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How to Remove Hard Water Stains From Stainless Steel

The statement sounds very much like an oxymoron, but it is most certainly derived from the reality of things. Stainless steel does get stained by water and that is caused by the quality of water supplied. The higher the level of total dissolved solids /TDS/ in the water the more likely it is that your stainless-steel sink, for example, will get stained in time.

Metals like iron and manganese that are contained in the water react to air creating oxidation. Over time this oxidation will cause rust but meanwhile, it will leave stains. Probably more than 90% of people do not dry out their sink after they are done using it. Leaving the water to dry, and so creating a very suitable environment for the solids to react with air and cause stains. The rust itself will bring installation joints to break and leak, which leads to even more damage and costs in a household.

There are quite a few ways of getting rid of hard water stains on your stainless steel. Some are very effective but need a bit of effort. Others are effortless but not so effective. The sensible thing to do would be to try and eliminate the root cause of stains by cleaning the water supplied to your household using whole house water filters. You will have to invest a little more but in the long run, you would have clean water, clean surfaces, and good health. Using a water softener may also be a way of preventing further troubles.

Can Vinegar and Baking Soda Remove Hard Water Stains From Stainless Steel?

removing hard water stains from stainless stellThis duo has proven to work wonders for so many purposes that it is a must-have in every household. From cleaning the headlights on your car to giving the stainless steel its slick looks back. It is even used in cooking, so it is completely safe. Whilst baking soda by itself might be too granular, when mixed with vinegar there is no danger of scratching any surface.

Let’s say you want to clean the sink, a full spoon of baking soda with one and a half spoon of apple vinegar, mixed on top of a wet sponge cloth will create the magic mixture. Then you just have to scrub a little and rinse. If you want to make the surface shine you can rinse it with a dry cloth /microfiber is preferable/ and lemon oil.

Adding dish wash soap to the vinegar and baking soda solution also gets the job done and removes all grease from the surface. Bottom line is that this is a highly effective, cheap, and quite effortless method.

Check out our article on how to remove hard water stains from granite in case you are struggling with granite surfaces.

Hot Water and Lemon

This cleaning trick is also inexpensive and quite nifty, but it is most suitable for sinks since you need hot water to cover the surface. Rinse the sink with hot water then rub lemon all over the sink. Leave it for ten minutes so the lemon juice works its magic and then rinse again with hot water. The procedure will leave the sink clean and somewhat shiny, but you can still add more shine with some lemon oil. To use it on a vertical surface, like a fridge, for example, you have to put on a glove and wet a cloth with hot water. Run that cloth through the surface and then rub the lemon. Wipe it clean after ten minutes, again by wetting the cloth with hot water.

It will take a bit more effort than with the sink, but the result is very good, and your pocket is not emptied, except for the lemon.


Toothpaste is not just for teeth like the name implies. Like baking soda, it has many application purposes and has also proven to be very effective. Using toothpaste will need a bit more effort in terms of rubbing but if you consider it your workout then we can say that it also saves money for fitness. Unlike most commercial cleaners, the toothpaste removes the stains instead of just masking them with shine on top. You have to apply a moderately thick coat of it throughout the entire surface and rub it away. The more you rub the cleaner it gets because the toothpaste ingredients, like sodium bicarbonate /baking soda/, dissolve and activate. Once you are done you can rinse with warm water if it is a sink you are cleaning or wipe off with a wet cloth if it is some other appliance.

The best type of toothpaste to use for cleaning purposes is the most basic one – usually the cheapest. This is the simple white one that has more baking soda in it and is more abrasive, hence works with scrubbing.  When scrubbing you have the freedom to use almost anything and not just a microfiber cloth, let’s say

Commercial Cleaners

Logically, there are many products available on the market for the specific purpose of cleaning stainless steel. One might think that this approach is easy and quick, but that is highly debatable. The reason being that like for everything else, the market is flooded with such products, so if you want to clean and protect the stainless steel you would have to do extensive research before you purchase anything. This will take time and patience and might not give the required result in the end. You might have to purchase and try a few products before you find one that works for you. On the other hand, once you find “The One” you will have solved the problem and you can easily keep your stainless steel clean. Another advantage to the commercial cleaners is that they have ingredients that make the stainless-steel shine, so you don’t have to try and do that separately.

Go to our website for more goodies like the best laundry detergents for hard water!

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