Limescale never looks nice. Thanks to chemicals in the water, it can creep up on your pipes, shower heads, faucets, and other plumbing hardware. Over time, limescale can make your pipes chalky, white, hard to clean, and unpleasant looking.
Limescale is serious business. Not only is it unsightly, but if it’s left to fester for too long, it can produce bacteria like E-coli that can cause disease.
So, what do you do when you see it? Clean it, of course! Here are our tips to get rid of limescale, and fast.
When to de-scale
Any time you see white, chalky buildup on your pipes and/or faucets, that’s likely limescale. Easy-to-reach faucets can be easy to keep clean if you wipe them down every week. However, faucet openings can be hard to see and shower heads can go a little too long before being wiped down.
If you use your faucets regularly, since they’re easy to see, you’re probably wiping them down already. But if you’ve had a bad cleaning month or the limescale is growing on a less-used faucet, it can be a bear to just get off.
Most limescale comes off with acid. It’s science; the calcium that builds up from limescale is an alkali, so an acid will take it off. Whether vinegar or lemon juice is your choice for cleaning, they’ll both work. There are also household cleaners available to address limescale, too.
Usually, elbow grease can get milder cases of limescale off your faucets and out of pipes. For more severe cases, a little more TLC is required. Tackle faucet heads with a plastic grocery bag or lunch full of vinegar (check for holes if you’re using a grocery bag, of course). Put the bag over the faucet head and let it soak overnight. The limescale should come off easily after that.
Not just your faucets
Both toilet bowls and the inside of pipes can be resting places for limescale. If there’s a toilet in your house that’s not used on the regular, limescale can build up in the basin. For these jobs, grab some Borax, apply it to the limescale, and then scrub.
Finally, we saved the best for last. Pipes are some of the worst places to get limescale because they’re hidden behind walls. They form in your pipes as hot water passes through them, and the limescale is left after the water evaporates. If there’s a mysterious clog in your tub or sink, it could be limescale, especially if you already tried to unclog your tub or sink with a flushing solution. If there’s still a clog after pouring Drain-O or a similar product, it’s unfortunately time to call a plumber.
See more damage?
If you see limescale on your faucets, it’s a good time to take a look at the rest of your bathroom. Winter months are a great time to check your bathroom for old grout, cracks, and more.