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How to Remove Hard Water Stains

Hard water stains can look unsightly. This article is full of tips for removing hard water stains and getting your taps, showers & sinks squeaky clean again!


how to remove hard water stains

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.

To remove hard water stains built up in the toilet bowl, use a commercial cleaner or bleach like Domex. 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 on how to prevent hard water stains from ruining your surfaces:

  • 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 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.
  • To avoid a hard water stain on glass, it’s a good idea to apply a spray like this to shower screens after every use.
  • If stains nevertheless form, application of stronger products such as Domex bleach (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 removing hard water stains that are stubborn, try vinegar. Fill a spray bottle with a solution of water and white vinegar (a 50/50 balance should suffice but more 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 a sparkling shine.
  • Sometimes, hard water residue can become embedded – particularly around taps and showers, and shower and bath floors, where water is more likely to collect and sit. In this case, take a cloth and soak it in a water and 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 periodically to remove showerheads and soak them in a water and vinegar solution to prevent build-up blocking the shower holes and causing lasting damage.
  • Where hard water remains tough to shift, a final 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 tool for removing hard water stains, and should leave all surfaces stain-free and sparkling.

Safety Warning

Use biocides carefully – always wear gloves, and ensure the room is well ventilated.

  • Bleach Spray
  • Toilet cleaner
  • A bathroom spray with descaling properties
  • A mixture of water & white vinegar
  • A paste of baking soda and water & white vinegar.
  • Originally published