How to remove hard water stains from tile

Written by kimbry parker
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How to remove hard water stains from tile
Hard water stains are common on tile that is surrounded by a facuet or water source. (shower image by Dragan Trifunovic from

If you have hard water in your home, you may notice white or brown stains on your tile. Hard water stains are the result of minerals from the water building up on the tiled surface. These spots are unsightly and detract from the appearance of your tiled surface. Address hard water spots--also called lime scale--sooner rather than later for the greatest chance of successful removal.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • White vinegar or lemon juice
  • Clean, empty spray bottle
  • Rags
  • Sponge
  • Trisodium phosphate
  • Water
  • Bucket

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  1. 1

    Pour white vinegar or lemon juice into a clean, empty spray bottle. Saturate the tile with the liquid.

  2. 2

    Wait at least 30 minutes as the juice or vinegar sits on the tile. Scrub the tile with a rag or sponge. Apply more vinegar or lemon juice, if necessary, while scrubbing.

  3. 3

    Wash the tile with a rag and hot, soapy water. Buff the tile with a dry cloth.

  4. 4

    Mix up a batch of trisodium phosphate and water for tough-to-remove lime scale. Pour 1 gallon of warm water into a bucket. Add 2 to 4 tbsp of trisodium phosphate. Wait a few minutes for the trisodium phosphate to completely dissolve in the water.

  5. 5

    Wipe down the tile with a rag or sponge soaked in the trisodium phosphate solution. Scrub the tile with the solution until all of the hard water spots are gone.

  6. 6

    Rinse the tile with a rag and plain water. Buff with a dry cloth.

  7. 7

    Reapply vinegar, lemon juice or trisodium phosphate cleaning solution, if necessary, to remove all spots. Always rinse the tile with plain water after using any of the cleaning products.

Tips and warnings

  • Another way to remove hard water spots is to make a paste of baking soda and vinegar, rub it on the tile and leave it for a few minutes, then rinse and dry the tile thoroughly.
  • Wear rubber gloves and protective eye wear when using trisodium phosphate. Work in a well-ventilated area.

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