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How to remove heavy limescale buildup

Limescale build-up is a result of the minerals in water accumulating on faucets, shower heads, sinks and tubs. When the water evaporates, it leaves the minerals behind. The secret to removing heavy limescale build-up is using a mild acidic substance. Commercial preparations exist, but there are a couple of common household acids that will also work. The challenge is to keep the acid in direct contact with the limescale build-up because it takes a little while for the limescale to dissolve in it.

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  1. Pour a commercial limescale remover directly on the limescale deposit if it has built up on a flat, horizontal surface such as a sink or bathtub. If you would rather use a more natural substance, use plain white vinegar or fresh lemon juice. These liquids are acidic and dissolve limescale. Leave the acid in contact with the limescale. The thicker the build-up, the longer you should leave the acid on it.

  2. Soak a clean cotton cloth in the acid and tie it around the shower head, faucet or other non-horizontal surface. For more contact with the cracks and crevices of a shower head, soak a cotton ball or two in the acid and tie it onto the shower head using the soaked cloth. Get the acid in contact with the limescale as much as possible.

  3. Wipe the surface that you have been soaking in the acid with the cloth. If the limescale is a heavy build-up, dip a nylon-bristle brush in the acid and scrub the surface. Repeat dipping the brush as often as necessary and scrubbing until the limescale is removed.

  4. Repeat the soaking and scrubbing process if limescale does not readily come off the surface. Eventually it will.

  5. Rinse the surface with plenty of clean water and wipe with a clean cloth after all the limescale build-up has been removed.

  6. Pour 1 cup of lemon juice or household vinegar into your washing machine or the bottom of your dishwasher. Run the machine unloaded for one normal cycle to remove heavy limescale build-up. Repeat if necessary.

  7. Fill an electric water kettle ¼ full of vinegar or lemon juice and let it sit for at least an hour. Fill the kettle the rest of the way with clean water. Bring the kettle to a boil and pour out the water while it is still hot. Rinse well with clean, cool water.

  8. Fill the reservoir of your coffeemaker ¼ full of vinegar or lemon juice. Let it sit for an hour and top up with clean water. Run the coffeemaker cycle normally without coffee grounds. Repeat the regular cycle with plain water to rinse the machine.

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Things You'll Need

  • Limescale remover
  • White vinegar
  • Lemon juice
  • Cotton cloth
  • Cotton balls
  • Nylon-bristle brush

About the Author

Karren Doll Tolliver holds a Bachelor of English from Mississippi University for Women and a CELTA teaching certificate from Akcent Language School in Prague. Also a photographer, she records adventures by camera, combining photos with journals in her blogs. Her latest book, "A Travel for Taste: Germany," was published in 2015.

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