How to Clean Hard Water Stains From Tubs and Shower Walls

Cleaning your hard water stains from your tub and shower walls can be done with the fighting power of white vinegar along with a few friends.


Cleaning Hard Water Stains in the Bathroom

  1. Mix ¾ cups of white vinegar with ¼ cup of water in a spray bottle.
  2. Spray down all the surfaces with hard water stains.
  3. Allow to sit for 10-30 minutes.
  4. Wipe away with the microfiber cloth.
  5. For stubborn stains, create a paste of baking soda and water.
  6. Pack the paste onto the stain and let it sit for 15 or so minutes.
  7. Scrub with a toothbrush.
  8. Rinse and dry with a clean microfiber cloth.

For incredibly hard water and orange stains vinegar isn't touching, grab the CLR, and follow the container's instructions.

Cleaning the bathroom sink faucet

How to Clean Hard Water Stains From Porcelain Sinks, Tiles, and Toilets

Another area of your bathroom that succumbs to the grime of hard water is your porcelain toilet and sink. You can try the method for cleaning the bathroom tub and walls. However, there are a few other natural methods to give a go before breaking out the harsh chemicals.

Porcelain Sink Cleaning Materials

  • Baking soda
  • Cream of tartar
  • White vinegar
  • Toothbrush
  • Microfiber cloth

Cleaning a Porcelain Sink of Hard Water Stains

  1. Mix baking soda and water to create a paste.
  2. Spread the paste around and allow to sit for 15 minutes.
  3. Use the toothbrush to scrub.
  4. Rinse.
  5. For any remaining stains, mix vinegar and tartar 1:1.
  6. Allow to settle for a few minutes.
  7. Apply the cleaner to a toothbrush
  8. Scrub in circular motions.
  9. Rinse and dry with a microfiber cloth.

Remove Hard Water Stains From Stainless Steel Sinks and Enameled Cast Iron

Hard water isn't just a culprit in your bathroom; it hits your kitchen too. To rid your beautiful stainless steel sinks of hard water, vinegar and baking soda are still your go to.

Stainless Steel Cleaning Materials

  • White vinegar
  • Spray bottle
  • Aluminum foil
  • Baking soda
  • Microfiber cloth
  • CLR
Pouring distilled white vinegar in a coffee pot

Method for Cleaning Stainless Steel Sinks

  1. Put half water and white vinegar in a spray bottle.
  2. Spray down the sink.
  3. Allow it to sit for 15 minutes.
  4. Crumple a piece of aluminum foil.
  5. Spray it with the solution.
  6. Scrub the sink.
  7. Rinse with hot water.
  8. For any remaining stains, create a baking soda paste.
  9. Scrub the area.
  10. Rinse and dry.

For stubborn stains, showerheads, and faucets, try using a bit of CLR to remove the hard water buildup following the package's instructions.

How to Remove Hard Water Stains From Plastic

Hard water stains on plastic dishes and such can be avoided by getting a water softening system for your dishwasher or by drying your dishes with a cloth. However, if you are looking to remove them, you can soak them in a mixture of 50/50 water and vinegar overnight. The stains should be gone by morning.

How to Clean Hard Water Stains on Glass

Cleaning hard water off your glass shower doors can be done through a variety of methods. You can choose to use vinegar, lemons, toothpaste, and commercial cleaners. The method you use to clean your glass of hard water depends on the cleaner you use.

Water drops collecting on glass

What Is Hard Water?

Water that comes out of your tap has minerals in it. When you have hard water, you have a few extra minerals like magnesium or calcium. These minerals aren't harmful, but they can wreak havoc on your tubs and shower doors. Learn the best cleaning methods for getting hard water stains off common surfaces in your home.

How to Prevent Hard Water Stains

If you have hard water, getting stains on all your stuff isn't inevitable. By taking a few different precautions, you can avoid getting bogged down with hard water stains.

  • After running water or showering, wipe down the area with a cloth.
  • Prevent stains by misting areas with a solution of water and white vinegar daily to avoid build-up.
  • Clean sinks and tubs frequently to avoid build-up.
  • Get a water softener.

Cleaning Hard Water in Your Home

You might notice that if you have a bit of vinegar on hand, you are prepared to fight hard water build-up. Now grab your white vinegar and get to work.

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How to Clean Hard Water Stains on Common Surfaces