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Shiny new faucets, showers, and toilets add as much polish and sophistication to the bathroom as they do utility. But if your home has hard water, these bathroom essentials are at risk of accumulating unsightly stains from mineral deposits and soap scum. The natural buildup of alkaline deposits in hard water makes it difficult to completely prevent these spots from appearing, but you can wipe them clean with these simple, nontoxic approaches that utilize common pantry items.
While many homeowners turn to store-bought products to break up the crusty limescale that often plagues chrome faucets, you can harness the same buildup-busting properties with a few everyday equivalents. The next time you’re trying to perk up your chrome, first make a beeline for the kitchen to collect a lemon, a bottle of white vinegar, and a roll of paper towels. Rub the rind of the lemon over the faucet, then soak the paper towels in vinegar and drape them directly over the coating of lemon. Let the combined acids in this cleaning duo work for about an hour to attack and loosen the mineral deposits on the fixture. Remove and discard the paper towels, rinse away any residual gunk from the faucet, and wipe the chrome clean with a soft cloth to restore its shine.
WHITE WINE SHOWER SPRITZER
Good for more than simply washing down a delicious meal, the alcohol and acidity of white wine can also help to wash away hard water residue in the shower. Prepare to work wonders on your bathroom by filling an empty spray bottle with leftover vino—one glass’s worth should do the trick. Then, generously spritz the wine over the shower head, floor, faucet, drain, doors, and tile, including any grout and caulk. Give the wine about 5 to 10 minutes to disintegrate the stubborn scum; this will save you the time and effort of scrubbing it manually. Wipe the shower clean with a nonabrasive cloth, and finish with a quick rinse to send loose debris down the drain and out of sight.
The same tingle-inducing, frothy concoction you unleash when you crack open a can of pop can clear tough water stains in your toilet. The secret to soda’s cleaning success is its carbon dioxide, which makes it both more acidic and more effective than scrubbing with plain water. Applying this technique is almost as simple as enjoying a can of Coke: Simply pop open the tab and pour the contents around the bowl wherever the stains are set. To help the soda dislodge and dissolve any buildup, leave it in the bowl for least an hour (feel free to reward yourself with a bubbly beverage in the meantime). Then, give the bowl a quick swipe with a brush, and flush to send stains—and your worries—down the toilet!