Have you been noticing little chalky residue on the kitchen sink, dishes, and even your coffee maker? This is called hard water residue, and it’s normal. This often happens not for the lack of cleaning. In fact, it has everything to do with what’s in the water. But that’s doesn’t mean that it’s harmful, though. Here’s what you should know about water deposits.

What Is a Hard Water Deposit?

Water deposits are those white, ashy stains you notice on the corners of your sink, in the crevices of porcelain, china, and even on some kitchen appliances. The chalk residue is formed due to calcium and magnesium in the water, dissolved, and left surfaces. This is an attribute of hard water. Hard water, as opposed to soft water, has higher levels of calcium and magnesium.

The Water Quality Association shares the common signs of hard water: stiff, dingy laundry, white chalky residue on dishes and glassware, affects fabric softeners and soap performance, high energy cost, scale build-up in sinks, tubs, and other appliances.

Is It Harmful to Health?

It is unsightly, but it’s not harmful to drink for a person’s health. In fact, the World Health Organization implies that drinking water may even contribute to a person’s daily intake of magnesium and calcium, two essential minerals for the body. However, it can be harmful to appliances at home, make heating water costly, lower the efficiency of water heaters, and even clog pipes.

What Happens When You Leave It Be?

The obvious reason would be water deposit buildup, which isn’t a beautiful sight. Water deposits aren’t just found in kitchen appliances and plumbing fixtures. They can also be found in cooling systems, steam generators, evaporators, and more. Apparently, it’s a common problem also found in commercial and industrial settings. Moreover, the stains get harder and harder to clean as more time passes, and they’re left alone.

Cleaning Your Steel Sinks and Appliances

Just because the residue is stubborn doesn’t mean you should use sharp tools to get rid of them. To prevent scratches on stainless steel surfaces, use a microfiber cloth for cleaning. Wipe down any excess water to prevent it from sitting there and eventually turning into crystals.

To remove the residue, however, make a solution of equal parts of vinegar and water. Let it sit for five to 15 minutes. With a soft brush, brush away the stubborn stains away and go with the grain. Be sure to use a soft bristle brush to minimize any scratches on the surface, most especially if there’s a lot of buildups. The residue may brush against the surface, causing subtle scratches.

Cleaning Your Tubs, Showers, and Toilet 

The bathroom is one of the most exposed to water other than the kitchen sink, so it’s natural to add this to the list too. Apply the same vinegar solution mentioned above or vinegar alone to these problem areas. Again, let it sit but this time for at least 15 minutes. Afterward, use a sponge, brush, or a cloth to wipe out the residue. For severe water deposit stains, you can use sandpaper. Even though this is stressful as a clogged shower drain, sanding will do wonders. The sandpaper grade would have to depend on how thick and stubborn the stains are.

Clean as You Go 

The main reason why water deposits become stubborn is that they’ve been sitting there for a period, building up with every use. Old stains harden, which makes them a little more complicated to remove. Commit to wiping down the appliance or fixture after every use prevents this from happening. Build the habit of doing so while also faithfully doing a weekly general cleaning to prevent buildup.

Check the Sealants

Bathrooms, windows, sink, and other parts of the house frequently exposed to water require sealants. This is used to fill up corners and crevices hard to clean and gaps where water may enter. Sealants prevent the water deposits from getting to hard-to-clean areas. Check if your sealants are still intact and in good condition. If not, consider reapplying.

There are store-bought cleaning solutions for this very purpose. However, because the objects to clean are used for storing food, preparing food, etc. Although a ready-made solution sounds more convenient, frequent exposure to these cleaning agents and products can harm a person’s health. It’s best to stick to home remedies and use ingredients like baking soda, vinegar, and the like when cleaning these sensitive areas.