How to remove hard water and rust stains around your home
Hard water and rust stains can be a little tricky, but with the right supplies and a little research, you can get these pesky discolorations off of nearly any surface around your home.
What are hard water and rust stains?
Hard water contains more dissolved calcium and magnesium than normal, which can lead to chalky stains you’re most likely to spot on clear glass. Hard water can also make your hands feel slimy after washing them with soap and water, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. You can prevent hard water stains by using a water softening system to filter your water, but these systems can be expensive to purchase and install.
Rust stains can come from water that contains high levels of iron bacteria, rusty plumbing, damaged washer and dryers, or corroded metal. The resulting stain is usually orange or brown.
What you’ll need: Best hard water and rust stain removers
Hard water stains
– Distilled white vinegar
– Baking Soda
– Cleaning gloves
– Spray bottle
– Stiff cleaning brush
– Distilled white vinegar
– Lemon Juice
– Cream of Tartar
– Hydrogen peroxide
– Liquid dishwashing soap
– Butter knife
– White cloths
How to tackle hard water and rust stains around your house
Hard water and rust stains won’t affect your health, but they can accumulate on surfaces and lead to damage if you let them build up.
Remove hard water stains from glass
Combine equal parts distilled white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Spritz the glass with the mixture and let it sit for about 15 minutes. Use a soft, clean cloth to wipe the vinegar away. You might have to repeat this a few times to fully treat the stained area.
You can also rinse your dishes with white vinegar. Pour vinegar directly into your dishwasher or fill a bowl with vinegar and place it on the top rack while running a load of dishes, according to Reader’s Digest.
If you wash your dishes by hand, warm up some white vinegar in the microwave and pour it into a clean sink. Let your glasses soak in the warm vinegar for about 10 minutes. Then, take them out and sprinkle some baking on the remaining stains. Use your finger to gently wipe the stains off and dry the glasses with a soft towel.
Remove hard water stains from toilets and other porcelain
Create a paste with a few tablespoons of baking soda and water. Apply the mixture directly to the stained area and let it sit for a few minutes. Use a stiff-bristled brush to scrub the stain and rinse the area with water.
For toilets, pour one cup of white vinegar into the toilet bowl and stir it around with a toilet brush. Then add one cup of baking soda to the toilet bowl and another one or two cups of vinegar. Let the mixture sit in the toilet for about 10 minutes before scrubbing with a toilet brush. Let the mixture sit for another 30 minutes and scrub the toilet bowl again. Repeat that until the stain is gone and flush the toilet.
You can also try a mixture of Borax and distilled white vinegar in a similar manner to treat hard water stains in toilets and other porcelain surfaces.
Remove hard water stains from faucets
Dip some clean, dry paper towels in a mixture of white vinegar and water. Wrap the saturated paper towels around the faucet and let it sit. After about 15 minutes, remove the paper towels and use them to wipe down the faucet.
Remove rust stains from fabric
Rust stains won’t come out using normal laundry detergents, while chlorine bleach and high heat will just set the stain in permanently. Luckily, there are a few creative ways to get rid of these pesky stains.
First, try sprinkling the stain with some salt and squeeze some fresh lemon juice on top of the salt. Let the fabric dry in the sun before rinsing the salt off.
You can also use a paste using one teaspoon of cream of tartar, one teaspoon of baking soda, and several drops of hydrogen peroxide. Spread the paste over the stain and let it sit for about 30 minutes before rinsing the fabric with clean water.
As a last resort, you can try using a commercial rust stain remover. These products are very harsh and toxic, so be careful while using them.
Remove rust stains from carpet or upholstery
Use a butter knife to scrape off any loose rust from the fabric and vacuum the area. Then, combine two tablespoons of dishwashing liquid with one tablespoon of household ammonia with two cups of warm water. Use a clean white cloth soaked in the solution to saturate the stain. Let the solution sit on the stain for at least five minutes before blotting with a clean, dry white cloth.
If that doesn’t work, you can make a paste with salt and lemon juice and apply that to the stain for at least two hours. Vacuum the area to remove the paste.
Remove rust stains from ceramic or porcelain surfaces
Create a mixture of one part 3% hydrogen peroxide and two parts cream of tartar. Apply the paste to the stain and let it sit for an hour or two. Rinse the paste away with water.
Remove rust stains from stainless steel
Mix one tablespoon of baking soda and two cups of water together to create a paste and spread it directly onto the rust stain in the direction of the steel grain. Use a damp paper towel to wipe the paste away.
For larger stains, you can pour baking soda onto the surface and let it sit for about 30 minutes. Use a soft-bristle brush to scrub the stain in the direction of the steel grain. Follow up with a damp paper towel.