How to Descale With Citric Acid

Written by racheal ambrose
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How to Descale With Citric Acid
The carafe of a coffeemaker is a common place to find scaly build-up. (coffee pot image by Stephen Orsillo from

Scale build-up, usually from lime or calcium, leaves surfaces looking dirty and can negatively affect performance of appliances, such as coffeemakers. Use citric acid to remove the scaly build-up. It works as well as many commercial cleaners, but doesn't harm the environment or people. The acid comes in both powder and liquid forms, with both working effectively to remove deposits. The lime or calcium comes from the water encountering the surfaces and appliances. Water filters can help reduce the build-up, but descale these items regularly.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Half-gallon spray bottle
  • Scrub brush

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  1. 1

    Pour 1 cup of either powder or liquid citric acid into an empty, half-gallon spray bottle. Fill the spray bottle the rest of the way with water. Screw on the lid tightly and shake the bottle for about 30 seconds to mix the citric acid and water.

  2. 2

    Spray the scaled area until it's soaked. Let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes.

  3. 3

    Scrub off the scale with the scrub brush. Rinse the surface with water.

  1. 1

    Fill a coffeemaker with 1 cup water and 1 cup liquid or powder citric acid. Pour it into the coffeemaker and run as normal. The solution removes the scaling on the inside of the machine. Swirl the cleaner in the pot to descale it as well. Run the coffeemaker with water only to rinse away any residue.

  2. 2

    Pour 2 cups liquid or powder citric acid inside the dishwasher. Run the dishwasher on its hottest setting to remove build-up.

  3. 3

    Pour 4 cups liquid or powder citric acid inside the washing machine. Run it through a normal cycle to descale the drum and pipes.

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