A Mineral Problem: Learning the Basics of Hard Water Stains

Water is one of the most important elements for human life, but it’s not all perfect. In fact, depending on where you live, the water can contain minerals that can cause problems. Hard water is water that has high levels of minerals, specifically calcium and magnesium. These minerals can cause problems like hard water stains.

If you have hard water, you’re not alone. In the United States, 85% of homes have hard water.

Not everyone may know of this, but the two main kinds of hard water stains are soap scum and limescale.

What Is the Technical Component of Hard Water?

Hard water is water that contains high levels of minerals, specifically magnesium and calcium. These minerals come from rocks and soil and are present in rain and groundwater. When this water enters the municipal water supply, it can cause problems with plumbing and appliances and can make it difficult to get soap to lather.

Some hard waters may only contain a few GPG of minerals, while other waters may contain upwards of 30 GPG. The degree of hardness is what determines how difficult it is to form a lather, not the concentration of minerals in the water itself.

The Main Appearance of Hard Water Stains

a) Soap Scum

Water that contains a high concentration of minerals does not mix well with soap. This is because the minerals in the water interact with the fatty acids in the soap. Soap scum is a common problem found in showers, sinks, and bathroom tiles. It is usually a filmy, off-white substance but can also be grey. In addition to being cosmetically undesirable, soap scum also provides a place for mold and mildew to grow.

b) Limescale

Limescale is a chalky, white substance that forms when calcium bicarbonate breaks down in hard water or heat. It can build up over time and damage pipes if not removed. It usually appears as a powdery residue on metal surfaces.

Hard water stains appear as white, chalky deposits on surfaces that have been exposed to hard water. These stains are the result of mineral buildup, and they can be difficult to remove. However, with the right tools and techniques, you can get rid of hard water stains and keep your surfaces looking clean and bright.

How Do You Deal with Hard Water Stains?

1. Try Using Distilled White Vinegar

To clean your metal fixtures, mix vinegar and water in equal parts. If possible, remove the fixtures and soak them in a bowl of vinegar solution for 10-15 minutes. If not, spray the fixtures with the solution and let them sit for 10-15 minutes. Scrub the fixtures with a brush, old toothbrush, or rag.

2. Use a Ceramic-Safe All-Purpose Bathroom Cleaner

To clean your toilet, first, spray the inside of the toilet bowl with cleaner. Then let the cleaner sit for 10-15 minutes while you do something else. After that, scrub the inside of the toilet with a toilet brush, and flush. Finally, wipe away any cleaner that got sprayed on the outside of the toilet.


Overall, hard water stains can be a problem for many homeowners. However, there are a few things that you can do to help prevent or remove them. First, you can install a water softener to help reduce the hardness of the water. Second, you can use a vinegar and water solution to help remove any existing stains. Finally, you can use a lemon juice and salt solution to help prevent future stains.

If you are looking for a company that also deals with hard water stain removal in Orange County, CA, look no further than our services here at Professional Cleaning Services. We have over a decade of experience in the cleaning industry offering cleaning services for homes, rentals, office buildings, and more. Call us today to book your first hard water cleaning appointment with us.

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