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Removing Hard Water Stains when Vinegar alone won’t work

Are you annoyed with those white spots on your kitchen and bathroom faucets? You know, the buildup of “gunk” that remains after water has evaporated on the surface. Our current faucets hold A LOT of water, therefore making A LOT of hard water stains. I finally decided to get the bottom of getting rid of them! It took a few trial and errors, but I’ve figured out the trick and I’ll share it with you. A little hint; it requires more than using just vinegar because vinegar alone won’t remove our hard water stains.

Want to know something sad…..the pictures below are AFTER I thoroughly cleaned the faucets. YUCK!

hard water stains on faucet

The bad part is we feel like we needed to apologize when we have friends over and they use our bathrooms.

“I’m sorry about the faucets, they really are clean, it’s just hard water stains.”

Yep, kind of embarrassing.

Enough of the water build up problem, let’s get to the solution.

I started like most people probably do when they have a problem, searching the web.

Ninety percent of websites said to use vinegar to remove hard water build up.

Well I tried vinegar.

I soaked a paper towel in vinegar and let it sit on the faucet for one hour.

It did help bring some of the calcium deposits or hard water spots to the surface, but it did not remove them.

I thought about mixing a little bleach with the vinegar, or just using bleach to remove the unwanted gunk.

I was worried that the bleach would remove the chrome finish from my faucets, and then we would have another problem.

Also, I was informed by a reader that the combination of vinegar and bleach can cause toxic fumes! Don’t mix those two!

Disclosure: this posts contains affiliate links. This means that if you purchase from one of these links I will receive a small commission, but rest assured you won’t pay anymore for the product.

Then I read how some folks use vinegar and baking soda to remove hard water stains!

Here’s the deal with baking soda and vinegar. When you pour vinegar over baking soda it fizzes like a volcano! Imagine what that “fizz” can do to remove hard water or calcium buildup.

What happens when you mix vinegar and baking soda?

Pouring vinegar over baking soda causes an acid based reaction that cuts through hard water stains. This is why it can be a good cleaner for those pesky hard water stains.

How to Remove Hard Water Stains with vinegar and baking soda

  1. Mix two tablespoons of vinegar with one tablespoon of baking soda
  2. Rub the surface with the solution
  3. Pour a little baking soda on the surface
  4. Add a few tablespoons of your solution on top of the baking soda to make a “paste”
  5. Let it sit at least 15 minutes
  6. Use a plastic tool to lightly scrub certain areas if needed
  7. Wipe it clean and be amazed!

I’m going to try this method in my shower. Hard water spots and calcium buildup are terrible in places like showers too!

You won’t believe the difference!

hard water stains before and after using vinegar and baking soda

I’m so pleased with how my faucets look now that the grime and build up are mostly gone.

I know it won’t last forever, but at least I know how to get rid of it.

hard water stains removed with vinegar and baking soda

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remove hard water stains with vinegar and baking soda

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How to remove hard water stains and calcium build up

how to remove hard water stains

Learn how to remove hard water stains and pesky calcium buildup on your faucets. This post shares a solution for removing both with this simple trick.

Active Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Difficulty Easy


  • Vinegar
  • Baking Soda
  • Paper Towels


  1. Mix two tablespoons of vinegar with one tablespoon of baking soda
  2. Rub the surface with the solution
  3. Pour a little baking soda on the surface
  4. Add a few tablespoons of your solution on top of the baking soda to make a “paste”
  5. Let it sit at least 15 minutes
  6. Use a plastic tool to lightly scrub certain areas if needed
  7. Wipe it clean and be amazed!

Thanks for stopping by guys! If you have any other hard water tips let me know in the comments! I’m always up for learning new cleaning hacks.


Wednesday 1st of February 2023

you could have just used baking soda since that is what really did the cleaning.

James Salva

Tuesday 25th of May 2021

I tried using vinegar and baking soda to remove the hard watervstsins in my toilet. It helped a little but I was not satisfied. Then I added TOFIX (contents: 5% anionische Tenside. Duftstoffe Hexyl Cinnamol) This caused a permanent blueish stain from a chemical reaction. Is there any way of getting rid of this chemical stain?

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Wednesday 26th of May 2021

Oh gosh, I have no idea about that. I would reach out to the manufacturer of TOFIX to ask about that. I'm sorry I'm not more help!

Christine E. Freeman

Friday 4th of December 2020

I have incredibly hard water and have lots of crud. This works really wall on my chrome fixtures.

However, and I think this is important to make clear to your readers, this safely works on chrome. It might work well on some other metals, but in my other bathroom I have artist-made, unlacquered brass fixtures. This combination would discolor that metal far worse than the hard water crud. Granted, I'm still trying to figure out WHAT to use, but it sure wouldn't be this. Am enjoying your blog. Made it here via Pinterest for some reason or another.

Saturday 13th of February 2021

Yes I made this mistake before . It ruined my faucet. This combination of vinegar and baking soda does not work on all surfaces. I replaced the old o e and I currently have a brushed nickel faucet with hard water stains and I’m not sure what to do. I have tried the CLR but that didn’t work. I am afraid to try this combination after my last debacle. I had to live with that mistake for a long time. Does anyone have recommendations for brushed nickel?

glen kali

Thursday 26th of September 2019

Hey, Thanks for the great content. I recently wrote an article on getting rid of stubborn hard water stains from toilets. I think your readers will find this article useful :)


Monday 8th of July 2019

What a great idea! I have hard water stains on the glass shower door I need to try this on.

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Tuesday 9th of July 2019

You should!

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