Steps to Remove Hard Water Stains



Hard water stains are something that makes you wonder, “Why is it named stainless steel when it gets stains?” Either way, when you get hard water stains, removing them takes a bit more effort than usual. You can search for “home cleaning services near me” and hire professionals to get rid of all the hard water stains from your home. Otherwise, you can do it yourself with the following methods.

The Steps

1. Hard water

The US Geological Service defines the hardness of water as the “amount of dissolved calcium and magnesium in the water”. Basically, hard water has a high amount of dissolved minerals. While it is not bad for your health, it reduces the cleaning capacity of soap and leaves stains on glass, metal, tiles, and all kinds of other surfaces. The stain looks like a faintly chalky residue and isn’t permanent. However, if allowed to build up, the stain can form scale layers.

2. Remove hard water stains from glass

Even if you clean your shower perfectly, hard water stains would eventually form as hard water dries off the glass surface. That’s why you need to clean hard water stains regularly from the glass and keep a lookout for new ones every day to remove them before they turn into a big problem. If the hard water stain looks a bit cloudy, it won’t be removed with a simple wipe.

You can make a paste with a lot of table salt and a little bit of water and use that with a microfiber cloth on the stains. Scrub firmly with minimum pressure till the cloudy stains are removed. After that wipe the area clean with a damp cloth and dry it off with paper towels or dry and clean microfiber cloth.

Otherwise, you can mix equal parts of distilled white vinegar and lemon juice in a spray bottle and apply that to the stain. Spray the solution on the stains and let it sit there for a few minutes. Use a microfiber cloth to rub the stained area clean until the stain disappears. Follow up by rinsing the area with a clean damp cloth and drying the glass with a paper towel or a dry microfiber cloth.  

3. Remove hard water stains from sinks and bathtubs

sinks and tubs usually have an enamel or porcelain surface, irrespective of the core material. While porcelain is very smooth and has few pores, it can still get hard water stains. Sometimes they are harder to spot on your white bathtub when the stains have built up into a chalky-white scale. Here’s how you can remove them.

Mix equal parts of vinegar and water in a spray bottle and spray that mix on your tub or sink till those surfaces get saturated. Allow the mix to do its job on hard water stains for around half an hour and then respray the stained areas. Next, scrub those surfaces with an old toothbrush. If any stains remain after scrubbing with the toothbrush, respray the mix and repeat the entire process once again. Follow up by scrubbing with a magic eraser. Finally, rinse the sink or tub with hot water and dry it off with a clean microfiber towel.

While the above-mentioned method works on porcelain surfaces, it won’t work if your tub or sink is made from acrylic or other such materials. That’s when you’ll need to harness the power of baking soda. Lay paper towels on the hard water stains and soak them with vinegar. After the vinegar soaks for a couple of hours, remove the paper towels, rinse and check for visible stains. Use a paste of water and baking soda on the stubborn stains and rinse again. You can use the same method for cleaning hard water stains from the grout between tiles.

4. Remove hard water stains from the toilet bowl

You may have seen faint rings around the inside of your toilet bowl. Unfortunately, those are hard water stains and very difficult to remove. That’s why it’s important to remove them as soon as they pop up. Pour a cup of vinegar into the toilet bowl, swish it and let it sit there for five minutes.

Flush the toilet and check for the rings. If the rings are still there, pour a cup of baking soda and scrub the stains with a toilet brush. Allow the baking soda to sit there and break down the mineral deposits for around half an hour. Next, flush the toilet and check for stains. If the rings are still visible, turn off the water supply to the toilet and flush it. Pour hydrogen peroxide inside the empty toilet bowl and flush it down.

If the rings are too dense and have been built up over a long period, you may need to harness the power of something more potent like Borax. However, be careful while handling Borax since it is much more acidic despite having the same safety rating as baking soda.

5. Water softening system

If you get hard water stains too often, it’s best to invest in a water softening system. You can’t keep scrubbing your toilet and other surfaces every week to remove hard water stains. A water softening system pulls out most of the magnesium and calcium from the water so that you have a proper long-term solution.

These systems work by using negatively charged particles to attract the positively charged calcium and magnesium ions. You can choose between ion exchange water softeners, salt-free water softeners, or dual-tank water softeners. However, since hard water doesn’t harm your health, you should only consider this expense if hard water stains are a consistent and frequent problem for you. These systems don’t come cheap and would put you back by half a grand or more.


Hard water has dissolved minerals like magnesium and calcium that don’t harm your health but make soap less effective and leave stains everywhere. Fortunately, you can use the above-mentioned tips to clean hard water stains. Otherwise, you can search for “home cleaning services near me” and hire professionals to remove hard water stains.