this thing's incredible

I Buy Up to 8 Bottles a Go of This (Hard Water–Defeating) Shower Spray

Photo-Illustration: retailer

Like any self-respecting young woman, I have a number of nemeses. Skimmed milk, for one. Cream in pasta sauces. Parsnips that masquerade as roast potatoes. But if I had to pick just one — it would be hard water. Hard water is what leaves tectonic plates of minerals floating on your tea, your skin sore and dry, and your bathroom frosted with scale. When I moved into my own place eight years ago I quickly realised that like all good nemeses, hard water is almost indefatigable. No matter how much I seemed to scrub or how diligently I squeegeed, hard water meant my shower never sparkled like I wanted it to, and I became haunted by the sight of built-up scale.

One day, while looking at my frosted shower screen, I remembered something. Growing up, my mother was locked in a similar battle with hard water. Helping her clean the shower was a dreaded chore for me and my sister, and she was rarely pleased with our efforts. Over the years, there had been a never-ending pile of sponges, products, and frustration, until she discovered a solution at Lakeland (the most Mum of all shops) that had put an end to our scrubbing. I called her up to ask her exactly what had been in that treasure trove under the stairs where she hoarded the spray, and thus, Lakeland Clean Shower Spray came back into my life.

Since then, I’ve used it in basically every flat or house I’ve lived in, one of which had water so hard that even a glass of tap water was deeply unpalatable. The tagline is “just spray and walk away,” and it’s true. You spray the shower as soon as you’ve finished showering, and that’s it. You don’t have to squeegee after every wash or wipe down, just a good mist over all the surfaces (especially on any glass doors), and you’re good to go. The spray has two chloride-based solutions, which cause a chemical reaction that turns alkaline limescale into an acid, thus dissolving it. Then, a compound called EDTA binds with any remaining minerals to remove them — limescale and watermarks are both essentially just mineral buildup.

Of course, you do still have to clean your shower when you do your deep clean, but the spray means that you don’t get the low, slow accumulation of scale and frostiness that makes the surfaces look dull. The shape of the bottle also means you can hang it from the top of your shower if you want — it’s not especially chic, but if it’s in plain sight, it’s much harder to forget. It works on glass, metal, and tiles. It’s also bleach and ammonia-free, so you can use it to clean your bathtub if you’re lucky enough to have one, and the trays and cubbies inside your shower. The scent doesn’t linger for too long, but as you spray it, you get a reassuringly “clean” scent that’s more akin to freshly washed laundry than anything too clinical.

Despite being a daily spray, a bottle lasts around a month, which, at £5.99, is pretty economical. The best price for it is on Lakeland — to make up enough to get free delivery, I’ve bought as many as eight in one go.

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I Buy This (Hard Water–Defeating) Shower Spray in Bulk