Time takes its toll on everything, including your plumbing pipes and fixtures. Those first honeymoon years of gleaming porcelain, steel, and fiberglass will begin to fade as time ticks away.
Luckily, there are easy ways to give your fixtures a makeover. Like any important relationship, you have to put in the work to keep up with the impact of time.
One of the most common problems with aging fixtures is mineral deposits and hard water staining. But with a little TLC, your fixtures can look as good as new.
If, however, you have significant mineral stains around your showerheads, appliances, and plumbing fixtures, you have high levels of minerals in your water. While the cleaning tips below will help you remove hard deposits temporarily, the permanent fix is to install a water softening system.
Hard Water and Mineral Deposits on Fixtures
Hard water is basically any water with a high mineral content, especially calcium and magnesium. Although hard water isn’t dangerous to drink, it can cause problems with your fixtures, hair, and skin.
Since hard water contains minerals and metals, they will get left behind when the water evaporates. The minerals will begin to accumulate on the inside and outside of your plumbing, resulting in ugly mineral stains and restricted water flow. Additionally, hard water makes it harder to work up a lather and can dry out your skin and hair.
If you have hard water, you’ll know about the stains I’m talking about. If your showerhead looks like it belongs underwater with the Titanic, speak with a professional plumber about water softening solutions.
In the meantime, don’t let metals and minerals destroy your beautiful plumbing fixtures. Restore your precious plumbing to its former glory with some TLC.
How to Clean Stains, Discolorations, and Mineral Deposits
WARNING: To be safe, always test a small area before proceeding. You never know what might ruin your faucets and fixtures. To do this, saturate the tip of a Q-tip and let it sit on the affected area for about 30 minutes to an hour.
If you notice any damage or discoloration, remove the Q-tip, clean the area with soap and water, and contact a plumber or the manufacturer for how to properly clean the stains
Before using any of the natural cleaning products below, wash fixtures gently with sudsy water followed a rinse and dry. Additionally, make sure to follow the application with hot water and dish soap. Then, rinse the area with water and wipe dry with a clean cloth.
- Rubber Gloves
- Protective Clothing
Although the following cleaning products are all-natural, that doesn’t mean they won’t irritate your skin, eyes, and mucous membranes. Wear the proper protection to prevent injuries and irritation.
1. Cut Lemon
If you want to remove rust stains, from a porcelain or fiberglass fixture, try cleaning it with a cut lemon first. The acidity of the lemon will help break down the stain. If you don’t have a lemon, lemon juice can work as well.
2. Rubbing Alcohol or Ammonia
Mild mineral stains can be wiped up with a mixture of rubbing alcohol and water. It’s good for mineral stain maintenance.
For more difficult spots and stains, try soaking a rag in an ammonia and water solution. This can also work for hard water stains on glass windows.
Make sure you wear gloves and protective goggles. Keep the ammonia solution far away from your skin and face as it can cause sever irritation.
If the stain is stubborn, soak a rag in the solution and let it sit on the stain for 30-60 minutes.
All you have to do is soak a rag or towel in vinegar, let it sit on the stain for 30-60 minutes and then scrub and rinse it clean. Make sure you are wearing rubber gloves to protect your skin from the acidity.
For more information on removing hard water deposits around your home, watch this video:
Sadly, not all hard water stains can be cleaned. If you’ve let the stains sit and accumulate for a while, you may need to replace the fixture. That’s why you should address your hard water problems as soon as you notice them.
Caring for Your Fixtures
One of the reasons why you have stains, discoloration, and mineral deposits in the first place is because you probably aren’t doing daily cleanings and wipe-downs.
A great way to keep your plumbing fixtures bright and shiny is by giving them some light but frequent cleaning with some water and a dry cloth.
By keeping your faucets, sinks, baths and showers clean and dry, you won’t have to deal with stubborn stains and deposits. Daily cleaning is your friend! Tell your household to help you out with daily wipe-downs.
For a high polish, try using a mildly abrasive cleaner, but be careful around decorative and painted fixtures. Use a mixture of cream of tartar and peroxide to improve the appearance of your enameled fixture.
Do your homework before purchasing and using fixture cleaner. Learn about some fixture-friendly cleaners. Consult a professional plumber if you have any questions or doubts.
What You Really Need – Soft Water
Hard water, while not unhealthy for you, is still a nuisance. It makes it harder to get a good lather and can dry out skin and hair. Not only are mineral deposits left on your skin, you will also find hard deposits around your fixtures and inside your piping.
Over time, this can impede water flow and cause water pressure problems. Additionally, these minerals can gather at the bottom of your water heater, potentially causing overheating, rumbling, and early failure.
Water softening uses sodium to remove the hardness of your water. While your water may be saltier than normal, it’s much better than the significant damage caused by hard minerals like calcium and magnesium.
Contact a professional plumber to find out if a water softener is right for you. They can be installed to cover the whole house or as point-of-use for a specific fixture.
Schedule Service today to ensure healthy water for you and your plumbing system.