Remedy for Hard Water Buildup in the Hair

by Melissa King

If your hair seems dull and lifeless or impossible to style, you may be a victim of hard water. Hard water damages hair by coating it with layers of mineral deposits, including calcium, iron and manganese. These minerals can even turn your hair an unsightly orange or brassy color. Thankfully, the effects of hard water aren't permanent. Ward them off with a homemade remedy or a purifying salon-style treatment.

Rinse your hair with purified water after shampooing. This will wash away mineral deposits left by the hard water.

Wash hair with a clarifying shampoo that's designed to eliminate buildup and residue. After shampooing, treat your hair with conditioner, then rinse.

Combine 2 tablespoons of white or apple-cider vinegar with 1 pint of lukewarm water. Pour the vinegar mixture over your hair in the shower. For better coverage, pour the mixture into a spray bottle and mist your hair all over. Leave the vinegar in your hair for as long as 10 minutes, then rinse well. The odor of the vinegar will go away after your hair dries.

Mix 1 quart of warm water with the juice from two fresh-squeezed lemons. Stir, then pour the lemon water over your hair, or apply it with a spray bottle. Wait for 10 minutes and rinse.

Treat hair with a hard-water demineralizer product. This treatment, available in salons or for use at home, eliminates mineral and chlorine buildup.

Attach a filter to your shower head to remove minerals and chemicals from the water. Replace the filter after six months of use.

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Items you will need

  • Purified water
  • Clarifying shampoo
  • Vinegar
  • Spray bottle, optional
  • Lemons
  • Hard-water demineralizer
  • Shower filter


  • To eliminate the effects of hard water, hire a plumber to install a water-softening system in your home.
  • To prevent mineral deposits from building up on faucets and other fixtures, blot them dry with a towel before the water has a chance to air-dry. If you use lawn sprinklers, keep them away from windows, cars and other property.
  • Remove mineral buildup on fixtures with a mix of one part vinegar to four parts purified or non-hard water.
  • If you notice reddish-brown stains on your hair or fixtures, your water probably has too much iron in it. Black or brown stains mean an excess of manganese. You may need to know this if you plan to install a water-softening system.


  • When applying vinegar or lemon to hair, be careful not to get any in your eyes. If you do, flush them immediately with cool, clean water.

About the Author

Melissa King began writing in 2001. She spent three years writing for her local newspaper, "The Colt," writing editorials, news stories, product reviews and entertainment pieces. She is also the owner and operator of Howbert Freelance Writing. King holds an Associate of Arts in communications from Tarrant County College.

Photo Credits

  • David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images