How to Remove Hard Water Stains – Actionable Tips

Because of the high mineral content in hard water, it can leave stains on anything it touches. These are usually known as hard water stains, mineral deposits, hard water deposits and one that you’re probably more familiar with: limescale. These stains can be annoying, unsightly and difficult to remove.

So, what you do about it? Let’s have a look at some solutions for removing these stubborn hard water stains and how you can nip it in the bud before things get out of hand.

What are Hard Water Stains?

If you have hard water, you may have noticed these crusty, white stains in your bathroom on the porcelain, glass, metal surfaces and tiles. They can also build up around your faucets, toilet and showerhead.

In the kitchen you will normally find these stains in the sink, on the dishes and even in your kettle. These can be annoying, and the worst part is that no matter how hard and how often you rub, they never seem to leave.

These stains are formed every time your tap water evaporates as it leaves behind a grimy residue on your surfaces. The minerals in the water, such as magnesium and calcium, solidify and accumulate. If you don’t clean them regularly, over time they will turn into the crusty, white, hard-to-remove coating that you just can’t get rid of.

How to Remove Hard Water Stains

Cleaning hard water stains from toilet steps

Hard water stains in the toilet bowl

The most effective, nontoxic and natural cleaners to remove hard water stains are vinegar, lemon juice and baking soda so if you have some of these ingredients in your pantry, make use of them and try these effective cleaning tips to rid your house of all these unsightly stains.

  • Dishwasher

Add one cup of white vinegar to your dishwasher once a month and run a cleaning cycle while it’s empty. This will get rid of stains that accumulate inside your dishwasher.

  • Shower doors

Spray your shower doors with white vinegar to remove hard water stains and limescale from the glass. Once sprayed, wipe it off with a damp cloth. If the stains are very hard, mix vinegar and bicarbonate of soda to create a paste. Use that to scrub the spots.

  • Chrome faucets

Soak a rag or a paper towel in vinegar and wrap it around the affected area, leaving it for up to an hour. Then, rinse it with water and wipe it dry. Add more vinegar to the towels when they start drying out for best results. You can also spray fresh lemon juice onto the limescale build-up near or on your faucets. Then, rinse after 10 minutes and wipe clean.

  • Showerheads

Soak the showerhead in white vinegar overnight. If you can’t leave it overnight, at least let it sit for a few hours. Scrub hard with an old toothbrush, rinse it with water and then fix it back on.

  • Washing machine

Add a gallon of white vinegar to the washing machine and run it through a wash cycle with hot water. Remember not to put any clothes in it!

  • Rubber bathmats  

Clean and disinfect your rubber bath mats by soaking them for an hour in a tub or bucket with white vinegar. Then, scrub and rinse with warm water. There should be enough vinegar to cover the mat.

  • Toilet

Add half a cup of white vinegar and a tablespoon or two of bicarb into the toilet bowl. Allow to fizz and sit for 10-15 minutes. Scrub and flush.

  • Sinks/tubs

Spray the surfaces of your sinks and tubs with vinegar or lemon juice. Leave it for half an hour and then wipe it clean. If the buildup is strong, make a paste with either lemon juice and bicarb or vinegar and bicarb. Use the paste to scrub the spots and wipe clean.

Chemical Cleaners for Hard Water Stains

If you prefer to use commercial cleaners to remove the hard water stains, it’s best to go for one that contains sequestrants such as phosphoric, hydroxyacetic or hydrochloric acids since these capture the minerals in the water and deactivate them. Watch out for abrasive cleansers as they can scratch and ruin surfaces which causes hard water deposits to build up even faster. When using a chemical cleanser, make sure to always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use.  

Here are some of the best commercial cleansers for hard water stains available on the market right now.

1- Bring It On Hard Water Stain Remover

This product is an innovative cleaning solution that’s extremely powerful but also completely safe for children and pets. It’s made from a blend of oxygen bleach which isn’t toxic unlike chlorine bleach. Pour the liquid onto any surface in your bathroom affected by hard water stains and leave it for a minute, then scrub away the stains and scum in circular motion with a nonabrasive kitchen scrub pad. Wipe it off with a damp towel and you’ll be surprised to see the result.

Bring It On Cleaner leaves your shower doors, tiles and grout spotless and it even has a fresh mint scent that will leave your bathroom smelling great. It’s so effective, it removes even the most stubborn of stains caused by mineral deposits in hard water as well as rust stains that build up on your faucets.


  • Non-toxic
  • Removes hard water spots and residue on bathroom surfaces
  • Safe for children and pets
  • A ‘green’ product


  • Some people may not enjoy the smell

2- Chomp Shower Door Magic Gel Cleaner

Give your bathroom a stunning makeover with this Shower Door Magic Gel Cleaner from Chomp. This powerful cleaner is great at eliminating hard water residue not only on your shower doors but just about any bathroom surface. You’ll find it’s also very easy to use. Just pour directly onto your shower doors, tiles or sinks and then watch while it sets to work even before you start scrubbing.

What we liked about this product was that it features a Scum Shield formula that’s very unique and protects your bathroom surfaces from getting more stains and residue build-up in the future. Since this solution is made from non-abrasive chemicals, it’s perfectly safe to use. It even has a mild, pleasant scent of fresh grapefruit that will leave your bathroom smelling fresh and clean.


  • Specially made for shower doors
  • Banishes grime, scum and hard water residue
  • Works on any bathroom surface
  • Special Scum Shield formula to prevent future build-ups


  • Doesn’t remove mold

3- Bio-Clean Hard Water Stain Remover and Brush Kit

This hard water stain removing kit comes with a large bottle of eco-friendly solution from Bio-Clean and two brushes of different sizes that can be used for a deep scrubbing effect by attaching to a drill.  The Bio-Clean solution is so effective it can remove everything from hard water stains to rust stains and is made from lab-tested safe abrasives so you can use it on any surface you like without having to worry about wear or tear.

When using this product, all you have to do is apply it to the surface that you need to clean by using a cloth or one of the brushes to spread it over the surface. It works brilliantly to remove water spot stains, soap scum, mineral deposits, rust, mildew and even oxidation deposits and can be used not only in the bathroom but anywhere in the house. This professional cleaner with its unique formula is also quite popular for use in hospitals, nursing homes, hotels and public facilities.


  • Multisurface cleaner
  • For industrial and commercial purposes
  • Light, pleasant smell
  • Polishing features
  • The brushes work with most drills


  • The drill is not included

How to Prevent Hard Water Stains

removing hard water stains from toilet

Prevention is the best way of getting rid of stains, mineral deposits and lime-scale buildup that are left behind from hard water before the situation goes out of hand. Of course, with our busy schedules it can be difficult to do this on a daily basis but on the other hand, it can really pay off.

Following these simple tips can help you keep your home clean and spot-free.

Don’t let water dry up on surfaces – since mineral deposits are what’s left behind when water evaporates, wiping surfaces dry is crucial when it comes to preventing stains. Shower doors are common areas for minerals to deposit so you can use a rubber squeegee on them to remove water after every shower.

Use a spray cleaner on your shower doors – if you don’t want to use a squeegee on your shower doors or you don’t have the time to spend on it, give them a quick spray with a shower cleaner after each use to keep the hard water stains at bay. The simplest cleaner you could use is vinegar and water. Although some people don’t like the smell of vinegar, it doesn’t hang around long. In fact, it’ll be gone in a few minutes after you spray and the result will be worth it.

Invest in water softening equipment This method can be expensive, but it may be worth it, especially if your water is extremely hard and you’re tired of dealing with the stains. It requires very little effort on your part since all you need to do is purchase and install the water softener and then let it take over for you. Water softening systems remove stain-causing minerals from your hard water before distributing it to the entire household, giving you clean, healthy and softened water which won’t leave those unsightly stains all over your surfaces. There are many water softeners on the market that require very little to no maintenance and can last you for years.

Summing up…

Although hard water stains can be really annoying to get rid off, it’s not an impossible feat. The solutions we’ve mentioned have been used by many people who state that they are highly effective, but this depends on the mineral content of your water and how bad the situation is.

If you find the home remedies aren’t working for you, you can always try a commercial cleanser and you may sometimes have to do several applications to completely eliminate stains and mineral build-up.

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