Do your drinking glasses never really look clean? If you have hard water but no water softener, you'll likely notice marks on your glasses and other dishes. These hard water stains likely won't wash off simply by running them through another cycle in the dishwasher. However, you can usually remove the hard water stains easily with household products.
What Is Hard Water?
Water has dissolved minerals in it, but the amount of minerals can vary. If you have hard water, it has a high level of minerals in it, particularly calcium and magnesium. It can cause issues with your plumbing and for you as well, including the feeling that you have a film on your hands after washing them or the need to use more soap to get things clean. It can also cause buildup in your showers and sinks because of minerals clinging to those surfaces.
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Hard Water Stains on Glasses
Your dishes can also be affected by hard water even if you use a dishwasher to clean them. Hard water can create a film on your drinking glasses, giving them a cloudy appearance. This happens when your dishwashing detergent reacts with the hard water. You might also notice white spots on your drinking glasses due to hard water. While the drinking glasses are safe to use even with the hard water stains, you might want to remove them for aesthetic reasons.
Remove Stains With Vinegar
Hard water stains don't usually wash off easily with plain water, but adding white distilled vinegar can help remove the marks easily. The acidity of vinegar helps it get rid of the mineral deposits that form hard water stains.
To clean the dishes, combine equal parts of lukewarm water and vinegar and place it in a spray bottle. Spray the affected drinking glasses with the diluted vinegar and wait a few minutes. You can also mix a large tub of diluted vinegar and soak the glasses in it. The hard water stains should wipe off easily with a cloth. You can then rinse the glasses and rewash them if you're worried about a vinegar flavor.
Make Baking Soda Paste
Baking soda is another household item that can help remove hard water stains. It offers gentle scouring without scratching your glass drinkware. Add a little water to your baking soda until it creates a paste. Rub the paste onto the hard water stains with a soft cloth or sponge. Rinse the glasses well to remove the baking soda.
Prevent Future Hard Water Stains
You can install a water softener to prevent hard water stains on dishes and buildup throughout your home. Soft water can also make your skin and hair feel better. Water softeners can be pricey, and you have to add more salt to them regularly, but they can be beneficial throughout your home.
You can get detergent boosters and rinse aids designed for hard water that help remove the deposits during a normal dishwasher cycle. You can also place a cup of distilled vinegar on the top rack of your dishwasher before running the normal cycle to reduce the chances of hard water stains. Drying dishes with a soft cloth instead of letting them air-dry when you hand wash them can also help prevent hard water marks.