One of the biggest issues that our customers report to us as a factor when they are buying a shower filter, is that they want to get rid of all the white marks on their shower tiles. So what exactly is those white marks on the tiles? Why are they so darn difficult to get rid of and also what is the best way to remove them? In this blog post we're going to deal with all those questions and give you the best 5 home hacks to get your tiles sparkling clean and looking brand new.
What exactly are those white marks on shower tiles?
There are two main culprits when it comes to those white marks on your shower tiles : Hard water or soap scum (sounds lovely, doesn't it?)
Hard Water : Hard water is basically water that is laced with a lot of minerals such as calcium, lime and even heavy metals such as copper, magnesium and lead. Hard water is a big problem here in the UK because most of our water supplies come from underground sources. Rain falls over the catchment areas and slowly seeps down to the underground water sources. As the water slowly goes through rocks and soil, they pick up different minerals, heavy metals and what ever else they come across during their journey to the underground water supply. Then that water is brought into our local water suppliers (such as Thames water) and is treated with chemicals to kill bacteria and other pathogens, then it is piped directly to our homes.
When the calcium, lime and mineral rich hard water washes over our tiles and dries, it leaves the residual of the minerals on the tiles that causes the white marks. Over time if we don't regularly clean our shower tiles then the white residual will continue to build up and all of a sudden you have huge white marks on your shower tiles which are ridiculously difficult to clean off!
Soap Scum (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soap_scum) : Lovely name isn't it? Basically when you use any soaps in your shower with hard water, what the soap does is it actually binds with the calcium and magnesium that's present in hard water and also binds with any dirt that you are washing off your body. This 'scum' that is produced will sit very happily on tiles and as it dries it becomes rock hard and can actually be as tough as cement.
5 Home Hacks To Get White Marks Off Shower Tiles
Hack # 1 - Car wax in your shower!
Prevention is really the absolute best cure when it comes to these annoying and difficult to clean white marks on your shower tiles.
If you apply a car wax or gel gloss onto your tiles BEFORE they get soap scum or hard water marks on them - then that will make the surface of the tiles more slippery and will make it more difficult for the white marks to build up.
Make sure that you keep your shower tiles wiped down and clean as often as possible, so that the marks do not get a chance to take hold and multiply. Thereby making it even harder to remove.
You can also do this right after you have cleaned the white stuff off your tiles and it will prevent them from coming back.
Hack # 2 - Vinegar - of course!
What can't vinegar clean off? Yup - you can use this age old cleaning product that just about everyone has in the kitchen pantry. Get an empty spray bottle and fill it with 1 part vinegar 3 parts water. Spray the white marks until they are drenched and then leave it over night. The next day, scrub away using a lot of elbow grease! You will find that the vinegar has broken down the minerals and helps to remove the scum a lot quicker and easier. I usually don't use vinegar that I have in my fish and chips, but I will buy a 1.5 litre bottle of the cheap vinegar they sell at supermarkets. That way, you know you're not flushing good quality vinegar (and money!) down the drain.
Hack # 3 - Install a shower filter
A shower filter is a device which filters your shower water before it has a chance to hit your tiles. As we now know, the minerals and metals in shower water is the main reason why the white scum marks build up in the first place. If you install a shower filter, then the filter will help to remove the minerals, metals (and even chemicals such as chlorine) from your shower water before it even touches your shower tiles. In this way you're actually stopping the root cause of the problem not just the symptoms.
Hack # 4 - Lemon juice and baking soda
Sounds like a lovely drink doesn't it? Just kidding. Just like vinegar, lemon juice is really acidic and can easily break down the soap scum if you spray it and leave it overnight. With the addition of the baking soda, it will help you clean the white marks off your shower tiles easier because the baking soda will act as a gentle abrasive.
Hack # 5 - Steam iron ahoy
Steam will do wonders in cleaning everything in the shower, it will kill bacteria and get rid of a lot of stains. That's the same for the white soap scum marks on your bathroom tiles as well. If you have a hand held steam cleaning device, blow some puffs on steam onto the white marks and this will start breaking them down and make them a lot easier to clean. If you don't have a special steam cleaning device, you can always use your iron! Your iron has a steam option and you can use this steam option to puff clouds of steam at the white marks, then you can get going at them with one of the cleaning solutions in tip 2 or 4. Just don't put the iron too close to the tiles! You just want the steam from the iron, you don't want to be ironing in the white soap scum.