Hard Water: Where Does It Come From and How Do I Clean Up After It?

If you have hard water in your home, you know it loves to leave hard water stains – nasty brown or white spots and soap scum on your bathtub, sinks, and clothes, making everything twice as hard to keep clean. Hard water occurs from a high concentration of dissolved minerals – usually calcium, magnesium, & iron – that are picked up by it on the way to (and from) the processing plant. It can be a real pain to constantly clean and maintain your home if you have hard water, and if left for too long, it can even permeate and damage surfaces. The worst part? Hard water degrades cleaners, making it more difficult for products to do their intended job. Talk about a vicious circle!

How to get rid of hard water stains

So how do you address the problem?


First and foremost, it is crucial for anyone with hard water to get a filter that softens the water and catches minerals before they hit the sink. One of the most effective water softening processes is through an ion exchange water softener, which exchanges hardness minerals such as calcium and magnesium with softness materials such as sodium and potassium through a regenerated resin surface. This will not only make your water safer to drink (and better tasting!), but it will help extend the life of your plumbing through reduced clogging and cut down on soap scum and other build-up, meaning less cleaning for you.


Even if you use a softener, build-up can still occur over time since trace amounts of minerals may still sneak through. We’ve all tried products such as Lime-A-Way and CLR, but these pale in comparison to my Norwex products. Every product I am going to bring up here (when it comes to getting rid of hard water stains) has received a 5-Star Review from me. That’s how you know I’m not messin’ around!

My #1 product for removing soap scum, lime, calcium, and other hard water stains is the Norwex Descaler. In my previous review I compared it to CLR, and have had many customers tell me how much more effective it was at getting rid of lime and soap scum. This product is crucial in every bathroom, if only because it keeps surfaces stain-free for longer periods of time.

My next Norwex product recommendation for hard water stains is the Norwex Microfiber Enviro Cloth. Like I’ve said before, this is the most-used product in my home, and I have one of these tucked away right next to the Descaler in my bathroom cleaning bin. It takes away all the elbow grease in scrubbing your bathtub and sink, and I recommend them to anyone who says they need a cleaner that will take the work out of bathroom cleaning.

Norwex Descaler - gets rid of hard water stains!

Another product I recommend for hard water stains is the Norwex Cleaning Paste, which has a Comet-like consistency and only requires a tiny amount to do an entire sink. This will also prolong the life and cleanliness of your fixtures, meaning you won’t have to spend nearly as much time cleaning as before.

Lastly, the Norwex Bathroom Scrub Mitt is an excellent way to scrub away stains on your sinks and fixtures. This handy mitt is great for those who suffer from arthritis and find it difficult to grab a cloth and scrub away.


Now that you know how to soften your water and clean up the after-effects, here are a few small ways you can prevent soap scum and build-up and cut down on time spent cleaning:

  • Add a little borax to your washing machine to counteract the heavy minerals in the water, which will keep your clothes from feeling dingy and looking yellow-ish.
  • Dry off surfaces AS SOON AS they become wet.
  • Use coasters under drinking glasses rather than resting them right on porous surfaces, such as wood coffee tables.
  • Remove water from your bathtub walls with a squeegee after showering.

How do you take care of hard water problems? I’d love to hear your ideas, and if you have any questions on it, feel free to ask in the comments!

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  1. Lisa Manley says

    I have glass tiles on my tub tile walls, that I can’t get to shine with the hard water residue.
    What do you recommend using on the glass tiles so they sparkle?

    • says

      Lisa, I would try the Norwex Descaler or Blue Diamond Cleaner with the Bathroom Scrub Mitt. Both of these products use enzymes to “eat” hard water scale, and should get your glass tiles sparkling again! If the water scale build up is really thick, you may need a couple cleanings to get them clean. Then use the product on a regular basis to avoid hard water build up again.

  2. Bailey says


    I have hard water stains in my toilet. They are those vertical lines that eventually form. I come from a town with very hard water!! But I constantly upkeep the toilet and they are still there. I tried using Norwex cleaning past and the Blue Diamond Cleaner and they are still there. Any other suggestions??

    • says

      Hi Bailey, the only other thing I can recommend is the Norwex Spirinett. I’ve used them on really stained toilets before, and had success getting rid of the stains. If they don’t work, I would wonder if the shiny enamel finish has come off those parts of the inside of your toilet, and the stain is layers deep, unable to be removed.

  3. C says

    Pour a gallon of vinegar in your bowl the vinegar will remove the hard water ring and any where it sits for awhile.

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