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Limescale is a chalky deposit that builds up because of the calcium carbonate in hard water. Limescale can cause stubborn stains to appear on surfaces and appliances around your home. You might notice limescale buildup on your kettle, showerhead, taps and kitchen or bathroom tiles. Limescale build-up is typically worse for those who live in a hard water area, which is around 60% of the UK. If it builds up over time, it can cause corrosion, blockages and degradation to your heating pipes and appliances. It’s important that you tackle limescale buildup quickly so that it doesn’t cause damage. 

In this article, we’ve revealed the most effective cleaning methods for removing stubborn limescale from around the house.

What Causes Limescale

Limescale is caused by a buildup of the calcium and magnesium minerals present in hard water. Limescale forms when the minerals (mainly calcium) in hard water precipitate out of solution and bond to surfaces. This process happens quicker in high-temperature areas, which is why appliances and areas of the house with a heating element are susceptible to limescale build-up.

Where Does Limescale Buildup Commonly Occur?

  • Kitchen and bathroom tiles
  • Kettles
  • Washing machines
  • Coffee machines
  • Tap spouts
  • Faucets
  • Toilet bowl
  • Shower doors and shower screens

Is Limescale Harmful?

Limescale doesn’t have any health risks so it doesn’t matter if you consume some from the buildup in your kettle or coffee machine. However, it can cause damage to your appliances if it is left to buildup over time. It can also cause your appliances and heating system to become less energy efficient, increasing your energy bills and costing you money.

Ways to Remove Limescale

Luckily, there are a few effective ways of removing limescale that you can use to tackle those tough stains. 

Homemade Limescale Remover

There are some branded limescale removers that you can buy in the supermarket, however, it is easier (and cheaper) to make it yourself at home. Calcium carbonate buildup can be dissolved using mild acids such as lemon (citric acid), baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) or white vinegar. This method is ideal for removing limescale deposits from flat surfaces and around taps. 

Soak a dishcloth in either lemon juice or vinegar and place over the surface of the buildup for a few hours or overnight. You may need to scrub the buildup after soaking to fully remove all the limescale that’s there. You can also create a solution of equal parts water and baking soda, vinegar or lemon juice in a spray bottle for tackling limescale removal in the future.

Remember, you cannot remove the limescale by simply wiping it with the acid. The mineral deposit needs to be soaked in the acid so it can fully breakdown, which is why you will need to leave the soaked cloth on the affected area for a few hours at least for it to have an effect. Be careful applying vinegar or lemon juice to plated taps, since the acid can damage the finish on the metal.    

How to Remove Limescale from Washing Machines and Dishwasher

As well as cleaning your washing machine, you should descale the machine regularly (around three times a year). This means removing limescale residue from the drum and internal heating element. 

Using shop-bought descaler:

There are many cleaning products available for you to buy that are designed for removing limescale. With powder-based products, add the recommended amount to the detergent drawer. Make sure that your washing machine is empty and start a wash cycle. This will remove any built-up limescale from the interior of your washing machine. Remember, to follow the descaling instructions carefully.

Using homemade limescale remover:

Alternatively, you can use vinegar and lemon juice. To do this, pour either a large cup of either lemon juice or vinegar into the detergent drawer of your washing machine into the compartment where you would normally add laundry detergent. Make sure the washing machine is empty and run a normal cycle to rinse the solution through your machine, clearing away any limescale deposit.

How to Remove Limescale from Your Coffee Machine or Kettle

Your kettle and coffee machine are the easiest appliance to remove limescale from. To descale your kettle, fill a quarter of your kettle vinegar or lemon juice and leave to soak for between 1 and 2 hours. Then, top up the rest of the kettle with water and set to boil. Pour the boiled water away and then rinse the kettle through with cold water a few times to remove the taste of the solution.

If the limescale buildup is particularly bad, fill the kettle with a quarter vinegar or lemon juice, fill the rest of the kettle with water and leave to sit overnight. The next day, boil the liquid before pouring away.

Descale your kettle every 4 to 8 weeks to keep it clean and prevent damage.

You can descale your coffee maker using this same method. Add either lemon juice or vinegar to the first quarter of the water compartment of your coffee maker and fill the rest with water. Run your coffee machine without any coffee to rinse the solution through your machine. Repeat the process a couple of times with plain water to remove the taste of the solution.

How to Prevent Limescale Buildup?

Now that you’ve tackled the limescale stains in your home, you will want to find a way to prevent further buildup in the future. The key to preventing limescale from building up is to soften the water that runs through your pipes and that you use in your appliances. 

 

Water softener

One option is to get a water softener installed in your home. This will run your water through a chemical process of resin-exchange to turn your hard water into soft water. This will protect your whole house from the damage caused by hard water and limescale buildup.

 

Tap and showerhead filters

If you don’t want to get a water softening system installed in your home, you could look into getting individual filters for your taps and showerhead. This will reduce the hardness of your water, protecting your appliances and your skin and hair whilst showering.

 

Bottled water

If you have appliances that are particularly prone to limescale buildup or expensive appliances that you want to protect, you could consider using bottled water to run them instead of water from the tap.

Looking to Invest in a Water Softener?

KindWater is East Anglia’s favourite water softener experts. They supply leading models of Kinetico water softeners for great prices as well as their own range of affordable water softeners.

To experience all the many benefits of soft water, check out their range here: https://www.kindwater.co.uk/water-softeners/softener-range/ 

Sources:

www.scaleguard.co.uk


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