It’s known by several different names: hard water stains, lime scale, mineral deposits, mineral build-up, hard water deposits, etc. Whatever you call it, it’s that stubborn white crusty GUNK that builds up around your faucets, shower head, and toilet. These obnoxious hard water deposits form when tap water evaporates, leaving behind minerals such as calcium and magnesium that solidify into the crusty stuff you can never seem to get rid of!
Several years ago, I wrote here on my blog about my “Kitchen Miracle Cleaner” working miracles in the bathroom. But at the time, there was one thing in the bathroom I hadn’t been able to conquer, even with the miracle cleaner – those stubborn hard water deposits!
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There were mineral deposits around the faucet handles on my bathtub that just wouldn’t budge no matter what I tried. The jets in my whirlpool bathtub were in even worse shape! There was so much crusty buildup in and around the jets that I wasn’t even sure they would work properly, so I just didn’t use them.
At the time, I received a lot of great comments touting vinegar as the solution to my hard water deposit problems. Of course I was game to give it a try, so here’s what I did.
How To Remove Hard Water Stains
1. Soak one or more cleaning rags in white vinegar.
2. Drape or wrap the rag around the area affected by mineral deposits.
3. Leave the rags for an hour or more, adding more vinegar if necessary to keep the rags wet.
4. When the mineral deposits have loosened up or dissolved, remove the rags and clean the area with a clean towel or sponge.
And sure enough, it worked like magic! Those stubborn stains had dissolved and I was able to wipe them away easily. You can use this method to clean hard water stains on shower heads, faucets, countertops…pretty much anywhere they crop up!
And, as if that wasn’t exciting enough, I found out that the same vinegar-soaked rag technique can work in your toilet too! It’s pretty much the same process listed above, with a couple of added toilet-specific steps.
How To Clean Hard Water Stains In Your Toilet
1. Turn off the water to your toilet.
2. Flush it repeatedly until the bowl is empty of water.
3. Soak your rags with straight white vinegar and line the toilet bowl with them.
4. When the rags dry out, add more vinegar. Do this for several hours, or until the scale starts to dissolve.
5. When the stains start dissolving, use your toilet brush and scrub the remaining scale off.
6. Turn the water back on and rinse.
Unfortunately, the buildup inside the jets in my bathtub were way beyond the capacity of a few vinegar-soaked rags. So I continued to search for an answer and finally found the solution I was looking for (on a gardening forum, of all places!) Here is what worked for me:
How To Clean Hard Water Deposits In A Jetted Tub
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 would rather not use bleach.)
3. Run the jets for 15 minutes, then let soak for an hour or so.
4. Empty tub and refill with cold water.
5. Run jets 10 more minutes to rinse, then drain.
Here is what I discovered when the water and bubbles had receded…
No kidding! I didn’t lay a FINGER on that jet! I thought for sure I would have to repeat the process a few times AND take a scrub brush to it, but nope! One “treatment” and all the hard water buildup was gone!
Thanks to this method, I have been enjoying the whirlpool feature of my tub ever since, and my hard water worries are a thing of the past. I just love a happy ending. :-)