How to Remove Hard Water Stains & Keep Them Away

Deep cleaning the house can be an exhausting job. There are so many areas that demand a great deal of time and attention. One of the areas that need the most time is the bathroom. Hard water stains can be stubborn and difficult to clean. Here are some tips on how to remove hard water stains.

How to Remove Hard Water Stains

How are hard water stains formed?

Hard water stains are left behind after water evaporates. The evaporated water leaves minerals such as magnesium and calcium that are the culprit of hard water. This mineral residue can be hard to remove and often requires bleach or strong cleaners. As many as 85% of homes in the United States have some level of hard water in their home. This hard water can seem frustrating but it is not impossible to take care of, especially with a safe, effective cleaner.

How do I know if I have hard water?

When your home has hard water there are a few warning signs. Hard water will typically leave stains on surfaces like porcelain, enamel, china, stainless steel, tile, chrome, fiberglass, and glass. You could notice white stains such as build up on stainless steel sinks, bathroom fixtures, dishes, and shower doors. If there is manganese in the water those stains will be brownish or black. Iron-rich water leaves deposits that look red or like white slime. You may also see green stains around plumbing fixtures if you have water that is slightly acidic.

Which products should be avoided for hard water cleaning?

When cleaning hard water stains, you will find a variety of products on the market. Many of these products will promise a quick solution to your problem. In fact, items like caustic cleaners and bleach are often suggested as the only way to truly clean hard water stains. These products may help with the hard water stains, but they will also bring chemicals into your home that can be harmful to your health. Here are a few chemicals to avoid when shopping for hard water cleaning supplies.

Chemicals to avoid in hard water cleaning supplies

  • Bleach - Bleach can be suggested for cleaning hard water stains. However, bleach has been known to be irritating to the skin, lungs, and eyes. Using bleach to clean hard water can be harmful to your health.
  • Silica - Silica can cause lung related issues. Silica can be found in many of your hard water cleaning products on the market right now.
  • Sulfonic acid - Sulfonic acid can be harmful to skin and lungs. Contact in small amounts can cause skin irritation or skin damage. This ingredient can be found in many hard water cleaning products on the market right now. 

Can I make my own hard water cleaner?

When faced with harmful ingredients, many people can be nervous about using store bought cleaners. One way people try to handle this is by making their own cleaners. This can be a fantastic way to help keep safe ingredients in your home. There are a few natural options you can try on your own. Here are a few tips for making your own hard water cleaner.

Tips for making your own hard water cleaner

  • Know which ingredients not to mix - Items such as ammonia and bleach should not be mixed as they can cause a chemical reaction when combined. Before mixing any ingredients make sure to research which ingredients will interact negatively with one another.
  • Use vinegar - Vinegar is often used in cleaners that treat hard water stains. The reason for this is that the vinegar can break down the minerals that cause hard water stains. It is often recommended to do a 2:1 ratio with water and vinegar.
  • Combine baking soda and vinegar - Combining baking soda and vinegar can create a chemical reaction that can help to break down the minerals that cause hard water stains. Often the best way to do this is to sprinkle baking soda and then spray a vinegar solution on it.
  • Use lemon juice - Lemon juice can be another great ingredient when you create your own hard water cleaner. The lemon juice can help to break down the minerals that cause these stains.
  • Use peroxide - Peroxide can be an option for cleaning hard water stains. The chemicals in peroxide can react well to the minerals in hard water stains to help break them down. It is important to mix with something else to keep it from being too strong. 

Are there safe products that can be purchased?

When cleaning hard water stains you may not want to make your own cleaner. If you want to purchase a safe product that will work well, this is possible. Picking out a safe product is completely possible. Not all products that claim to be safe are actually safe. Here are a few things to keep in mind when purchasing a hard water cleaning product.

  • Check the active ingredients - Lactic acid is a safe active ingredient that can help with removing hard water. It is also safe for cleaning without worrying about health implications.
  • Verify that it will work on a variety of surfaces safely - When choosing products to use in your home, make sure that they are able to treat hard water stains on a variety of surfaces. Not all cleaners are safe for all surfaces. It is important to buy a cleaner that will work on a variety of surfaces without damaging them.
  • Find a product that protects after usage - Some of the hard water cleaning products on the market will clean hard water stains but not protect against future hard water stains. Some products on the market can help to protect against future damage by forming a protective seal on surfaces.
  • Choose a non-abrasive product - Some products on the market will be abrasive to surfaces. It is important to find products that will not do more damage to the surfaces you are cleaning. Some of the products on the market can scratch or degrade the counters and surfaces they are used on.