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How to deal with hard water and how to remove hard water stains

Hard water stains aren't pleasant on the eye but they are easy to remove! Use these simple tips to effectively remove hard water stains.


By Cleanipedia Team

cleaning shower head of hard water stains
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Key Steps:

There are a variety of cleaning solutions that can help remove hard water stains including:

  • Bleach Spray

  • Toilet cleaner

  • A bathroom spray with descaling properties like Cif.

  • A mixture of water & white vinegar

  • A paste of baking soda and water & white vinegar.

Whichever product you decide to use, remember to follow the instructions on the bottle and wear appropriate safety protection. Be sure to ventilate the room as well.

Much of Britain has drinking water that is classed as hard. As well as having an effect on taste, hard water can also cause other household problems. The chalky white mineral deposits left behind by hard water can build-up and cause limescale stains on your fixtures and fittings – these are unsightly and can affect the efficiency of some fixtures, such as a shower head. Here we explain how to remove hard water stains and prevent them from coming back but if you want to learn more about your water supply take a look at our article on hard vs soft water.

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To remove hard water stains built up in the toilet bowl use a commercial toilet cleaner like Domestos Zero Limescale. A dedicated cleaner will achieve the best results; just remember to follow the instructions on the bottle.

How to Remove Hard Water Stains – early stages

Hard water stains don’t have to be your worst enemy! Follow these tips to keep your surfaces clean and spotless:

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  • First, prevention is better than cure. Therefore, take care to reduce the chances of stains forming in the first place, by ensuring that surfaces are dried, and that no water is left lying after use.

  • Similarly, regularly clean surfaces, such as worktops, baths, showers and sinks, as well as taps, with cleaning products with descaling properties, such as Cif Power & Shine Bathroom spray. Always follow the instructions on your cleaning product.

  • It’s also a good idea to apply a spray like this to shower screens after every use to help keep hard water stains at bay.

  • If stains nevertheless form, application of stronger products such as Domestos bleach spray (following the instructions on the label), along with a bit of elbow grease, can help to remove build-ups. Use an abrasive sponge or pad where necessary, but it is best to use a slightly worn pad on stainless steel, in order to protect the surface layer from damage.

How to Remove Hard Water Stains – ingrained stains and residue

  • For tough build-ups, vinegar will often work as a hard water stain remover. Fill a spray bottle with a solution of water and white vinegar (a 50/50 balance should suffice but more vinegar can be added if necessary) then spray onto the affected surface. Use a cloth to wipe down the area and remove any dislodged lime scale. Then dry the area, to remove excess solution and avoid streaky lines. The vinegar should have the added benefit of giving your surfaces an sparkling shine.

  • Sometimes, hard water stains and hard water residue can become more embedded – particularly around taps and showers, and shower/bath floors, where water is more likely to collect and sit. In those cases, take a cloth and soak it in a water/white vinegar solution, then wrap it tightly around the affected area and leave it for some time, to allow the acidic properties of the vinegar to work on the lime scale. Then wipe or scrub away the dislodged residue.

  • It’s also a good idea to remove shower heads periodically and soak them in a water/vinegar solution to prevent build-up of hard water residue which can block the shower holes and cause lasting damage.

  • Where hard water stains remain tough to shift, another solution is to create a paste by adding baking soda to the water/vinegar solution. Apply the paste to affected areas, leave it to set for a quarter of an hour or so, then wipe away, rinse and dry. The paste should work as an effective hard water stain remover, and should leave all surfaces stain-free and sparkling.

Remember: hard water stains are often interchangeable with limescale. Read our article on tackling limescale for more help.

Safety Warning

Use biocides safely. Always read the label and product information before use.

Originally published