Remove Hard Water Deposits From Your Bathtub . . . No Scrubbing Required.

It’s known by several different names: hard water stains, lime scale, mineral deposits, mineral build-up, hard water deposits. It’s that white crusty GUNK that build ups around sink & tub faucets, shower heads, etc, etc, etc.

It forms when tap water evaporates and leaves behind minerals such as calcium and magnesium, and it becomes ROCK HARD when it’s left sitting on any surface.

My main hard water problem/nemesis is the bathtub! In particular, the whirlpool jets!

Back in October of last year I posted about my “Miracle Cleaner” working “miracles” in the bathroom. But added at the END of the post that the ONE NOT SO GOOD THING I hadn’t been able to conquer, even with the miracle cleaner, was the plaster-like hard water deposits in my bathtub and around my faucets.

Many at the time left comments touting VINEGAR as the MIRACLE CURE for hard water stains. So I tried it. I soaked some rags in straight vinegar and WRAPPED the faucet bases on my tub.

Sure enough!

Worked like magic!

hard water stains

My bathtub faucet controls.

Unfortunately, the build up in the bathtub jets were WAY too much for the vinegar soaked rags. And believe me I tried! I kept soaking the rags and putting them back in the jets and a LITTLE would come off…but nothing was budging the rock-hard build up in there.

After that setback…I put the whole project aside and tried not to think about it…but I missed using the jets in my tub!  And I was NOT going to use them with that gunk in there.

So I continued to search for an answer and FINALLY found it in a comment on a Gardening Forum of all things. :-) A comment that was left back in 2004! I could have taken care of this problem EIGHT YEARS AGO?!? ;-)  Oh well….better late than never!

cleaning hard water stains

Building on what Trinity suggested in July of 2004…here is what worked for me TODAY:

1. Fill tub with hot water to a couple inches above jets.
2. Pour in 1 cup bleach and 1/2 cup powdered dishwasher detergent (you could substitute vinegar here if you are opposed to using bleach)
3. Run the jets (wide open!) for 15 minutes, then let soak. (I left mine to soak for about an hour.)

cleaning hard water stains
4. Empty tub and refill with cold water (to just above the jets again)
5. Run jets 10 more minutes to rinse, then drain.

Here is what I discovered when the water and bubbles had receded.….

cleaning hard water stains

I kid you not!  I didn’t lay a FINGER on that jet! I thought for sure I would have to repeat the process at LEAST 2 or 3 times AND take a scrub brush to it…but NOPE…one time and all the hard water build up was completely gone!

I still had to work on some of the hard water STAINS under the jets…but those all eventually came clean too using the vinegar-soaked rags trick.

Here are a couple more before and afters:

cleaning hard water stains

cleaning hard water stains

Thanks to this “new” Miracle Cleaner, I can once again enjoy the WHIRLPOOL feature of my WHIRLPOOL tub!

Oh Happy Day!

P.S. The same vinegar-soaked rag technique can work in your TOILET too!

  • Turn off the water to your toilet.
  • Flush it repeatedly until the bowl is empty of water.
  • Soak your rags with straight white vinegar and line the toilet bowl with them.
  • When the rags dry out, add more vinegar. Do this for several hours, or until the scale starts to dissolve.
  • When the stains start dissolving, use your toilet brush and scrub the remaining scale off.
  • Turn the water back on and rinse.

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  1. Anon says

    You are wonderful, Jill! Thank you so much for researching and then solving all of our problems. And so easily and safely. I always recommend your blog to everyone! You are the best!!!

    • deniseinark says

      Once metal is corroded, it’s done. You can get it cleaner, but it will never look smooth and shiny again. Drains and that metal ring that surrounds them are surprisingly easy to replace. Look for some videos over at the DIY network. The ring simply dropped on top of the drain and held in place by plumber’s putty, so to pull it up you wedge a screwdriver under it and pry it out. The new one goes back in with some fresh plumber’s putty under it. Check out HoDe or Lowe’s because I think you can buy a replacement for just that piece – one that matches the fixtures you already have. If you’re talking about the shower drain, those aren’t “glued” in at all- just pry it up, take it to the store to match a size, and buy a new one.

  2. Marla says

    I wonder if liquid detergent will work. My Jacuzzi tub hardly gets used. I just cleaned the dust out of it.

  3. says

    LOL – I read previous comments and THAT is my question – the toilet. I don’t have jets in my tub, in fact all I have is dust particles from lack of use. However, the lou is another matter… :) Looking forward to your solution to that one~ Meanwhile – WELL DONE on your jets, the outcome is really amazing!

    • maggie says

      I totally agree on the pumice stone mounted on the long-handled stick. I found one at Ace Hardware for a few bucks, and it gets that stuff off the toilet really easily, without damaging the porcelain.

      • Alison S. says

        the pumice stones work really well with those stains, but I’m going to try to empty the toilet, soak with the vinegar rags, then scrub with the pumice stone. It will be brilliant!

  4. says

    I have this in the toilet, so what would I do for that?? Any ideas besides getting a new toilet? Love your blog! Earlene

    • says

      Earlene….I just added a “P.S.” to the post above re: toilets. Meant to do it with the original post but my brain malfunctioned. ;-)

  5. maggie says

    Another tip for shower heads, when the sprayers get clogged with minerals: unscrew them (it’s not hard) and soak them in a bowl of vinegar. (I’ve read some people put vinegar in a strong (freezer-type) quart-sized bag, then put it over the shower head so that the head is soaking in the vinegar in the bag, then use a few rubber bands to secure it. We found it just as easy to unscrew the shower head.)


  1. […] As you can see…this cleaner has gone through a couple of different “interpretations”…but the ingredients remain the same…and its’ effectiveness remains ALMOST 100%! The only thing I haven’t been able to get “clean” using this is plaster-like hard water deposits in my bathtub jets. Still working on that…. (SEE UPDATE! I GOT THEM CLEAN!) […]