Written by Stacey Kelleher. Reviewed by Sean Busch.

If your shower has unsightly scum and your freshly-washed dishes have spots, you’re probably among the 85% of US households with hard water.

While hard water makes household cleaning a bit more challenging, our tried-and-true tricks will show you how to remove hard water stains from showers, toilets, and sinks.

What Causes Hard Water Stains?

how to get rid of hard water

Water “hardness” refers to the levels of minerals in it (like magnesium and calcium). As water travels from its source to your home, it comes in contact with underground minerals, picking up traces of them as it moves through layers of rock. The more time your water interacts with – and absorbs – these minerals, the harder it becomes.

where is hardest water

If you’re curious, your local municipality (and certain companies) should be able to disclose your water hardness level, but there are some telltale signs you have hard water:

  • Spots on dishes and glasses caused as water evaporates and leaves calcium deposits behind. 
  • Brown or reddish stains in your sink, tub, or toilet caused by high iron levels in water
  • Soap scum/film left behind after soap combines with calcium and magnesium particles during washing. 

How to Prevent Hard Water Stains in the First Place

removing hard water stains

We know you're reading this to learn how to remove hard water stains. But if you've got hard water, these tips can help stop them from occurring!

However, the right products, elbow grease, and following tips will help you remove hard water stains and soap scum – for good.  

1. Clean for 1-2 Minutes Per Day 

hard water shower cleaner

Get the best tips from the cleaning obsessed.

Puracy crafts cleaning & care items that work really well. Our obsession with natural cleaning performance is our profession, and we're here to share it with you.

After showering, bathing, or washing your hands, prevent buildup by spraying and wiping down surfaces with our 99.96% natural, all-purpose cleaner. It's the ideal bathroom product to prevent water stains and soap scum buildup. Safe for granite, glass, and it wipes off easily without leaving streaks or spots. 

2. Invest in a Home Water Softener 

Without taking steps to soften your water, they’ll keep returning. If you're in an area with extremely hard water, a water softener can filter out stain-causing minerals, keep your clothes cleaner, and improve the lather in your personal care products. 

3. Seal Surfaces

2-3 times a year, add a non-toxic cleaner (like BioClean Hard Water Stain Remover) to your home care rotation. Bio Clean zaps hard water stains from showers and tubs while creating a seal to reduce future staining. 

4. Get a Brush for Every Toilet

remove toilet hard water stains

For thorough bathroom cleaning, don't forget about the toilet! Every 2-3 days, squirt your favorite cleaner into the bowl and swish it around with the brush (making sure to get under the rim). Because bacteria can cause stains, spray the exterior of your toilet with a disinfecting surface cleaner, then let it sit for 10 minutes to kill 99.9% of germs. 

How to Clean Hard Water Stains from Showers & Tubs

how to clean hard water stains from shower

Water flow and the use of lathering products may mean that your bathroom attracts hard water stains. There are, however, a few easy ways to remove hard water stains from showers and bathtubs.

Mix equal parts white vinegar and fresh water in a spray bottle for an excellent bathroom cleaner that can be used liberally on showers and tubs. Fully saturate surfaces and let the vinegar solution sit for at least 15 minutes. Wipe clean with a clean, dry microfiber towel. 

Need Some Extra Help Cleaning Hard Water Stains? 

how to clean water stain

Add white vinegar directly to baking soda until it’s wet enough to form a paste. Spread the paste over surfaces and let it sit for 15 minutes before wiping clean with a dry microfiber cleaning cloth. If your home has hard water, this natural hard water spot remover can quickly brighten bathroom surfaces.

Pro Tip: If your sink, tub, or shower has red and rusty water stains, you may need something stronger (like CLR Pro Spray Cleaner). When using chemical cleaners, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and take proper safety precautions.

Removing Hard Water Stains on Shower Heads & Faucets

best way to remove hard water stains

While our Multi-Surface Cleaner is great for basic upkeep, removing serious hard water stains and mineral deposits may require a product like CLR. 

Fill a large, deep bowl with a mixture of equal parts CLR and hot water. If you’re able to remove your showerhead or tub faucet, place each one separately in the bowl for 2-3 minutes. If you’re unable to remove your fixtures, fully submerge them by holding the bowl in place for 2- 3 minutes.

Next, use a soft, non-abrasive sponge or brush to loosen any deposits and grime. Repeat this process until all visible mineral buildup and stains are fully removed. Finally, rinse your showerhead and tub faucet with warm water and wipe dry using a clean microfiber cloth.

How to Clean Hard Water Stains from Glass

hard water shower cleaner

During showers, water droplets and product residue splash onto the walls of your shower. This can leave spots and thick soap scum behind. Our Natural Multi-Surface Cleaner is ideal for removing spots and streaks from glass. For more stubborn stains, try the baking soda paste (mentioned above). 

Pro Tip: To prevent stains and cut down on bacteria growth, use a small squeegee to wipe down shower glass and walls after every use.

Getting Rid of Hard Water Stains in Toilets

get rid of hard water stains toilet

Since bathtubs and toilets are usually made from the same porcelain material, the methods mentioned above should work for removing hard water stains from your toilet. Pumice cleaning stones can also be great tools for gently removing calcium, iron, and rust buildup – but always do a spot test first. 

What Causes Pink Toilet Stains? 

Pink stains in toilet bowls are usually caused by the bacteria Serratia Marcescens, but these can easily be removed with a Disinfecting Surface Cleaner. Simply spray this hydrogen peroxide-based disinfectant on toilet stains, let it sit for 10 minutes, scrub with a toilet brush, and flush. 

How to Keep Dishes and Glasses Spot-Free

hard water stains

The simplest way to keep soap and hard water from accumulating? Thoroughly clean your dishwasher every month:

  1. Remove the filter, removable baskets, and attachments. 
  2. Dip an old toothbrush in a solution of warm water and a few drops of Puracy Natural Dish Soap. Gently scrub the areas where food and dirt collect. 
  3. Fill a cup with white vinegar and set it on the top rack of the dishwasher. Run it for one cycle on hot. 
  4. Sprinkle baking soda along the bottom of the empty dishwasher and run it one more time. 
  5. Once the dishwasher has completed the drying cycle, return the removable parts and you’re ready to go.

Handwashing: Avoid Spots on Dishes

avoid hard water stains on dishes

When it comes to handwashing dishes, soap buildup and hard water stains are heavily influenced by the soap you use. That's why we formulated our Natural Dish Soap to “sheet” water which means fewer water droplets to dry off (plus a streak-free finish).

Removing Hard Water Stains on Granite & Marble

what removes hard water stains

Granite and marble aren’t cheap, so avoid using harsh acidic cleaners that can dull their shine and compromise their seal. To remove hard water stains on granite and marble, spray the area with either:

  • а gentle, plant-based surface spray 
  • a few drops of Puracy Natural Dish Soap mixed with warm water

Whichever method you choose, use one trigger pull per 2’ x 2’ surface area and let the solution sit for a few minutes. Scrub with an old toothbrush or non-scratch sponge (that’s designed for natural stone). 

The Best Hard Water Stain Remover

hard water stain remover

Stains, spots, and soap scum can make your cleaning routine feel overwhelming. The best way to remove hard water stains is with home cleaners that have been designed to tackle grime, gunk, and goo on every surface.

When you choose Puracy Multi-Surface Cleaner, you get a 99.96% natural cleaning product that's fume-free and incredibly effective. This is simply the best way to clean hard water stains!