How to Clean Hard Water Residue From a Stone Shower

Hard water stains and soap scum can be a nightmare in stone tile showers, as they make your bathroom look dingy and untidy. Hard water is comprised of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and bicarbonates that form unsightly water spots on the surface after evaporation.  The dried mineral deposits are not only a nuisance but can also lead to unhygienic conditions as they trap germs and bacteria. It is important to use the right approach when cleaning hard water stains from natural stone or stone tiles as it could damage the surface and worsen the existing problem. This article gives a guide on how to clean hard water residue from a stone shower.

Removing Existing Hard Water Stains

Hard water residue from stone showers can be removed easily using a specialty cleaner. Avoid using acidic or abrasive cleaners as they cause more damage than good. Most cleaning experts recommend using a pH-neutral, stone safe cleaner. Spray the product onto the surface and allow some time for it to break down the compounds of the residue. Use a soft cloth or a non-scratch pad to rub and scour the area as it helps to even the surface.

Woman cleans tiles  in bathroom with rag and spray cleaner.

Since the stains were caused by hard water, you need to rinse the surface using soft water. Boiling is the easiest and most affordable way to break the calcium and magnesium content in hard water. After scouring the area, rinse using hot water. You can repeat this procedure several times until you are satisfied with the outcome. When rinsing the stone tiles in your shower, make sure it is dried up thoroughly to avoid new water spots from forming.

Dealing with Stubborn Hard Water Residue

You may be tempted to use a heartier scrubbing pad or a stronger cleaning agent for stubborn residue. However, this only worsens the existing problem and causes more damage to your stone tiles. Using wrong chemicals on calcium-based stones can cause etching and the finish on your soft stones can end up getting scratched if the scrubbing pad is too rough. You can always try out a professional-grade stone cleaner for better results. However, this is not a guarantee that things may work out the way you want to. The best thing you can do at this point is to call stone care professionals as they have better skills and experience in dealing with stubborn hard water stains.

Mistakes to Avoid When Cleaning Natural Stone Surfaces

  • Cleaning with Vinegar

It is advisable to use cleaners that are suited for natural stone whether you are doing the work by yourself or using a professional cleaning service. Vinegar may seem to work great on other surfaces but is considered harsh when used on natural stone. The chemical component in vinegar, bleach, and other acidic cleaners can break down sealants applied to the stone causing more damage. This also means that you need to reseal your natural stone more often to prevent hard water stains and other residues.

  • Using an Abrasive Tool

Although many homeowners find it much easier to remove stains or etches using a brush or scrubbing pad, it usually makes the problem worse than it is. These tools act like abrasives on stone, especially when combined with elbow grease. Do not attempt to buff out stains but instead, use a soft cloth for daily cleaning. If this does not seem to deliver satisfactory results then consider calling a professional to have it honed and restored.

  • Not Sealing Your Stone Regularly

Sealing is part of a recommended general maintenance routine for many stones used in showers. Hard water residue will continue to be an issue if your water supply is primarily comprised of hard water. Regardless of how often you clean, your stone tiles will need sealing occasionally. Although some homeowners consider sealing their stone, professionals deliver the best results that are long lasting.

Regular cleaning and care can easily mitigate the buildup caused by hard water. Not only does this help get rid of water stains but also eliminates soap scum, mold, and other unwanted substances. It is important to choose a cleaner that is purposely designed for your stone type since there are a variety of stones that can be used in showers. If you want to make things easier, use a squeegee on your stone shower after every use to remove excess water from the surface. This makes it difficult for water-based mineral deposits such as calcium and magnesium to leave their mark.