Close this search box.
Close this search box.

How To Remove Hard Water Stains Around Your Home

How To Remove Hard Water Stains Around Your Home

Has your once shinning tub or shower slowly become stained and dirty? Do you scrub and scrub soiled areas around your home with no luck? In all likelihood, the culprit responsible for your persistent grime is hard water stains.

Here at iWaterPurification, we believe that education is the key to empowering people, which is why this article will provide you with insight into DIY solutions (and more) for improving your hard water concerns.

Let’s get started!

What is Hard Water?

Hard water is water with very high mineral content. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, roughly 85 percent of American households have hard water. Hard water stains occur when mineral-rich water vaporizes, leaving a grimy residue on your surfaces. How to tell if your home has hard water or not can be tricky, but most commonly, you’ll start noticing hard water stains in the bathroom due to the combination of hard water and shampoo on glass, ceramics, and metal surfaces. You can also find hard water stains on your dishes and clothing. 

Common Hard Water Stains Around the House

If you live in a state or region where household hard water is the norm, it’s best to clean hard water stains routinely, before they have a chance to penetrate the surfaces in your home.

Here are some areas around your home where you may begin to notice this type of buildup, plus here’s how to remove hard water stains from these areas:


Household water carries dissolved minerals that contains too much magnesium, through the home plumbing. These minerals then start building upon and around the faucets. Over time the minerals accumulate as hard, scaly deposits.

You can try wrapping paper towels, or a rag soaked in vinegar around the faucet and let it sit for several hours.


Do unsightly calcium deposits block your showerhead? Take off the showerhead and soak it in white vinegar overnight. Then, scrub it with an old toothbrush and rinse with water.

Shower doors

How to remove hard water stains from the shower is a popular question. Modern home almost always includes beautiful glass shower doors. Unfortunately, hard water can leave horrible water spots that are difficult to remove and look unsightly. You can try spraying your shower doors with white vinegar or white wine to remove limescale and hard water stains from the glass.


Hard water can have many effects on your home, but some of the most obvious ones occur in your dishwasher. Usually, the first signs that you’re having hard water problems with your dishwasher are when buildup starts to show up on

your dishes.

Soap does not wash off properly when mixed with hard water, so as a result, you may start to notice your dishes looking spotty or cloudy. This is especially visible on glassware, which will not come out as clear as you’d hoped.

Once every month you can try adding a cup of white vinegar to your dishwasher (without any dishes) and run it through a cleaning cycle.

Washing machine

Everyone loves to have soft, fresh-smelling laundry, but unfortunately for some, the hard water can make this more challenging to achieve. Try adding a gallon of white vinegar to the washing machine and run the empty washer through a wash cycle with hot water.

Also, keep the drum of your washing machine clean. This will help you avoid a buildup of limescale, which can damage the machine and reduce its cleaning performance.

Toilet tank and bowl

If you don’t know how to stay on top of your hard water problem, there’s a higher chance that you’ll encounter plumbing problems that might even lead to replacing your toilet. You can try adding 3 cups of white vinegar to your toilet tank to help to get rid of hard water stains in there. For the bowl, add 3 cups of vinegar and scrub.

Coffee maker

A clean coffee pot is sure to bring a smile to your face when you start that first pot in the morning. Sadly, no matter how often you wash the coffee pot with regular dish detergent and hot water, if you have hard water, it will leave unsightly deposits.

To tackle this issue, try running one brewing cycle with the water reservoir full of white vinegar to remove mineral deposits. Then, run two more brewing cycles with plain water to rinse the coffee maker.

Sinks and tubs

There’s nothing like sinking into the tub for a relaxing soak after a long day. However, hard water can make your tub feel like sandpaper, which is not very comfortable. Try spraying surfaces with lemon juice or vinegar, then let it sit for several hours. Depending on how much soap scum buildup there is, multiple applications may be necessary.

How To Clean Stubborn Hard Water Stains

Because hard water stains are notoriously tough to remove, here are some additional hard water stain removal tips you can try. Rest assured, though. There are also lots of ways that you can prevent hard water stains from returning once you’ve successfully removed them. Keep reading to learn more!

Use Liquid Cleaners

Because hard water stains are alkalic, it’s best to remove them with a powerful acid. Try finding a cleaning product that contains either:

  • Phosphoric
  • Sulfuric
  • hydrochloric acid

These acids should be able to break down the stains effectively.

Note: Acidic cleaning products are toxic, so be sure to take safety precautions when handling them

Mix Salt & Water

Salt acts as a scouring powder, helping cut through stains. You can try combining salt and water to remove the mineral buildup. Apply the mixture and use a clean cloth to rub the stain in a circular motion. Rinse the glass thoroughly when you’re finished to remove all saltwater remnants.

Use White Vinegar

Vinegar helps to loosen mineral deposits. Mix in

some lemon juice into the vinegar to not only increase the effectiveness but also to add a fresh lemon scent. Lemon juice has the same effect on minerals as vinegar.

Spray the solution on the glass and let it stand for roughly 2-3 minutes before wiping it clean with a dry.

Add A Rinsing Agent to Your Dishwasher

Agents like Jet-Dry can help remove hard water stains from your dishes. Fill up the appointed area in your dishwasher with the rinsing agent, add your usual dishwashing detergent, and run the dishwasher.

Add Ammonia to Basic Cleaning Products

You can try super-charging your regular all-purpose glass cleaner with some ammonia to cut through hard water stains.

Preventing Hard Water Stains in The Future

The best way to get rid of hard water stains, or preventing hard water stains in the future, is to stop stains before they begin.

Water softeners are a great option and can be added to counteract hard water. More on what a water softener does later in this article.

More tips:

  • Regularly wipe down and clean glass surfaces to stop hard water from drying into stains.

  • After each use, dry your shower doors with a lint-free towel or with a squeegee to remove all water residue or streaks.

  • Clean your glass weekly or so to stay ahead of buildup.

Again, you must act fast. The longer a stain settles, the harder it will be to remove, and it can even become permanently etched into the surface.

You can also try sealing or safeguard your glass surfaces. For example, for glass tables, use coasters under drinking glasses. They’ll catch any drips and spills and keep them from leaving ring stains on the table.

How to Remove Hard Water Stains from Glass

Sometimes the above methods don’t work for everyone depending on how severe the hard water problem is. However, getting rid of hard water stains on glass is not impossible. A few tools and a whole lot of elbow grease will help get your glass looking like new in no time.

Also, don’t feel discouraged if you still have some hard water spots after the first round of scrubbing. For those tough spots, you may need to go over it a couple of times.

Here’s what you need to remove hard water stains from glass:

  • Super Fine Steel Wool
  • Sheet
  • Gloves
  • White vinegar
  • Spray bottle
  • Mixing bowl or measuring cup
  • Barkeepers Friend (any of the powdered kind will work)
  • Face-mask

Step 1: The vinegar soak

Depending on how awful the buildup is, you may or may not need to do this step. Soak a sheet in white vinegar and hang it over the glass. Press as much of the sheet against the glass as possible so that the glass could “soak” in vinegar. If the sheet starts to dry out, spray with additional vinegar.

Step 2: Rinse and Prepare

After roughly 30 minutes rinse with water, and now you can prepare the Barkeepers Friend paste. Put on the mask and gloves. In a bowl or cup, add about 1/4 cup of powdered Barkeepers Friend. Now slowly add water until a paste forms, mixing well.

Step 3: Scrub

Use your hand to massage the paste over a section of the glass shower door, and, using a Super Fine Steel Wool pad to start scrubbing.

Step 4: Rinse again

We’ve reached the final step here which is rinse. And don’t forget to use a glass cleaner to clean the other side of the glass.

How to Remove Hard Water Stains from Toilets

How to Remove Hard Water Stains from Toilets

Hard water can quickly build up in toilets, leaving rust and scale stains that are very unsightly and often extremely hard to remove, especially for toilets, which always holds standing water.

Here are some household products that can help rid your bowl of the dreaded ring:

Baking Soda & Vinegar

Baking soda and vinegar are the most effective household products that can be used to clean, including hard water stains in the toilet.


  • Staring with pouring 1 cup of vinegar into the toilet bowl and swish it around with a toilet brush
  • Now let it sit for about 1 minute
  • Add approximately 1 cup of baking soda to the toilet bowl, then add another 1 to 2 cups of vinegar. This will create a fizzing action
  • Let the solution rest for about 10 minutes or so
  • Use a toilet brush to spread the solution
  • around
  • Have the vinegar and soda solution sit for half an hour
  • Scrub any leftover stains with the toilet brush or a stiff-bristled brush
  • Now you can flush the toilet to rinse.

Borax & Vinegar

Borax is an excellent multi-purpose cleaning product that can be used to clean hard water stains in the toilet and other plumbing fixtures.

Borax Paste

For those really stubborn hard water toilet stains, try using Borax paste.

Start by:

  • Shutting off the water to the toilet by the fixture shutoff valve
  • Now flush the toilet to drain the bowl
  • Mix 1/2 cup of Borax and enough vinegar to form a thick paste
  • Apply the paste immediately onto the hard water stains in the toilet
  • The Borax can get hard quickly, so add the vinegar when you’re completely ready to apply the paste
  • Let the paste to sit for 15-20 minutes
  • Now you may remove the paste by scrubbing with a stiff-bristled brush
  • To rinse, simply flush the toilet

Scrub & Sandpaper

For very stubborn hard water stains in the toilet, you can try using 0000-grade steel wool. Make sure to use 0000-grade steel wool to prevent scratches to surfaces.

Clean the Toilet Daily

Cleaning your toilet regularly will help prevent hard water stains from building up. Use 1/4 cup of Borax with every cleaning as Borax helps to soften hard water.

How to Remove Hard Water Stains from Tubs & Showers

How to Remove Hard Water Stains from Tubs & Showers

Baking Soda

Get the gunk off old enameled bathtubs and sinks by applying a paste of 2 parts baking soda and 1-part hydrogen peroxide. Let the paste sit for close to half an hour. Give it a good scrubbing before rinse thoroughly.

Cream of Tartar

Cream of tartar and hydrogen peroxide can do the hard work of getting rid of bathtub stains for you. Start with filling a small, shallow cup or dish with cream of tartar and add hydrogen peroxide to make a thick paste. Now just apply to the stain and let it dry.

Oven Cleaner

Spraying with oven cleaner and let it sit for a few hours. Afterwards, give it a thorough rinsing. Make sure not to apply oven cleaner to colored porcelain tubs as it could cause discoloration. Watch out to not to get the oven cleaner on your shower curtain as it can ruin your plastic and fabric.


Hard water stains can be lessened by mixing up a solution of salt and turpentine. Use a pair of rubber gloves to rub away the discoloration and then rinse thoroughly. Don’t forget to ventilate the bathroom when doing this.


Put the shine back in your porcelain tubs by giving them a good scrubbing with white vinegar. Follow this step with a rinse of cold water. Now, pour in 3 cups of white vinegar under running hot tap water and let the tub fill up over the stains. Soak for at least a couple of hours. When you drain the water out, you should be able to scrub off the stains easily.

What are Normal Magnesium Levels?

Water described as “hard” is high in dissolved minerals, specifically calcium and magnesium. Magnesium is an essential element in human metabolism and is required for over 300 enzyme reactions, including all reactions requiring adenosine triphosphate. Normal magnesium levels are necessary to regulate cell permeability, and inadequate levels of magnesium will severely affect cardiovascular, neuromuscular, and renal functions.

However, the most noticeable adverse effect of magnesium in drinking water is the laxative effect, particularly with magnesium sulphate. According to this study, toxicity has been reported in the elderly as a result of the extensive use of certain laxatives (magnesium sulphate) and antacids (magnesium hydroxides). At serum concentrations of 5 to 10 meq/L (6 to 12 mg/dL), can cause irregular heartbeats, skeletal muscle paralysis, respiratory depression, coma, and even death can occur at plasma concentrations of 15 meq/L (18 mg/dL).

Water Softeners (The Ultimate Solution)

If you want to completely remove hard water, minerals, magnesium, calcium, and chlorine coming into your home, you need to install a water softener. This will filter your water, so the minerals are removed before it gets to your showers, ice maker, faucets, dishwasher, washing machine, your skin, hair, and more.

A water softener is hands down the number one solution for hard water. It will make it so the water that is flowing through your entire home does not leave hard water stains at all. Whole-house water softeners come in a range of sizes and styles to accommodate your home and families water usage. The softener can be installed in the basement, garage, utility closet, or wherever water enters your home.

What Is A Water Softener & What Does It Do?

A water softener is a unit that is used to soften water by removing the minerals that cause the water to be hard by taking out the minerals (magnesium and calcium). When the outside water enters through it, the hard water goes through the resin bed, it removes the hard ions and adds soft ions.

This results in only the “softened” water entering your home’s plumbing. This is all done with salt. When the resin bed fills with the hardened minerals, it needs to be cleaned out, and the salt is replaced with new. Identifying the best water softener for your family can be a daunting task, to help you with this, you can check out our water softener reviews of the best water softeners of 2024.

Portable Water Softeners

By now you know that a water softer reduces the concentration of calcium, magnesium, and other metal cations in hard water. However, if you are someone who happens to live on the go, something like a portable water softener may be better suited for you. A portable water softener is an easy and cost-friendly way to enjoy the benefits of a whole house water softening system. Whether it’s for your RV or your boat, you can learn more about portable water softeners by checking out our portable water softener reviews here.

Take Away

The water in our homes affects everything from our pipes, appliances, dishes, to our clothing and body. Homeowners in the United States deal with hard water problems daily comparative to a household pest that won’t go away. Hard water can leave devastating effects on our plumbing, water heaters, dishwashers, washing machines, clothes, skin, and general wellbeing. If you consider hard water to be an issue in your home and you’re not too keen about putting in all that elbow grease, then the ultimate solution for this problem would be to invest in a water softening system.

A home water softener is the most effective way to remove the minerals that make your water hard. Inexpensive water softening systems are available from a variety of retailers with capacities to fit your home’s water usage and hardness.

Water Divider

Related Posts