How to remove hard water stains from stainless steel sinks

By | July 8, 2016

Remove hard water stains from stainless steel sinks

Hard water stains develop quite frequently on the surface of sinks as they are exposed to water all the time. The stains are white in color and are quite visible on the shining surface of stainless steel.

Ordinary water supply at home consists of lots of different dissolved minerals made of calcium and magnesium. These minerals are dissolved under normal conditions, but they tend to deposit out wherever the water stays for long. This includes the pipeline itself and other things the water touches, like your sink, utensils and appliances.

The levels of minerals in water varies across places. For instance if the water in your area has more mineral concentration, then you would see more of such hard water stains and frequently.

The minerals are not bad at all. They give water the natural taste and provide the human body with some essential minerals for free. The only problem is the stains they leave behind.

Getting rid of hard water stains in your sink is not difficult at all. The stains are made of mineral crystals, so any acidic cleaner would be quite effective in cleaning them.

Vinegar, lemon juice are some common household items that are acidic in nature and very effective in cleaning off these hard water stains.

1. Baking Soda

If there is a lot of greasy scum on the sink then you should start with baking soda. Baking soda helps rub off all particles of dirt and oil and grease.

Sprinkle plenty of baking soda in the sink and start rubbing with a sponge or scrubber. If will loosen the hard water stains due to the abrasive effect and clean away all organic dirt including food particles and grease. At the end the only thing should be left is very light stains that baking soda cannot lift. Use vinegar or lemon juice then.

2. Begin with Vinegar

Use a solution of 1 part water with 1 part vinegar. Soak a sponge with this solution and start rubbing the sink.

If the stains are hard, then spray vinegar on the stains and let them sit for a couple of hours. This will allow the acid in vinegar to do its action and loosen up the minerals. Then you can continue rubbing the whole thing.

Instead of vinegar you can also use lemon peels. Just rub the pulp site of the peels on the stains and they should start falling off. Once everything is clean, rinse with fresh water.

3. Commercial steel cleaning products

There are plenty of products available in the market made specially for cleaning stainless steel. You can find them on

1. Howard Natural Stainless Steel Cleaner –
2. Bar Keepers Friend Cleanser & Polish –

Clean the drain as well

Now that you just cleaned the surface of the sink, how about cleaning the drainage beneath as well. Its simple and you need the same baking soda and vinegar.

Just pour in about 2-3 cups of baking soda into the drain holes. Make sure the fall through the drain. Now pour in about a cup of vinegar. This will instantly cause a fizzy reaction between baking soda and vinegar which will do a great cleaning job deep inside the drain. Let the reaction continue for about 10 minutes.

Finally pour in some hot water to clean off all the residues. Now you should have a clean drain pipe that has no bad odors.

Extra tips and advice

While cleaning the sink do not mix baking soda and vinegar at the same time. Baking soda is alkaline while vinegar is acidic. Mixing them would instantly cause a reaction and make the thing useless for any cleaning.

Water stains that are not very old and small in size can often be removed and the metal surface underneath would restore to its original shine. However, there are situations when some chemical reactions have set in permanently changing the chemisty of the stained area. Cleaning would make the thing look better but may not bring back the same old finishing.

Flavored beverage drinks like pepsi or fanta contain phosphoric acid which is also a good cleaning agent for mineral deposits. You can try and experiment if you have those drinks at home. Use them the same way as vinegar.

Avoid rubbing the sink with highly abrasive cleaning pads as they could streak the steel surface causing permanent damage. Try to use cleaning solutions to dissolve the stains and scum as much as possible, and rub with a sponge.

If you know of some other cool trick to clean up hard water stains then let us know in the comment box below. Thanks for reading.

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