How to Get Rid of Hard Water Stains: 5 Ways

Hard water stains appear as a result of high mineral content in your water, especially minerals like calcium and magnesium. These brown or chalky stains are certainly unappealing, but fortunately, with a few natural cleaners like vinegar and even toothpaste, you can banish pesky hard water stains from any surface.

Use the following five methods to remove hard water stains from various surfaces throughout your home, from kitchen sinks to toilet bowls.

How to Remove Hard Water Stains With Vinegar

Vinegar is among the best natural cleaning solutions, so it’s no surprise that it can be used to remove hard water stains as well. Create your own DIY cleaner by mixing equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Spray the stain liberally and allow it to sit for up to 15 minutes before gently scrubbing the stain with a soft-bristled brush or sponge.

This method is best used for removing hard water stains on metal or glass items and surfaces. However, since vinegar is an acetic product, avoid using it on soft stones like granite or marble.


If you are working with a vertical surface, consider soaking a paper towel in the vinegar solution and applying it to the tile or glass. This will prevent the vinegar from dripping down the wall or door, giving it plenty of time to break down the stain.

How to Remove Hard Water Stains With Hydrogen Peroxide and Cream of Tartar

In addition to liquid cleaning solutions like vinegar and water, you can also remove hard water stains with a thicker, more abrasive solution made of hydrogen peroxide and cream of tartar. Mix one part hydrogen peroxide and two parts cream of tartar in a small bowl, adjusting until you’ve reached a paste-like consistency.

Apply the mixture to your hard water stain and leave it to break down the stain for 30 minutes before returning to scrub with a sponge or soft brush. You can use this method to remove hard water stains from metal fixtures and bathtubs.

How to Remove Hard Water Stains With Baking Soda

Like hydrogen peroxide and cream of tartar solution, you can also create another effective cleaner out of baking soda and water. Mix together your water and baking soda, following a ratio of one to two and adjusting until you’ve achieved your preferred consistency. Apply this DIY solution to ceramic tiles and especially grout that has absorbed pesky hard water stains over time, then leave it to absorb for half an hour.

Use an old toothbrush to gently scrub away the stains before rinsing with water. You can also use baking soda as a water softener in your laundry, by tossing in one quarter of a box with each load.

How to Remove Hard Water Stains With Toothpaste

It might surprise you to know toothpaste is another household product you can use to get rid of hard water stains in your home. Simply spread the paste over your hard water stain and leave it for roughly 30 minutes to work its magic.

Grab a sponge, or old toothbrush, and scrub! Since toothpaste is a more expensive “cleaner” than some of the previously mentioned solutions, use this method for smaller hard water stains on mirrors and glass surfaces.


The key ingredient that makes toothpaste an effective product for removing hard water stains is fluoride, so make sure the toothpaste you use includes fluoride.

How to Remove Hard Water Stains With Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide and cream of tartar make a great grime-fighting team when it comes to tackling hard water stains. However, hydrogen peroxide is a powerful cleaning solution all on its own that can remove black mold, soap scum, and even hard water stains.

Use a spray bottle to apply the liquid directly to the hard water stains, then leave it for 15 minutes. Return and scrub away the stains with a damp sponge or soft-bristled brush, before rinsing thoroughly with water.


  • Hard water stains are not permanent. However, they will continue to appear so long as you have high mineral levels in your water.

  • Yes, CLR can remove hard water stains from a variety of surfaces in your home, including porcelain, glass, and metal surfaces. However, if you’d prefer a more natural cleaning solution, consider an alternative like vinegar or baking soda.

  • Dawn dish soap can help remove hard water stains in your home, but it is not strong enough to do so on its own. Instead, pair the detergent with a stronger cleaner like vinegar or hydrogen peroxide.

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