How to Remove Hard Water Spots from Glass and other Hard Water Headaches

Dear Home Ec 101,

My husband and I recently moved into a new home….one in which the previous owner clearly had never heard of cleaning the shower. I tried using “Kaboom” on the tiles and glass doors, but it seemed to have no effect. The scum on the doors is truly gross. We have relatively hard water, so it’s just caked on. Any suggestions for getting off years of mineral deposits and soap scum?

Signed,

Limed in Limerick

Heather says:

Who ever thought soap and water could cause such a mess?  The mineral and soapscum buildup you are describing is basic in nature, this means it has pH over 7.  Nearly any acidic cleaner and elbow grease will solve your problem.  I recommend using a ceramic stove cleaner such as Weiman Cook Top, the pasty consistency will help with application to the shower doors and tile walls.  If the mineral buildup is as thick as it sounds, I believe it may take several applications.  To keep the job from becoming overwhelming, I would consider using the cleaner over the course of several days.  When the hard water stains have been removed, use a solution of diluted vinegar as an after shower spray.

Do not use acidic cleaners on marble, limestone, travertine, or onyx.

Good luck.

Send your questions to helpme@home-ec101.com

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Comments

  1. What about hard water stains in the toilet (where soap scum isn’t a problem)? Is the toilet forever stained, or is there some magic to getting it out?

  2. Really good question. We have hard water out here, too and we wonder at inexpensive and efficient ways to fix it. Any ideas out there?

  3. We also have hideously hard water here. We can’t figure out where our water softener is, after 1.5 years of living here, so all our dishes (beautifully blue translucent glass ones i got for our wedding dishes) never look clean, because of all the white scum that hangs out on them. i’ve used white vinegar and jet dry in the dishwasher to no avail. My toilets are permanently stained, no matter how much bar keeper’s friend i scrub them with.
    Please have a tutorial for those of us with very hard water!

  4. I’ve been treating myself here & there to watching some “How Clean is Your House?” videos with Kim & Aggie. It was a British show aired on Lifetime (I think) a couple years ago. I’m watching them now on YouTube. Very entertaining stuff, but also informative. Anyway, I watched them do a segment where they used very, very fine grit wet/dry sandpaper on stains like these in the toilet. I decided to be brave, & go for it with my own stained fixtures, having one area in the toilet bowl, & a little line under the hot water tap that I’d never been able to remove with cleanser. So help me, the sandpaper worked!! I was amazed. I did work gently & slowly, but the stains are gone, & there isn’t any scratching left behind. Good luck!

  5. hsgbdmama says:

    What would the ratio be for the diluted vinegar solution?

    I’ve been looking to replace the Tilex (or Target brand equivalent; the dollar store stuff was awful) with something homemade and would like to try this. Thanks! :)

  6. Issac'sWife says:

    The cook top stuff worked!! Thank you!!!

  7. Use Lemi-shine for those spots on dishes in the dishwasher and also for shower doors. Instructions are on the package label. Great stuff!

  8. Bar Keeper's Friend is wonderful and cheap, try it.

  9. to get hard water stains and other stains out of the toilet …use a pumice stone ! It works great and eventually starts to disenegrate ( into sand ) but removes all stains. The pumice stone is purchased at your local hardware store.

  10. Justjill says:

    CLR or Lime-away have been the only things that have worked for our showers. Spray it down, turn on the vent, close the door and walk away. Come back a while later and give it a quick scour with a scrubbie. Repeat if necessary. Lemi-shine is AWESOME in the dishwasher.

  11. You’re the one with the brains here. I’m wtachnig for your posts.

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