HOW to Clean Hard Water Stains from Stainless Steels?

We use stainless steel made appliances in our daily life as they are very durable so that you can use them for many years. But if your house has a hard water supply, they can have stains and, after a certain time, they might decay if the stains aren’t removed properly.

There are several methods of removing hard water stains, but you might be wondering which method is the most efficient and effective one. We are here to provide you with the simplest instructions on how to clean hard water stains from stainless steels to make your household things last for decades.

What Are Hard Water Stains?


Hard water contains an excessive number of mineral elements, including calcium, magnesium, gypsum, and limestone. These minerals stay dissolved in the water, and so we can’t distinguish between regular and hard water just by analyzing the water flow.

Regular flow of hard water on any stainless-steel surface can produce a chalky white stain on that surface after evaporating.

Though hard water is not harmful, the stain created by it contains harmful bacteria along with calcium and magnesium ions. It is necessary to clean them properly; otherwise, the steel surface can decay after several months and years.

Regular cleaning can remove the stain if you do it when the surface has just been stained. But if it stays for several days and weeks, it becomes really difficult to remove it because those minerals just stick to the surface in such a way that regular water and cleaning elements can’t clean them.

Cleaning Methods: Hard Water Stains from Stainless Steels

Different household things need different methods to clean hard water stains because the strength of the stains is not the same for every surface. Here, we will discuss the procedures of cleaning stainless-steel cookware, appliances, faucets, and sinks to get rid of hard water stains.

Things You Will Need –

  • Water
  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Tang (ascorbic acid)
  • Lemon juice
  • Cleaning wipes and napkins
  • Dishwashing soap or liquid
  • Rubber hand gloves

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1. Cleaning Cookware and Utensil Stains

Whether you wash your stainless-steel cookware by hand or in a dishwasher, using hard water for washing results in white stains on the cookware. Often, wiping with a dry cloth might remove the stains. But if that doesn’t work, follow the procedures below.

  • Step 1 – Using Cleaning Agents

As a stain remover, you can use white vinegar or ascorbic acid. Ascorbic acid is often referred to as “tang,” which is like a powder. Put some water over the stains before using tang, and then keep it aside for several minutes. You might also use baking soda instead of tang.

If you are using white vinegar, you can directly use it on the stains or get a cloth soaked with vinegar. Remember to use hand gloves before using the cleaning agents.

  • Step 2 – Rubbing on the Stains

Rub the vinegar-soaked cloth over the stains, and you will notice the spots getting off the surface quite easily. You can also use a hard bristled brush for cleaning the stainless-steel cookware.

  • Step 3 – Wiping and Drying

After cleaning the spots, wipe the surface off with cleaning napkins. Make sure to wipe the vinegar properly. Now, keep it aside for drying, and the stain-free cookware is ready to be used.

2. Cleaning Stains from Sinks and Faucets

Compared to the cookware and other utensils, sinks and faucets are more affected by hard water stains as we barely clean them even after days and weeks. As a result, thick layers of mineral deposits are seen in the outer and inner sides of sinks and faucets. This is really a tough job to get rid of the stains.

  • Step 1 – Scrubbing with a Cloth Soaked in Vinegar

Soak a cloth in vinegar and scrub the surface of the sink where hard water stains are visible. Vinegar is a safe cleaning agent for stainless steel as others might produce unwanted stains on the steel surface by damaging the upper layer because of being too acidic.

In the case of a faucet, you may wrap the opening tap with vinegar-soaked cloth and leave it for half an hour. The mineral buildup inside it will melt down and fall off after you start the water flow.

  • Step 2 – Using Lemon Pieces

Cut a lemon and rub a small piece over the stains on the sink. The hard water stains will dissolve slowly after some minutes. You can insert some small pieces of lemons into the faucet, and after a couple of hours, turn on the water flow. The lemon pieces, along with chunks of mineral deposits, will be removed with the water flow.

  • Step 3 – Wiping and Cleaning

Get a damp cloth or cleaning napkin to wipe the sink and faucet well. Remove the spot and vinegar stains properly. You can also rinse the sink with water for a perfect cleaning.

Use a dry cloth and wipe off the water on the surface to prevent new stains of hard water.

How to Keep Stainless Steel Free from Hard Water Stains?

Preventing stains from building up can save you a great amount of time for cleaning later. Follow these easy tips to avoid hard water stains.

  • Changing the Water Supply

If possible, change your hard water supply and get softer water with less mineral content. You might use water softener with your hard water to not stain the steel surface as much.

  • Regular Cleaning

Stains will not get tough on the surface if you clean your stainless steel appliances frequently. You can use a dishwasher instead of hand washing because it ensures perfect cleaning and removes water stains if cleaned regularly.

  • Cleaning Solutions

For regular cleaning, use dishwashing liquid mixed with mild vinegar or lemon juice. Don’t use any other cleaning chemicals as they might damage the steel after a few uses.

Final Words

Hard water stains are tough spots to deal with because they get stubborn if not cleaned on a regular basis. It becomes easier to maintain your household appliances if you know how to clean hard water stains from stainless steel. Hope this article helps to get rid of these stains with the easy methods stated above.

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