If you have hard water, chances are, your surfaces and fixtures know it. One tell-tale sign of water that’s riddled with minerals and other unwanted substances is a yellow, scaly stain that can be found near your drains. Streaked toilets, crusty bathtubs, stained shower heads, and discolored sinks are all the hallmark of hard water.

These stains can be downright unpleasant, and make both you and your guests less than pleased to use your bathroom and kitchen. To better clear and prevent these ugly household blemishes, use the following stain-removal tips:

Try a Homemade Solution

Though you can find a huge variety of stain-removing solution in grocery and hardware stores, try a DIY remedy first to save a few dollars. Mix equal parts vinegar and water, then pour in an unused spray bottle. Spritz the solution on the stained surface, then walk away for a few minutes to let the mixture work its magic. Then, try using a sponge to scrub away the grime. For mild stains, this home trick often does the trick.

Use Baking Soda for Scrubbing Power

If your stains are particularly stubborn, you’ll need more stain-removing power. Use a bit of baking soda to make a paste with the water and vinegar. The paste should be somewhat thick, like toothpaste, and have a gritty consistency. Smear the paste onto the stained area, and let it sit for about 15 minutes. Then, return to the stain and scrub hard. A little pressure mixed with the texture of the baking soda and the acids of the vinegar attack the stain to lift it away from your porcelain or metal.

Enlist Some Friction

For extra friction, try using a textured scrubbing material. Be careful with steel wool, which can damage some surfaces. However, don’t be afraid to test it or other tougher materials, such as a rough sponge or bristly brush. Often, using hard and soft scrubbing tools in combination is best for stain removal.

Don’t Forget Gloves

Working with any kind of cleaning agent, homemade or store-bought, can dry out your hands, and cause pain in any open cuts. To protect your hands, always wear gloves while cleaning. Try gloves that extend to the elbows for especially tough cleaning jobs.

Prevent Hard Water Stains with Home Water Filtration

To help prevent the stains from occurring in the first place, consider some preventative methods, like a home water filtration system. According to the Water Quality Association, over four out of 10 Americans use a home water treatment unit. This method can make water taste better, look cleaner, and prevent stains. Water softeners and water filters reduce the mineral content in your water, which helps preserve the function and beauty of your faucets and drains.

Hard water stains are tough, but these cleaning methods are tougher. Use homemade scrubs and a little muscle to lift existing stains. For an even tougher prevention approach, consider a home water filtration system like a Culligan Water®  treatment system. Using these tips, you can remove and prevent even the toughest discoloration and residue. Call your local Culligan Water today for a free in-home water analysis.