Written by Stacey Kelleher. Reviewed by Sean Busch.

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

Hard water stains make household cleaning a bit more challenging. But our tried-and-true tricks will show you how to get rid of hard water stains from showers, toilets, and sinks. 

What Causes Hard Water Spots? 

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 US

If you’re curious, your local municipality (and certain companies) should be able to disclose your water hardness level. There are, of course, some simple 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. 

It’s possible to get rid of hard water stains in the shower, kitchen, and dishwasher, but without taking steps to soften your water, they’ll keep returning. Luckily, the right products, elbow grease, and following tips will help you remove hard water stains and soap scum – for good.  

How to Keep Dishes and Glasses Spot-Free

Puracy dishwasher detergent packs

Keep soap and hard water from building up by cleaning your dishwasher each month:

  1. Remove the filter, removable baskets, and attachments. 
  2. Dip an old toothbrush in a solution of water warm 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: How to Avoid Spots on Dishes 

When it comes to handwashing dishes, soap buildup and hard water stains are heavily influenced by the soap you use. We specifically formulated our 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 plant-based formula is effective for cleaning stuck-on food, yet it’s mild enough to safely clean wood, metals, and other delicate materials.

clean hard water stains

How to Remove Hard Water Stains from Showers & Bathtubs

From the constant flow of water to the use of lathering products in the sink, bathtub, and shower, your bathroom is most likely to have hard water stains. There are a few easy, natural ways to remove hard water stains from the tub and shower

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Remove Hard Water Stains with Vinegar 

hard water stains with vinegar

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

If you require some extra scrubbing power, 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. For homes with hard water, we recommend doing this weekly to reduce spots and brighten bathroom surfaces. 

Pro tip: 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. 

How to Remove Hard Water Stains on Showerheads & Faucets

hard water stains faucet

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 2-3 minutes.If you’re unable to remove your fixtures, fully submerge them by holding the bowl in place for 2 to 3 minutes.

Using a soft, non-abrasive sponge or brush, 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

remove hard water stains from shower

Everytime someone takes a shower, water droplets and product residue splash onto the walls of your shower. In homes with hard water, spots and thick soap scum are left 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: 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 hard water stains from your toilet. 

Pro tip: A pumice cleaning stone is another great tool for gently removing toilet hard water rings, calcium, iron, and rust buildup. Always do a spot test first!

clean toilets

Pink stains on toilets are actually caused by bacteria and can be removed easily with a Disinfecting Surface Cleaner. Simply spray this dual cleaner-disinfectant on toilet stains, let it sit for 10 minutes, scrub with a toilet brush, and flush. 

Removing Hard Water Stains on Granite & Marble

hard water stains granite

To remove hard water stains on granite and marble, either spray the area with а gentle, plant-based surface spray or a few drops of Puracy Natural Dish Soap mixed with warm water in a spray bottle. 

Whichever method 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 scrubbing with an old toothbrush or non-scratch sponge (that’s designed for natural stone). 

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

5 Tips to Prevent Hard Water Stains

hard water prevention

Removing hard water stains is important, but it’s better to stop them from happening in the first place. 

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, making 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 to help remove minerals that cause hard water stains. Plus, your clothes will be cleaner and your soap and shampoo will lather better.  

3. Seal Surfaces To Prevent Future Hard Water Stains  

A few times a year, expand on the methods above by adding 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 and 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. Because bacteria can cause stains, spray the exterior of your toilet with a disinfecting surface cleaner, then let it sit for 10 minutes (which kills 99.9% of germs). 

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). 

A Great Hard Water Stain Remover – Without the Harsh Chemicals 

hard water stain remover

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