Removing Annoying Hard Water Stains

Hard water stains are among the most difficult types of stains to eliminate. If your home has hard water, very likely hard water stains have appeared on your dishes, windows, in your bathtub, on your faucets and on your shower heads. Given enough time, scale from hard water can fill the holes in your faucets and clog your plumbing, costing hundreds or thousands of dollars in damage. Getting rid of hard water scale can help you protect your home from damage.


Hard water can make dishes look cloudy and dull. Vinegar is the perfect cleaning product to get rid of these stains, because it’s acidic and also a natural cleaning agent.

To clean your dishes, fill a tub or sink with cleaning vinegar, then put your dishes in the vinegar and allow them to soak for several hours. After the dishes have soaked, pull them out out of the tub and wipe them clean with a rag or a sponge.

If some hard water stains persist, try this process again. To remove very difficult hard water stains, try heating up the vinegar first. Don’t boil the vinegar, but heat it to the point that putting your finger in the vinegar is uncomfortable. Doing this can help break down the scale and clean your dishes.

Shower Heads and Faucets

Shower heads and faucets are especially vulnerable to the problems caused by hard water, because scale can easily cause clogs. To remove hard water from your shower heads and faucets, fill a bowl with heated vinegar and remove the fixture to soak for one hour.

If you don’t wish to remove the fixture from the sink or shower where it is attached, attach a bag filled with vinegar to the fixture and allow the bag to sit. When the process is finished, remove the fixture from the vinegar, then rinse the fixture by running water through it. Use a soft cloth to wipe away any built up scale. Note: do not try this process for an iron fixture, as vinegar will cause it to rust.


Toilets can develop water stains on the inside of the bowl. To clean water stains, turn off the water supply to the toilet and flush the toilet until the bowl is empty. Next, soak towels in vinegar and lay them along the inside of the bowl.

Leave the towels in place for a few hours, refreshing the vinegar every hour or so. Once this is done, remove the towels and scrub the sides of the bowl with a scrub brush. Once the hard water stains have been removed, turn the water back on in the toilet and allow the bowl to refill.

Invest in a Water Softener

Damage done by hard water is more than cosmetic. Hard water scale can destroy the inside of your hot water heater, and can also fill your pipes until they become clogged. Pipes that are clogged with scale cannot be unclogged; they must be replaced.

The best way to prevent these problems is to get a water softener. At Terry’s Plumbing, we sell plumbing supplies and perform water softener installations. To make an appointment for a quote or a water softener installation, contact us today at (412) 364-9114.