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Removing Hard Water Deposits from Faucets

Category Metal
The minerals in your tap water can leave unsightly hard water spots on your kitchen and bathroom faucets. This is a guide about removing hard water deposits from faucets.


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June 27, 2016

I saw this tip in a video on the internet and had a chance to try it out on an old faucet that had years of calcium buildup on it.

To remove calcium deposits on a faucet, wrap a cloth or small towel, that is soaked with white vinegar, around the faucet and let it sit for several hours. It will remove most of the calcium deposit. Afterwards, scrub with steel wool or a scrubbing pad to remove any that remains.

In this case, I wrapped the vinegar soaked towel around the faucet and poured more vinegar on the towel and let it sit over night. I was surprised at the results when I removed the towel.

I didn't have time to do any scrubbing with steel wool, but you can tell the difference just by looking at the photos that the white vinegar removed most of the calcium deposit.

I really didn't think it was going to work and I was so amazed at the results that I didn't think to take a picture of the towel on the faucet.

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November 5, 2008

We have dreadfully hard water here in West Michigan. That leads to the dreaded lime scale build-up and unusable shower heads. Cleaners like CLR and KABOOM! require using rubber gloves because the product is so strong. Forget that! First, make sure the shower head is completely dry. Water will deactivate the reaction you want.


Take a plastic storage bag, put about a cup of white vinegar in it, add several spoonfuls of baking soda and slide it over the shower head or other water source. Hold it there for about 5 minutes using duct tape or packaging tape so that the mixture completely covers the clogged head. Then take off the bag and presto!

Just run the water through it to rinse. Don't throw out the mixture, either. Use it on another shower, since the cleaning properties will last a little longer. The commercial products also need to be rinsed off completely, but this won't harm you, your family, the tub or metals.

Buy great big bottles of white vinegar on sale just for cleaning. I also keep a restaurant-style sugar dispenser filled with baking soda and a little borax to sprinkle onto faucets and sinks that have soap or lime build-up First, spray where you need to clean with a bottle of straight vinegar. sprinkle on the baking soda, then spray it again with the vinegar and watch it work. Way cool! A light wipe and rinse and the work's done for you and all for just pennies!

By Polly L from Cedar Springs, MI

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 1 found this helpful
January 29, 2011

My kitchen chrome faucet is stained with white marks, like drips or something. The metal polish cleans the chrome, but does not remove the spots. I tried baking soda, vinegar, and steel wool. No luck. Can someone help?

By sue from Deptford, NJ


February 1, 20110 found this helpful

I think these would be hard water deposits. Have you used vinegar by itself? Try it. It should just dissolve these stains. No scrubbing should be necessary. You may have to soak a paper towel in vinegar and wrap it around the faucet and let it soak the deposits for a few minutes.

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February 1, 20111 found this helpful

Try Lemi Shine or powedered Lemon aid. The Lemi Shine is straight citric acid and for some reason works great on hard water spots.


The lemon aid works ok too, but it's not as strong.

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June 6, 20130 found this helpful

Today I used NOXON 7 to remove hard water/soap scum deposits from high-end Grohe polished brass bathroom fixtures. Works like as charm!! We have extremely hard water with iron/sulphur content. The water softener has not eliminated the spots on shower fixtures. I tried everything advertised, along with home remedy solutions. NOXON 7 was the ONLY product to removes the spots, and leave the brass finish gleaming! Minimal effort, easy to use, affordable.

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December 20, 20150 found this helpful

A washcloth and WD-40 works very well. Remove the WD-40 with Formula 409 and add a light coat of car wax.

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February 26, 20160 found this helpful

I tried backing soda and vinegar to remove water stains on stainless steal sink. They didn't work. I tried lemon juice and it did the trick.

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April 25, 20160 found this helpful

A poster below suggested using a magic eraser to remove hard water spots. I just tried it on my axor hansgrohe shower fixtures and the magic eraser easily removed spots. It works!

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August 23, 20160 found this helpful

Did NOT work at all. I scrubbed and scrubbed with it. Nada. :(

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August 23, 20160 found this helpful

I had too turn on a room fan since the air was so thick with vinegar.Sorry friends. It did not remove or even effect the water spots. Bummer. I tried vinegar mixed with cornstarch (so it sticks to the surface, heated in the microwave for 2 minutes, stirred a few times.


Put 2 tablespoons of Dawn dishwashing soap in a spray bottle and add the thickened mix. Swirl to mis it up and spray and let it sit for 10-30 minutes. I tried it in my shower and it worked with elbow grease but in my tub and on my fixtures, didn't do much. :(

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January 15, 20170 found this helpful

I tried WD-40 and it did not work!!

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By 0 found this helpful
September 14, 2018

What can I use to remove my shower head? Due to hard water deposits years ago, we cannot get it off nor can we remove the hot and cold faucets in the tub either.


September 14, 20180 found this helpful

Unless you are a pro, I respectively suggest calling a plumber to take care of this. I know it is expensive, but when I did what you are trying to do myself (well, me and my late father) when I first moved into my house, I broke the shower head and cost myself double what it would have cost to have it fixed if I had had the plumber do it right the first time.


This was a hard lesson to learn! Plumbing issues are an expensive pain, but DYI plumbing issues can be a true nightmare!

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September 14, 20180 found this helpful

You could spray the head and faucets with WD-40 every day for several days. You may be able to loosen up the deposits enough to remove the fixtures.
If this doesn't work, I would call a professional in.

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September 14, 20180 found this helpful

There are several products that taunt their ability to take care of this but since I have not used them, I'm not sure how good they work.

The products are located in the cleaning and plumbing supply departments of most large stores like Walmart, Lowe's, Home Depot and Ace and True Value hardware stores. Lots of names like; Lime Away, etc.

Please be sure to turn off the water supply before attempting to remove any of these items? If you do not know where the main supply cut off is located than please find out this before you start.

I have never used WD40 as Judy suggested but it certainly may work if you spray it several days.

I have used white vinegar by wrapping a wash cloth over/around the shower head and faucets and keep it wet with vinegar but it does take a few days.

Be sure to find the water supply first.

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

June 26, 20070 found this helpful

To remove vinegar deposits that accumulate on faucets from hard water, fill a bag with vinegar and tie the bag to the faucet. Allow the faucet to soak in the vinegar for a couple of hours. When you remove the bag, the deposits should be gone. Repeat if necessary.

Remove Hard Water Deposits From Faucets

Be sure you don't leave it on too long; I did and the vinegar put holes in my faucet!


By terry

Remove Hard Water Deposits From Faucets

In TX, we have really hard water. Suave shampoo, clear in color, and a green scrub pad works and also Barkeeper's Friend works well too. Both of these work in showers and on glass shower doors.

By suzi homemaker

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January 29, 20110 found this helpful

How do you get hard water stains off a faucet?

By Kathy from Fullerton, NE


Removing Hard Water Deposits from Faucets

Try soaking a rag or paper towel in just vinegar, and cover the hard water deposits with it. I usually wrap it around the faucet base where I find the deposits. Let set for 2-3 hrs, rewetting with vinegar if needed. Then clean as usual. Works for me. (05/20/2010)

By jean leiner

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May 20, 20100 found this helpful

Does anyone know how to remove calcium water marks on polished brass shower doors and faucets? I don't want to ruin the finish, as I am sure you can understand. They have so many little spots on them because people would not wipe them dry after showering. Thanks so much.

By Tilly007 from Carlisle, PA


Removing Hard Water Deposits from Faucets

I don't know about brass, but we use cider vinegar to clean our stainless steel sink surround. Maybe malt vinegar would work equally well. (03/14/2010)

By 0ddjob

Removing Hard Water Deposits from Faucets

Have you seen CLR on the store shelves? It stands for calcium, lime, and rust. I use this sometimes. Vinegar will work for most faucet stains, also. (03/15/2010)

By Marty Dick

Removing Hard Water Deposits from Faucets

Just put a paper towel or washrag on the offending faucet and pour vinegar over it. Let it sit a while and it should begin to loosen and come off. May take a couple of tries. (03/18/2010)

By Linda

Removing Hard Water Deposits from Faucets

You can use a metal cleaner approved for polished brass. Brasso or Flitz. You may get some protection against buildup with these products. (03/18/2010)

By Lizzyanny

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March 14, 20100 found this helpful

For hard water spots vinegar is often recommended because it works. I've taken this a step further. I mix 2 Tbsp. of cornstarch to about a 1/4 cup of water. I then add about 1/2 cup of vinegar and bring just to a boil.

While still hot, I pour this mixture into a wide mouthed mason jar. This will thicken and will stay put on faucets much longer than just vinegar water, which runs right off.

Saddlebag from Vermilion Bay, ON


Removing Hard Water Deposits From Faucets

Fine steel wool (Home Depot) cleans off the calcium and shines the faucet. (05/04/2009)

By Joy

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May 4, 20090 found this helpful

Stubborn hard-water stain on my chrome faucets. Any ideas? I tried a rag soaked heavily in white vinegar for hours, no effect at all.

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