Saturday, September 27, 2014

DIY: Getting Rid of Hard Water Spots

Alrighty, well Ace and I just bought a new house a few months ago, and we have been working hard to fix up some of the areas that we don't like. The house was overall in good shape, and has great bones, but it did need some cosmetic updates in a few areas. We've done a lot of painting, and some cleaning, but really that's all it has needed, nothing too major, which is great. It's really starting to come around and feel like our home.

The worst room BY FAR, in terms of appearance and cleanliness, has been the master bathroom. I don't know if the people who lived in there previous just didn't care about it as much as the other rooms, but it was definitely a little neglected compared to the rest of the house. The kitchen an other bath had been recently remodeled, but they didn't really touch the master bath. One of the worst parts of the master bath is the shower. We live in an area with notoriously hard water, and there was a RIDICULOUS amount of water build up on the shower. We knew it looked like that before we purchased the house, but figured it would be an easy fix. Yeah... nope. 

Here are some of the "before" pictures that I took a few days ago. Mind you, this is AFTER we had tried CLR, full strength Zep.... twice, Bleach, Bleach Gel, Scrubbing Bubbles, Soft Scrub, Lysol Bathroom Cleaner, Clorox Toilet Bowl Cleaner, Windex, and pretty much every other product on the market that says it will remove soap scum and/or water build-up. They didn't put a dent in it. And truthfully I'm a little embarrassed by these pictures, but here they are:

So I decided, after a discussion with some girlfriends, that I would do a little experiment based on their suggestions and some suggestions that I had read on other cleaning forums and blogs. I divided the small glass part of my shower into four sections with some lovely orange duct tape, so that I could use 1 of the 4 methods in each section, and see how it did compared to the others. (Please excuse the bright light at the top of the pic, I have these three small windows in my bathroom that I have yet to figure out how to cover up!) 

Here's what I used: 

In the first section, the one on the far left, I used just straight lemon juice. I cut the lemon in half and rubbed the cut side on the glass. I also squeezed some of lemon juice from the other half on a green scrubby pad, and really tried to work it into the glass. 

In the second section, the second from the left, I used a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. I know that these things work great on lots of stuff (like taking crayon out of plastic toys and off of painted walls), and someone suggested that it could help get into the little crevices of the glass and get the water stains out. I wet the Magic Eraser and rubbed it all over the section of glass. 

In the third section, second from the right, I used straight white vinegar. It was suggested that I used some sort of vinegar, with apple cider vinegar being the preferred, because the acidic vinegar could break down the stains. I didn't have any apple cider vinegar, so I decided to go with straight white vinegar. I poured some directly on the piece of glass, and I also poured some on a green scrubby to help it break down the stains on the glass. 

On the last section, the far right, I used powdered Bar Keepers Friend. I always have this stuff on hand, because I have stainless steal cookware, and nothing works better to keep it shiny and clean. I shook some of the powder on to a dampened greens scrubby, and rubbed it on the glass. I had to use a little bit of elbow grease with this one, because it didn't want to slide as "smoothly" as the liquid cleaners. It had made somewhat of a paste with the powder and water. 

The results were ASTOUNDING to me, to say the least. My money was on the vinegar or the lemon juice, but boy was I wrong. The Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, the lemon juice, and the vinegar didn't even touch the hard water stains. It literally looked like I hadn't done anything to those sections. Here are the after pics of those sections. No change, and still super cloudy looking. 

But the side with the Bar Keeper's Friend?! It was perfectly clear. There were some spots that were still a little cloudy, I had clearly not scrubbed those areas as well, but the majority of the glass in that areas was perfectly clear. Like it had never had a water spot on it in the first place. 

Because it worked so wonderfully, I went out and bought an extra can of it, and went to town on my shower. It took a LOT of elbow grease, and a truthfully a LOT of time. I think our shower was worst than most though, and I was just happy to find something that worked, even if it required a lot of scrubbing. Total it took be probably about 3 hours worth of scrubbing to get it all clear, but totally worth it. I didn't do it all at one, one section here, another section there, usually after the girls would go to bed or while Rubles was napping. Ace couldn't believe it was even the same shower. I'm so happy to finally have this task out of the way. I feel like my master bathroom is already so much better, and will be even better in a few weeks when I get to paint it.  Here's a picture of what it looks like all completed:

Pretty freaking amazing right??!? Now that it is clean, I finally get to work on the rest of the bathroom. I'm thinking slate blue to pair with the tan/cream colors already on the countertops and shower tile. I might paint the vanity black as well, I'm still meandering my way through Pinterest for some more ideas.

What is the color scheme in your bathroom? Have any suggestion for what wall color would pair nicely with my shower?  Give me some inspiration people! 

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