Hard water stains are a real pain in the neck. They ruin the appearance of your sink, shower, and faucets, and can even clog up your coffee maker and dishwasher until they don’t work like they used to. No amount of scrubbing makes this gunk budge, but harsh chemical cleaners may not be your favorite option. We’ve got you covered! Here are 10 limescale solutions that dissolve hard water stains using stuff that you already have around the house.
The Science behind the Cleaners
The limescale that stains your sink and clogs your coffee maker is mostly made up of calcium carbonate (CaCO3). Calcium carbonate typically has a pH of about 10, which makes it alkaline. Therefore, all of the DIY recipes for dissolving limescale make use of the weak acids that you have in your house, such as lemons (citric acid) vinegar (about 5% acetic acid) or even cola (also citric acid). These acids react with the CaCO3, softening it up so you can wipe it away. Voilà!
10 DIY Methods for Beating Limescale
- Showerhead: Remove the showerhead and soak it in plain white distilled vinegar for several hours. Scrub thoroughly, rinse well, and replace. If you’d rather not remove your showerhead, you can hang a plastic bag filled with vinegar from the shower head and secure it in place with a sturdy rubber band.
- Coffee maker: Put a clean coffee filter in your coffee maker, and start brewing a full pot of a solution that’s half vinegar and half water. Turn the coffee maker off halfway through the brew cycle, and let it sit for about an hour. Turn the coffee maker back on, let it finish the brew cycle, put in a fresh filter and then brew 2 cycles of fresh water.
- Shower doors: Spray your shower doors with pure white vinegar, wait a few minutes, and then wipe.
- Dishwasher: Once a month, pour a cup of white vinegar into your empty dishwasher and run it through a wash cycle.
- Clothes iron: Fill the water reservoir with a solution of half water, half white vinegar. Heat the iron up, and then run the steam out. Fill the reservoir up with pure water, and then run the steam out again.
- Bath mat: Pour white vinegar over your bath mat until it’s well coated. Let it sit for an hour. Scrub with a scrub brush, and rinse with warm water.
- Tea kettle: Boil a cup of vinegar for a few minutes. Rinse thoroughly. This works for both stove-top and electric models.
- Toilet: Pour one can of cola or three cups of white vinegar into the toilet bowl. Wait one hour, then flush.
- Humidifier: Soak the humidifier filter in white vinegar for an hour, or until it’s free of limescale.
- Faucets: For chrome faucets, rub a lemon rind over the faucets. Then soak several paper towels in white vinegar, drape them over the faucet, and wait an hour. Remove the paper towels, and rinse.
What’s your favorite recipe for removing hard water stains?
Photo courtesy of Abhijit Tembhekar.