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Removing Hard Water Stains from Porcelain

Hard water stains are an unfortunate reality in just about any home. They can show up on your sink, counters, tub and even your toilet bowl. Although you might scrub and scrub, these stains are difficult to remove without using the right tools and the right methods.

Hard water stains are formed on porcelain when calcium, lime. and mineral deposits build up on the surface over time. In many cases, just scrubbing with water or soap alone won't take the deposits off. This irritating film takes some work to get rid of.

If your porcelain surfaces are starting to look cloudy or dirty from hard water, use these ideas to remove the stains:

  • You can find porcelain cleaners that can do some heavy duty work on hard water. Lime-Away is one example. Follow the instructions carefully with any cleaner you choose, and wear eye and hand protection, such as goggles and gloves. If you use a cleaner containing acid, make sure you don't use it too often as it can eventually dissolve the finish of the porcelain.
  • Using a soft brush, scrub a mixture of water and baking soda over the hard water stain. Rinse the area thoroughly.
  • Sometimes, bleach can be an effective cleaner for hard water stains. Be sure to wear gloves to protect your skin. With a brush, sponge or old rag, scrub the cleaner over the surface to clean, then rinse the area when you are done. When using bleach cleaners, take care not to get it on your clothes and to use it only in a well-ventilated area.
  • In some extreme situations, you might want to try a pumice stone. This can work well especially with your toilet bowl. Remember, though, that there is a possibility of scratching, so you won't want to try it on every surface where you find hard water stains..
  • Try to clean with vinegar, a natural cleaner. Create a mixture of about 25% vinegar to 75% water and spray it on the surface, scrubbing gently with a sponge or rag. Rinse the area when you are finished.

Try to prevent hard water stains from forming in the first place. If that isn't possible, there are some products that you can, for example, spray in the shower to help stop stains from developing into big problems. Clean your porcelain surfaces often so the hard water stains don't have a chance to build up and become more difficult to clean.

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Comments for this tip:

Cheryl    08 Jun 2015, 16:53
Try using greased lightning Orange Blast super strength cleaner and degreaser. Think you can buy it at Walmart. My sink is so hard to clean and it is original to the house (1975). Spray on and use a wire brush to scrub (do not scrub too hard)or use a scotch scrub sponge. Works beautifully!
JJ    17 Apr 2014, 09:53
Can somebody tell me how to get hard-water deposits off the bottom of a faucet? Lime-Away, CLR, straight vinegar---nothing touches it. I live in an apartment complex, and it was there when I came. Nothing I've tried worked. I'm leery of using much heavy-duty cleaner. Thank you!
Pat Reid    16 Apr 2014, 06:36
I live in france in a very soft water area and only have the problem on the loo bowls at the back where the water flush runs a little after flushing - it's only faint but makes the loo look unclean - nothing I've used so far has touched it including proprietory descalers?
Ihatehousework    14 Dec 2013, 19:07
I live in a very hard-water area, and found out the hard way that the residue builds up to where it comes off only with a Pumie bar---but that will scratch chrome! Just avoid the problem entirely and dry off the water. (-:
Ihatehousework    14 Dec 2013, 18:58
Better to dry off the water than to clean off the residue afterward!
rani    12 Dec 2013, 19:45
This really worked. I used the vinegar solution and it worked on hard water stains that have eluded steam cleaning, scrubbing, and even the magic eraser. Thanks!

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