How to Get Rid of Those Hard Water Stains

How to Get Rid of Those Hard Water Stains

Hard water contains high levels of dissolved magnesium and calcium. If you live in an area that has hard water, you may find yourself having to deal with stains, spots and a chalky residue that can form on your sinks, toilets, showers, and faucets, not to mention glassware and dishes that come out of the dishwasher. These stains are caused when water droplets dry and leave behind the mineral deposits. 

The bad news is that the minerals in the water that cause the stains and the filmy residue can slow and eventually clog showers and faucets. The good news is that these mineral deposits aren’t hard to remove, especially if you catch them quickly.

The Solution is in Your Cupboard or Fridge

For many problems regarding stains and spots, vinegar can work wonders. The acidity of vinegar helps to dissolve the alkaline mineral particles. Cleaning vinegar, which is more acidic than distilled vinegar, is especially good for cleaning stains but distilled white vinegar also works well.

Although vinegar is incredibly useful for cleaning, it is a multi-purpose cleaner, not an all-purpose one. 

Do not use vinegar on countertops, especially natural stone countertops such as granite or marble, wood flooring or wood furniture in general. If you’re using vinegar to clean any rubber parts on appliances such as the gaskets on fridges, be sure to thoroughly rinse the item as the acid in vinegar can eat away at it. You may want to consider using a commercial cleaner meant for dissolving stains.

Lemon is another gentle cleanser that is good for loosening hard water stains that have not set in.

Glass Shower Doors and Mirrors

Fill a spray bottle with a half water and half vinegar mixture. Shake the container well to get the ingredients to mix properly. Spray the mixture on the mirror and shower door and let it sit for about 10 to 15 minutes. Use a non-abrasive cloth or sponge to thoroughly rinse the mixture and dry with a soft cloth. 

Toilet Bowls

Use a plunger to remove the water from the bowl. Dry the sides of the bowl with a towel. Fill the bowl with vinegar to soak the hard water spots. You can use a rag to spread the vinegar over hard-to-reach spots like under the rim of the toilet. 

For tough stains, you can apply the vinegar to toilet paper and stick it on spots overnight. The vinegar will slowly eat away at the stains. Scrub with a toilet brush, removing anything that remains after the soaking. If stains are stubborn, repeat this process.

Kitchen and Bathroom Sinks

For stains in your sink, there are plenty of cleaners on the market – or you can simply use vinegar. Pour some vinegar in a spray bottle then spray it all over the sink. Give the vinegar about thirty minutes to work and then carefully wipe dry. If this doesn’t get rid of the stubborn stains, you can soak paper towels or clean rags in vinegar and drape them over the stains. Let the vinegar sit for 30 minutes or more and then scrub with a sponge to remove the stains. 


If you have an acrylic bathtub, cleaning with vinegar or lemon is safe and effective. Do not use abrasive cleansers as this could damage the surface. 

Porcelain bathtubs are more forgiving and can handle more aggressive cleansers. But vinegar works well on both types of bathtubs. Spray surfaces with lemon juice or vinegar, let sit for half an hour, and then wipe clean. Depending on how much build up there is, multiple applications may be necessary.


After spraying with vinegar, let it stand for a few minutes. 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 of even the toughest hard water stains.

Coffee Makers 

Run one brewing cycle with the water reservoir full of vinegar to remove mineral deposits. Then, run two more brewing cycles with plain water to rinse the coffee maker.

Ceramic Tile

Apply a baking soda and water paste to the affected areas. Let this natural cleaner penetrate the stain for several minutes. Then, lightly scrub with a toothbrush or other bristled brush to reveal tiles that look like new.


It may not be possible to stop potential hard water stains forming on newly washed glass and dishware if left to dry on their own. Make sure not to overload the dishwasher, use only a small amount of detergent, and add a rinse agent (vinegar works well) to help to keep the stains to a minimum. 

Hand drying right after washing is often the best way to avoid stains from forming. 

Wipe After Using

A simple way to stop hard water stains from forming is to wipe mirrors, faucets, sinks and shower doors and walls with a soft cloth after using to prevent the water from drying on the surface and leaving behind minerals. 

For the very best in appliance repair and maintenance, you can count on C&W Appliance Service. Get in touch with us at (855) 358-1496 or submit our online service request form.


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