Hard water stains are the result of calcium and magnesium in your water that leave behind white bits of lime. You’ll generally find them on shower heads and anything else that comes into sustained contact with the water, such as tea pots. Over time, these lime scales may start to clog up your shower head, not to mention looking really ugly. They’re difficult if not impossible to treat with conventional cleaners. You need acid, not soap, do make the hard mineral deposits dissolve. The handiest household acid is vinegar, although you may use lemon juice.
- If you can, remove your shower head, and place it in a pan of boiling water and white vinegar. Use half water and half vinegar. Cook it for fifteen or twenty minutes then leave it to soak overnight or for several hours.
- If you can’t remove your showerhead it’s more difficult, but you can use a plastic bag, taping, clamping or rubber banding it onto your showerhead. The bag should contain the same mixture of equal parts white vinegar and water. Again, let it soak overnight. The next day remove the bag and if the lime scales aren’t completely gone, repeat.
- Faucets may be treated the same way as shower heads, with appropriate sized bags. If you have hard water stains on your bathroom counters or other flat, level area, then soak a towel in a vinegar solution and lay it on top.
- For basins of any sort, such as sinks, tubs and toilet bowls, fill the basin completely with water, preferably hot water, adding vinegar. Use one cup for sinks and toilets, and one liter for tubs. Leave the basin to soak for several hours.
- Treat especially difficult stains by making a paste out of vinegar and baking soda and scrubbing as hard as you can without damaging the surface. You may need to continue to soak the area repeatedly to get the desired results.
- Cookware and dishes (such as glasses) may also be soaked in a vinegar solution. Glassware only needs brief soakings, fifteen minutes to an hour, while pots and pans might require longer treatment. To help the process, put your pan on the stove and heat it up. Treat coffee makers by pouring white vinegar directly into the reservoir and allowing it to run through a regular brewing cycle. This will disperse the vinegar throughout the machine. Afterwards you’ll need to run plan water through a couple of times to make sure your coffee won’t taste like vinegar.
Although most hard water stains can be removed without much work, not all of them can. You can get rid of the lime, but sometimes there will be a permanent white stain left behind, particularly on glassware. This is because the lime bonded with the glass. Still, there’s no reason to put up with encrusted shower heads or flaky white stuff on your pots. A good soaking in vinegar will leave them clean, even if not perfect.