Best Methods & Products to Remove Hard Water Stains Cleanzen Infographic


Hard water is water that is heavy with mineral elements. As the water runs through your pipes and over various surfaces, it leaves behind traces of those mineral elements.


Over time, the residue builds up and creates an unsightly mess. Normal cleaning techniques do not remove these stains, so you need to take proven steps for hard water stain removal.


What are Water Stains?


Some of the many minerals that are commonly found in hard water are calcium, iron and magnesium. Even a small droplet of hard water will leave behind traces of these elements as the water dries.


Generally, the stains are white, but they can also have a rusty or brownish hue. The specific color depends on the types and concentrations of elements in the water. Over time, they can detract from the sheen on metal faucets, make it impossible to see through otherwise clear glass and have other impacts throughout the home.


What Causes Hard Water Stains?


Best Methods & Products to Remove Hard Water Stains Cleanzen Image of a Dirty Faucet with Limescale


If your home has hard water, you likely will have to deal with hard water stain removal many times over the years. The stains form when even a small amount of hard water dries.


The water evaporates, but the minerals that it holds remain on the surface. They harden over time, and the residue can accumulate each time more water is on the surface. Thankfully, there are several ways to remove hard water stains in the home.


Natural Cleaning Solutions for Removing Hard Water Stains


There are several commercial cleaning products available at local stores and online that are effective at removing hard water stains. However, you can also use natural cleaning solutions with ingredients in your pantry right now.




Pour straight vinegar into a clean spray bottle. Spritz the stained areas. After 15 minutes, use a hard bristle brush to scrub the stains away. Avoid letting the vinegar dry. If the vinegar appears to be drying before the allocated time has passed, simply spray more vinegar on the surface. Both apple cider vinegar and white vinegar are effective.


Hydrogen Peroxide with Cream of Tartar


If you only need to clean a small stain, a paste of cream of tartar and hydrogen peroxide can do wonders. This paste can remain on the stained area for 30 minutes. You may need to use a damp cloth to scrub the stain after the time has passed to fully remove the stain.


Baking Soda


Baking soda is an effective, natural solution for removing hard water stains from ceramic tiles. Apply a paste made out of baking soda and water to the area. After a few minutes, use a scrub brush to remove the stain.


How to Remove Water Stains on Various Surfaces


Glass Surfaces


Best Methods & Products to Remove Hard Water Stains Cleanzen Image of a Shower Glass with Hard Water Deposits


Spraying pure vinegar on glass is the most effective way to remove hard water stains on this surface. In addition to removing the stains, vinegar is an excellent product for general glass cleaning and will leave the glass sparkling.


Shower Walls & Tub


If your shower walls and tub surround have ceramic tiles, using a baking soda paste is a smart option. The paste only needs to sit on the surface for a few minutes until you can thoroughly scrub the stains away.


Shower Heads


Best Methods & Products to Remove Hard Water Stains Cleanzen Image of a Shower Head with Hard Water Deposits


Shower heads can also develop hard water stains. If you can remove the shower head, simply submerge it in a bowl of pure vinegar for about 15 minutes before scrubbing and rinsing it. If you cannot remove the shower head, you can tie a plastic storage bag filled with vinegar around the shower head to achieve the same results.


Sink & Faucets


A paste of hydrogen peroxide and cream of tartar can be used to remove hard water stains on sinks and metallic surfaces. This paste should sit on the surfaces for 30 minutes before it is scrubbed and rinsed off.




Because it is not feasible to use a paste when removing hard water stains in a toilet, vinegar is the best natural solution. Pour an ample amount of vinegar into the bowl. After allowing it to sit for several minutes, use the toilet brush to scrub it.


The inside of the water tank also may have hard water stains. To remove these, turn off the water supply to the toilet. Then, flush the toilet until most of the water is removed from the tank. You can then spray the interior of the tank with vinegar and scrub the stains off.


How to Prevent Hard Water Stains


Best Methods & Products to Remove Hard Water Stains Cleanzen Image of a Scrubbing Toilet


As long as hard water is coming into your home, you will have stains to contend with. You can prevent hard water stains by investing in a total home water softener.


Water Softner GIF - Water Softner GIFs


If a water softener is not in your budget, you can run through the hard water stain removal steps weekly. By staying on top of hard water stains, you can minimize the chance of developing stubborn stains that take a considerable amount of manpower to remove.


For Easy Stain Removal


Several commercial hard water stain removal products are available.


CLR is one of these products. It stands for Calcium, Lime and Rust, and it effectively eliminates these elements with minimal scrubbing required.


Glisten is a water stain removal product for tackling stains in the dishwasher and on dishes. Reva’s Choice makes a Hard Water Stain Remover that can be used on tile, glass, toilet bowls and other surfaces.




Does CLR get rid of hard water stains?
CLR is a popular hard water stain remover. It is available as a spray for easy use on most surfaces. This product works by breaking down the minerals in the stains for easy removal.


Does vinegar and Dawn remove hard water stains?
While straight vinegar can be used to remove hard water stains, some people add Dawn liquid dish soap to create a soapy solution. Dawn liquid dish soap allows the vinegar to adhere better to the surfaces for enhanced cleaning capabilities.


Are hard water stains permanent?


Best Methods & Products to Remove Hard Water Stains Cleanzen Image of a Sink Drain with Hard Water Stain


Hard water stains are not permanent. However, over time, additional layers of mineral deposits will be added to the stains. This makes it increasingly difficult to remove the stains. Staying on top of hard water stain removal is recommended.


What is the best toilet hard water stain remover?
Several hard water stain removal products are designed specifically for toilets. Lysol and Lime-a-Way, for example, have toilet cleaning gels with hard water stain removal properties.


What is the best product to remove hard water stains from tile?
Both vinegar and baking soda are natural cleaning solutions for removing hard water stains from tile. You can also use a commercial cleaning product, such as CLR, on tile.


Tackling hard water stains is essential for maintaining a clean home. Rather than try to remove the stains yourself, take advantage of our deep cleaning services in Boston. Our cleaning team provides a full range of services to meet your routine and deep cleaning.


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