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Here are some nontoxic cleaning options for removing hard water stains on various surfaces in the home using everyday household items such as vinegar (which can also be used in organic gardening).
Removing Hard Water Stains with Vinegar
Vinegar is usually safe to use on most surfaces, although you may want to test a small area first if surface damage is a concern.
Place dry paper towels on the stains. If this is in the toilet, turn off the water and drain the bowel first.
Pour white vinegar (do not dilute) onto the paper towels. The paper towels help keep the vinegar on the area that you need to soak. Let this soak for 24 hours. During this time, continue to pour vinegar onto the paper towels as needed so that it does not dry out.
Soak a pumice stone in water and then gently scrub off the now loosened mineral stains. For flat surfaces a razor blade will also work.
Rinse and dry the area. For extensive build up you may need to repeat the steps.
Removing Toilet Bowl Stains
You’ve cleaned your bathroom until it shines but you still have that dreadful ring around the toilet. That ring around the toilet can take on a life of its own as you try every product and homemade cleaner to remove the toilet bowl stain. You may even have moved on and become resign to living with the ring. Well here is something you may not have tried. It’s easy and cheap enough to give the ridding your toilet ring one more try. For this all you need is soda (Pepsi or Coke work well) and a toilet scrub brush.
Pour a 2-liter bottle of soda into the toilet. Let it sit for as long as you can, at least one hour.
Flush and then scrub the toilet. Some deposits that have had years to develop may take a few repeats to remove the entire ring of deposits.
Repeat these steps each time you clean. This will prevent a buildup of mineral deposits and keep the ring from taking over again. For stubborn rings that have had years to develop weekly soda treatments will continue to break down the deposits.
Water Stains on Granite Countertops
Calcium and other mineral stains around the faucets of granite counter tops certainly take away from the beauty of the granite stone. Often chemicals designed to clean granite do not remove the hard water stains, and products that do remove water stains are too harsh for granite surfaces.
Here’s a method for removing water stains on dark colored granite countertops that has worked for me. But I must add a disclaimer: This may stain your granite depending on the stone color. Test a small area first.
Pour undiluted white vinegar onto the stains. Let this sit for several hours. Make sure it stays wet with vinegar. Add more as needed.
Use a razor blade to gently scrape off the hard water stains that the vinegar has loosened up.
Rinse the area well. You may notice that there are still stains within the stone. Granite is porous and hard water stains do soak in. You have only removed the surface mineral deposits. To remove the minerals that have deposited into the stone, you’ll need some soda.
Pour soda onto the hard water stains. Pepsi or Coke will work, but be cautiou
Rinse the area with water completely. Repeat any steps as needed.
Once cleaned, seal the granite with a granite sealer. This will prevent hard water stains on the granite countertops.