6 things you should never do with CLR (2024)

Shifrah Combiths

Shifrah Combiths

With five kids, Shifrah is learning a thing or two about how to keep a reasonably organized and tidy home with a grateful heart in a way that leaves enough time for the people who matter most. Shifrah grew up in San Francisco, but has come to appreciate the small-town life of Tallahassee, Florida, which she now calls home. A professional writer for twenty years, she enjoys lifestyle photography, memory, gardening, reading and going to the beach with her husband and children.

published January 5, 2021

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6 things you should never do with CLR (1)

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Sometimes, despite your best and most consistent cleaning efforts, stains do form. This is often the case with hard water and rust stains. Not only are they unsightly, but they can cause permanent damage to surfaces over time. That's why you should occasionally use powerful cleaning agents such as CLR.

CLR stands for calcium, lime and rust and - as you might imagine - it is specifically designed to clean these things. Now the CLR is actually oneEPA safer choicewins, meaning it's a safer choice for people and the environment. But it is also a powerful cleaning product that requires some precautions.

Here are six things you should never do with the CLR:

1. Do not use CLR in an unventilated area.

Breathing in chemical fumes is never a good idea, and CLR is no exception. Before using CLR, open windows and doors, turn on vents and try to do thisavoid being in a closed spacelike a shower cubicle with a closed door.

2. Do not use the CLR without trying it first.

CLR is acidic and can cause etching and damage to certain surfaces. According toCLR product page, it should not be used on "wood, clothing, wallpaper, carpets, natural stone, brass, copper, aluminum, galvanized metals, painted, coated or sealed surfaces." Always spot test first and clean up spills immediately to prevent surface damage from accidental contact.

3. Do not leave the CLR for more than two minutes.

Again, CLR is acidic, which makes it effective, but also means it can do damage if left in contact with surfaces for too long. Always rinse with cold water after two minutes of contact.

4. Do not use undiluted CLR.

Always dilute CLR with water. The ideal solution is one part CLR to one part water.

5. Do not mix CLR with other household cleaners or bleaches.

Mixing acids with bleach creates toxic chlorine gas. Mixing with other household chemicals can also lead to toxic fumes.

6. Do not use CLR in a spray bottle.

When spraying CLR, a mist is created that can be dangerous if inhaled. Instead, use a sponge, scrub brush, or similarcheersto clean the affected surface.

6 things you should never do with CLR (2024)


What should you not use CLR on? ›

What should you not use CLR on? CLR should not be used on wood, clothing, wallpaper, carpeting, natural stones, brass, copper, aluminum, galvanized metals, and any painted, coated, or sealed surfaces. CLR stands for calcium, lime, and rust and — as you may imagine — it is designed to clean these things specifically.

How long can I let CLR sit in my toilet? ›

Apply CLR Calcium, Lime & Rust Remover directly to the stains and scrub with the brush or pumice stone. Wait for 2 minutes then flush the toilet. Repeat this process as needed until the hard water stains begin to be removed.

What are the hazards of CLR? ›

Inhalation: Ingestion: May cause irritation with discomfort or rash, prolonged skin contact may cause ulceration Excessive inhalation may cause irritation of the respiratory passages May cause irritation of the gastrointestinal tract with abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea and corrosion of the mucous ...

Do you use hot or cold water for CLR? ›

In a well-ventilated area, mix equal amounts of Calcium, Lime and Rust Remover and warm water. Test on a hidden area before applying to the entire surface. Apply directly to the stain with a brush, cloth or sponge. After 2 minutes rinse promptly with cold water.

What is the best calcium remover for showers? ›

For a tried and true cleaner to tackle hard water stains, we recommend Bio-Clean Hard Water Stain Remover as our best overall pick. It's easy to use, efficient, and it smells pleasant, too. For a more affordable option but still effective pick, check out our best budget pick CLR Multi-Use Calcium, Lime & Rust Remover.

What happens if you leave CLR on too long without? ›

If CLR Grease & Oil Remover is left on a surface for too long it begins to dry and can be very difficult to remove.

What gets rid of brown stains in the toilet? ›

For example, applying white vinegar or lemon juice and scrubbing with a toilet brush typically works on newer stains. You can also try mixing white vinegar and baking soda if you need a stronger scrub. For older stains, using an industrial-strength cleaner like CLR should do the trick.

Will CLR unclog toilet jets? ›

Cleaning the jets can be accomplished by using a calcium and lime removing solution like CLR or a home made solution of baking soda and vinegar.

Is CLR bad to breathe? ›

Inhalation No adverse effects expected under typical use conditions. Ingestion Oral burns, vomiting, and gastrointestinal disturbance.

What happens if you get CLR in your mouth? ›


Which of the following are drawbacks of CLR? ›

  • It'll only run on platforms that the . ...
  • You'll have to lower the semantic constructs in your language to a form representable in CIL instructions and the CLI object model.
Aug 12, 2009

Do you need to wear gloves when using CLR? ›

Wear protective gloves and eye protection/face protection. Wash skin thoroughly after handling. Take off contaminated clothing and wash it before reuse. IF IN EYES: Rinse cautiously with water for several minutes.

Is Zep as good as CLR? ›

Gentle and effective. It works good and is less expensive than CLR brand. Does not remove build up as expected.

Can you mix CLR with Dawn? ›

Never leave Calcium, Lime and Rust Remover on an area for longer than two minutes. If the stain does not disappear, repeat this process and add more Calcium, Lime and Rust Remover solution as necessary. Never mix Calcium, Lime and Rust Remover with other household cleaners or bleach.

Should I wear gloves when using CLR? ›

Wash skin thoroughly after handling. If skin irritation or rash occurs: Get medical advice/attention. IF ON SKIN: Wash with plenty of soap and water. Wear protective gloves.

What happens when you mix CLR and vinegar? ›

However, this doesn't mean that combining the two will create a super-cleaner — in fact, it actually puts your health at serious risk. Mixing vinegar and bleach together releases a poisonous chlorine gas, which can be fatal if inhaled at high enough concentrations.

Is CLR safe for all metals? ›

We do not recommend that CLR products be used on any metals except for chrome or stainless steel. Any 'polished' finish usually has a coating and most nickel materials are combination metals (containing zinc) and CLR products could compromise the finish.

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