Hard Water Spot Cleaning

Soap scum, mildew and hard water spots can form on home surfaces. Hard water deposits are alkaline, so an acid-based cleaner is the best way to clean them. What may appear to be hard to clean can really be a simple fix, with these tips.


Things You’ll Need

  • Acid-based or phosphoric acid cleaner
  • Lime scale remover
  • Water
  • White nylon-backed sponge

How To Do It

  1. First, apply an acid-based cleaner, phosphoric-acid cleaner or lime scale remover to the hard water spot. Hard water deposits are alkaline, so an acid-based cleaner is the best way to clean them. Phosphoric acid works well and is safe for most surfaces. Grocery store cleansers with phosphoric acid contain 4 to 6 percent acid. You can purchase lime scale removers at janitorial supply stores that contain 8 to 12 percent acid to get the job done faster.
  2. Let the acid sit for a few minutes after you apply.
  3. Scrub the applied areas with a white, nylon-backed scrub sponge.
  4. Rinse the surface with water thoroughly.
  5. Tough hard water deposits may take more than one application. A higher concentration of acid is safe on most household surfaces as long as you rinse the surface to remove all traces of the acid after the cleaning is complete.


Make sure you read any manufacturer’s warnings before applying phosphoric acid solutions to surfaces in your home. This procedure is not recommended for stone surfaces.

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