It’s a fact that hard water is “hard” on a household. Everything that comes into contact with hard water is affected, such as the following:
- Increased wear and tear on water utilizing appliances
- Increased energy costs
- Unsightly spots and film on dishes and anything else hard water encounters
- Gross soap scum in the bathroom
- Increased usage of detergents, shampoos and other soaps
Due to the nature of hard water, and the negative effects associated with it, many homeowners opt to install a water softener or enroll in a soft water delivery service. It just makes sense to stop the damage before it’s too late, and you are faced with an exorbitant repair bill due to hard water damage.
Once the decision has been made to switch over to softened water, homeowners are oftentimes left with the residual effects of hard water damage. One common problem they encounter is lingering water spots or stains. Fortunately, there are a few simple cleaning techniques that can help take care of the problem, and we have listed some of them out for you.
In the Kitchen
White vinegar is going to be your friend, especially on your dishes. You don’t want to use a harsh chemical to clean your dishes, so opt for vinegar instead. If you have a dishwasher, pour a few glugs of white vinegar in before running the cycle. Not only will it help get your dishes sparkling clean once again, it will also help to clean the dishwasher itself. If you have excessive hard water buildup, it may take a few cycles to get everything back to the way it should be, but you will begin noticing results after the first use.
Vinegar also works well for hand washing. Add a cup to your wash water and you will be amazed at the difference it makes on your dishes and flatware.
Does your coffee pot spit and gurgle and take forever to brew a pot of joe? Vinegar to the rescue again. Fill the water reservoir up with white vinegar and run the brew cycle. Let it sit for a few minutes, then run a pot or two of fresh water through. You should see a discernible difference in your next pot of coffee.
In the Bathroom
There are several products on the market that help to combat hard water stains and/or soap scum in the bathroom. Scrubbing bubbles with bleach, Comet bathroom spray and Lime-A-Way products are among the top sellers. Just follow the instructions, making sure to check whether they are safe for your particular surface material or not.
If you opt for a more natural approach, without the chemicals, you can again try vinegar or a baking soda and vinegar paste. Try soaking a rag in vinegar, wrap it around your faucet, or lay it on the area where you want to remove the stains, let it sit for about an hour or so, re-wetting the rags if they get too dry and then wipe clean with a damp towel or sponge.
In the Laundry
Clothing is another area that can be affected by hard water. Clothes can become dingy, stiff or even have gray or white streaks on them. To help restore them, fill the washer with the hottest appropriate water your fabric can handle. Then add one cup of a water conditioner (sold at grocery stores and home improvement stores) and 4 times the amount of detergent you would normally use. Soak overnight, then drain and spin without washing. Next, run the clothes through a regular wash cycle, adding another cup of water conditioner, but no detergent. They should come out as good as new. It could take a couple cycles to get all the soap suds out, so be sure to check before you dry them.
If you are faced with detergent stains or a white residue on your clothing. Soak them in a solution of vinegar and water. Use one cup white vinegar to one gallon of water. Let the garments soak for about 30 minutes, rinse them out and launder as usual.
The easiest way to continue to have spot free surfaces, and clean clothing is to always use soft water, either from a water softener or from a soft water exchange tank such as our PE Tank Exchange Service. Utilizing softened water on a regular basis will ensure no build up to begin with, making it that much easier to keep clean.