Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Cleaning Hard Water Deposits Off Your Shower Hardware

As I have made abundantly clear on this blog, I love bubble baths, but nothing irritates me more than a dirty bathtub. It just will not do. Among my many pet cleaning peeves is the ever persistent hard water stain. Caused by the minerals naturally occurring in most water sources, as the water droplets dry on your bath hardware, or glass doors the water leaves behind a white mineral deposit. Over time this can build up to become quite the unsightly mess, and can not be removed with just soap and water. 

I recently searched online for a method, free of harsh chemicals, to take care of the water stains on my bath tub faucet and handle. I found white vinegar a popular natural alternative but most recommended an over night treatment involving removing the hardware and soaking it in vinegar for 24 hours. Or, filling a bag with vinegar and securing it to the shower head or faucet and letting it sit over night, or soaking paper towels in the vinegar and draping it over the fixtures for the 24 hours. I wanted faster, easier results.

I read that one professional house cleaner wipes down the affected area with oil and then scrapes the deposits  off with a razor blade, so I gave that a try. Here are my results.



I was quite pleased with the outcome. The oil really shines up the fixture and the mineral deposits are gone, it feels as smooth as a new fixture. Sadly, there are some permanent stains because I live in an apartment and it appears that past tenants tried cleaning the fixtures with steel wool, which gets a temporary result but scratches the surface of the metal so much that it creates a nice foot hold for future deposits to linger upon. The quality of the fixtures is also very cheap, so it stains easily. Despite all of this, I feel that the oil makes a big difference, even more noticeable in real life, the pictures don't really do it as much justice as I would have liked. 

Hopefully in the future, we can avoid hard water stains by wiping down the metal surfaces with a towel after a shower, or spritzing it with some white vinegar which I feel would make a great maintenance option. In the case of glass doors, keep a squeegee hung in the shower and just squeegee the door before getting out of the shower. Even doing this once in a while will help lessen the mineral build up. 

I understand that this approach is time consuming when you are dealing with a large glass surface, but when properly maintained it shouldn't require your attention as often.  When you do have to tackle the big glass doors, add a little lemon essential oil to your mix and enjoy the lovely scent, (lemon is also naturally acidic and will help dissolve the mineral buildup, as well as kill germs) turn on some music and take the time to contemplate the universe. Also, pat yourself on the back  for keeping your cleaning habits healthy for you and the environment. Your hands will be so soft and lovely after all oil you use, your mood will be lifted from the lemon oil, and your bath will be sparkling clean! I use my favorite body oil, which happens to be apricot but any oil will do nicely.

If  you'd like to remove the oil residue from your glass door, wash down with a scrub brush using a mixture of water and white vinegar,  then squeegee off. In the case of fixtures you can buff off access oil with a clean towel.

Now, reward your hard work with a bubble bath! 

Happy cleaning!
-Domestic Diva 

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