Have you been putting off cleaning your bathroom only to find nasty stains that you can’t get rid of? You might not be using the right product and technique to get the job done. 

Get Rid of Rust, Mineral Build-Up, and Water Stains

Our step-by-step instructions will help you get rid of lime, rust, and scum on your sinks, toilets, and showers. The folks here at Dry Basement Solutions have compiled this guide to help keep your home in top-performing shape. Those stubborn stains don’t stand a chance!

What Causes Water Stains?

Simply put, water causes water stains. However, it isn’t the H20 that’s the problem. The culprit is what’s being carried in the water: calcium, magnesium, and iron. These elements love to stick to everything they can, especially your damp bathroom. 


Iron causes rust below faucets. Calcium and magnesium create a white crust in your sink and tub. And soap scum is created when calcium and magnesium mix together with the chemicals in your favorite soap and your own body oils.


There’s nothing you can do to remove these elements from your water. Some filters can remove a small amount, but nothing has been able to filter water well enough to cut down on them significantly.

Tools and Materials You’ll Need for Water Stains

Required Tools

  • Plunger
  • Safety Goggles or Glasses
  • Bucket
  • Nylon Scrubbing Brush
  • Grout Brush
  • Toilet Brush
  • Squeegee
  • Rag
  • Rubber Gloves

Required Cleaning Products

  • Glass Cleaner
  • Hydrochloric Acid Cleaner
  • Toilet Bowl Cleaner
  • All-Purpose Soap Scum, Mildew, and Lime Deposit Cleaner

Which Cleaners Should You Use?

The key to getting rid of tough stains is using the right product. You shouldn’t be using elbow grease. The product you use should do the work for you and wipe away clean.


Each product you buy is tailored to a specific kind of stain. Some all-purpose cleaners will get the majority of stains, but you’ll need something special for the toughest ones. You’ll come across five types of common cleaning chemicals when looking for the right product: alkalis, solvents, disinfectants, acids, and surfactants.


Alkalis will take care of acidic fats and oils, including dirt and body oils. Surfactants make sure the cleaner reaches all the cracks and pores of the surface. Solvents are meant to clean oil and grease by dissolving them. Acids are meant for tough stains, like limescale, soap deposits, and rust.


Once you’ve gotten rid of the stains, you can use a disinfectant to kill bacteria and germs that cause odors and diseases. Be sure to check the label of each product to make sure it is safe to use on the surface you are cleaning.


Some of the most commonly used cleaners are Santeen De-Limer & Toilet Bowl Cleaner, The Works Toilet Bowl Cleaner, Comet Bathroom Spray, Scrubbing Bubbles with Bleach, and Lime-A-Way.


Keep all of your cleaning products and tools together to make sure you’re always prepared. Hunting for the right cleaner is likely to frustrate you and delay a necessary cleaning.

Guide to Cleaning Water Stains

Regular cleaning is the only way to avoid tough stains. Here are a few of the most common stains and how to clean them if you’ve let it get out of control.

How to Clean Faucet Scales

You’ll need a product like Lime-A-Way to get rid of these stains if you’ve let them build up for more than a week or two. If you keep up with weekly cleaning, all-purpose cleaners should work fine.


You should be able to clean your faucet just fine, but the aerator screen could give you some trouble. If a good scrubbing with a toothbrush doesn’t cut it, unscrew the spout tip and soak it overnight in vinegar. Scrub it again with a toothbrush, and it should be nice and clean.

How to Remove Rust From a Toilet

Normally when you clean a toilet bowl, you just add the product to the water and bowl and scrub. When you have rust in your toilet, you need to completely empty the bowl of water.


You can do this by closing the water shutoff valve by turning it clockwise. Flush the toilet and plunge as much water down the drain as you can. 


You’ll need a product with hydrochloric acid (also called hydrogen chloride, HCL, or muriatic acid), like The Works Toilet Bowl Cleaner or Santeen De-Limer & Toilet Bowl Cleaner. 


Don’t use bleach! It will set the stain. If mixed with acidic cleaners, it can also create deadly vapors.


Use a brush with nylon bristles that won’t scratch the bowl and brush slowly so the chemicals don’t make their way out of the bowl and onto the floor. The chemicals can damage your floor and other items in the bathroom.


Flush and rinse the bowl and clean up any spills. Now you’re done!

How to Clean Soap Scum on Tiles

Tile floors and walls have a lot of cracks and crevices that dirt, grime, and soap scum can find their way into. Luckily, there are many safe, easy products that can reach every spot.


In this case, bleach is your best option. Just make sure you’re not mixing any other products with it. It does a great job on soap scum and mildew.


Coat the whole surface and let the product sit for five to 10 minutes. Grab your nylon scrubber again (after rinsing it thoroughly) and lightly scrub the surface. If one application doesn’t cut it, reapply and try again.


You might need to use a toothbrush or grout brush to get in all the cracks. Once you’ve cleaned every crevice, rinse the surface and squeegee it clean. Make sure you remove all the water to cut down on more buildup.

Tips to Shorten Cleaning Time

The best thing you can do to reduce the cleaning time is to clean your bathroom every week. Don’t let the mess build up so much that it becomes a headache. It’s better to be proactive than to put it off.


Brush your toilet bowl each day without any cleaner. This will make it easier to clean at the end of the week. Also, always close the lid when flushing.


If you have time, squeegee water off shower walls after each shower. Removing the water removes the stain-causing elements. 


You can also wipe down fixtures daily and use liquid soap instead of solid soap to cut down on soap scum. This applies to both the shower and sink.


What steps are you taking to keep your bathroom clean? What products do you use? Let us know in the comments below!