It’s a busy time of year and the last thing we want to be dealing with is dingy laundry or hard-to-remove mineral stains in kitchens and baths. Hard water is something that requires a water softener or scale prevention system to remove long term, but with little time to install a system like this before the holidays there are short-term tips to solve your specific hard water concerns.
Here are five common hard water problems and quick solutions to get your home ready for hosting family and friends.
Use vinegar for stain removal in the kitchen.
To keep glassware and silverware spot- and stain-free for the holiday table, wash dishes in a mixture of warm water, soap and a half-cup of vinegar. The soap and water helps to loosen stains while vinegar removes difficult mineral deposits as well as tough stains like coffee and lipstick without a ton of scrubbing.
Incorporate a water conditioner in your next load of laundry.
Hard water can wreak havoc on laundry. Stiffness or yellowing of clothing can be the result of washing your clothes with hard water. To remedy this issue, try adding a water conditioner to a load of laundry just once to see if it helps. The conditioner actually boosts the power of the laundry detergent, removing harsh minerals caused by hard water and prevents detergent residue from building up on your clothes, which is typically the cause of stiffness and dingy colored clothing.
Baking soda is for more than baking.
Baking soda has a great deal of household uses including removing grimy mineral buildup in toilet bowls. Start by pouring one cup of vinegar into the toilet. Let it sit for about one minute, then add one cup of baking soda and one more cup of vinegar. Let this concoction stand for 10 minutes before cleaning with a bowl brush. You’ll see that it lifts those pesky mineral stains immediately. (Tip: this will work in your bathroom sinks too.)
Improve the look and function of faucets and showerheads.
Fill a plastic freezer bag with hot water and vinegar. Next, place the bag over the faucet or showerhead, holding it in place by tying it with a rubber band. After two to three hours, remove the bag of water and vinegar to reveal a shiny new fixture. This solution will also clear out most mineral deposits that build up in the tiny holes of showerheads and faucets. For stainless steel or ceramic fixtures, the hot water and vinegar mixture will do the trick, however, if you have a large amount of buildup, use straight vinegar.