Hard water stains are a continual buildup of dissolved minerals like calcium, limestone, iron minerals, and magnesium. While they are not harmful health-wise, they are unsightly when left on bathroom fixtures or appliances. Thankfully, there are natural ways to remove hard water stains to make your fixtures look new again.
Why Does This Happen?
Iron in the water supply causes hard water stains. Air combines with iron in the water, causing oxidation. The result is a reddish or orange coating on your toilet bowl. If you own an older home, it may have iron pipes. As they have aged, they start to corrode. The stains showing up in the toilet are the result of this process beginning in your pipes.
What Do You Look For?
The warning signs of hard water are odd, rusty appearing stains in the toilet. Some say that it shows up as a chalky white residue. Additionally, it will show up in other areas in the home resulting in spotty dishes (no, it may not always be due to your dishwashing brand!), bathroom soap scum, and clogged showerheads. It can be confused with rust stains as well.
How Do You Get Rid of It?
One way is to clean it continuously by using either natural or chemical cleaners. The other way is to upgrade your pipes or install a water softener. It may also come down to a combination of both, depending on the source of the hard water stains.
Getting Rid of it Naturally
- Vinegar: Pour three cups of white vinegar into the toilet bowl. Allow it to sit for half an hour, scrub the bowl, and flush. Homeowners can try pouring some into the tank, preventing more buildup from occurring. Slimy reddish stains can also indicate high iron in the water coming through in the pipes, which would mean you need to update your pipes.
- Lemon Juice: Use a lemon rind and rub it on the stain. You can also place lemon juice in a spray bottle to eliminate buildup. Just spray lemon juice onto the surface, wipe and repeat if needed.
- Baking Soda: Mix baking soda with vinegar and create a slurry. Place it on the stains and scrub. Leave it on for a half-hour and rinse. You can also pour one cup of baking soda into the toilet bowl and add vinegar. Watch it fizz, then wait for a half-hour. Then flush the toilet or rinse. This is an effective solution for toilet bowls and sink drains.
- Epsom Salts: Add one cup of Epson salts, one half cup of baking soda, and a bit of liquid dish soap to the toilet. It will remove the hard water stains once you let it sit, then rinse.
Homeowners can use Bar Keepers Friend in either powder or liquid. To use, wear goggles and gloves as they can cause eye irritation and skin irritation.
No one wants bathroom duty. But it is a necessary task for everyone to remain healthy and eliminate nasty issues. Preventing hard water stains involves cleaning the toilet regularly (at least weekly) to prevent build-ups from happening.
Prevent hard water stains by cleaning all surfaces of the toilet regularly. It is not just maintaining the inside toilet bowl, but getting up underneath the rim, around the hole at the bottom of the toilet, cleaning the toilet lip, seat, around the bowl, and the tank. If you clean them consistently, buildups don’t occur as easily.
What Dissolves Limescale?
There are two myths involving the removal of limescale: using cola and using bleach. One myth says pouring one liter of cola into the toilet bowl and letting it rest overnight will remove limescale deposits. The premise is that the cola’s acidity will dissolve the stain.
The myth is untrue. The result is more of a stained buildup.
While bleach can remove stubborn stains and kill bacteria, all it does with water stains is lighten them. The toilet can appear to be clean, but there is still limescale buildup.
What does work, however, is vinegar. Vinegar is acidic. It softens and lifts limescale buildup. All you need to do is pour one liter of white vinegar (undiluted) into the toilet bowl. Pour it around the sides as well.
Let it sit for three to four hours, then, using the toilet brush, scrub the inside of the toilet bowl with additional vinegar. Flush the toilet bowl to rinse residue and stains. Repeat the process until all signs of hard water are removed.
For stubborn limescale, use medium-grain sandpaper to eliminate most of the stain, then fine grain to remove the limescale. Refrain from pressing too hard as you may scratch the bowl.
Begin with the medium-grain sandpaper for most of the stain, then move to the finer grain to finish the job.
When finished, flush to get rid of the residue and clean the toilet.
The key to preventing the buildup of hard water stains is regular maintenance. It tends to build up when the limestone, calcium, and mineral deposits are left in a toilet and water has evaporated.
To prevent this, flush with the toilet cover closed. Keep the lid down when not in u18se to prevent water evaporation leading to hard water stains.
Clean your toilet weekly by spraying it down with lemon juice or clean it with baking soda and vinegar. Both will get the toilet bowl clean and eliminate hard water stains.
The solution, however, isn’t always just a simple buildup of mineral deposits. The pipes may be the problem if you have an older home, or you may need a water softener. Regular maintenance goes a long way to preventing ugly stains from occurring.