What Causes Limescale?
Limescale is the chalky off-white crust that lurks inside your kettle and boiler and stains your surfaces. Scientifically speaking, limescale is a deposit of calcium carbonate and a residue left behind by hard water. What is hard water then? Hard water is water that contains a higher concentration of dissolved minerals like calcium and magnesium. When the water evaporates, it leaves behind calcium carbonate deposits. These limescale deposits therefore build up on any surfaces that hard water is in contact with and can accumulate quickly. Unfortunately, limescale loves to stick to limescale – meaning the more limescale you have, the more you will build up -and these deposits are tough to get rid of as well as being unsightly.
The most common areas you can expect to find limescale are your toilet, bathroom taps, tile and sink, inside your shower (which will show as that white-ish substance against your shower doors), and of course your bathroom pipes.
In the kitchen, the most commonly affected areas are your kettle, coffee machines, washing machines, dishwashers, taps, tiles, inside your pots and pans 9if they are not sufficiently scrubbed after each use and also general work surfaces (like behind the taps at your kitchen sink).
Why Is Limescale Dangerous?
Limescale will often cover taps, sinks and hard surfaces with an ugly layer of off-white substance that is tough to remove.
Finding these flakes floating in your tea and coffee – especially in a restaurant or café can spell disaster, but your kettle suffers most visibly from limescale deposits and will need to be replaced regularly.
It is the hidden damage that is the most worrying and potentially damaging for homeowners.
Hard water poses the biggest issue when heated or left to stand. When hard water evaporates, the minerals left behind soon solidify becoming limescale. Build-ups can occur in domestic plumbing systems. As limescale deposits inside central heating pipes accumulate, they can restrict the flow of water or even causing a blockage.
Just like with your kettle, limescale is hardening around components in your washing machine and dishwasher. Not only does this make your appliances less energy-efficient and more costly, it is also damaging to the environment. Heating elements covered in limescale make them significantly less efficient which can have an impact on your heating bills.
h/t to purewateruk for the information sourced!
How to Get Rid of Limescale?
The first solution is to make use of purified water for all your appliance which are not plumbed-in; this eliminates the presence of limescale causing substances even being present -0 but obviously this solution will not cover your appliances making use of tap water – such as dishwashers and washing machines.
How Do I Remove Limescale from Household Appliances?
For kettles and coffee-machines:
- Mix up a water-vinegar solution or buy a de-scaling agent and fill the water tank to capacity
- Switch the appliance on and let the mixture boil, then leave it to soak overnight
- In the morning, empty the mixture out and rinse thoroughly
- You may need to run coffee machines a couple of times with clean water to get rid of any residual solution
For washing machines and dishwashers:
- Fill a cup with your chosen removal agent and pour into the dispensing drawer where you would normally place the detergent; for dishwashers, place this in the base of the machine
- Run a standard cycle – empty, of course – and the job is done
How Do I Remove Limescale from Taps?
Ridding your bathroom or kitchen taps of limescale can be especially difficult, because the minerals like to lurk in all sorts of awkward places. However, there are a few simple tricks you can employ:
- Using the best limescale remover you can find, soak some cotton wool or an old cloth in the liquid and wrap around the tap, trying to get all of the metal in contact with the removing agent.
- For the spout itself, try filling a small cup with the cleaning solution, submerge the spout in the cup, and wrap a towel around the whole combination, so that it stays in place.
- Leave to the tap to soak in the limescale remover for up to an hour and most of it should dissolve.
- Tackle stubborn areas afterwards with a gentle scourer.
How Do I Remove Limescale from Baths?
- Limescale builds up in two main places in baths: just behind the tap – particularly if it is prone to dripping – and in the corners of the bath where water can pool. Here’s some helpful advice:
- Neat vinegar can be effective in removing limescale in the bathroom, but you should exercise caution on old enamel baths and sinks, as the surface can be damaged by the acid.
- Only apply vinegar to the affected area, scrub, and wash with a spray cleaner afterwards. Alternatively, play it safe and buy a limescale product designed for your type of bathroom fixtures.
How Do I Remove Limescale from the Toilet?
Removing scaly deposits in the toilet bowl and underneath the rim can be tough and may require different tactics:
- Use a stronger limescale remover – either a gel cleaner or bleach manufactured specifically for the toilet – and apply it as close as you can to the water deposits, squirting upwards under the rim and into the bowl as well. Domestos Zero Limescale is a good choice.
- Leave it to soak for at least half an hour before flushing.
- You can also try rubbing a pumice stone on heavier build-ups.
- If you’re still finding you have limescale stains, purchase a heavy-duty powder cleaner containing compounds like trisodium phosphate or borax. These can either be measured into the bowl or applied directly to the problem areas.
Remember to use all products substances with care, wearing appropriate eye protection and gloves at all times. Never mix cleaning products.
Soaking will make limescale removal easy: the longer you can leave a removal agent to work its magic, the easier it will be on your arm muscles! Making limescale removal part of your regular cleaning routine will also save you a lot of hard graft in the long-run, so it’s worth tackling as often as you can.
h/t to cleanipedia for this info!