by Amy Gordon
(last updated August 21, 2017)
Calcium and magnesium from hard water can form unsightly stains, called lime deposits, all over your house—anywhere there is a water faucet, you can have brown or white stains from the water. Because these stains come from the water, they continually come back, so what you need is an easy way to clean them away every week.
It is important to make sure you clean away these stains before they sink too deep into the surface of your sink or tile, as they will become more difficult to remove. In fact, if left too long, calcium or lime stains can become permanent. There are many products on the market that can help get rid of these unsightly marks, and a quick trip down a cleaning aisle at a grocery store or drugstore will provide you with a variety of choices for dealing with calcium or other mineral stains. If you buy one of these products, you just need to spray or pour the product on and then rub it off with a clean cloth.
Another method you can try which will not require you to buy a special cleaner is to rub the area with slightly diluted white vinegar. Mix vinegar and a little water together in a bowl, dip your washrag into the mixture, and rub at the stains. Rubbing your hard water stains with lemon juice will also work. Or, make a paste of vinegar and baking soda and let it sit on the stain for 15 minutes before rinsing it away. Chlorine bleach can remove hard water stains, but be careful to rinse it away without leaving it on too long, as it can ruin your fixtures.
Dish detergents and other soaps, while useful on other stains, are ineffective at cleaning up calcium and magnesium deposits. In fact, these deposits, which are signs that you have hard water, mean that your dish detergent is less effective at washing dishes. You will want to avoid using abrasive cleaners, since abrasives, while they will remove the calcium stains, will also remove some of the finish on your sinks and tiles.
While hard water stains can be hard to remedy, you can get rid of hard water altogether by installing a water softener. Soft water is not always a good option, however, especially for those who prefer to use hard water in the shower. You can keep your hard water and keep your sinks and tiles shiny and free of calcium and lime deposit build up. Just clean with products you've seen advertised or use vinegar. Be sure to clean your tiles and fixtures weekly to prevent buildup.
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