How To Get Hard Water Off A Showerhead: Complete Guide

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Living in an area where hard water is dominant, mineral deposits on the fixture is one problem that require attention. Letting the deposits sit for a long period can damage fixtures and appliances.

Fortunately, many products are accessible now that can remove the deposits on all fixtures including showerheads. In this post, you will learn how to get hard water off the showerhead and other solutions for stubborn hard water deposits.

You can get hard water off in your shower by using vinegar and chemical-based hard water deposit remover. Vinegar is proven to remove deposits effectively the same way chemical-based stain remover fulfills its promise.

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Well, that’s just an overview. You will learn more about the right vinegar to use when removing hard water. You will discover different options available if you don’t have vinegar such as Coca-Cola.

You may heard this before but let me share with you my thoughts. I have also listed the brands for chemical-based stain removers that customers love. I hope you can find in this post the right solution for the hard water stain problem and have a deeper understanding of hard water.

What dissolves hard water deposits?

Hard water deposits are a combination of calcium and magnesium present in the water. These minerals don’t like mixing with solutions that they end up producing scums and scales.

You can find scums on your bathroom and kitchen fixtures when hard water reacts with soap. On the other hand, scale is formed after you boil water in the kettle as the heat decomposes the minerals.

Chemicals and pantry ingredients known for their cleaning features can dissolve hard water deposits. They can break down the insoluble calcium salt into a soluble calcium salt. Removing the calcium salt is necessary as it can reduce the heat transfer efficiency of an appliance or kitchenware when they build up.

It can bring your power bill to a higher rate because of heat transfer’s inefficiency.

While some people buy hard water deposit remover, some prefer using a water softener. This equipment softens calcium and magnesium through ion exchange. It can replace the calcium and magnesium present in water with potassium and sodium that produce soft water.

Although there are chemicals and equipment you can use to dissolve water deposits, don’t eliminate the idea that there are other ways to minimize its build-up.

One of the things that you can do is to reduce the water temperature on your water heater. Lowering it can help in delaying the accumulation of the water deposit.

You must flush the heater to remove the sediments that may build and clog on the fixture.

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Does vinegar get rid of hard water?

Vinegar gets rid of hard water as the vinegar’s chemical composition can turn hard water deposits into a water-soluble chemical.

Vinegar’s chemical composition is acetic acid while hard water deposits chemical composition is calcium carbonate. When these two chemical compositions react with each other, they produce calcium acetate and byproducts such as carbon dioxide and water.

The product of the chemical reaction is water-soluble.

The breakdown of the non-soluble calcium salt to calcium acetate proves that vinegar is effective to get rid of hard water. Most professional cleaners prove it works. They promote it as a good ingredient for DIY cleaner.

However, its effectiveness depends on the technique and the length of time you expose the vinegar to the hard water deposit. Exposing the hard water deposit to vinegar for a short period would not give you the result you expect.

Keeping the deposit exposed to vinegar for at least three hours can remove the deposits.

To ensure that the vinegar stays on the fixture that has a hard water deposit, you must use a cloth or paper towel soaked in vinegar.

Then cover the fixture that has the deposit. Make sure that the cloth or paper towel does not dry up. Do not forget to use a dishwasher detergent to complete the cleaning process.

The technique I mentioned is perfect for scums. Now, let’s talk about the scales. Again, scales are hard water deposits produced when you heat water. You can find the deposit most of the time on kettles.

For the scales, pour vinegar into the kettle then let it soak for at least one hour. Then you boil it once then rinse it a couple of times.

You can also do it for coffee makers. Just a caution, you can smell the vinegar when it boils. It may not be a pleasant smell for you. However, when it dries up, the vinegar smell is gone.

White Vinegar, Distilled Vinegar, and Cleaning Vinegar

Among the three choices; cooking vinegar, distilled vinegar, and cleaning vinegar.

It is the cleaning vinegar that has the most cleaning power because it has the highest acidic content. It contains six percent acetic acid, which is 20 percent stronger than the distilled vinegar.

On the other hand, white vinegar is also ideal for eliminating scales and scums. It is much stronger than distilled vinegar. If you plan to buy vinegar for cleaning your house, choose the cooking vinegar and the cleaning vinegar.

Vinegar solution ingredients

Using vinegar without the addition of other chemicals or pantry ingredients works. It works as an all-around cleaner.

It is versatile that you can use it on mirrors, countertops, and other appliances. Yet, using it with chemicals and natural ingredients makes it just as good, if not better, than vinegar-only.

Here are some vinegar solution recipes that you can add to the list of your homemade cleaning solution recipes. You can either use white vinegar or a distilled vinegar for each recipe.

Basic Liquid Cleaner

For the basic liquid cleaner, mix equal parts of water and vinegar. If available and cheap, use filtered water or distilled water. Put the cleaner in a spray bottle for easy usage.

All-purpose cleaner

For the all-purpose cleaner, mix one cup vinegar and four cups of hot water with two teaspoons borax and five drops of liquid soap. You can add 10 drops of essential oil if you want to leave a scented surface.

Disinfectant Spray

If you want your liquid solution to work as a disinfectant, you can mix one part vinegar and two parts water with one part lemon juice. It is ideal if you want to sanitize your countertop before you cook or knead the dough. It is guaranteed that this solution can eliminate bacteria.

If lemon is not available, you can mix one part of water and one part vinegar.

Glass and Window Cleaner

If your glass door accumulates scums, you can use a glass cleaner. For a DIY glass cleaner recipe, mix one tablespoon of vinegar and one cup of water with one cup of rubbing alcohol. You can add one to two drops of essential oil to add scent to the cleaner.

Cleaning with vinegar

Hard water stains and deposits can be found on most fixtures where the water sits or runs. One of the fixtures where the water sits is in the toilet.

You have two options in removing the stains in your toilet depending on the stubbornness of the stain.

The first option is to pour a cup of vinegar and let it sit overnight. Then the next morning flush the toilet.

If you notice that the stain remains, you can use an all-purpose cleaner then scrub the toilet. This is the second option. You can also use baking soda if you don’t have borax, which is an all-purpose cleaner ingredient. You can do the two options as well when cleaning your tub and sink drain.

For a shower, you need to bring the vinegar to a boil before you can use it. Then let it cool until warm.

When it is tolerable to handle, wipe it down to the shower area. Keep repeating this process for at least eight minutes. Then sprinkle a baking soda on a dampened sponge before scrubbing the door and the walls of the shower room.

Let us not forget the bathroom tiles. To remove the hard water stains, mix a half cup of vinegar with one gallon of warm.

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Cleaning Hard Water Deposits on Showerhead without Vinegar

With all of the literature about vinegar, it doesn’t mean that it is the only solution for all the hard water deposit problems.

You can still find alternative cleaning solutions for your fixtures like the showerhead.

One of the most common alternatives for vinegar is baking soda. In fact, in most cases, these two ingredients come together. But for now, let us focus on using baking soda and other alternatives for vinegar.

Baking Soda

First, create a baking soda paste by mixing water and baking soda. The amount of baking soda depends on the number showerheads that needs the cleaning.

The paste must cover the showerhead, so the amount of paste must be enough. You can start at ½ cup baking soda then eyeball the remaining measurement.

You can also eyeball the water’s measurement. What you need to achieve is a thick paste consistency.

Once you achieve the thick paste consistency, it is now ready to apply to the showerhead. All you need to do is to cover the entire area where you can see the deposits.

Then let it sit for 25 minutes. Don’t go over this time as you may have a hard time removing the baking soda paste. After 25 minutes, rinse it.


There is team bleach and team no-bleach. For safety purposes, I take the route of team no-bleach just to make sure your showerhead won’t get damaged.

Soaking the showerhead with bleach and water can be caustic. Even you’re tempted to grab that bleach, skip this option.


Some people on the internet suggest that soda can help remove the hard water deposits. They claim it is true but some do not agree with it.

Many claims that phosphoric acid present in soda, particularly, Coca-Cola, can remove rust and stains. They said you only need to soak the fixture with the soda and the deposits will break down. And it is more effective when combined with vinegar and baking soda.

If you want to throw your favorite soda in the toilet bowl, that is fine. But I rather drink it.

Popular Cleaners

I’ve discussed a lot about pantry ingredients. But if you prefer chemical-grade products, I have them ready for you. Most of the products that come in this list work as an all-purpose cleaner but they are perfect as showerhead cleaners.

Kaboom™ Shower, Tub & Tile Cleaner

Kaboom™ Shower, Tub & Tile Cleaner contains OxiClean, which is known as stain fighter. Kaboom™ does not only remove grease and grime but also lime stains and scum. Most users give high ratings for its cleaning power and ease of use.

You don’t need hard scrubbing when you use Kaboom™. You can spray it to the showerhead and leave it for a couple of minutes before scrubbing. You can find it on Amazon and its website.

Bio-Clean Hardwater Stain Remover

Bio-Clean is an Amazon choice when it comes to professional hard water stain remover. It contains industrial-grade chemicals that can remove stubborn hard water minerals.

It produces a spotless fixture bringing your bathroom and kitchen into a new condition.

Bio-Clean Hardwater Stain Remover is biodegradable and eco-friendly and it can eliminate the hard water stain with minor scrubbing. It can clean almost any surface in your kitchen and bathroom. You can buy Bio-clean on Amazon and its website.

Bring It On Cleaner

Bring It On Cleaner can remove hard water stain and soap scum. It can also remove oxidation damage and mineral deposits. Even if stubborn stains sit on your fixture for several years, Bring It On Cleaner can remove it.

Bring It On Cleaner’s website also offers Pro-Tect Shield water repellent created to prevent stains to come back.

Just like its competitor, Bring It On Cleaner does not need to sit on your fixture for a couple of minutes. Just spray it on the surface and give a gentle scrub then wash it off.

Stainless Steel Cleaner and Polish

You may have seen a lot of blogs and reviews and you may not even find stainless steel cleaner and polish as part of the list.

But having this along with your cleaning agents can change the way you clean your fixtures. Stainless steel cleaner and polish is one of the gems in cleaning agents that fulfilled its promise.

When you use it on your stainless steel fixtures, including the showerhead, you are bringing back the shine and luster of the fixture.

Weiman Stainless Steel Cleaner Kit

Weiman Stainless Steel Cleaner Kit is an Amazon Choice. It is a wipe-away, no-fingerprint product where it promises that it wipes away the grease, dirt, and stains on the stainless steel fixture.

This product guarantees that it polishes smoothly without scratching it. It comes in a spray bottle, which is perfect for large surfaces. You can also buy stainless steel wipes for a small area.

The Pink Stuff by Stardrops

The Pink Stuff by Stardrops is an Amazon bestseller. It comes in paste form with ingredients such as baking soda, quartz, sodium silicate, and soap.

It can remove limescale with a little scrubbing. Yes, you need a little scrubbing because it is abrasive. It is like fine sandpaper in paste form. If you will use it, be gentle in scrubbing your fixture.

Bar Keepers Friend Powdered Cleanser & Polish

This brand can remove mineral deposits, rust, tarnish, and tough stains. It is bleach-free containing an active ingredient called oxalic acid.

Oxalic acid is a chelating agent that when combined with metals, releases carbon dioxide and oxalate. For example, a scale that contains magnesium carbonate will produce magnesium oxalate and carbon dioxide when magnesium carbonate reacts with oxalic acid.

Bar Keepers Friend Powdered Cleanser & Polish works both on stainless steel and enamel. You do not need to put too much effort when scrubbing the surface. The stain disappears after scrubbing.

It comes in powder form. You need to add warm water so it can cling to the surface that you want to clean. It is better if you transfer the powdered cleanser to a small container before adding water to avoid spreading the powder anywhere.

Affresh Stainless Steel Cleaning Spray

Affresh Stainless Steel Cleaning Spray is another cleaning agent for stainless steel that removes marks with no residue. Although it comes in spray form, it sprayed out a paste-like white cream.

You may struggle using this the first time you use it because of the consistency. Yet it finishes smoothly like a glass that you would not leave a fingerprint mark on the surface.

Zep 14 Stainless Steel Polish

Zep 14 Stainless Steel Polish works fast. You don’t need heavy-duty steel wool and elbow grease to remove the mineral deposits. It can remove limescale with the help of 0000 steel wool, giving a polished finish. When you use it, don’t forget to open your door or windows as the scent of Zep 14 is a bit strong.

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Whether you are using a chemical-based hard water stain remover or the ingredients you can find on your pantry, do not forget that cleaning your bathroom and kitchen fixtures regularly can help in avoiding stubborn stains.

Always clean these areas of your house as often as you would do than the other parts of your house. Maintaining the cleanliness of these areas can help you to spot the stain right away.