What Is Limescale, And How To Clean It


If you live in an area with “hard” water, then you are probably familiar with calcium build up, otherwise known as limescale. Hard water is defined as water that has a high mineral content – specifically calcium and magnesium salts. This water is considered potable if it is properly filtered and kept sanitary. For some people the extra minerals are beneficial. However, hard water brings with it the problem of limescale.

What Is Limescale?

When hard water evaporates, the mineral salts remain on the surface the water was on. For example, cups which are left to air dry will have a white film of calcium build up. If you ever find your tub spout stuck, or your shower head and faucets clogged, the likely culprit is limescale buildup in the nooks and crannies in them. Limescale is unavoidable when you have hard water running through your water pipes, but there are ways to remedy the citation and clean it up as well.

Cleaning Limescale

Despite what it looks like, cleaning up limescale build up is relatively simple and usually only requires a few household products. Vinegar solutions work well in removing limescale build up, and so many people use some vinegar when mopping, to remove the calcium deposits before they have a chance to accumulate.

A clogged showerhead or other fixtures requires a little bit of creativity. Soaking the showerhead in a vinegar solution helps dislodge any deposits from hard to reach areas. If your showerhead (or tub spout, faucet) can be removed, then simply soak the fixture in a bowl of diluted vinegar (50/50 water and vinegar). Otherwise tie a sandwich bag full of the solution around the fixture and leave it overnight. If you feel the need for a stronger cleaning solution add baking soda to the solution.

After the overnight soak, hot (near boiling) water helps clear away the dislodged deposits. Most likely, you won’t need to use heavy-duty chemicals unless you’re dealing with a particularly derelict bathroom that hasn’t been cleaned for years.

Borax can be used to treat limescale buildup in your toilet, because vinegar and baking soda will not be enough to clean the insides of a toilet.

How To Avoid Limescale Deposits

Regularly cleaning all areas that are exposed to hard water will help avoid limescale deposits from accumulating. Limescale buildup inside dishwashers and washing machines can be dealt with by adding vinegar to your rinse cycle. Limescale buildup can create the perfect conditions for algae and bacterial growth. This can cause deadly diseases, so it is important to deal with limescale on a regular basis. You may also consider using a professional limescale removal service to flush out limescale from your water pipes and drains, but you won’t need to use such a service as frequently as you would clean your showerhead.

Limescale is a problem that comes with hard water, and unless you use a method to soften your entire water system, you will need to learn how to deal with it. Some water filtration systems can soften your entire household water, but it can be quite expensive.