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How to Remove Hard Water Stains from Your Sink

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How often do you get in the mood for proper cleaning with energizing music on Sunday morning?

For some of us, it may feel like therapy, and let’s agree: seeing your house sparkling clean provides a shot of serotonin, which we all need sometimes. 

So here you are, ready to go with a bottle of Clorox. But something’s wrong – the water stains do not know the rules.

No matter how hard you try, the stains don’t go away. In fact, you start thinking about signing up for the gym or buying a new sink.  

visible water stain from metal sink in the kitchen

But don’t get discouraged too fast! Although gym membership is always a good idea…

Anyway, getting rid of those annoying water stains is more than possible without turning off your favorite playlist and crying in a bathtub.  

Why Do Water Stains Appear?

Water stains are a regular thing in the kitchen or bathroom, so there is no need to be stressed out about it. In fact, you can blame it on the water.

Depending on where you live, the water in your home can be rich in minerals, usually dissolved magnesium and calcium.

Such water, also known as “hard water,” does not pose any health risk but can cause mineral buildup in plumbing fixtures. Water is also a good solvent, meaning it dissolves impurities readily.

Senior woman washing hands under running water from the faucet sink

When you use poor-quality soap or detergent, water will pick up the chemicals, leaving stains on the surface.  

The issue here is more than clear: hard water is the culprit. However, another problem arises. How do you remove water stains from different surfaces? 

How to Remove Hard Water Stains

Unfortunately, there is no magic wand for all sinks, but there are easy tips you can use without leaving your home to buy new household chemicals. All right, let’s start with exhibit number one.

Steel Sinks

Steel sinks must be the most common sinks in any household. Luckily, you can find the cleaning ingredients in your kitchen.

Take ½ cup of baking soda, ¼ cup of white vinegar, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil and make a cleaning paste by mixing all ingredients until smooth.

TIPS: It is better to mix everything directly in the sink. Vinegar and baking soda usually make bubbles when mixed. Don’t forget to wear rubber gloves.    

Woman wearing gloves  washing cleaning polishing kitchen metal sink

Next, apply the paste to the hard water stains using a microfiber cloth. Microfiber prevents excessive scratching (scratches from baking soda granules will be just enough) and absorbs the remaining water.  

After spreading the paste over the surface, leave it for 15 minutes. When time’s up, use a damp cotton or microfiber cloth to remove the paste.

Finally, rinse the sink to get rid of any residue. For this, use ½ a teaspoon of dishwashing liquid dissolved in ½ cup of warm water.

And there you go, your metal sink is clean and shiny!

Make it a habit to wipe your sink with a microfiber cloth to avoid hard water stains in the future. 

Porcelain Sinks

Cleaning porcelain may seem like a challenge. However, it’s really easy to clean.

Thanks to its nonporous structure, porcelain is a perfect material for bathroom fixtures. Still, porcelain is prone to stains.

Regular cleaning prevents stains from building up. But let’s be fair – who really does that? 

No worries, you just need a little effort and wit to get rid of hard water stains.

But before starting the actual cleaning, you have to wash the sink thoroughly.

Just use your regular liquid soap and a soft sponge. Cleaning will help remove dirt and soap scum. Make sure no soap bubbles are left.

woman on uniform cleaning bathroom sink

Method 1

A vinegar and water mixture is the first way to get rid of hard water stains.

Mix 25% vinegar with 75% water in a spray bottle, spray it on the stained surface (pay attention to discolored areas), and leave it for at least 5 minutes.

Scrub the sink gently with the nonabrasive side of the sponge, and rinse the sink for the final result. 

Method 2

The second way to remove hard water stains (if the first wasn’t enough) is by adding baking soda.

Apply the paste recipe we used for the metal sink, but remove it as soon as you notice the stains changing color. Rinse the sink with clean water and enjoy the result. 

Method 3

The third way to get rid of stains on porcelain is by washing them with lemon juice. Spray lemon juice on the stained surface, and don’t forget about the faucets.

Leave it for 10 minutes, then scrub it with a soft sponge. Rinse the surface with clean water and wipe it dry immediately. 

Copper Sinks

Cleaning a copper sink is similar to steel and porcelain, meaning it is relatively easy. But, unlike other materials, copper needs careful care to not damage the surface and color.

It’s easy to scratch copper, as this material is quite fragile. 

Usually, it’s enough to clean the copper sink with a soft sponge or microfiber cloth. But if you’ve noticed hard water stains forming, you’ll need some help. Unlike metal and porcelain, copper needs more gentle treatment. 

For a copper sink, try a mixture of 2 cups of warm water and one teaspoon of liquid dish soap. Wet a soft sponge with the solution and clean the sink.

Scrub the water stains by gently pressing the sponge until the surface is totally clean. Rinse your sink with clean water and wipe it with a soft microfiber cloth till it’s dry.  

Glass Sinks

Moden glass sink in the bathroom

Finally, the glass sinks. Sounds fancy and dangerous.

Transparent fixtures are prone to hard water spots. Cleaning glass is always scary, so let’s approach the issue strategically. 

Acidic cleaners like vinegar and lemon juice work just as effectively as they do with other surfaces.

Prepare a 50/50 mixture of water and vinegar or water and lemon juice.

Spray the mixture on the hard-water spots, leave it for 10 minutes, and scrub the sink gently with soap and water.  


We hope these tips will help make your cleaning experience less stressful and your sink more appealing. Just remember to wear gloves and take care of your hands no less carefully than you would your home.