I Used a Dryer Sheet to Clean My Hard Water Stains, and I Can Hardly Believe My Eyes

published May 9, 2024
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Dryer sheets
Credit: Ashley Poskin

Raise your hand if you’re guilty of over-buying in the cleaning product aisle, only to realize with crushing disappointment that those pricey cleaners don’t work like you thought they would. Or, better yet, that you could make a DIY solution to clean the same mess for less! If you could see the collection of cleaning products under my kitchen sink, you’d know I’ve been there (on more than one shopping trip). So you can imagine my delight upon finding that the solution for one of my biggest cleaning challenges — hard water stains mucking up my shower and kitchen glass — has been sitting in my laundry room this whole time. 

I’m talking about used dryer sheets (great for cleaning scorched pots and pans, too!). After your next load of clothes is complete, grab that used dryer sheet, select your hard water-stained surface of choice, and try the below tips for mind-blowing results! I tried it on my glass shower wall, but it works great in the kitchen, too, whether it’s on toasters, refrigerators, chrome faucets, or hardware with hard water stains and streaks. You can see how it works in this TikTok.

How to Use a Dryer Sheet to Clean Hard Water Stains

Credit: Rebecca Walden

1. Make sure you’re using a basic dryer sheet (dissolvable won’t work).

For testing purposes, I used a Gain dryer sheet, although any brand of dryer sheet made from the usual composition of polyester or cellulose should be fine. I will tell you I was super skeptical that this would even work until I got started and saw the difference. And let me tell you, I was shocked!

2. Dampen the dryer sheet and begin wiping down the surface. 

I just ran the sheet I used under the faucet for a few seconds — enough to dampen it fully. I then squeezed out the excess, and held it flat in my hand, wiping vigorously from top to bottom of the shower glass on both sides. I went back over it a second time, as the stains were pretty significant, and was careful to keep working from the same up-and-down path, left to right, to avoid streaks.

3. Remove any trace residue with surface-appropriate cleaner.

I was so motivated by the night-and-day difference that I wanted to go for bonus points — so I pulled out the Windex and paper towels, and wiped down both sides of the shower glass, twice each. Upon super-close inspection, there were still traces of hard water stains, but the result is truly remarkable — especially considering the fact that this shower glass is easily a decade (or more) old, and we haven’t had a housekeeper in ages. 

All in, my total time investment was less than 20 minutes, and the shower glass is sparkling. And it cost me zero dollars! Talk about a win-win-win.

If you’ve completed an especially large load of laundry (me, almost daily), and have more than one used dryer sheet that you want to give a second life, you can also set them aside for hacks like sharpening scissors, cleaning baseboards, and repelling ants. (The hard water stain hack works with used and unused dryer sheets, of course.) There’s nothing like a multi-use cleaning staple!

Buy: Gain Dryer Sheets, 160-Count, $8.99