Tips to Remove Hard Water Stains From Your Home
Homes that rely on water containing dissolved minerals often run into hard water stains. Pesky hard water stains may look unpleasant to the eye, but thankfully they’re not permanent. However, if you allow them to build up over time, they will form layers of mold and mildew in your bathroom or around the valves of your dishwasher, which can entail costly plumbing work and repairs.
Tackling these stains is an essential part of your house cleaning routine. Your once-bright chrome faucet, bright tub, or glass shower door has accumulated layers of stubborn scum caused by hard water. There are unusual ways to prevent or remove them and reinstate the lost glory.
Causes of Hard Water Stains
Rain and natural groundwater collect calcium, iron, and magnesium ions by traveling through rocks and soil beneath the earth’s surface. With the increase in mineral content, the water becomes hard. Although water is virtually colorless, a grimy residue or traces of minerals are left behind on your surfaces with the evaporation of hard water. They can vary between a white, chalky substance to dark orange, rust-looking spots depending on the intensity of the chemical content in the water.
These unsightly droplets are most commonly found on glass doors, mirrors, bathroom fixtures, porcelain, tiles, and metal surfaces, as well as your stainless steel dishes and clothing. Over a while, pipes tend to get damaged by the build-up of minerals present in hard water and the usage of lathering products. Generally, hard water isn’t harmful to your health; but, it makes soaps less effective, leading to the need for a wide variety of stronger products to get the same desired results.
How to Identify Hard Water Stains?
As per studies, hard water is found in approximately 85% of homes within the US. Depending on the soil content where you reside, the water may be harder or softer. The overall appeal of your home interiors can largely depend on the water. Water with a softness of 1gpg is best for creating the maximum and longest-lasting soap bubbles. You can identify hard water stains when you notice white scaling on faucets, soap scum on tubs and sinks, dingy whites from your laundry, or mineral residues on the glassware.
Minerals in hard water cause delayed water heating, which may waste more energy and inflate your monthly electric or gas bills. You can also ascertain the presence of hard water when your laundry detergent and hard water do not mix well to create enough lather to clean your dirty clothes. Hard water stains on stainless steel are commonly found in electronic appliances like stovetops, dishwashers, and refrigerators, along with sinks, utensils, and countertops.
Hard water also doesn’t wash off hand soap and bathing soaps, making your skin and hair dry. Also, at most times, municipal treatment does not address this problem. Hence, it is imperative to know some of the easiest solutions to eradicate hard water stains and restore the luster of your favorite household items.
Best Ways to Remove Hard Water Stains From Glass
Several natural cleaners can effectively remove hard water spots from glass. Make a mixture of white vinegar and water. Spray it generously over the stained area of the shower doors of your bathroom or any other item of glass and wait for 15 minutes. Reapply more of the vinegar-water mixture and wipe it off with a soft cloth. Sprinkling baking soda can boost the cleaning process. You may even pour the vinegar into your dishwasher to make your glassware items free of hard water spots. If your dishwasher lacks a designated spot used for rinsing agents, you can pour a bowlful of vinegar on its topmost rack and run the appliance as you would do for normal cleaning. Alternatively, you can prepare a baking soda paste by adding a few drops of water to baking soda and mixing it well. Apply the paste and keep it untouched for a few minutes; then scrub it off using a brush with bristles. Pour water to flush off the stained area. Also, your fluoride toothpaste not just cleans your teeth but can make glass surfaces go streak-free as well.
Best Ways to Remove Hard Water Stains From Showers
The best way to clean showers stained with hard water is to use a vinegar and water solution. Pour the liquid in an empty bottle, spray the liquid wherever you need to, and wait for 15 minutes. Wipe away the stained spots on the shower with a cloth using medium pressure. Difficult spots, like showerheads, might need some specific technique of cleaning. To deal with stubborn stains, dip paper towels into a pre-made white vinegar and water solution. Gently squeeze out extra liquid and cloak them around the showerhead. Remove after 15 minutes and use them to wipe the stains away.
Best Ways to Remove Hard Water Stains From Toilet
Since toilets are usually made of porcelain, calcium, iron, and rust buildup are normal due to the regular hard water supply. As toilet bowls hold standing water, the chances of getting damaged due to the hard water are higher. It can even become a cause of embarrassment if you fear your hygiene habits would be judged or questioned by your guests using your toilet.
Applying a generous amount of Lysol Power Toilet Bowl Cleaner around the edges of the toilet bowl can erase the stains faster than you can imagine. Wait for 15 minutes before flushing it away with water. Apply for the second time, if required. You can also use a disinfecting surface cleaner to remove the bacteria Serratia Marcescens, which causes pink stains in toilet bowls. Spray this hydrogen peroxide-based solution on toilet stains and wait for 10 minutes. Scrub the nasty stains away with a toilet brush and flush.
Alternatively, you can use Borax to get rid of hard water stains in toilet rims and surfaces that refuse to budge. Flush the toilet and pour a quarter of a cup of Borax into it. Sweep your toilet brush lightly around. Spray one or two cups of vinegar into the toilet. Wait for 20-30 minutes and scrub the stains away only to find a fresher and cleaner-looking toilet bowl after you flush. You can use a fine-grade steel wool scrub for removing nastier rings around your toilet.
Best Ways to Remove Hard Water Stains From Windows
In some regions, water contains higher minerals (magnesium, calcium, bicarbonates, and sulfates) and compounds that make it hard. When this water comes in contact with your windows through sprinkler systems or your garden hose, it leaves spots on the window surfaces. Often, the basement and the main floor windows are the worst hit. Hard water stains on glass window panes can make them appear dirty, hazy, and old.
Removing the spots is not always an easy task. Depending on the severity of the problem, you need to find solutions to make them look clean like new once again. Remember to avoid using any abrasives unless you know the proper technique or use the right tools. Conduct a spot test in a small area. An abrasive can create ugly scratch marks on tempered glass. Mix vinegar and water to create a homemade hard water stain remover. Spray the mixture onto the window and allow it to sit for 15 minutes. Wipe off the stains using a soft cloth for a streak-free shine. Follow the label if you are using a commercial cleaner. Always use appropriate protective equipment like gloves and mask while working with chemicals. Mix the store-bought powder with water to make a paste before applying it to the glass using a wet towel or white nylon scrub pad. Target the stained areas and gently remove the hard water spots.
Best Ways to Prevent Hard Water Stains
Getting hard water stains off is important, but it’s always better to prevent them from happening in the first place. Remember that taking a few minutes from your schedule each day to keep water stains and soap scum build-up in check goes a long way in reducing your cleaning chores. If your house happens to be located in an area that gets a hard water supply, a home water softener can be a smart investment. It will not just remove stain-causing minerals that collect on your household surfaces but also keep your clothes clean and create more lather for your soap and shampoo.
Also, installing a water filtration system can prevent the minerals dissolved in water from trickling inside the home through the pipes and water heater. Sealing surfaces by adding a non-toxic cleaner at regular intervals throughout the year can prevent future hard water stains from showers and tubs. A toilet brush is your magic tool to prevent the stains caused by bacteria collected on the exterior and underneath the rim of your toilet bowl. Just squeeze out your favorite cleaner and clean it with the brush every few days. Spraying a natural all-purpose cleaner on granite, glass, marble, or any other non-porous surfaces in your home every day can do the trick. Use a microfiber towel to wipe off after spraying the surfaces to leave them streak-free and spotlessly clean for the next few weeks.
Using all-purpose cleaners suitable for multiple surfaces can be tough on dirt and grime but gentle on skin and senses. So, you can use them to clean hard water stains with the methods enlisted here. Cleaning, however, requires time, effort, and will. If you happen to lack any of them but have a passion for clean home improvement, professional help can come to your aid.