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How to Use Tang for Hard Water Stains

Bonnie Grant

General Foods invented Tang breakfast drink in 1957. Touted in commercials as being the official drink of the astronauts, which wasn't exactly true, it made people remember the product. Tang is not orange juice but an orange drink. The orange powder contains no oranges and its color is one of the few things it actually has in common with orange juice. The other thing is its content of citric acid. This type of acid adds the tart, tangy taste to citrus fruits and is mildly caustic. This is where Tang comes into play for removing hard water stains.

It sounds like fiction, but Tang drink mix can keep your toilet clean and working properly.
  1. Flush your toilet to wet all the surfaces evenly. Pour one individual serving packet of Tang drink mix into the toilet. Use the toilet brush to scrub it around the bowl and up under the lip. Flush the toilet again. The hard water stain that has built up around the drainage hole will be gone and the toilet will be fresh and clean.

  2. Pour one packet of Tang drink mix into the detergent reservoir of your dishwasher. Run the cycle as usual. The discolored areas where there was hard water scale buildup will break down in the citric acid. Some consumers report that the Tang leaves the dishwasher orange. This is easy to fix with a teaspoon of bleach in the next cycle.

  3. Load the dishwasher with dishes that have hard water stains from well or city water sources. The mineral buildup will leave a haze that you cannot wipe away. Pour one packet of Tang in the rinse reservoir and the usual amount of dishwasher soap in the soap dispenser. Run the machine as usual and the stains will be gone, leaving your dishes clean and shiny.

  4. Make a paste of one packet Tang powder and a little bit of water. Use a sponge to agitate it over the hard water stains. The abrasive paste will help remove the stain and the citric acid melts it away. Rinse the area with fresh water. White porcelain or ceramic sinks and tubs may discolor a bit but you can wipe the area with a moist sponge and a drop of bleach to remove the color and restore it to fresh clean white.