According to a Scale Guard Professional article, over 60% of the UK is classed as having hard water. Therefore, limescale is a big problem in the country. Perhaps that’s why it feels like you suddenly have those chalky, scaly deposits everywhere, from kettles and taps to places you cannot see, like the inside of your bathroom pipes.
What is Limescale?
Limescale is a build-up of a hard, chalk-like substance that primarily consists of calcium carbonate. The hard deposit builds up in and around areas that regularly come into contact with hard water. Once the water evaporates, it leaves behind limescale that accumulates over time and can even cause pipes to clog if left unchecked.
In many cases, limescale appears in areas and surfaces with warm water, such as kettles, pipes, and hot water boilers in the kitchen. It also occurs in bathroom taps, showerheads, basins, plugs, tiles, and the toilet.
Why is Limescale Bad for Your Home?
People learn how to remove limescale because it is an unsightly and unhygienic by-product that can cause various degrees of damage to your home, from tap blockages to cracked and burst pipes. It can also build up on your taps and showerheads and restrict water flow, which reduces their efficiency. Over time, it could also affect your home hygiene.
Additionally, limescale is unpleasant in your bathroom and could end up costing a lot to clean and remove, especially when preparing your home for sale.
How to Clean Limescale
You can remove limescale using home cleaning products, acid solutions like lemon juice or vinegar, and alkaline substances like baking soda. What cleaning agent to use, how to apply it, and for how long can differ with each fitting and the amount of limescale deposit present.
1. Taps and Showerheads
When removing limescale from taps and showerheads, ensure that the acid solution you use comes into constant contact with the surfaces. You can remove the tap or showerhead and immerse it into a container with the limescale remover. You can also submerge them in a basin and secure them in place using a towel or cling film.
Leave the solution to soak for about two hours before removing it and scrubbing off tougher bits of the deposit using a scouring pad.
2. Basins and Bathtubs
Pour your limescale remover of choice into a bottle or hand sprayer and spray the affected surface. Use caution with the type of solution you use to prevent damaging basins and baths. Leave the solution for a short time, no longer than 30 minutes, before scrubbing the deposit off and wiping the area clean with a sponge or soft cloth.
For limescale build-up inside pipes, use ready-made commercial cleaning products or limescale removers. Additionally, you can mix vinegar and baking soda to make a chemical-free solution if you have children or pets around. Use about eight litres of white vinegar per cup of baking soda per drain. Leave in the solution for three to four hours. After removing it, pour boiling water to remove leftover calcium, soap, or grease.
Vinegar works well for limescale that builds up in toilets, but other mainstream methods are also available. Commercial cleaners are bleach-based so ensure that you have plenty of ventilation and avoid getting them on your skin. Cleaners often take 30 minutes to work.
The above cleaning methods are preventive measures that will arrest and prevent limescale from forming. To ensure deposits don’t return, regularly clean affected areas and use a water softener.