If you’ve noticed spots on your freshly-washed dishes – or you’re forever battling with soap scum on your tub and shower – you’re probably among the 85% of households in the country with hard water. 

As you probably know, hard water makes cleaning household surfaces a bit more challenging. That’s why we’re sharing our tried and true tricks for how to remove hard water stains throughout your home. 

What Causes Hard Water Stains? 

When we talk about water “hardness,” we’re actually referring to the levels of minerals (mostly magnesium and calcium) dissolved in your water. 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 will be.

hardest water in US

If you’re curious about your own water, your local municipality (and certain companies) should be able to disclose your water hardness level. Certain companies can also provide testing. But there are some simple telltale signs you have hard water

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

It’s possible to remove hard water stains in the shower, kitchen, and dishwasher, but unless you take steps to soften your water, they’ll keep returning without routine maintenance. With the right products, elbow grease, and following tips, you can remove hard water stains and soap scum. 

Keeping Dishes and Glasses Spot Free

Puracy dishwasher detergent packs

For dishwashers, keep soap and hard water from building up by cleaning it on each month. To keep dishes spot and streak-free, here’s a simple method to clean your dishwasher

  1. Remove the filter, removable baskets, and attachments. 
  2. Using an old toothbrush dipped in a solution of water warm and a few drops of Puracy Natural Dish Soap, gently scrub the areas where food and dirt collects. 
  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. Next, 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 Dishes to Prevent Hard Water Stains 

When it comes to handwashing dishes, preventing soap buildup and hard water stains comes down to the soap you use. We specifically formulated Puracy Natural Dish Soap to “sheet” water. That means fewer water droplets to dry off, as well as a streak-free finish (important for homes with hard water). 

Its formula is effective for cleaning stuck-on food, yet mild enough to safely clean wood, metals, and other delicate materials.

dishes hard water

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How to Remove Hard Water Stains from Showers & Bathtubs

Of all the rooms in the house, the bathroom is most likely to have hard water stains from the constant flow of water to the use of lathering products in the sink, bathtub, and shower. Here are a few natural methods to remove hard water stains when you’re cleaning the tub and shower. 

White Vinegar Is Ideal for Hard Water Stains

hard water stains with vinegar

To remove hard water stains with vinegar from shower and tub surfaces, mix equal parts white vinegar and fresh water in a spray bottle. Spray surfaces liberally and let the vinegar solution sit for at least 15 minutes. Wipe clean with a clean, dry microfiber towel

If you require some scrubbing power, add white vinegar to baking soda just 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. We recommend doing this weekly to reduce spots and brighten bathroom surfaces. 

If your sink, tub, or shower has red, rusty, and/or hard 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 Faucets and Showerheads

remove showerhead stains

To remove serious hard water stains – and to break down mineral deposits from your showerhead and/or tub faucet – we recommend using 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 to 3 minutes.If you’re unable to remove your fixtures, you can just hold the bowl near your showerhead and tub faucet, fully submerging them in the liquid for 2 to 3 minutes.

Next, use a soft, non-abrasive sponge or brush to loosen any deposits or grime. Repeat this process as needed 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 Remove Hard Water Stains on Shower Glass

can't get hard water stains off

Every time someone takes a shower, water droplets and product residue splash onto the glass. In homes with hard water, spots and thick soap scum are left behind. Can’t get hard water stains off glass? Puracy 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: Use a small squeegee to wipe down shower glass and walls after every use. This reduces hard water stains and inhibits the growth of bacteria as well. 

Get Rid of Hard Water Stains in Toilets

Since bathtubs and toilets are usually made from the same porcelain material, the methods mentioned above should work for removing water spots and red hard water stains from your toilet. 

Pro tip: A pumice cleaning stone is another great tool for removing toilet hard water rings, calcium, iron, and rust buildup. While gentle scrubbing power can break down tough stains without scratching surfaces, always do a spot test first.

hard water stains in toilet

If your toilet has pink stains, these are actually caused by bacteria. Pink bacteria stains in toilets can be removed easily with a standard household cleaner, such as Puracy Natural Multi-Surface Cleaner. Simply spray the cleaner on toilet stains, let it sit for about 5 minutes, scrub with a toilet brush, and flush.

Best Way to Remove Hard Water Stains on Granite & Marble

hard water stains granite

To remove hard water stains on granite and marble, use gentle, plant-based Puracy Surface Spray and a dry, clean microfiber cloth. You can also put a few drops of Puracy Natural Dish Soap in a spray bottle with warm water. 

Whichever you choose, spray the surface directly using one trigger pull per 2’ x 2’ surface area and let the solution sit for a few minutes before wiping away with a clean cloth. An old toothbrush or non-scratch sponge (that’s designed for natural stone) will help to scrub away more stubborn stains. 

Pro tip: Avoid using harsh acidic cleaners that can dull the shine of natural stone and compromise its seal. 

5 Tips for Hard Water Stain Prevention

hard water stain prevention

There are plenty of things you can do to prevent hard water stains from making your home look dull and dingy. 

1. Frequent Care is Easy Care

At Puracy, we believe “frequent care is easy care.” If you take a few minutes each day to clean the most commonly-used areas in your home, you’ll prevent dirt and grime from building up and make household chores much easier. 

2. Invest in a Home Water Softener 

In areas with very hard water, we strongly recommend investing in a water softener. This device will help remove minerals in your water, resulting in fewer hard water stains, cleaner clothes and hair, and softer skin. It’s the best defense for eliminating hard water stains before they start.

3. Seal Surfaces To Prevent Future Hard Water Stains  

A few times a year, expand on the methods above by adding a safe-yet-effective cleaner (like BioClean Hard Water Stain Remover) to your home care rotation. Bio Clean not only removes hard water stains from showers and tubs, but it also creates a seal to reduce future staining. 

4. A Brush for Every Toilet 

Store a toilet brush in every bathroom to keep toilets sparkling clean. Every few days, squirt your favorite cleaner into the bowl and swish it around with the brush, making sure to get under the rim. Spray the exterior of your toilet with Puracy Disinfecting Surface Cleaner and let it sit for 10 minutes (which kills 99.9% of germs lurking on the surface). 

5. Spray Surfaces Daily 

Puracy Natural Multi-Surface Cleaner is the ideal bathroom product to prevent water stains and soap scum buildup in the bathroom. Safe for granite, glass, marble, and just about every other non-porous surface in your home, it wipes off easily without leaving streaks or spots behind. 

Using a clean edgeless, folded microfiber towel, apply medium pressure to wipe in quick overlapping passes (making a “Z” pattern). 

Get Rid of Hard Water Stains – Without Harsh Chemicals

Puracy multi surface spray

If you live in a community with hard water, it can feel overwhelming to remove stains, spots, and soap scum. Our line of home cleaners has been designed to tackle stains wherever they pop up – from glass to marble, tile, and just about every non-porous household surface. 

And when you purchase our Puracy Multi-Surface Cleaner Concentrate, you’ll be saving over 50% per fluid ounce!