Tuesday, July 20, 2010

OCD Tendencies - I hate hardwater stains!

Being from Wyoming, land of rough and tough Cowboys, er... and the mighty antelope, one would think that the water that us Wyoming-ites cleaned, bathed, and consumed, would be harsh and abrasive. Heck our men are tough, their trucks are tough, our land is tough, our winter's are tough, and our women can be tough! (I would not be considered one of "those" women. I would be considered somewhat of a wimp. However, I am not scared of spiders).

Back in the day, before my little hometown built a fancy-schmancy water plant place/facility, our town would have to boil our water and drink store boughten water, every spring during the run-off. Our town wasn't capable of filtering the water during the spring run-off and you would find interesting things spewing from our faucets. For example: jewelery, dirt, plant material, rocks, and various other crap. Now that's tough! I'm pretty sure at least one fellow Wyoming-ite caught a rough case of some intestinal sickness now and then during the run-off. Yikes.

Curse you hard water stains! (shaking fist up at the heavens)

Yup, I thought our water was tough also. One would never feel slimy while showering and when we cleaned our bathrooms and the kitchen sink areas, they came clean and shiny with a little water and your typical household cleaners. No spots, just shine.

Yup, it was tough alright...but then I moved to Utah! Land of green jello, LDS folk, and "Oh my hecks". I have seen bathtubs, here in Utah, that have such bad hard water stains, you can actually exfoliate your bum, on the bottom of the tubs! My bum has never been so baby soft and pore free, ever. I'm talking, sandpaper, people!

For the longest time, I could not figure out why my shower doors, toilets, dishes, etc. would NOT come clean. Oh, and I would clean, alright! Constantly. You know me, I'm a freak when it comes to cleaning. What the crap! I cleaned my toilets every other day and was still finding an ugly ring of ick forming inside of the bowl. Like I said, "What the crap?!?!" Never, did I experience this ugly phenomenon while living in Wyoming. Land of sheep and sage brush.

Um, clean much? And no, this is NOT my toilet.

About two weeks ago, I attended a girl dinner party. No boys allowed! Subjects discussed that night were: child birth, PMS, husbands, church callings, diets, and hard water stains. Just your typical subjects.

Over the years I have battled hard water stains and here are some tips and tricks that you can try.

One of my favorite products, that I use to clean my showers and tubs are the Magic Erasers - Walfart brand. "Oh Magic Eraser! Oh how I love thee!" I have heard ladies stress about the possibility of the Magic Erasers scratching their faucets. And I say, "ladies" because my husband has never stressed over the hard water stains in our shower. Personally, I haven't had this problem, but it could just depend on your fixtures.

The most difficult area that I have battled hard water stains, is my shower. Everyday those wretched stains, stare you right in the face. Annoying you. Taunting - you. Oh yes,taunting! Instead of relaxing and shaving my pits, I would find myself scraping hard water stains with my fingernails.

In the past I have tried to clean hard water stains with the system below.

Mix some vinegar with some baking soda to make a paste. Then I coat my fixtures with the paste and scrub with a Magic Eraser. Then let it sit for a while. Rinse with water.

Tah-dah! The results were favorable and it did help with the stains. (see 2 pics below) However, I am still finding some stubborn stains. And quite frankly, I just don't want to make a paste every time I clean my shower. It's a long process and kinda messy.

Another product that I have used is Lime Away. It does work and I especially like it for the faucets. For shower heads, fill a plastic baggie full of the Lime Away and place faucet inside of the baggie. Secure it by wrapping the baggie with a rubber band. Let it soak then rinse. But remember to turn on the fan, open a window, wear gloves, gas mask, and your hasmat suit, whenever cleaning with this product. Holy crap the fumes!

While investigating other solutions to my on-going hard water dilemma, I read about some people using the products below.

Who would've thunk it?

I sprayed each product on my shower wall and faucet, scrubbed with a green scrubby and found that the Goo Gone actually worked pretty good on my faucet. The Pledge, not so much. But the Goo Gone did work better than the vinegar/baking soda paste.

But I gotta tell ya... the best product that I have found to clean hard water stains is a product called Bar Keepers Friend. It's used to clean your stainless steel sinks, etc. Scrub the area/s with a damp sponge, or in my case - Magic Eraser, wipe with paper towel then follow it with cleaning with Windex.

After using this product, I swear I heard the heavens open and angels descend upon my shower and sing melodious, harmonies!

Some other products and ideas that I'm dying to try are: SOS Pads (I'm a little leery of this. Afraid of the whole "scratching" thing), Oxi Clean Versatile (I love anything Oxi Clean!), WD-40 and steel wool (hmmmmm...), Cook top cleaners, Spot-X Hard Water Stain Spot Remover (see pic below. I read RAVE reviews about this product. You can purchase it at Home Depot).

Now as for my shower doors... that's another story. Stupid hard water! Stupid iron and calcium deposits!
If you click on the images below you can get up close and personal with my shower door.
I read about wiping your glass shower door with window cleaner (Windex) and a dryer sheet. Totally did NOT work. Although, my door did smell April fresh!
What worked best, you ask? Bar Keepers Friend - my friend. To prevent those nasty hard water stains, spray your shower/tub/etc. with Rain-X. Yup, the stuff you put in your car that squirts on your windshield. It helps the water to just bead off. I've also heard of rubbing car wax on the surfaces to prevent hard water stains.

As for my "ring around" the toilet problem, I tried EVERYTHING. Pastes, lemon juice, Lime Away, scrubbing hard, cussing, repenting for my cussing, and then praying. Nothing worked. It was the bain of my existence. I was so fearful of visitors thinking that my family had some serious intestinal issues (if you know what I mean?). Then, years ago, I overheard a lady in Deseret Book Store talking about using a pumice stone to clean her toilet bowels. "What the hay?" I had never heard of such nonsense! Using a stone to scrape your toilets clean. But I was desperate, and it was worth a try. And after much sweat and elbow grease, it worked! Now I continue to use a pumice stone on a regular basis to clean the toilets. And no longer do I worry about visitors questioning our diet (if you know what I mean.)

* tip * squirt a little liquid dish washing soap (Dawn, etc.) in your dishwasher soap dispenser and rinse deposit thing to prevent hard water stains on your dishes. But becareful if you have a water softener - this could create an excessive amount of bubbles!


  1. Those are some great tips! I am defenitly going to try some of those! Thanks!

  2. You crack me up! Just what I needed today was a good laugh and I love that you do that for me :)

    Oh and I love that you scratch the spots off with your fingernails instead of shaving your underarm pittys... just like me :)

  3. Very informative!! But how do you clean out your washing machine?? Although mine isn't necessarily the tough water. It's the film from the fabric softener. And NO! I will not stop using it!

  4. Have you ever tried The Works tub and shower cleaner? It stinks but isn't quite as bad as Lime-Away and it really works well (you have to let it set though). Thanks for all of you good tips, you inspire me to clean . . .

  5. awesome tips!! You make my day happier every time I read your blog. I'm glad that you did all this research for us!!

  6. awesome tips!! You make my day happier every time I read your blog. I'm glad that you did all this research for us!!

  7. Check YOU out! I have always been a believer in shower curtains because I can get rid of those when they get milky...but then we moved into this house and I have TWO shower doors to deal with. Lame sauce. I will certainly be trying these tips! You marvelous insightful cleaning genius, you...

  8. THANK YOU so much for the tips! I hate hard water too! I put a star on this blog post, so I may come back from time to time to read this again :)

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