Asked on Apr 23, 2015

Hard water stains

Kimberly O'Hara
by Kimberly O'Hara
My daughter and I own a cleaning service. We have several clients that have hard water stains. The stains are particularly bad on the shower doors. We have tried CLR and other cleaners but nothing works. We would love to hear your suggestions as we want to leave our clients with sparkling clean rooms in the whole house.
  25 answers
  • Darla Darla on Apr 23, 2015
    Try soaking a towel in a CLR or vinegar solution and hanging it on the shower door on the inside while you clean the rest of the house. That should loosen the hard water deposits enough so you can scrub them off. The problem with vertical surfaces like this is that the cleaner runs off too fast to work.
  • Vicki Vicki on Apr 23, 2015
    @Darla suggestion is what I would have said too. Once the glass is clean, then use RainX (for automotive windows) spray, follow directions, once treated water will bead up and easy to squeegee & keep clean.
  • EdiLeck EdiLeck on Apr 23, 2015
    If the stains have been there awhile, it is not a quick fix! I clean a school and we have some windows that are victims of poorly adjusted sprinklers! What I do for the hard water stains is just plain ole white vinegar in a spray bottle. Spray it on and let it sit for a bit. It isn't something you can spray and walk away, because you have to keep it wet for a few minutes. Then take a soft scrub pad and gently scrub in a circular motion. When you feel the hard water deposits start to lift, wipe the surface, spray and scrub again. Working in small areas is best. It takes awhile, but it works.
  • Loretta Loretta on Apr 24, 2015
    I own my own cleaning business as well. When I come across hard water stains I use the stuff in a blue gallon jug call calcium lime rust remover. works like a charm. it is not the same as CLR.
  • Beth Truax Zwicky Beth Truax Zwicky on Apr 24, 2015
    make a paste with baking soda and hydrogen peroxide and scrub with a sponge or plastic scrubby. I did this with my bathtub and surround and it looks brand new. Also used it on a shower door in another bathroom and that also looks brand new. None of the commercial products I have ever used worked! Vinegar never worked either. After I dried everything I used turtle wax and buffed it. Now the water/soap runs right off! Amazing stuff!!
    • Jim Grossman Jim Grossman on Apr 24, 2015
      Beth - I noticed your last name and wonder if you are related to Dwayne Zwicky who used to work for HCMC in Minneapolis. He was a very good friend and I would like to reconnect. @
  • Murray McGinn Murray McGinn on Apr 24, 2015
    Take some Blue Dawn dish detergent and some vinegar. In a spray bottle mix 50/50. Spray on and leave for 15 to 30 minutes. Wash off and there you go. Works like a charm for taking off stains on laundry too, or cleaning the tub surround with the same problem as the shower doors.
    • B. Enne B. Enne on Apr 24, 2015
      @ @Murray McGinn I make a similar cleaner in a spray bottle with 1 c. cheap grocery store lemon juice, 1 cup vinegar, about 1/4 c. dish detegent and if necessary I fill the space that is left with water. It cleans the toilet well, makes my faucets sparkle (don't leave on too long), and it removes calcium from shower walls, tile and tub. If it needs a bit on help, I use a $ store green scrub sponge.
  • Linda H Linda H on Apr 24, 2015
    this is going to sound crazy but, the black label bottle of Lysol toilet bowl cleaner works on the bathtub and shower doors. I used to live in a city that had really hard water and this product worked really well; especially on hard water, soap scum that has been left for quite a while.
  • Sherrill Szumik Sherrill Szumik on Apr 24, 2015
    When I had my cleaning business I used Lysol toilet careful to use gloves and not get any on the door frames just the glass...the dawn and vinegar solution can be used after to keep it up regularly
  • Christine Agostini Christine Agostini on Apr 24, 2015
    There's a product called "The Works". It has hydrochloric acid which eats calcium and lime. But be sure to have good ventilation or wear a chem mask to be safe. If there is excellent ventilation use muriatic acid. With either if these products, make sure it doesn't touch the metal fixtures in any way. They will discolor.
    • Capernius Capernius on Apr 29, 2015
      @Christine Agostini Muriatic Acid?? if you use that, you will destroy the finish on the tub & the framework for the glass, which is most likely aluminum. NEVER, EVER, use Muriatic Acid inside the home...that stuff is way too dangerous!
  • Saralyn Saralyn on Apr 24, 2015
    I have used sheetrock sanding sheets to get hard water stains out of the toilet for years now, its quick and easy, no chemicals needed and it's soft enough not to scratch.
  • Aleshabillie Aleshabillie on Apr 24, 2015
    my sweetie and I also have hard water, and it leaves marks on everything while it is stubborn as can be - I get it. we use the Works, which believe it or not usually, works :), although sometimes i'll use watered down bleach, or, I think the best solution: white vinegar. That stuff works for everything :)
  • Capernius Capernius on Apr 24, 2015
    Start with straight Vinegar in a spray bottle. Spray the Vinegar in your tub and shower and wait a few minutes before wiping clean. You can also try removing hard water stains with a paste made from baking soda and vinegar. Smear the paste over the surface of the stain and let sit for 15 minutes. One other thing that just might make your jobs easier... In my home, I clean everything, except wood, with vinegar. the acid in the Vinegar, kills germs, removes stains, & sanitizes all in one swoop. Vinegar on windows/glass does not streak & the smell? it goes away after a few minutes.
  • Janice cox Janice cox on Apr 24, 2015
    windex works pretty good
  • Vic990054 Vic990054 on Apr 24, 2015
    Hi I live in new zealand and there is a company call wet and forget who have for sale what they call tiger's paw I have a feeling it is very fine sand paper and it is only to be used one way so I guess would not damage the glass good luck maybe you could branch out and off the cleaner once you have found one for sale good luck
  • Mary Shannon Mary Shannon on Apr 24, 2015
    Clean it with WD40 sounds crazy but it works
  • Kimberly O'Hara Kimberly O'Hara on Apr 25, 2015
    I would like to thank everyone for helping me out with this frustrating cleaning problem. I am going to try many of your suggestions and will post which one (s) did the trick! Have a blessed day!
    • See 1 previous
    • Adriane Sanitate Adriane Sanitate on Aug 26, 2016
      Shower doors, Glass of course. My childhood home was built in the 70's and it's what was used...uhggg..She told me to buy Tilex. Just plain old Tilex, not the fancy kind. So I went on a mission to locate It! I couldn't find it anywhere!! I ended up buying Tilex spray I think it was Shower Clean for everyday use?? Anyway. Spray on, use a Dobie scrub pad and Voila!!! Beautiful glass AND a clean Shower! Let me know if the WD40 works though!! And what else you may find helpful! Good Luck Ladies!! This is my email address. As business owners and Women, we have got to help each other out!! ☺
  • Sherrie Sherrie on Apr 25, 2015
    I also have a cleaning businesses. When all else fails we use The Works. We bid large apartment complexes and clean several apartments a day. Use use it in showers, toilets and metal. We use a sprayer and spray it on and let it set, because they ask for a cleaning deposit on everything people have quit cleaning. Check the metal before you spray, or spray it on a rag and wipe it off and rinse. We clean 2 to 3 rentals a day a piece. It is the fastest way to clean it.
    • Kimberly O'Hara Kimberly O'Hara on Apr 25, 2015
      Thanks Sherrie! The hard water stains on the shower doors have been there for quite some time, like years. Do you think this will still work?
  • Sherrie Sherrie on Apr 25, 2015
    Most of the time we can get them clean. But here is the problem, once it has been damaged the water builds up very quickly getting hard again. I have a house I also clean every other week. After I got off the hard water I use the Works and put it in the cleaning cloth and just wipe it down. It comes right off. All the have to do once it's clean is dry it. And it will keep hard water out. I have only had one not come clean in the 25 years I have been doing this.
  • Paula Draper Paula Draper on Apr 25, 2015
    You might recommend to your customers that they not use bar soap. The products used in the soaps make the hard water spots and soap scum worse. We switched to liquid body soap and haven't had any problems since (and we have VERY hard water with lots of minerals in our area).
  • Marion Nesbitt Marion Nesbitt on Apr 26, 2015
    Use a well-soaked SOS pad on my exterior windows to remove mineral build-up Then I rinse well with some vinegar water, and then polish with my wonder cloth and plain water. Saves a lot of elbow grease and mess.
  • Alisa Alisa on Apr 28, 2015
    One word - coke!
    • See 3 previous
    • Capernius Capernius on Apr 29, 2015
      it may work & it may not... I say this because back in the 1980's(I think it was) Coke changed the recipe for their was in an effort to dethrone Pepsi...which failed for Coke miserably. so I do not know if it wil still work like it used to...but what have you got to lose?
  • Capernius Capernius on Apr 29, 2015
    for mineral deposits on almost any surface, use vinegar.... for iron deposits, you can try vinegar... I do not have iron stain problems, so I don't know if vinegar will work or not....I always use straight vinegar.... then again, I make my own(5 gallons at a time) so I do not have to worry about cost.
  • Christine Agostini Christine Agostini on Apr 29, 2015
    Like I said, use cautiously and protect any metal, but muriatic acid does not ruin finishes. In fact, it only reacts and destroys naturally occurring minerals and deposits. If there is a finish with no deposits it will literally sit on it like water and have no reaction at all. Be sure to rinse well with water. I suggest applying this chemical using gloves with only a rag saturated with it to control exactly where it goes. But definitely do not allow contact with metals (also naturally occurring resources). I assume you are professionals who can handle and control more aggressive cleaning and removal systems
  • Pat Zagami Pat Zagami on May 04, 2015
    Once it is clean put some Rainx or Turtle Wax on the doors to keep the water runniing off.
  • TrishaBee TrishaBee on May 04, 2015
    I tried everything to get the water stains off the doors in my house when I bought it and the only thing that worked (mind you, I didn't try "The Works" )was BarKeepers Friend. Squirted it on, smeared it in and waited for 10 minuted then used and scrubby/sponge in a circular motion and voila! It also worked on a fiber glass enclosure I had that I thought was beyond saving.