How to Remove Hard Water

Monday, May 25, 2009

I clean my sink with ajax every day after washing the dishes, but that doesn't prevent this nasty build up. I have very stubborn Utah hard water. Yes, I could just get a water softener, but my DH doesn't support me on that idea. It would be too much work for him to have to buy salt pellets, haul them home and put them in the soft water tank all of the time. So I get to deal with hard water.


I have tried all of the hard water products out there. I have saturated my faucets and soaked my fridge tray overnight. All I have gotten from my efforts are deadly fumes from the toxic chemicals in the cleaners. A couple of years ago I learned the cleaning power of VINEGAR. I used it to clean my kids humidifiers because the instructions said to. It took off the hard water like it was nothing! I started using vinegar on my faucets and everything else and it was amazing!!! I now buy vinegar in bulk at Costco and use it for my heavy duty cleaning needs. Vinegar is cheap and non toxic. Here is how I used it to get rid of my hard water:

For the refrigerator in-door dish I just poured a little vinegar in the dish and let it sit for about 20 minutes. I took an old toothbrush and the hard water just wiped off without any scrubbing.


To clean my faucets I had to get a little more creative. I soaked some paper towels in vinegar and placed them on the areas with hard water. I took a spray bottle filled with vinegar and sprayed the towels every time I walked past. After about 20 minutes I took the towels off and scrubbed off the hard water with an old toothbrush. Some areas had thick hard water and I had to put the towels back on and wait another hour and repeat. I didn't have to scrub really hard, the hard water came off easily after soaking in vinegar.






I also use vinegar on my shower heads to unclog all of the holes. One of my shower heads detaches from the base and is easily soaked in a bucket. For the other one I have to tie a bag filled with vinegar to it.

110 comments :

  1. We have the same issue with the water tray in the fridge. Ours just pops out and I fill it with vinegar. I'm not sure where I heard about vinegar, actually, it could have been my mom, but it is the best solution to Utah hard water. I wish the previous owner of our home had known about vinegar trick. They used something sharp to scrape it away from the kitchen faucet and scratched the sink around it. I will definately be trying the paper towel trick.

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    1. I have pets and the vinegar removes odors in carpet. Gotta love buying up the vinegar at the dollar tree store.

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    2. tell me your trick with the vinegar and carpets please.

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    3. Can youTell me the trick with the vinegar on the carpet please?

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    4. Vinegar in your carpet machine instead of the cleaner solution works great.Otherwise mix half and half with water..saturate area from pet ,blot with towel. As vinegar dries and the spell goes away so will the pet smell.It is a natural deodorizer.

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    5. If you put a plastic bag around the wrapped vinegar it will work even better !!

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    6. the cleaner called CLR is a lot faster, easier and is one of the few that actually works just don't try running it though your coffee pot as it works a little to good and will take the seals out and the machine will leak afterwards---you only have to soak stuff in clr for a few minutes stubborn things like showers heads I like to use a toothbrush on just because I'm picky.

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    7. The problem that I encountered with CLR is that because it is a mild acid, it eats the porcelain finish over time. I found that out the hard on a bathtub. :(

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  2. Great tips! I use vinegar and baking soda with boiling water to keep my drains clear, and mop my tile floors with just vinegar and hot water. Love the stuff!

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    1. Vinegar is good for cleaning metal sinks and counters too. We used it in the food industry.

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  3. Great ideas kimm! I love vinegar and baking soda together, it's almost like a science experiment watching them interact.

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  4. Will be putting this one to the test, I've got a lot of hard water build-up around here!!!!

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  5. I use vinegar too to combat the hard water found here in Arizona.

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    1. Can you please tell me how much vinegar, exactly how to get glass shower doors clean? I too live in Arizona and it extremely built up with the hard water.

      Thanks

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    2. Fill a spray bottle with 3 parts vinegar to 1 part water, simply spray it on after you shower and wipe down.

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  6. Great idea! Love your blog! Some of those before and after pictures are pretty impressive. Thanks for the ideas.

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  7. Great Idea and post! Happy Saturday Sharefest from SITS!!

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  8. I make my own cleaning products too.

    Happy Saturday Sharefest!

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  9. Great tip!
    I'll buy vinegar and start rubbing away on our faucets here in Spain.

    Happy Saturday Sharefest!

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    1. Ohhhhh, so much more you can do with vinegar. Use it to wash walls. Clean windows. Wash veggies. Watered down of course.

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  10. I'm cleaning my shower tommorow.
    Thanks for the tip!

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  11. I found out about you on "Today's Creative Blog"- THANK YOU for the hard water tip. I have hard west texas well water and I have spent a small fortune buying cleaners and my house still looks like your before pictures- I can't wait to give this a try.

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  12. Thank you for posting this with pictures. I have used vinger for many cleaning needs, such as tile floors and grout but never thought about hard water. Now I know what I am doing now this weekend. My bathroom faucet is getting the vinger treatmeant and so is that little tray on the fridge.

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  13. Hi Jen thanks for the tip, it sounds fabby.. I also have seen this method of descaling on 'How Clean is Your House' but I was wondering is it a particular vinegar? Here in the UK we have white vinegar, pickling vinegar, malt vinegar? I wonder which vinegar it is? I am assuming white vinegar?

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  14. Thank you Thank you Thank you THANK YOU!! You have no idea how many hours I've spend trying to clean that stupid tray in my frig door.

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  15. wow! that's actually a great tip! thank you!

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  16. Yes, thank you, although I've known about using vinegar for hard water deposits, but it helps to see the before and after pics. What I'd really like to know is how do you get rid of the hard water spots on shower doors? Do you just spray the vinegar on the doors? Someone said we should soak paper towels and plaster them on the doors, but they slide off. Any great tricks for this? Thanks!

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    1. I've heard to use a solution of one part vinegar to one part dawn dish soap for cleaning shower doors and tubs. You just mix it in a spray bottle, spray it on and let it sit as long as necessary (you can even leave it overnight to soak). It works really well. Then I've also heard that once the shower doors are clean to use rain x (like what you put on your car windows) to keep it from building up as much and makes it easier to clean. I haven't tried the rain x, but it makes sense and it works on the car, so maybe.

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    2. I use vinegar for almost all my cleaning projects, but our glass shower doors have water spots and even though we spray them with vinegar after each shower, the spots are still there. I heard that the glass becomes pitted from the hard water and there is no way to get rid of the spots. If anyone knows a way, I would love to hear about it.

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    3. I use CLR in the yellow bottle & a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. Spray a let sit for a little bit and come back and wipe with the Magic Eraser. Works great on soap scum and water spots!

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    4. I cleaned my clear glass shower doors just days ago. I used a scrub pad and Borax (buy in laundry detergent section) to scrub the glass & metal trim and then rinsed. This worked after trying Magic Eraser for Bathrooms and glass scraper. And we squeegee our doors after every shower - it still builds up. I put RainX on years ago so don't know if it helped or not.

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    5. Lowes Hardware has a YouTube video comparing different methods of removing hard water stains from shower doors. Barkeepers Friend was the winner! I bought some and am going to try it out! I have tried dawn & vinegar and everything else.

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    6. I use dryer sheets. Wet the sheet well and scrub the glass. Not much scrubbing needed either. The sheets loose water really quickly, so to avoid using too many, scrub quickly. Also, rinse almost immediately because the solution from the sheet dries really fast. When that happens, you will need to repeat the steps.

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    7. I know everyone is bragging about the use of vinegar for cleaning the shower doors. But if you want a quick and sparkling solution. Use a dryer sheet! It should be wet , wipe down your tub, shower and fixtures. It removes all soap scum and dirt. Be sure to rinse and dry only if you want.

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  17. I've used vinegar to get rid of hard water deposits, but never thought to soak paper towels with it and use a squirt bottle--great idea! Thanks for the tip. :)

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  18. Thanks so much for sharing, we're know for hard water in the Bahamas. I'll be using this trick going forward.

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  19. vinegar is the BEST window cleaner !!! 1/4c in a bucket of water....

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  20. Just wondering if the vinegar smell gets too overwhelming? Not a fan of vinegar smell, but from your pictures it seems to do the trick!

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    1. add some lemon juice for that fresh lemony kitchen smell

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  21. I do the same thing since i have hard water too. (imo....water softeners add just enough salt to your water it makes it not reccomended for those on no salt diets for medical reasons & its not reccomended to water your plants with the water because of the added salt, and its more expensive than vinegar to maintain). One more thing i do is add a cup of vinegar to my dishwasher, every load, so buildup does not happen in there. Works like a charm

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    1. How do you add the vinegar to your dishwasher? Do you just pour a cup of vinegar Rught into the dishwasher before it starts?

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  22. Oh and fill the tea kettle with 1cup vinegar then top off with water,soak overnight.....beautiful teakettle!

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  23. ***another tip to help keep the little refrigerator tray clean is to apply furniture polish to it now and then.
    Mine is ten years old and is still as shinny as it was when it was brand new. :)

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  24. Just FYI to everyone-don't use vinegar on anything marble (so if you have any marble countertops or tile) it will etch the marble and ruin it.

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    1. marble tile and other pourous surfaces do well with grain alcohal and water. I use 4 oz vodka and 12 oz of distilled water, not the hard water from the tap. and add essential oils to improve scent and disinfect.

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  25. Love vinegar for many cleaning jobs. Super stuff! Even clean out the dishwasher w/it! (Hard water in Texas)

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  26. I didn't think it would work - tried and it is really amazing - hard water spots that I have been trying to remove for over two years finally gone.

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  27. oh honey- if this works you've saved my life and my budget!! Thanks! I too have tried nearly every cleaner in the store and you're so righ- nasty stuff!

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  28. We have a water softener, but it's only a few months old, so I still have a lot of left over hard water all over the place. This should tidy everything up and then I'll never have any issues again.

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  29. HELP!!! Can anyone help with this one? I used this on my bathroom sink faucet which is brushed nickel. When I checked on it, it after about an hour it had tarnished the brushed nickel! I couldn't believe that something as gentle as vinegar could do that! Does anyone know of a way to restore my brushed nickel?

    As for my stainless sink in the kitchen it looks AWESOME!

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    1. I was wondering about using it on our oil rubbed bronze finish but i don't think I will now. Sorry that happened.

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    2. Try spraying a little WD-40 on it...

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  30. Vinegar does work. Just don't use vinegar to get rid of water stains on granite. The acid in the vinegar is not good for the stone. I've checked with Home Depot and other granite installers and they all say the same thing. It works but not recommended.

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  31. Still looking for a response on glass. My shower door is horrible and just two days after moving into my new home the windshield on my car is completely covered (sprinklers hit it accidentally) and now I literally cannot see out of it to drive. HELP!

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    1. Vinegar and blue Dawn dishwashing liquid. 50/50.
      http://pinterest.com/pin/21251429462344635/

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    2. I use peroxide on all my windows and shower doors. Just fill a spray bottle with straight hydro peroxide and spray it on and wipe off . I use a lint free towel. Works like magic. It's cheap and it sanitizes

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  32. For shower doors I have heard of mixing hot vinegar (heated in microwave for a couple min) combined with dawn dish soap in a squirt bottle and spray on the doors. Haven't tried it yet but I hear it works great!

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  33. I don't know why I hadn't thought to try this on our hard water stains around the sink/shower head! I run a little vinegar in the dishwasher with every load because of the hard water we have here (thanks Utah!)... Never thought to try it on other hard water problem areas. Isn't vinegar amazing! Thanks for the tip!

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  34. Anonymous: for your glass shower doors, try Bounce dryer sheets. Just rub one on the glass. If that doesn't work for you, try straight lemon juice. Cut the lemon in half and rub it on, then rinse the door. I've done both of these and then used RainX (from the auto parts store) to make the glass repel water and it stays clean longer.

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  35. We have tried everything to remove our thick water line from our hot tub and it was vinegar that did the trick! We also use it in the coffee maker and in the shower and I'm looking forward to a shiny sink & faucet! It's hard to believe all the power in vinegar!

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  36. we have a 30 year old montgomery ward porcelain sink unit in our kitchen that has been heavily stained by hard water. when we bought the house last june i tried scrubbing it with every chemical known to man to remove the built up scale. nothing has worked thus far. i have vinegar soaked paper towels on the sink now, fingers crossed. lol.

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    1. I have an old porcelain sink also and I use Bar Keeper's Friend on it. It is a gentle scouring powder (or you can buy the liquid) that has a little bit of acid but will not scratch up your sink. I buy mine from Walmart for about $2 a can. You can also use this on glass-top cooking ranges which is way, way cheaper than those bottles of cleaners for the ranges.

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    2. Bar keepers friend is absolutely amazing on our porcelain sink and also on my bathtubs!

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  37. This is such a good tip, thanks! At our old house we had the same hard water problem. Wish I knew this back then, oh well, now I'll just save it for the future.

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  38. I also live in Utah and have been wondering how to get rid of hard water... thanks to you I'm on my way to get some vinegar! Sweet :)

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  39. For those who don't already know, it is a wonderful weed killer as well (just don't get it on the lawn) we use it in the cracks of our drive way and the next day dead weeds. (white vinegar is what we use).

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  40. For any of you who don't know, this was a surprise to me, white vinegar is a great weed killer, just don't get it on the lawn. We use it in the cracks of our lawn and side walk and the next morning surprise surprise, dead weeds!

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  41. My mom always used vinegar as a rinse after washing our hair. Took all the soap out and made it squeaky clean

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  42. I tried this and it may have helped but in the old house we bought the hard water lines were so thick I had to also use a butter knife to scratch off the big deposits. But they are finally gone!

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  43. I tried this and it worked fairly well. It didn't remove everything, but the sink looks so much better than before. (You can see a picture of before and after here.

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  44. Does this work for toilet rings? Can't get rid of it? Was just gonna buy a new toilet. Someone please say yes!

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    1. I use fine emery cloth worls well

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    2. Use a pumice stone (cleaning aisle at walmart for under $2). Toilets are porcelain and you can "scratch" the rings away. It will sound terrible but will work wonderfully!

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    3. If the toilet is older than five years, it is better to buy a new toilet with better flushing technology and less water use.

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    4. If you toilet is more than 10 years old, buy the new better flushing, water miserly, new toilet. It will pay for itself in less water use.

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    5. Yes, I just used it yesterday in my toilet. I first poured about a cup and let it sit for 30 minutes, then scrubbed with toilet brush. Then flushed, and it looked like it got some off. Mine was really bad, I tried everything. Then I poured about a cup more, let it sit for longer, maybe a couple of hours, scrubbed again and more came off.
      Long story short, I did this all day and ended up using about 4 cups and the stains are almost all gone thismorning. I'm a believer.

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    6. The GREATEST tip that I ever got for cleaning toilets (I'm a housekeeper) was to use 3M Drywall sanding sheets. A pumice stone will sometimes scratch the toilet and leave marks behind. Vinegar does work well in addition. But, if you've tried everything & can't quite get those nasty rings and stains from the toilet, use a 3M Medium grit (120) Drywall sanding sheet. I swear by them & keep a supply on hand. They are absolutely AMAZING! They remove those toilet stains with very little effort, they do not scratch or leave marks behind. They will scratch faucets and glass, so don't use them there. You can buy them at Home Depot on the Drywall tools aisle. For a pack with 3 sheets, it's less than $4. I cut them into 3rd's or 4th's, and you can use the same piece for a long time (just soak in hydrogen peroxide for a bit to kill the germs). Good luck & hsppy cleaning!! : )

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    7. I put alka seltzer tabs in my toilet ocne a week..

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    8. Buy one of those Mr. Clean sponges, cut a slice off and leave it to soak in your toilet bowl. Also, turn the water off behind your toilet, then flush, soak a cloth in baking soda and vinegar lay it on the crusty hard water stains to soak for an hour or two, it makes mush of the scale and it's so much easier to clean. Not everyone is able to put out the money for a new toilet no matter how old the toilet is :). Putting a couple of denture tablets in the toilet bowl and allow them to sit for a while will also help. Good luck

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  45. Even with a water softener you can get hard water stains, because they typically won't soften both your hot and cold water in the kitchen. Softened water tastes different, so they will often leave the cold water line alone. Just FYI, for those considering a softener, you may not ever completely get rid of the hard water stains. (Unless you use vinegar!) :)

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  46. Almost any acid will cut threw the hard water, calcium, deposits. CLR is just that. Lemon juice, lime juice will work also with better aromas.

    Caution! Acid will also eat other types of calcium, such as, marble, limestone, travertine and possibly other natural stones called granite. If you have a counter top made of any of these materials beware. Test a hidden area before going whole hog and pouring on the vinegar directly.

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  47. Just great tips...thanks for sharing!

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  48. Thanks for posting!!! I live in Nevada and hard water builds up even my plants soil. I must try this

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  49. WOW, SO many GREAT Tips....Thanks to everyone...And, I just got a call from Mother Nature....SHE says thanks to you all too. Happy house cleaning.

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  50. My mom got a recipe for "Pergo" flooring cleaner and it works great! It uses equal parts of Apple Cider VINEGAR, rubbing alcohol, and water (like 1 cup of each), and 3 drops of blue Dawn Dishwashing soap. Mix together and use to mop floors. I put mine in a spray bottle and then use my swiffer-type mop to clean my floors. I've also used the big rag mop to do large floors. This cleaner makes the dirt "float" across the floors. It's awesome!

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  51. I always forget about using vinegar! It has so many uses. I found your post just in time - have cleaning to do this weekend!

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  52. Vinegar is also great for dry skin. Just put about 2 cups in your bath water and soak for awhile. Wash like usual and then put lotion on after. Cleans pores and removes dry skin.

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  53. WD40 works great for softening up hard water scale. It takes about 10-15 minutes. I use it on my swamp cooler where water gets splashed up on stuff. The rollers in the swamp cooler were so bad you could not pull them off the motor drive. Not even with a pry bar. Sprayed them and they cam right off after waiting about 10 minutes. The scale becomes soft enough I can scrap it of the piece. I used a screw driver to scrap it off with. WD40 should work great in the house to, all although I would not use a screw driver to scrap with on anything good.

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  54. My friend was telling us about using vinegar on the carpet for pet odors and said she has begun using it in her laundry as a freshener so I too began using it in my laundry, it really does work wonders! I keep my 'rags' separate from other laundry and they tend to have a distinctive odor but when I use the vinegar the laundry comes out smelling just fine. I have since read that it will help keep the hard water stains down in your washer as well.

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  55. You got me on "wiped off without any scrubbing". I hate absolutely hate, the mess that hard water makes. It makes the kitchen faucets look like they aren't being cleaned when it's just the opposite. As you said, you scrubbed yours every day. Thanks for the tip.

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  56. Yes..pumice stone works great on toilet rings

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    1. Hard water is destroying my toilets leaving an awful gray ring that nothing I've tried will remove. Any suggestions?

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  57. Nice post!Add 5 drops of lemon with vinegar it work well for shower and pipes.

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  58. I tried this and it worked pretty well. Thank you!

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  59. Cleaning the humidifier I need to do this I know it's us dirty and it smells how do I do this?

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  60. How would you clean severe hard water stains from granite, marble and oil-rubbed bronze and/or satin finished faucets? Vinegar is too harsh and the pumice stone seems to scratch. Can I safely use WD-40?

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  61. How to clean brushed nickel with hardwater spots and rings? HELP!!

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  62. you can use white vinegar in your coffee maker once a month. i half fill it and run thru a filter in to the carafe. when cool can be put in spare bottle to use again. then run thru plain water to rinse. ready for coffee again.

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  63. To double or enhance the cleaning power of vinegar, heat it up first in the microwave, it will clean faucets, shower doors, most anything. I spray it on and let it work a while and then wipe or scrub a bit and the hard water and soap scum are gone.

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  64. What do you use on oil-rubbed bronze for hard water, anyone?

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  65. I love the smell of my Fabric Softener but, it was a bit thick and left a build up in my HE washer.. I cut the softener in half with white vinegar. Vinegar alone is a great fabric softener. Cutting my smell good softener like this not only kept me from having to clean my washer dispenser out the I save a small fortune and my washer no longer has the hard water build up in it.

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  66. what is the best home remadie to remove pet urine smell from carpets

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  67. what is the best thing you can use to remove cat and dog urine smell from carpets and floors really need to find something that really works

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  68. Hate fruit flies? Use one part cider vinegar, one part dish soap, and a little bit of water, stir, set it near bowls of fruit and watch those flies sink, dead.

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