People who live in areas with hard water are likely to experience some degree of limescale build-up in their homes, especially in the bathroom where water is running almost constantly. Limescale is caused when calcium carbonate from hard water is deposited on surfaces such as bathroom tiles and left to build up over time. The simplest way to remove limescale from bathroom tiles is to dissolve it with a mild acidic substance.
The most effective way to avoid the problem of limescale on bathroom tiles is to clean the tiles regularly, even when no limescale can be seen, in order to avoid it building up. Due to the nature of some bathroom tiles, limescale may be able to permeate through the surface of the tile and make the task of cleaning them almost impossible if it is not done regularly. A more permanent way to prevent limescale building up on tiles is to have a water softener installed in the home.
A number of ordinary household goods can be used to create acidic solutions which will remove limescale from bathroom tiles. White vinegar is effective in dissolving limescale deposits and does not have a strong smell. A solution of 50 per cent water and 50 per cent white vinegar can be an effective cleaner when used in a spray bottle. A solution made from equal amounts of water and lemon juice can also help to remove limescale and has a pleasant fragrance. After applying the solution to the limescale, it should be left to work for around 15 minutes before being rinsed away thoroughly.
Many ready-made cleaners are also available from shops and can be very effective in removing the more stubborn limescale deposits from bathroom tiles. Gels can also work well as they do not run off wall tiles as easily as thinner solutions. However, it is important to check that a cleaner is not abrasive before applying it to glossy tiles; using an abrasive cleaner could cause unsightly damage. It is also a good idea to avoid cleaning natural tiles such as those made from stone or marble with strongly acidic substances as they can also become damaged. Many ready-made cleaners are quite strong and should not come into contact with skin or be left to work on tiles while pets and children have access to the bathroom.
Soft cloths, spray bottles and sponges are good choices for applying anti-limescale cleaning solutions as they will not scratch the tiles. When using natural substances such as lemon juice of vinegar, paper towels can be soaked in the solution and left to sit on tiles with heavy limescale build-up, ensuring that the tile has more contact with the acid than it would with a more watery solution running off the surface after just a short time.