If you have mineral deposit stains on your dishes, sinks, tubs, and faucets, you know the annoying effects of hard water.
The good news is that there are simple hard water solutions for stains and mineral buildup in your home.
Some of our solutions are inexpensive, but the most effective solution is to invest in a whole house water softener, which is a larger investment.
High mineral content in your municipal water or well water is the main reason for water hardness. When water evaporates, it leaves mineral deposits on the surface of sinks, tubs, dishes, and so forth.
Hard water can also cause mineral buildup in plumbing pipes. And it can significantly decrease the effectiveness and longevity of hot water heaters.
It will also reduce the life span of dishwashers, washing machines, and many other appliances.
1. Reduce Hot Water Temperature.
Hot water increases water precipitation and thus contributes to mineral buildup and hard water stains. In addition, the hot water heater will accumulate more scale and work less efficiently and thus use more energy.
Reducing the temperature of the heater will lower the rate of mineral buildup and scale accumulation. Flushing your water heater every year will also help keep the scale buildup from ruining parts and you will get a longer life out of the heater.
The harder your water, the more frequently you need to flush it. I live in Arizona where the water is fairly hard and I get my water heater flushed yearly for about $40.
2. Rinse with Vinegar Water.
Hard water minerals such as calcium are highly reactive with acids such as vinegar. Distilled white vinegar can be your best friend to help remove accumulation from surfaces and small appliances.
For example, for any type of faucet water sprayer or shower head that gets clogged up, simply put the part in a bowl of hot water and vinegar.
A simple rinsing solution is about 3 parts water to 1 part (3:1) apple cider vinegar. Any kind of vinegar will work, but I usually use the distilled white vinegar for cleaning because it is inexpensive.
You can also run a strong vinegar rinse (1:1) through your coffee pot to clean the appliance and the pot. Vinegar water is also effective at removing hard water stains from shower doors.
I put vinegar and water in a spray bottle and spray on my shower doors periodically. Add as much vinegar as you need to remove the stains. The great thing about a vinegar rinse is that not only does it remove stains and mineral buildup, it can kill germs, bacteria and mold.
3. Use a Dishwasher Rinse Aid.
Hard water essentially makes soap unable to dissolve. It has to do with the positive and negative charges of high mineral water and the soap molecules.
Dishwasher rinse aids can help break down the soap molecules and remove years of mineral buildup and stains on dishes. Rinse aids that are formulated for hard water will help rinse off the soap and remove the stains.
4. Clean Your Small Appliances.
The longer that mineral buildup sits on appliances, the harder it is to remove. Thus, it is important to clean them regularly with appliance cleaning solutions or the vinegar solutions. The commercial appliance cleaners (many brands to choose from) are effective but they are usually chlorine-based, abrasive and acidic.
I recommend trying a distilled vinegar solution first since it is less expensive and does not contain chemicals.
5. Invest in a Water Softener.
This is one of the most convenient, hassle-free hard water solutions but it is also the most expensive. The solutions above address primarily hard water stains on surfaces inside the home.
Unfortunately, the only way to alleviate the mineral buildup of hard water throughout your home's entire plumbing system is by installing a whole house water softener.
The other main benefit of a whole house water softener is that it makes bathing much more enjoyable because soap and shampoos lather better and rinse out easier. In addition, when you wash your clothes in soft water, they will come out cleaner and brighter.
Further reading . . .