How to Quickly Remove Hard Water Stains From Shower

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Have you ever wanted to take a relaxing shower after a long day at work, but suddenly you notice the stains all over your bathroom? Your need for a peaceful mood is ruined as you roll up your sleeves and figure out how to eliminate them.

Water stains aren’t a sight for sore eyes, and they can be a bummer if you want a pleasant moment for yourself. This residue isn’t hazardous but doesn’t help your home feel clean.

But don’t worry, there are a bunch of easy fixes you can try to remove hard water stains from your shower quickly!

What Is Hard Water and Why Does it Cause Stains?

Hard water has traces of minerals such as calcium and magnesium. Some cities are supplied with hard water due to the local well and the water’s exposure to bedrock.

The minerals found in hard water will leave white chalky stains on surfaces after drying up. The limescale build-up from hard water can damage your appliances and your plumbing. If left to build up over time, the limescale may clog your drains and lead to costly repairs.

Learn more about How to Get Blue Stains out of the Toilet

Other Effects of Hard Water

While ingesting hard water isn’t dangerous, it may cause other health issues. For example, it may leave your skin feeling dry due to the limescale residue left after washing.

It may also cause dryness and itchiness on your scalp. Not to mention, it can cause your hair to go limp. It may also strip away hair dye and your clothes’ colors quicker. Even after laundry, the mineral residue may leave your clothes and bedding scratchy.

Hard water will also leave stains on your dishes or white spots on your glassware. Ultimately, you might see a rise in your water bill because of the extra time it takes to clean your home. And because hard water can build up in your pipes, this can lead to leaks that can have you losing tons of water.

How to Identify Hard Water

You can quickly identify if you have hard water stains if you see brown or reddish streaks left on your bathtub or toilet. With glass surfaces, the stains may look white and cloudy.

Soap reacts differently with hard water as compared to soft water. Your floor may feel slippery after a shower because of soap and hard water residue. You might also find washing the soap out of your hands more challenging because of the hard water.

Additionally, hard water makes it challenging to produce a good lather. Because of the reaction of hard water and soap, it may form an insoluble white scum instead. You may need more soap for your hands, hair, laundry, or dishes to clean them.

How to Remove Hard Water Stains

Depending on the surface, there are several ways to clean up these pesky stains. Most tools you will need are everyday household items or easily found in grocery stores. Vinegar and baking soda will come in handy for most of these tips.

How to Remove Hard Water Stains in Showers and Bathtubs

The hard water stains in your shower or bathtub are the most noticeable due to the considerable amount of water and soap products used there. You can use vinegar and baking soda to remove the stains.

  1. Mix equal parts white vinegar and clean water in a spray bottle.
  2. Spray the mixture on the stained areas.
  3. Leave the mixture to sit for 15 minutes.
  4. Wipe it clean with a dry cloth. You may repeat this process once a week.
  5. If you don’t see any improvement, you can make a paste of white vinegar and baking soda to make a more potent cleaning agent.
  6. Apply the paste to the stained areas and let it sit for 30 minutes.
  7. Wipe it clean with a dry cloth.

How to Remove Hard Water Stains From Showerheads and Faucets

Because hard water stains can cause clogging, your showerhead or faucet’s water stream may weaken. You can also use vinegar to clear up the blockage.

  1. If your showerhead or faucet is detachable, you may submerge it in vinegar and hot water. However, this method may tarnish some of their finishes.
  2. Alternatively, you may use a scrub brush or toothbrush dipped in vinegar to loosen up the limescale causing the clog.
  3. Turn on the showerhead or faucet to rinse the residue, then wipe it dry.
  4. You can dip paper towels in vinegar and water if your showerhead or faucet isn’t detachable.
  5. Ensure the paper towels aren’t dripping, then wrap them over the showerhead or faucet and leave them for 15 minutes.
  6. Remove the paper towels, then rinse and dry the showerhead or faucet.

How to Remove Hard Water Stains From Glass

If your shower area has glass doors and walls, water and soap products will likely splash onto them, leaving water spots and soap residue. As in the previous instructions, you may also use vinegar to clean the glass.

  1. Make a mixture of equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle.
  2. Spray the mixture all over the glass, starting from top to bottom.
  3. Leave it there for 15 minutes. You may reapply more on the top half of the mixture that has run down to the bottom.
  4. Wipe away the stains with a dry cloth or use a squeegee to clean the glass.
  5. You may also use a paste of vinegar and baking soda to remove stubborn stains.

How to Remove Hard Water Stains in Toilets

Like bathtubs, toilets are usually made of porcelain, so the methods mentioned before will still apply here. But another easy fix is using a toilet cleaner designed to remove hard water stains.

  1. Apply the toilet cleaner all around the rim of the toilet bowl.
  2. Allow it to drip until it coats all the hard water stains.
  3. Leave it for 15 minutes so it can break down the stains.
  4. You may then clean or scrub it off using a toilet brush.

If you want to use vinegar and baking soda again, here are the steps:

  1. Pour the vinegar around the toilet bowl rim, covering all the stains.
  2. Use a toilet brush to scrub the bowl, then leave it for a minute or two.
  3. Next, pour a cup of baking soda around the bowl and pour more vinegar over it, creating a mixture that will fizz.
  4. Leave the mixture in the bowl for 10 minutes.
  5. Use a toilet brush to ensure the mixture covers all the hard water stains.
  6. Leave it again for 30 minutes.
  7. If, after 30 minutes, the stains are still there, use the brush to scrub off the stains.
  8. Flush the toilet to rinse off the vinegar and baking soda mixture.
  9. Repeat the process if there are still any visible stains.

If the hard water stains in your toilet are too tricky to remove, another method is using a pumice cleaning stone:

  1. Wet the stone and the toilet first.
  2. You may do an initial spot test to ensure the stone isn’t damaging the toilet bowl.
  3. Very gently scrub the hard water stains left in your toilet after cleaning.
  4. Flush the toilet to rinse off the loosened hard water deposit.

How to Prevent Hard Water Stains

Here’s how to prevent hard water stains in the first place.

Keep Surfaces Dry

Keeping your shower clean and dry after using it will keep hard water stains from forming in the first place. Wash up excess water with a towel or squeegee on glass doors to avoid stains.

Clean Regularly

Hard water stains may become permanent if not removed as soon as possible. Regular cleaning (once or twice a week) will prevent hard water stains from building up and becoming difficult to remove.

Invest in a Water Softener

If you can’t clean regularly or the hard water stains keep appearing too quickly, consider getting a water softener for your whole house. This will help filter out the minerals causing these stains. Consult with your plumber about having a water softener installed.


The minerals cause hard water stains in your house’s water. These tips will help quickly remove hard water stains from your shower and other home surfaces. When dealing with hard water stains, remember to keep surfaces dry. Vinegar and baking soda will almost always do the trick, but let the mixture sit and do its job.

If the stains keep coming back, it may be time to invest in a water filtration system to save yourself the trouble in the long run.

About Emily Leake

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