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Here is how to get rid of hard water buildup

(Shuttershock Photo)

Hard water is a fact of life in Arizona. Hard water is water that contains naturally occurring minerals, particularly magnesium and calcium. Hard water and limescale can create water spots and clog pipes. Hard water can be prevented with the addition of a water softener in your home.

Water treatment systems, those approved by the Water Quality Association, will help keep your homes appliances and faucets free from damaging build up.

But, regardless of whether or not you install a treatment system, it’s important to get rid of the deposits that are already there, clogging fixtures and appliances.

Getting rid of hard water build up helps faucets to function properly.

In addition, the there are things you can do to help rid your hard-working appliances of hard water build up as well.

Removing Mineral Build-Up

Here are some simple solutions to get rid of the white residue and bring your fixtures and appliances back to life.

Sink Fixtures

• Fill a small plastic bag halfway with white vinegar.
• Attach the bag over the showerhead or faucet with a rubber band.
• Leave it for a few hours.
• Remove the bag and scrub the fixture with a cleaning cloth.

To clean heavily saturated fixtures, remove the aerator and clean with a soft toothbrush and a light vinegar-water mixture. You may need to soak the aerator in vinegar and water for a few hours.

Clogged showerheads

• Follow the directions for the sink fixtures.

For a deeper clean
• Disassemble the fixture
• Sketch a diagram of the fixture or take a picture as you disassemble it. This will help in putting it back together.
• Soak the fixture and small parts overnight in the vinegar-water solution.

There are commercial products available. But be careful, some finishes can be damaged by chemicals and can cause breathing difficulty if not used in a well-ventilated area.

Shower doors — Using 0000 or 4/0 grade steel wool (the finest) in combination with CLR and a lot of elbow grease, rub the cleaner in a circular motion. Do use rubber gloves and eye protection. Squeegee or wipe the surface when you reach the desired result. Hardwater etches glass over time. You will not be able to restore the glass to 100 percent, but with work, you can get close.

Dishwasher Fill a small container with one cup of distilled white vinegar on both the top and bottom racks and run a regular wash cycle. Do not add detergent.

Washing Machine

• Run the largest cycle with hot water in an empty tub.
• Use 1/2 – 1 cup of vinegar to run inside your machine for the first few minutes.
• Then add 1/2 cup of baking soda.
• Wipe down the inside of the machine in a temporary pause of the cycle.
• Run the cycle completely (without clothes in the machine). The rinse cycle will remove the vinegar and baking soda.
• Clean the areas that hold softener and bleach with a clean rag or toothbrush.
*You may notice an improvement in how the water drains.

Refrigerator Ice Dispenser

• Moisten three to five paper towels with full-strength white vinegar. Do not wring out the towels.
• Drape the paper towels over the different parts of the ice dispenser.
• Remove the overflow pan. Drape soaked paper towels on it and the inside of where the pan sits.
• Let the paper towels sit for at least one hour to loosen the calcium deposits.
• Remove the paper towels and toss them in the garbage.
• Dip a toothbrush in 1 Tbsp of lemon juice.
• Sprinkle toothbrush with baking soda.
• Scrub the surface of the ice dispenser and overflow. Rinse the toothbrush frequently. continue until achieving the desired result.
• Rinse the ice dispenser by wiping it with a damp cloth.
• Dry the surface with another cloth.

Coffee Maker — Run three parts water and one-part white vinegar through the coffee pot as if you are brewing a fresh pot of coffee. Then run just a pot of water through. Finally, clean the coffee pot carafes and filters as usual. Enjoy a cleaner tasting coffee the next time you brew.

Preventing Mineral Deposits

Once you’ve removed the mineral deposits, it’s time to focus on PREVENTING them from returning. Installing a water softener can help reduce hard water mineral deposits throughout your home; protecting your faucets, fixtures, and appliances. In addition, it prolongs the life of your pipes – the hard water build-up you likely will never see until it’s too late.

For more do-it-yourself tips, go to An Arizona home building and remodeling industry expert for 35 years, Rosie Romero is the host of the Rosie on the House radio program from 8 to 11 a.m. Saturdays on KTAR-FM (92.3) in Phoenix, 9 to 11 a.m. on KAFF-AM (930) in Flagstaff, and 10 to 11 a.m. on KNST-AM (790) in Tucson.

Arizona open and hiring: If you’re looking for job openings, visit

Rosie on the House

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