When you get visitors and there is the inevitable whole-house-clean-up going on, you may notice that your shower is starting to look tacky.
Yeah, I had this horrible experience when my future in-laws came to visit.
The morning before they were due to arrive, I stood in the shower, and I was suddenly struck by how dull and grimy my shower had become.
There was a terrible build-up of grainy white deposits on the taps, the showerhead, and the tiles.
Why was my shower looking like this? A quick Google search explained this to be hard water stains.
But how was I going to get rid of them and prevent these stains from putting in an appearance while my in-laws were there?
How to Prevent Hard Water Stains in Shower
Hard water stains are caused by the chemicals that are commonly found in the water of certain parts of the U.S. To prevent these stains, you can install a water filter that can filter the deposits from the water before it comes into contact with your plumbing and tiles. You can also follow a daily care routine that removes the hard water deposits before these become stains. A good habit to follow is to spray your taps and bathroom surfaces that come into contact with water with a mix of soap and vinegar as this will dissolve the calcium carbonate deposits that are in the hard water and which cause the hard water stains.
What Is Hard Water?
Hard water in nature is formed when water moves through natural deposits of calcium, gypsum, and magnesium.
These chemicals then dissolve, forming part of the water’s alkaline nature.
When this hard water runs over a surface, it leaves a fine powdery deposit of the chemicals.
These deposits stain over time, and with the addition of soap scum, it can even become a breeding ground for mildew and other pesky bathroom critters like cockroaches and fishtails.
Why Tap Water Is Hard
Tap water is filtered in government facilities that add certain chemicals to the process.
This is to ensure the water is safe for human use. As a result, some of the water that is filtered in the U.S. is known as hard water.
This is because the filtration process adds these chemicals to the water.
States in the U.S. that are known for having hard water in their taps include Alaska, Hawaii, Arizona, and Florida.
Unfortunately, I live in Tampa, Florida, so I was out of luck when it comes to hard water.
Oh, the water in my taps is safe for human use. Unluckily, it is also a disaster for leaving deposits all over my sink, bathroom, and even in my toilet.
How to Prevent Hard Water Stains
Ok, so I rolled up my sleeves, and since there was no time to rush to the nearest shop for some fantastic chemical cleaner, I opted for a household cleaner found right in my kitchen.
I wasn’t disappointed.
Luckily, the same way you prevent hard water stains is also how you remove hard water stains.
Having read the best online resources, I quickly formulated my 5-step plan.
Step One: Wet the Affected Area
I found that by wetting the area, I could have a better idea of how large the stain was. To start, I used a wet cloth to wipe down the stained areas.
In the shower, I poured some warm water over the taps and showerhead.
Step Two: Spray With Cleaning Solution
My life-saving cleaning solution ended up being really simple. In a spray bottle, I mixed half a cup of warm water with half a cup of white vinegar.
For good measure, I added a few squeezes of lemon juice to the mix as well as a few drops of dishwashing solution.
A few squirts of this magic cleaner, and I could already see the stains start to lift. So for good measure, I sprayed a few more times.
Step Three: Scrub and Wipe
Next, I took my bathroom scrubbing brush and began applying some elbow juice.
By this point most of the stains were gone, except for a few remaining tough bits that stuck to the corners and tile grouting.
Step Four: Call in the Big Guns
I hit up my resources again, and discovered a secret weapon that could get rid of the last remaining stains with time to spare for me to go get changed before the in-laws arrived.
This magic weapon was simple old baking soda.
Yeah, that’s right. I mixed baking soda with a little warm water until I had a runny paste.
Using my fingers, I applied the paste to the last remaining stains.
While I quickly dried my hair and did my make-up, the baking soda paste happily bubbled away the last remains of the hard water stains.
All that was left to do was to rinse the area with a bit of water, and voila! Clean, fresh, and stain-free, in time for my fussy future mother-in-law to arrive.
Step Five: Daily Maintenance
Of course, I realized that the stains would be back as every drop of water from my taps was laced with the chemicals that cause the hard water stains.
This meant I would have to follow a similar maintenance plan to prevent hard water stains from happening again.
Now I keep a spray bottle with my vinegar, soap, and water mix ready.
After each shower, I spray a mist of this solution on the taps, shower head, tiles, and drain cover.
I haven’t had any hard water stains reappear since I’ve begun following this routine.
Frequently Asked Questions About Preventing Hard Water Stains In Shower
How do I keep my shower from getting hard water stains?
There are a few ways to stop hard water stains from forming in your shower. Try to Spray the shower with a mix of water, vinegar, and a few drops of soap. Wipe the shower down with a sponge after each shower to prevent the chemicals from being deposited. Use a dehumidifier to lower the humidity that causes the hard water stains to form. Dry your bathroom and shower with a towel to prevent smear marks and stop water drying on the tiles.
How do I filter my house’s tap water from calcium carbonates and other chemicals in hard water?
By installing a hard water filter that is salt-based, you can remove all the chemicals that create the hard water stains. The ions in the salt-based filter will displace all of the unwanted chemicals in your tap water.
My shower was sparkling brightly as I rinsed the last of the baking soda paste from the corners and grout lines, and I had a fresh and clean shower ready for the in-laws.
Best of all, my future mom-in-law pulled me aside two days later as they were leaving and asked me how I kept my shower so neat and clean despite the hard water in Tampa.
I just smiled and gave her a bottle of my “special” shower cleaner.