Cleaning Hard Water Stains On Marble and Granite

hard water stains around kitchen faucet granite countertops


Please advise tips to remove hard water stains on marble and granite countertops as I am facing a severe problem. I am unable to use any chemicals and acids in the market as they may harm the stone.


True... Most common cleaners (and particularly those for removing hard water stains like CLR or Lime-Away) are too acidic or caustic and will damage the finish of marble and natural stone. A specially formulated cleaner is required.

This Soap Scum / Hard Water Remover for natural stone is what you need to safely remove hard water deposits on marble, granite and all natural stone.

It's the best product we've ever found for removing hard water deposits on marble and granite countertops. Formulated specifically for natural stone, very effective, and totally safe... will not damage marble, travertine, granite, or any natural stone.

It's excellent for removing soap scum in showers and baths too. Use as your "regular" shower and bath cleaner and you'll never have a problem with soap scum or hard water stains.

Both hard water deposits and soap scum are tough to remove. General cleaners don't work, which is why a product specifically formulated for this problem is needed.

It's easiest to clean the hard water stains and/or soap scum if you spray on and let sit for 5-10 minutes and then scrub with a soft-bristle brush or nylon pad. Repeat the process until completely clean.

But first, you should remove any large crusty hard water build-up using a plastic scraper to get the bulk of it off.

clean use the spray as your "regular" cleaner for the area where you get the hard water stains.

Regular cleaning with this product will eliminate or at least minimize any crusty build-up and keep your countertop looking shiny and clean.

Same for the tub and shower to keep soap scum at bay.

Nearly all common cleaners are too harsh (too acidic) for use on stone.

You may see ammonia suggested sometimes for hard water (and other marble cleaning issues), however, using ammonia will definitely damage marble immediately and if used regularly can damage granite countertops too.

This is true for other "natural" or generic cleaners like hydrogen peroxide. Vinegar damage and bleach spots are common too since these products are just too acidic or caustic.

So, avoid using these along with name-brand cleaners that are also too harsh like Lysol, CLR and Lime-Away.

All of these will corrode the finish and leave dull chalky spots on the surface of marble, travertine, and limestone, which etch immediately upon contact with acids.

All the products we recommend are safe for use on all stone including marble without any damage. For more marble cleaning tips (click here).

Hard water stains and deposits can be a maddening problem and if you have granite or marble countertops you need to be very particular about the product you choose to use.

Many people just start experimenting and end up with bad etch marks or corrosion of the stone finish. Now that you know what you can safely use you can easily remove hard water deposits and effectively manage this issue.

Comments for Cleaning Hard Water Stains On Marble and Granite

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It's been driving me krazyyy!
by: Glory

We are first time home owners, and we were exited when we saw our first granite countertops.

But no one ever told us that we had hard water here in Fl. Until we had to start buying chlorine and salt so the water stop smelling like rotten eggs, plus we couldn't afford a water softener.

Anyhow its been 7 years and my countertops no longer look the same. I have the tiny what I call water spots, and i may be wrong but they just wont go away.

Just like the area by the kitchen faucet is already whitish. I've been watching youtube for answers, but they only talk about the lime by the faucets and I need help with those ugly little white circles that wont go away.

Does alcohol and water really work. Please I would love to see the countertop nice and shiny w\o those little circle thingies. And the whitish stains around the faucets. Plz help.

==== Countertop Specialty comment:

For the hard water deposits around the faucet use the Hard Water / Soap Film Cleaner advised in the article above.

The circles may be a different issue. Usually, we don't hear about circle stains like glass rings on granite. It is common on marble but it is not due to hard water.

Dull circles and spots are due to etching (chemical corrosion from acids). Again, this is a problem on marble but rare with granite and only in certain circumstances.

So, you need to be sure what type of countertop you have (marble or granite) as solutions are different.

Click the Support tab on the page at this link where you can send us photos and we can further assist you.

Contact Stone Care Support.

Marble shower floor
by: JJens

I have a marble shower floor that is showing some reddish build up (I'm assuming this is rust?) in the grout.

In past showers (not natural stone) I would have used CLR to remove this but I know I can't use that on marble.

Will the products mentioned on this page help with that buildup? I am going to seal the shower floor after I get it clean, but I don't want to seal that discoloration in. Thanks!

===== Countertop Specialty comment:

The Soap Film Remover should be used as the regular shower cleaner.

However, the reddish build-up is likely precursor to mold. More frequent cleaning and making sure the shower is drying out will help with this.

But you may also want to use the Mold and Mildew cleaner.

Then you may want to seal the shower floor. That may help since it will keep water from absorbing into the stone (and thus the shower will dry faster), but it sealing will not absolutely prevent mold or soap film buildup.

These occur on the top of the stone. Sealing prevents absorption into the stone. It will help, but more frequent cleaning and a dry shower will do the most to prevent mold.

Steel Wool Concerns
by: Paul

Do not use steel wool on any light colored stone, fragments will always break off and when wetted will rust and stain permanently any stone.

==== Countertop Specialty comment:

That is good advice Paul. Better to use a specific hard water cleaner and a soft-bristle brush.

If you do use steel wool, be sure to wipe off the area really well to make sure you aren't leaving any fragments behind.

Hard Water Stains / Build Up Removal
by: Mom In Nevada

I have been too scared to try the fine steel wool but my other tries so far have failed. Does the granite need resealed after this?

I have two kinds of granite counters in my home.

One color has a more polished finish while the other has a "leathered" more casual finish.

My polished granite counter has a spot that is dull. Not sure if it is simply hard water there or if my mistake of a cleaning lady ruined that spot?

If she did ruin it there, is this something I (a complete novice) can repair on my own? Or do I need to call in/pay a professional?

Also, I'm not sure if the products you recommend are your own line...or just what you like to recommend, but what about using the Advantage20x cleaners for granite and marble?

Their company claims them to be safe for both types of stones and have a neutral ph. I'd love to hear your thoughts on that!

THANK YOU for your advice! I am eager to learn more from you!

==== Countertop Specialty comment:

The 0000 grade steel wool will not harm your granite at all. Remember granite is super hard. Your diamond ring may scratch it, but not much else will.

The Hard Water Remover recommended in the article above is your best bet. It will safely (without damage) and effectively remove any buildup.

The products we recommend are those that are created specifically for use on natural stone and have proven to be the most effective with superior performance.

Many other cleaning product brands have products that may not harm the granite, but such products are made cheaply for mass-market use on multiple surfaces and, generally, do not do the job nearly as well.

It is also risky to use general household cleaners on natural stone as you never know which ones will be damaging.

Lastly, an all-purpose surface cleaner will not be effective on hard water deposits or soap scum. Even our stone-specific daily stone cleaner will not work to remove such build-up.

You need a specially formulated cleaner like the one recommended.

Get a Countertop Specialty coupon code to save on your granite & marble cleaning products.

Water spots on marble
by: Anonymous

I went in another direction. I have a mottled rose colored marble vanity top on which I tried a variety of solutions for water spots and then remembered I had rubbed in a bit of vaseline a year ago on the white area at the base of the faucet, and it still looks great.

Today I tried the paste of baking soda and water someone recommended to no avail.

And then. failing that, I just drizzled a bit of Argan oil (because it was handy) on the counter and rubbed it gently in with a paper towel till no excess and while the spots didn't disappear, the result for me was great, pretty close to the polished look it started with. Try only on a tiny area to make sure works on yours.

==== Countertop Specialty comment:

Thanks for your input, although, none of the solutions you tried are actual solutions for water spots on marble.

First, we have to define "water spots". Hard water mineral build-up can leave a whitish, crusty film and/or spots on the surface that are difficult to remove. Need to use a specific "Hard Water Remover" safe for marble (most are not).

However, those dull, clear or whitish spots most people call "water spots" or "water stains" are actually etch marks from acidic foods, drinks and harsh chemicals that have corroded the surface.

The surface must be restored in these etched areas much like sanding wood smooth.

On polished (shiny) marble use the Marble Etch Remover & Polisher to restore the shine and color.

The oil you rubbed in will make it seem as if the spots are gone but once the oil evaporates or is worn off the spots will return. In addition, the oil could absorb and leave a true stain.

Steel Wool
by: bmw

I saw Ryan's comment about the steel wool and tried it for removing hard water build up from our shiny black tile and the honed seagrass limestone in the shower. The finest wool I have is 00, not the 0000 he recommended, but it worked great. It took the build up right off with very little elbow grease.

When the pad started getting gunked up, I just shook it out and it was good as new. This is after I just spent the last hour trying to scrub the stains off with a baking soda and water paste that only sorta worked and was a huge mess to clean up.

I'll be steel-wooling it from now on.
Thanks RYAN!

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