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How to remove limescale from taps – An expert guide

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Limescale is a common nuisance in homes and can be discovered wherever water is regularly used, such as taps, showerheads, toilets, pipes, bathtubs and kettles.

Limescale build-up is also easy to identify – a hard deposit with a white, chalk-like appearance, which it gets from the high quantity of calcium carbonate present.

While it can be one of the most frustrating cleaning challenges for homeowners and renters due to build-up occurring quickly, it is easy to tackle and remove with the right products.

However, when it comes to faucets and Instant Boiling Water Taps, maintaining your taps shine and keeping the faucet in contact with the cleaning solution makes tackling limescale build-up on these types of appliances more complicаted.

What is limescale?

Limescale is a hard, chalky deposit that often builds up across surfaces where water is present such as taps, showerheads, hot water boilers and pipework.

As it forms from hard water, you may also find limescale build-up from soap suds not being cleaned away efficiently, meaning it can also occur in basins, tiles and toilets.

It leaves white traces behind due to its high concentration of calcium and magnesium carbonate, a remnant of hard water and alkaline. If you’ve got a lovely gun metal grey hot water tap, or a silver or even a gold tap in your kitchen, you don’t want to ruin the ascetic these products provide with gunky collections of limescale.

Is limescale harmful?

In small quantities, limescale build-up should not have any repercussions on your health due to its high concentration in calcium, which is found in foods that we regularly consume.

However, it can be drying on the skin, so if you live in a hard water area, you might want to invest in a moisturising soap or body cream.

That said, limescale build-up can have negative implications on your home. If it is not tackled correctly or left to accumulate, limescale could:

  • Obstruct or corrode pipes
  • Spoil the overall look of home appliances and tiles
  • Increase consumption of cleaning products
  • Reduce the lifetime of electrical appliances, e.g. kettles and washing machines
  • Cause irreversible damage to metallic components and chrome fittings

How do you remove limescale?

You can remove limescale with natural cleaning ingredients or chemical-based cleaning products.

If you want to use specialist products, we highly recommend purchasing Viakal Limescale Remover Spray or HG Professional Limescale Remover, both of which can be bought online or in-store.

However, those who don’t want to purchase specialised cleaning solutions to be kinder to the environment can use homemade ingredients. Baking soda, vinegar or lemon juice are also effective in removing limescale and protecting your surfaces.

Using lemon to remove limescale

If you’ve got an old lemon or one you’ve already used, cut it in half and rub the lemon over the limescale deposit until the whole area is significantly covered; leave it overnight and wash it clean the following day.

Suppose the limescale is at the end of your tap, then push and wedge the lemon onto the faucet’s nozzle and hold it in place by covering it with a bag and tying it securely with a rubber band.

Leave it overnight, then scrub the tap with a sponge scourer and “voila”, your faucet should be clean! If not, repeat the step as mentioned above.

If the limescale is in your kettle, fill a quarter of the body with lemon juice, leave for a couple of hours, slice a whole lemon thinly, and put these in the kettle with cold water, then boil twice between thirty-minute intervals.

If you’re using lemon juice, fill the remainder of the kettle with water and boil.

Using baking soda and vinegar to remove limescale

Baking soda and vinegar are also effective in removing limescale from surfaces and appliances.

If the limescale is present on your faucets head, start by mixing one tablespoon of baking soda and 500ml vinegar into a bowl, then pour the solution into a plastic bag and tie securely to the tap head.

The steps are similar for removing limescale build-up from kettles, except you’d pour the mixture into your kettle and boil twice between fifteen-minute intervals. After boiling the solution several times, pour it down the drain and rinse the kettle.

How to remove limescale from pipework

Limescale can also occur in areas of the home that are not within sight, such as pipes, drains and inside showerheads.

Again, removing limescale from pipework can be done with professional products and homemade solutions such as lemon, vinegar and baking soda, which may be a more appealing option if you have children, pets or sensitive skin.

To remove limescale build-up from pipes and drains, unplug your basin and pour one cup of baking soda into the affected drains. Follow the baking soda with vinegar – pour it in slowly – and leave to percolate for several hours. 

If you’d like to take another precautionary step, pour boiling water down the drain after completing the steps above.

How to prevent limescale build-up

To avoid stubborn limescale build-up, clean your appliances regularly, paying particular attention to areas where water is present such as taps, baths, showers and kettles.

Suppose you live in a hard water area. In that case, you may want to invest in a water softener that will help to reduce limescale build-up by using an ion process to remove the calcium and magnesium carbonates present in the water supply.

Learn more on how to clean the spout and frame of your hot water tap here.

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