How to Get Rid of Water Spots (Lime Scale)
One of the biggest cleaning problems in your home is about to be one of the easiest. For longer than I could imagine, water spots on my glass shower doors, on my faucets and in my sinks, and soap scum everywhere else has been the bane of my existence.
I have tried using all of the most advertized, the most highly suggested, and the strongest cleaners to no avail. In my efforts to help people all over the world to clean their bathrooms, I just knew that this had to be the first topic I wrote about.
In this article, I researched and documented eight of the most suggested cleaners for handling water spots and soap scum.
Four of these were regular household items, and four were chemical cleaners. I videotaped the whole process for you. I truly wanted to know the solution to this huge question for myself and for all of those struggling with this issue as well.
In fact, I didn't want to just figure it out and tell you the solution, I also wanted to show you. Of all the research I conducted, not one person could actually prove that their method worked.
EVERYONE had a different solution, and then everyone else would document the fact that it didn't work for them but something else did. Someone had to do something different. I was going to be that person.
You get to try it out right next to me on my very real water-spotted shower door. You get to see me try out eight different possible solutions and ultimately find out which one really work and which ones don't.
The surprise at the end of this article is that only one out of the eight actually worked! Want to know which one it is? I guess you'll have to read to the very end!
I hope you will follow me through the entire process. It was actually kind of fun and very interesting.
The first thing I did was to grab my first four testing items: a fresh lemon cut in half, a small squirt bottle full of white vinegar, WD-40, and a box of baking soda (along with an arm load of clean wash rags). I grabbed one wash rag for each cleaner, one for washing off the cleaners, one for wiping the glass clean with Windex afterward, and one dry one to dry the glass off before and after the experiment (and obviously the Windex, lol).
As you'll see, in the first video, I walk you through a variety of steps to clean the water spots from the shower door:
- I used the dry cloth to wipe the glass shower door clean before beginning.
- I then used one of the lemon halves to clean the first fourth of my shower door. I simply rubbed the lemon, juicy side against the glass to lightly scrub lemon juice into the water spots. I left it there to dry as I moved to the next item.
- Next I chose the spray bottle of vinegar. With the spray bottle I lightly sprayed several times over the second fourth of the shower door. The lemon juice was dripping down a little, but the mixture of vinegar and lemon juice was another suggestion for cleaning, so I figured we would see if those particular drips were super clean. I left it to soak.
- For my third item, I chose the WD-40. This has been the most highly suggested cleaner actually out of all of them. I sprayed this across the third fourth of my shower door below the handle, leaving it to soak while I finished.
- Finally I dampened the end of a washcloth and dumped baking soda straight onto the towel, and scrubbed it just like that onto the bottom and final fourth of my shower door.
Quick Pre-Test Poll
Which cleaner do you think will work?
Applying Experiment 1 cleaners
This is where the first video ends. So my experiment has begun with these four basic household items. Most likely everyone already has these available just in case one of these cleaners works.
So I waited 20 minutes, and in the meantime gathered the materials for my second cleaning experiment. When I got back, I wiped the door down with my clean wet cloth, cleaned it with Windex, and then dried it completely with my dry cloth.
The results were surprising. The lemon helped a little bit. One corner of the door had come completely clean, but the rest of that part remained rather foggy.
The vinegar (even the parts with the lemon drippings), and the WD-40 didn't really do anything. For the most part the door looked the same over those parts as it had before I had gotten started.
Startling though, the area where I had cleaned with the baking soda had come completely clean. Seriously. There was a definite line between the WD-40 area and the baking soda area. I could see through the door perfectly and it looked as it probably did brand-new.
I had placed my bets that it was going to be the vinegar area. I clean anything and everything with vinegar. I was sure that one was going to win. Boy was I wrong!
Experiment 1 Results, Applying Experiment 2 Cleaners
Now for the second experiment! I would be remiss to ignore the four chemical cleaners I had received suggestions for in my effort to help you clean the water spots and soap scum in your bathroom. What if one of the following chemicals cleaned them even easier than did the baking soda?
While I was waiting on the first set of cleaners to soak in for my first experiment, I went through the house and gathered our next four: Pine-sol floor cleaner, Bar-Keeper's Friend cleaning powder (I actually had a soft cleanser that I thought might work better), Oxi-Clean of course, and finally CLR (which is extremely powerful and dangerous on the skin).
I definitely needed a separate wash cloth for each of these cleaners, and an extra thick one for the CLR, and I grabbed another couple of rags just in case.
When it was time to begin the second experiment, I wiped the surface clean with a clean cloth and went for my first cleaner. Because these were powerful chemicals, and I didn't want to risk mixing them and causing a dangerous reaction, I kept the amount to a minimum to prevent drips.
As you'll see in the next video, I walk you through the steps to applying all of the next cleaners to the second piece of glass. (Note that I'm not trying them on the same glass for research purposes.)
- First I put some Pine-sol on the first cloth and wipe it generously across the first fourth of the glass. I wiped it across a few times and then left it to soak in.
- Next I put some Bar Keeper's Friend on another cloth and used it to clean the second fourth of the glass. I scrubbed it in really good and then left it to soak.
- I purposely used the Oxi-Clean next, wetting my rag and dumping some on directly. I then scrubbed the wet cloth and dry powder onto the third fourth of the glass, making sure not to drip any.
- Finally, I used the CLR. I used it last on purpose because it was the most dangerous. Just like toilet bowl cleaner, you're not supposed to get any on your skin at the risk of burning them. I poured the CLR carefully onto a clean rag and wiped the final chemical onto the last fourth of the glass and left the whole thing to dry.
Quick Pre-Test Poll
Now which cleaner do you think will work?
Experiment 2 Results, Final Reveal
This is where the second video ends. I chose the regular household ingredients first because if one or more of them worked, these would be the ideal cleaners for most households being easy and cheap.
Chemical cleaners are a little bit more expensive, and sometimes a lot more expensive, and may be harder to get a hold of for most people. These are also more dangerous to have around children and pets, and therefore not the ideal cleaner to keep around.
While I was waiting the 20 minutes for the cleaners to soak in and dry, I made productive use of my time and used the baking soda to continue cleaning the door of the shower. It worked so well the first time that I figured I might as well clean the rest of it.
I show you the results of this in our next video along with the results of the second experiment. I didn't expect this!
None of them did anything! I'm telling the truth! Check out the video. You can also see by the picture that minimal cleaning was really done by any of the chemicals. I then take you back to the door of the shower and show you how the baking soda was actually working.
I even left some of the grime on the door where the WD-40 had been used, to show you the baking soda literally wiping the water spots right off the door ON VIDEO!
I was shocked at the results of both experiments to tell you the truth, and after cleaning the entire door with the one that worked in the first experiement, I've already scared myself walking past it twice now. lol
I'm not used to it being clean. Neither of us are! Check out the before and after photos. The little sliver of glass next to the door shows you what the door looked like this morning and the door shows you what it looks like now after finally being clean.
Surprising huh? Who would have thought that baking soda out of all of the other cleaners was the one that would do it, and do it REALLY well? lol
I highly suggest you trying this yourself on your own surfaces. Tomorrow hopefully I can get up the motivation to use my baking soda on all of the other surfaces in the shower and on all of the faucets in the house.
I hope you enjoyed the videos! I'm obviously not an expert. Now you truly know what will clean those frustrating spots. Have fun cleaning!
Quick Post Test Poll
Were you surprised at all by the results?
Questions & Answers
There are water spots on my bathroom mirror. What do I do?
This happens because you splash water when washing your hands or brushing your teeth, which is perfectly normal. You should be able to clean water spots as my article recommends, with baking soda.