You’ve probably seen those unsightly white patches on the surface of your taps – that’s a limescale build-up, and it’s not the prettiest sight.
While not everyone encounters this housekeeping problem, you certainly do if you live in an area with hard water. If you’re wondering how to remove limescale from taps and faucets, we’ve figured out the best methods for you.
Statistics show that over half of the United Kingdom has hard water. The geology of your locale is the determinant of how hard or soft your water supply would be. This is because hard water is formed when rainwater percolates through the crevices of rocks with limestone/gypsum. If the rocks in your area are high in magnesium and calcium, water seeping through them will become “hard.” Hard water refers to water that is high in mineral content.
Since hard water keeps running through your pipes to your taps, it could leave a white, chalky residue on the surface. There has been no proof thus far of limestone being hazardous to human health. However, its chalky residue does damage the aesthetic of your bathrooms and kitchen sinks, and it is very much a housekeeping nightmare.
If limestone is not adequately removed from taps, there would be a steady decline in the efficiency of your plumbing. Limescale residue, if left over time, could also clog your fixtures.
In this article, we will be exploring using two natural household items to keep your taps sparkly clean and limescale-free. Before we proceed, let’s take a look at how to prevent limestone from building up.
How to Prevent Limescale Build-up
It’s often said that prevention is better than cure, and in this very case, that is true. Observing some everyday housekeeping routines could go a long way in keeping limescale away.
A build-up of limescale on taps is a nasty sight. But besides that, it also has negative financial implications. Limescale could clog taps and cause water pressure to reduce significantly. This would likely cause homeowners to replace taps and showerheads more frequently, thereby increasing financial deficits.
To avoid dealing with stubborn build-ups later, we advise that you wipe down your taps after each use. Or at the least at the end of each day. This way, the hard water cannot evaporate and leave a deposit. You should also ensure that you fix dripping taps as soon as you notice them.
Also, it would be best if you dealt with every limescale build-up at the earliest sighting. This way, you would not have to worry about dealing with tougher problems later.
However, if the limescale has managed to sneak up on your taps, we have some solutions for you. These two methods that we will be sharing with you are environment-friendly and low-cost.
Method 1: Removing Limescale with Lemon
The juice of a lemon has the right amount of acidic content to break down the limescale build-up. Not only does this work like a charm, but it also leaves your space smelling fresh. Following the next few steps, armed with only lemon and some time, your taps are sure to look brand new again.
Take a medium-sized lemon and cut it into two equal parts.
Squeeze the lemon juice into a bowl and soak a paper towel in it. If you do not have a paper towel that holds together when wet, use a soft cloth. Take the lemon-soaked towel and place it on the limescale-encrusted area of the tap. Ensure the towel covers the area thoroughly.
Leave the towel on the tap for a few hours. Or better still, leave on overnight. This is to allow time for the lemon to break down the limestone residue.
Take off the lemon-soaked towel and wipe off the surface of your tap with a cloth. You may need to apply a little pressure with a toothbrush to remove the residue from some corners of your tap.
Rinse the tap with distilled water and wipe clean. Distilled water must be used at this point to prevent the residue from forming again.
Alternatively, you can squeeze the lemon juice out and lodge the centre of the fruit itself into the tap. The lemon should grip the tap. If the lemon is slipping off, you can get a plastic bag securing it using the following:
- Put the lemon in a plastic bag and tie the bag’s opening to the tap with a band.
- Leave it to work for at least 2 hours.
- Take off the lemon and wipe it with a soft cloth.
Method 2: Removing Limescale with Vinegar
For tougher limestone build-up, lemons may not do a thorough job. Tougher residue would require a more acidic formula to dissolve it. In that case, the acetic content found in white vinegar would be more suitable. The following steps will leave your taps looking brand new again.
Pour equal parts of water (20cl) and pure white vinegar (20cl) into a bowl. This would become a 40cl vinegar solution. You can increase or reduce the amount of vinegar and water you use depending on the surface area you want to clean. Just ensure that they are mixed in equal parts.
Soak a clean, soft cloth into the mixture, ensuring it is completely submerged.
Remove the cloth from the vinegar solution and softly scrub the limescale away from the tap. This process is to loosen up some amount of residue. Afterward, wrap the dampened cloth on the part of the tap affected by limescale. Leave it for a few hours or overnight, if convenient. Secure the cloth with a thread or a band. Squeeze the cloth at time intervals to release more juice onto the tap to break up the limescale.
After the time has elapsed, take off the cloth, and gently scrub the tap with it. Then, you can use an old toothbrush to scrub the corners of the fixture to take out the more stubborn stains. The limescale residue will come off without issue.
Rinse the tap with distilled water and dry off with a soft cloth. Filtered or distilled water will prevent hard water from undoing all your hard work.
You could pour the vinegar-water solution into a plastic bag for a faster cleaning time and tie the bag to the tap. Ensure that the chalky area of the tap is completely submerged in the vinegar. Leave it for a few hours and wipe it off.
To maintain the cleanliness and efficiency of your taps you can take a few after care steps – to remove any remnants of limescale you may want to use a toothbrush or pin to clean the spray holes that could still be blocked or that may become blocked over time.
Ensure you rinse the whole tap thoroughly again with boiling water and wipe dry.
These tips and methods will make it easier to keep on top of the limescale build up.
Limescale residue can make a mess of your water fixtures. But if you follow our preventive method above, you will not have to deal with that. However, if the build-up keeps sneaking up on you, our simple techniques will have your taps as good as new.
Alternatively, there are specially formulated products that help tackle limestone build-ups which can be found in most supermarkets.
Care must be taken for chrome-plated fixtures. For such fittings, you must prevent build-up at all costs. Scrubbing chrome or gold-plated fixtures might ruin their finish. Remember that the limescale gets harder to clean off when it’s left for a long time.
Now that you know how to remove limescale, your fixtures and fittings will undoubtably last longer, while also looking more aesthetically pleasing.
Any method you choose from our list will ensure that you can easily add this to your cleaning regime and keep your taps sparkling.
Meet our reviewer
Jimmy Pearce is our resident expert on domestic cleaning appliances. Having managed a large electrical retail store for over 10 years and with a family that includes 3 kids, there is little Jimmy doesn’t know or hasn’t seen when it comes to domestic cleaning. When he’s not spending time with the family or reviewing domestic appliances, Jimmy is often found in his man cave jamming on his bass guitar.