If you’ve got hard water in your home, that’s the reason why you’re dealing with stains in your kitchen and bathroom.
Hard water is water that contains minerals, such as calcium and magnesium.
Is hard water dangerous?
While not dangerous to drink, this water can lead to various problems. For example, it can cause you to see limescale in appliances and scum on your bathtubs and basins.
This is known as hard water stains, but it can also be called mineral deposits or mineral buildup. Here’s how to detect and remove hard water stains in your home.
What Do Hard Water Stains Look Like?
You can tell that you’ve got hard water stains if you notice a white, chalky film in your appliances.
ut you can also find hard water stains in any area of the home where water is commonly used, such as your faucets, shower doors, and showerheads.
How Does Hard Water Form Stains?
When hard water flows through and over a surface, it evaporates and leaves behind traces of the minerals that are in it, like calcium and magnesium. These are what produce that white film.
Are Hard Water Stains Easy To Remove?
You might think you need to use harsh chemicals to clean hard water stains, but you don’t. However, if you leave hard water stains to accumulate and worsen, it will be more difficult to remove them.
What makes them even trickier to eliminate is that when the minerals in the water make contact with soap scum, such as in the shower, they will lead to more stubborn stains and gunk. This is why you need to deal with hard water stains as soon as you spot them.
Best Ways To Deal With Hard Water Stains
You don’t have to purchase chemical products to remove hard water stains.
Here’s how to eliminate them in a safer way.
Get Your Hands On Vinegar!
Vinegar is known as an excellent general cleaning ingredient in the home.
General Ways to Use Vinegar to Remove Hard Water Stains in the Bathroom and Kitchen
Combine equal parts water and vinegar and put it in a spray bottle. Spray the vinegar wherever there are hard water stains. Allow the solution to work for about 15 minutes.
Once that time is up, you can use an old brush, such as a toothbrush, to scrub the hard water stains. If the stains are larger, you can make use of a larger brush. When you’re happy that the stain has gone, you should wipe the surfaces with a damp cloth.
This is a great way to tackle limescale on bathroom fixtures, and in sinks and basins.
How to Use Vinegar to Remove Hard Water Stains in Appliances
Since you use your kettle regularly, it’s a common appliance that can become riddled with mineral deposits. While it’s not dangerous to consume hard water deposits in the boiled water, over time it can damage your kettle.
- To clean it, you’ll have to add equal parts water and vinegar to your kettle.
- Boil the kettle. Let the solution sit inside it for an hour. If you’re dealing with a bad mineral deposit buildup, you should let the solution stay in your kettle overnight.
- Then, rinse it out. If there’s still any limescale present, wipe it away with a damp cloth. You can also use baking soda on the damp cloth to help you scrub it away.
- Finally, boil water in the kettle. You’ll have to do this a few times, until you can no longer smell or taste any vinegar in the water.
To prevent limescale from accumulating in your kettle, avoid storing water in your kettle when you’re not using it. You should also consider using filtered water.
Vinegar alternative: If you don’t have vinegar, you can clean your kettle of limescale with lemons. You just need to squeeze one lemon into 350ml of water and add it to your kettle before boiling it.
Dishwashers And Washing Machines
These can be cleaned of limescale in the same way. Set them to a normal load setting and then put a cup of baking soda into their load. Allow the machines to cycle through once at a high temperature.
Then, do a second cycle with a cup of white vinegar that’s been added to it. Finally, complete the third cycle with nothing added to it. This is to rinse out the machines.
You can also prevent limescale in your washing machine in the future by putting fabric softener in with your laundry. This will make it more difficult for limescale to build up inside the machine.
As for your dishwasher, saltwater tablets are a good preventative solution. Add them to your washing loads once in a while to prevent limescale.
Your toilet is a hotspot for limescale, and it can look unsightly.
You’ve probably seen a trail of brown or yellow in the toilet bowl and this is caused by flushing the toilet often.
Vinegar can be used to clean it, but you’ll have to apply it in a slightly different way to how you’d clean other places in the home.
- Take one litre of undiluted white vinegar and pour it into the toilet bowl.
- Leave it to work for three hours.
- Afterwards, scrub the toilet bowl with a brush and add more white vinegar to increase its cleaning power.
- When you’re done, flush the toilet to remove stains as well as any vinegar residue.
To prevent limescale from building up in your toilet in the future, regularly put vinegar into the bowl.
To make the vinegar even more effective, such as in the case of stubborn limescale stains, scrub it with bicarbonate of soda after you’ve poured the vinegar into the toilet.
Water splashes onto your shower door every day, so limescale can start to appear. To remove it, here’s what you should do.
- Boil a cup of white vinegar in the microwave or on the stove.
- Dip paper towels into the hot vinegar (careful not to burn your hands!) and then stick them onto the glass where the limescale is on display.
- Let these remain in place for an hour. During this time, you should spray the paper with vinegar in a spray bottle to ensure that they stay put.
- Then, remove the paper towels and put some baking soda on a damp cloth.
- Use this to gently scrub the limescale.
- Finish off by pouring distilled water on the glass to remove the baking soda and vinegar.
- If you can still see limescale on the glass, you will have to repeat the above steps until it’s been eliminated.
To prevent limescale in the future, keep a small spray bottle of vinegar in the shower and spray the glass doors after using the shower.
Should You Use A Water Softener?
A water softening system is one that transforms the hard water in your home into soft water. This means that it won’t contain chemicals that can damage your pipes and appliances over time.
A water softener can work well to prevent limescale, therefore reducing your cleaning chores. However, soft water has pros and cons to consider. Let’s check them out.
Soft Water Pros
- Soft water ensures your cleaning products, such as soap, will dissolve better. This means that you won’t end up with as much soap scum to clean.
- Soft water feels better on the skin and doesn’t dry it out.
- Soft water doesn’t result in limescale buildup in water pipes which can cause blockages and damage them over time.
- Soft water doesn’t cause limescale to build up in appliances, so these are guaranteed to have a longer lifespan, too.
- Soft water won’t leave any hard water stains!
Soft Water Cons
- If you’re going to install a water softener in your home, it’s worth noting that this could accumulate lead from inside old water pipes if they haven’t been treated to prevent lead from leaking into the water.
Is using vinegar to remove limescale safe on gold-plated taps?
Vinegar is very acidic so you should avoid using it on gold-plated taps because it can damage them.
Do irons have cleaning functions that can remove limescale?
Some do, so check their user manual.
If your iron doesn’t have that function, how can you remove limescale?
Fill one-third of the iron’s water tank with equal parts of water and white vinegar. Put the iron on its steam setting and iron an old towel until the tank empties. Then, fill it with water to rinse out the vinegar.
When you see limescale that’s accumulating around bathroom fixtures, in your toilet, or in your kettle, it’s sure to be frustrating. Getting rid of limescale doesn’t have to be a difficult or time-consuming task.
If you make sure to clean it regularly, it will be easier to do so. Instead of purchasing chemical products, you can make use of natural ingredients you already have in the home, such as vinegar.