Most people will notice when their faucet gets a limescale buildup. Limescale is the white or brownish mineral deposit that forms on faucets, sinks, and tubs.
It is ugly and gross as it can get slimy and hard to remove.
Preventing and removing limescale is important for keeping your home safe and healthy.
Limescale is a hard mineral deposit that forms when water containing calcium and magnesium evaporates from your water heater or pipes. It can make it harder to clean soap from your body and could eventually lead to serious infections since it traps bacteria.
It can be unsightly and unhealthy because the minerals it contains can cause skin irritation or rashes when touched. The best way to prevent limescale from forming in your home is to keep water from hardening into this mineral buildup in the first place.
The best way to prevent limescale buildup is to not let it form in the first place.
It's best to prevent limescale buildup. There are several ways you can do this and all are cheap and easy to do.
Use a water softener
Limescale tends to happen in areas where there is "hard water." Hard water refers to a particular chemical makeup in water. It's hard to describe but you know when you have it because toilets and tubs get a brown or gray outline along the water line occasionally.
You can use a water softener to reduce the effects of hard water and prevent limescale. Water softeners contain salt or potassium chloride that softens the water. That amounts to less calcium and magnesium left behind on your tap. You will have clearer, better-tasting water with less lime buildup.
A common water softener uses ion exchange resin to remove calcium and magnesium ions from tap water and replace them with sodium ions. This reduces mineral buildup.
Water softeners must be used correctly to safely work. This includes following the instructions on the package and using the product only as regularly as the package dictates.
This should include proper maintenance of your pipes rather than solely relying on these types of products.
As good as these products are, they are not a substitute for regular maintenance.
Another way to resolve the lime buildup problem is to install a filter on your faucet or showerhead. Filters remove minerals from the water before they form into hard lumps called "scale."
You will need to concentrate on faucet heads to remedy limescale problems because that is where they start. Be sure to clean the faucet and shower heads regularly. An old toothbrush works very well for this purpose.
Consider your hot water use
Something else to consider is how much hot water you use. Hotter temperatures cause chemical reactions and this can result in mineral buildups like limescale deposits.
The best way to remove limescale from a faucet is with vinegar
It may surprise some to know that the best cleaner for limescale is something you probably already have. Vinegar is a natural acidic cleaner, so it will dissolve the alkaline deposits that have built up on your fixtures. You can use this trick for other cleaning tasks as well. Try it out on your showerhead or in the kitchen sink!
The best thing about using vinegar is that it is non-toxic so children and pets won't suffer if they are around it. It is cheap too so it's a viable option to add some extra cleaning power to your bathroom or kitchen scrubbing.
Use baking soda as a cleanser
Those who want to avoid using bleach can use baking soda as an alternative when cleaning. Mix it with warm water until it dissolves and apply it to affected areas.
Baking soda, like vinegar, is non-toxic so it's a great cleaning alternative. However, it is abrasive so use it carefully around metal faucets and drains.
A brush and bleach will remove lime stains
Another easy way to clean lime stains from sinks and tubs is to use a brush or sponge with bleach. Mix the bleach with water with one cup of bleach to two cups of water. Let the bleach solution sit on the stain for five minutes before scrubbing.
You should be careful when cleaning close to metal faucets and drains if you are using an abrasive scrubber to avoid scratching them. Also, you should wear rubber gloves to avoid getting the bleach on your hands, as it could irritate your skin.
Also, be aware of allergies when using bleach. Some people are allergic to it and
that can cause other types of health problems.
Rinse the remaining residue with warm water and dry with a towel or rag. Be sure to rinse well when you are using chemicals like bleach or commercial products.
Limescale is a nuisance to deal with, but it doesn't have to be. With the right tools and knowledge, you can prevent this buildup from happening in the first place and remove it from your home if it does occur.