Hard water stains can be found in kitchen sinks, bathroom sinks, bathtubs, showers, shower doors, toilet bowls, dishwashers, faucets, dishes glasses, inside of water pipes, hot water heaters, washing machines and basically any surface that comes in contact with your hard water. Hard water has a very high mineral content which results in magnesium, calcium and metal deposits being left behind on surfaces. The calcium leaves deposits which are commonly referred to as lime scale. Lime scale deposits are the white seemingly impossible to remove spots on surfaces. The metal deposits left behind are usually in the form of tiny reddish brown spots that oftentimes resemble rust. Calcium and magnesium bond with soap to form difficult to remove soap scum.
The heat of the water in a dishwasher and the heat of drying in a dishwasher seems to intensify the hard water stains. Hot dishwashers do intensify hard water stains. To lessen the appearance of hard water stains on dishes, glasses and utensils washed in the dishwasher, lower the water temperature to the dishwasher. This will not eliminate hard water stains, only lessen the degree of severity.
The ultimate solution for hard water stains is to install a water softener. Water softeners basically remove the magnesium and calcium from the hard water. This doesn't really help if you do not have a water softener or are not in a financial position right now to install one.
Fortunately there are some easy solutions to removing hard water stains from surfaces inside of your home. Unfortunately there is no easy solution for removing hard water build up from inside of pipes and hot water heaters. Having hard water build up inside of these surfaces will eventually lead to very costly plumbing repairs and appliance replacement bills.
To remove hard water stains:
Sprinkle or spray white vinegar on the hard water stains. This is easier if you pour white vinegar into a spray bottle.
Saturate white paper towels with white vinegar.
Place the white vinegar soaked paper towels over the hard water stains.
Leave the paper towels over the hard water stains for 3 to 4 hours.
Pick up the paper towels, give the surface a quick wipe and your hard water stains will be gone.
For tile walls which would be difficult to attach paper towels to:
Spray the walls with white vinegar very generously, allow it to sit, spray again.
Use a nylon scrubber to scrub the walls.
Repeat until hard water stains are gone.
This is also difficult for windows, mirrors, shower doors and other glass surfaces, so here is an alternate method.
Pour lemon juice in a small spray bottle.
Spray the hard water stains.
Cut a lemon in half.
Dip the 1/2 lemon in table salt.
Use the lemon to scrub off hard water stains.
Rinse with plain water.
Spray the surface with vinegar and wipe with newspaper to dry.
Remove hard water stains from dishes:
Soak the dishes in white vinegar, rinse and dry thoroughly by hand.
Remove hard water stains from toilets:
Pour white vinegar into the toilet and allow it to stand overnight.
For surface areas, soak white paper towels in white vinegar and let them lay over the hard water stains.
Remove hard water stains from inside of a dishwasher:
Fill a dishwasher safe bowl (approximately 4 cups) with white vinegar.
Place the bowl on the bottom rack of your dishwasher. Do not put any other dishes in your dishwasher while cleaning hard water stains.
Run the dishwasher on a regular cycle.
Buy orange flavored Tang or lemon flavored Kool-Aid
Sprinkle Tang or Kool-Aid generously in the bottom of your dishwasher.
Run on a regular cycle.
To remove hard water stains from a washing machine:
Fill your washing machine with warm water.
Add 2 to 4 cups of white vinegar depending on how bad the hard water stains are.
Allow to soak for 2 to 3 hours.
Drain your washing machine.