Can You Clean Hard Water Stains Using Household Items?

Hard water stains on a toilet

Have hard water? Then, you probably see hard water stains like this every day. When the hard water evaporates, the water goes away but those “hard” minerals stick around. That’s why your shower and sink are the most common habitats for hard water stains.

Softening or descaling your hard water is the only method to prevent disgusting stains like this — yet there are some options for cleaning hard water stains.

Like liquid drain cleaner, the majority of specialized, store-bought cleaners employ a powerful acid to destroy the hard water remnants. Some homeowners are looking for an alternative to using a potent chemical.

That’s why organic remedies to clean hard water stains are so popular. We put two organic remedies to the test. Check out the results — you may have to start cleaning your own bathroom like this every time.


Hard water stains on a faucet

Both the enamel sink and chrome faucet are caked in hard water stains. These household products are going to have their work cut out for them to clean these serious stains.


White Vinegar

Why it’s (supposedly) effective: White vinegar contains acetic acid with a PH of approximately 2.4. That natural acid breaks down the minerals that compose hard water stains.

Why it’s safe: It is made from white wine and used commonly used in cooking. We wouldn’t recommend the taste, but it’s safe enough that you can drink it.


Why it’s (allegedly) effective: Because cola contains phosphoric acid with a PH approximately 2.5. Like acetic acid, phosphoric acid breaks down the minerals in hard water.

Why it’s safe: Compared to a typical cleaner, you don’t even need to ask if it’s safe. Cola is America’s favorite soft drink, millions of people drink it every day. Also, unlike vinegar, we do recommend the taste!


Step 1: Soak a toothbrush in either liquid

Step 2: Scrub the hard water stains with your toothbrush

Step 3: Wait a few minutes

Step 4: Scrub away your cleaner and stains with water and paper towel.


  • Both the vinegar and cola proved equally effective.
  • Both home remedies were able to somewhat effectively clean the chrome faucet.
  • Both struggled to remove the heaviest stains from the enamel sink itself.
  • More time and effort required to clean with these healthy alternatives.


Both vinegar and cola did a decent job, but they required a lot of effort. That’s why many homeowners are choosing to prevent hard water from ever entering their house in the first place. That means no hard water in your shower or faucet and no stains to clean.

While you can use products from your pantry to safely clean these stains, the best bet is to prevent them completely. Team with Benjamin Franklin Plumbing for whole house water conditioning solutions — which will ensure you NEVER need to clean hard water stains again.

Those solutions include:

Water softeners — which neutralize the hard minerals from water.

Descalers — which prevent the hard minerals from forming the scale that forms hard water stains.

Both of these whole house water treatment solutions ensure you have the healthiest water for your home. And you can be guaranteed to never have to clean hard water stains again.

Learn more about the benefits of water conditioning to remove hard water.


If you’re tired of using harsh chemicals, try either vinegar or coke. The safe acid in each can break down minor hard water stains.

Or you can ensure that you never need to deal with it again by contacting Benjamin Franklin Plumbing® of Ocean County. We offer multiple, healthy whole house water conditioning solutions.

Contact us for the water conditioning solutions to guarantee you’re done with hard water stains forever.