How to Remove Hard-Water Stains From Sinks & Toilets

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Things You'll Need

  • Vinegar

  • Sponge

  • Baking soda

  • Paper towels

Use vinegar to keep sinks and toilets free of hard-water stains.

Dissolved minerals in water deposit on sinks and toilets, building up over time and leaving gray or white streaks and stains. Ordinary household cleaners and scrubbing don't remove these hard-water stains, but acid breaks them down. Household vinegar dissolves mineral deposits well, but its acid may etch the surface of porcelain-enamel sinks and toilets over time, and should be used with care.


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Step 1

Pour undiluted vinegar on a sponge. Scrub the sink and toilet with the vinegar-soaked sponge.

Step 2

Sprinkle 1/4 cup baking soda in the sink or toilet and scrub again. Rinse thoroughly.

Step 3

Soak a paper towel with undiluted vinegar.

Step 4

Place the paper towel over faucets and other metal fixtures.

Step 5

Wait one hour, then wipe the fixtures with a damp paper towel to remove the vinegar. Dry thoroughly to shine.


Substitute lemon juice for vinegar.

Install a water softener to prevent hard-water stains.


Use commercial cleaners with care, as they are often highly corrosive and toxic. Don't use acids of any kind on fiberglass sinks or tubs. Instead, use soft cleansing creams made for these materials.