I’ve posted before about the cleaning power of white vinegar, but it’s one thing to write about it. It’s another thing to offer actual proof.
I love a good before and after. Mention a makeover and big reveal, and I’m sold. Maybe that’s why my DVR contains an odd mix of HGTV and plastic surgery reality shows.
Anyway, today’s post is all about those annoying hard water stains. Shower doors, faucets, drains, everything seems to be fair game for that white crud.
Take my refrigerator water/ice dispenser, for example.
Ick. No amount of scrubbing can eradicate this problem. Believe me, I’ve tried. I don’t think even a hammer and chisel could cut through this gunk.
After yet another round of furious scouring, I decided to go a different route. I removed the bottom tray and sealed it in a gallon Ziploc of white vinegar. Then, I laid it out flat, making sure the hard water stains were totally submerged.
To tackle the stain on the water lever, I filled a sandwich baggie with vinegar and attached it with a rubber band. (Looking at the picture below, I’m wondering why I didn’t do the same on the ice lever. Maybe another day.)
I let everything soak for twenty-four hours. In the meantime, we could still use the water dispenser as long as we were careful not to disturb the baggie.
Note: I want to emphasize that time is key here. I peeked at my items sporadically and noticed no change for quite a while. Don’t give up if the process takes even longer than twenty-four hours. Some stains will be more stubborn than others.
The next day, I checked on the progress and found that the white crust had softened and slid off in thin sheets! I tried to photograph the translucent film floating in the Ziploc of vinegar. It’s kind of difficult to see, but most of it’s on the right side. It’s satisfying in a weird, slightly gross kind of way.
To finish, I rinsed off the tray and wiped down the levers.
Before my big reveal, here’s a reminder of the before:
Now, for the after…drum roll please…
Not bad, huh? Especially because this required zero scrubbing.
You can use this technique on all sorts of items–wrap a white vinegar-filled baggie around a dingy showerhead or soak cloudy glassware in a bowl of it. Then forget about it while the vinegar does all the work for you. Now that’s my kind of makeover!
Disclaimer: There are a few materials that don’t handle vinegar well, such as natural stone like granite or marble. If there’s any question, research it first and then test in an inconspicuous spot to see how the surface reacts.