Goodbye to Limescale or How to Prevent It from Settling in Your Home

Posted by on February 17, 2017 in Household Enemies

Limescale buildup

Source: Flickr, image by Lee Haywood Title: Kettle. Used under CC BY 2.0 SA license.

If you find yourself wondering whether you reside in a hard water area, simply count the white flakes, floating in your tea in the morning. Yes, their number will indicate how badly your kettle has been affected by limescale.

But don’t worry if this is the case, because with this post, we’ll go through everything that there is to know about the annoying whitish scales – from how they form to how to rid of them for good.

What is Limescale and Why Does It Build up?

The off-white hard crust you can spot around faucets and fixtures in the bathroom, at the bottom of your kettle and in other household appliances that use water, is called limescale. But how does it form and why?

Well, water contains different impurities and minerals, such as calcium, magnesium and potassium. The term ‘hard’ is often used to describe water, which contains a higher concentration of calcium and magnesium. We all know that water evaporates quickly under high temperature and when this happens, the minerals are left behind. The chemical composition of limescale contains exactly that – calcium and magnesium carbonates. So, no wonder why the heating elements of most of our household appliances facilitate the buildup of these hardened mineral deposits. Moreover, limescale “attracts” new limescale, which sticks easily to already formed encrustations, making it even harder to get rid of them.

Where Does Limescale Commonly Form and Settle?

We’ve made it clear that domestic equipment, small electrical appliances and machines, which operate with water that is heated in the process, are prone to the formation of limescale if minerals concentrations in water are high. Therefore, dishwashers, coffee makers, washing machines, kettles, even pots and pans are the household items where we can first notice the unpleasant opaque coating.

But limescale settles on a variety of other surfaces around the home, which are in daily contact with water. That’s right. Although, it may take a bit longer for the mineral deposits to build up, due to the slower process of water evaporation. Still, eventually, the unsightly hard-to-remove concretion forms in the pipe system; around kitchen fittings and bathroom accessories, as well as on tiled surfaces and in the grout.

What Are The Adverse Effects of Using Hard Water?

Let’s be honest! Limescale on visible sites and surfaces is simply unpleasant to look at. It makes your home feel unclean and neglected. However, there are more hidden repercussions from using untreated hard water for your household needs. If ignored over time, the hard scaly layer of calcium carbonate deposits in electrical appliances jeopardise their working efficiency to the detriment of their overall operational condition. This potentially results not only in a less efficient energy consumption and higher utility bills but also contributes to the decreased lifespan of household equipment and the need of repairs.

The slow buildup of limescale in pipework may also cause blockages in the household water system that can be costly and difficult to deal with.
The consequences of hard water use on human health are proven to be innocuous. Moreover, some researchers claim that drinking it can be even beneficial for heart disease suffers, as well as supplementary to our diet, in terms of essential minerals daily intake. On the other hand, hard water may dry skin quicker, so people with sensitive skin could suffer some negative effects.

What Is the Best Way to Remove Limescale?

There are different products on the market that fight successfully limescale. And what we choose to use at home is often dependent on the most recent TV commercial, we have been treated to, while watching our favourite soap. So here, we are not going to discuss the benefits of using the “superman” among toilet cleaners – “Toilet Duck” over, say, “Mr Muscle” or “Domestos”.

We’ll focus on effective homemade remedies that are safe to apply for de-scaling electrical appliances that we use for the preparation of drinks. You will also find out about some handy tricks, which help remove unsightly limescale encrustations from other household appliances and surfaces at home without applying powerful chemicals.

  • Kettles and coffee makers – The most effective way to put a stop to white flakes dancing in your morning hot beverage is to run your electrical appliances, now and again, filled with a mixture of water and white vinegar or lemon juice (50/50). Then, rinse them thoroughly and they should be limescale-free.
  • Glassware and cookware – The same ingredients, as above, will work great on your lustreless jugs, jars, decanters and cookware. Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water and soak your tarnished glassware overnight. Rinse well on the following morning. You can bring back the shine to your pots and pans if you fill them with the same mixture and simmer it for about 15 minutes. Then, proceed by washing them as normal with a soft sponge and rinse them well.
  • Washing machines and dishwashers – Mild limescale removal detergents are the standard choice of the homemaker when it comes to cleaning the washing machine and the dishwasher. Still, if you have suddenly gone green and environmentally conscious, use a cup of undiluted lemon juice and run the appliance empty on a regular cycle.
  • Taps, fixtures and fittings – Natural products like soda bicarbonate and lemon can help you clean the specially hard-to-remove white caking from around your taps and sink fixtures. Just make a paste-like mixture and use its abrasive properties to your advantage. Scrub gently the affected bathroom accessories, wipe, rinse and polish with a cloth. For really stubborn encrustations, say, on the faucet aerator, you can dip the spout into a cap, full of lemon juice and leave it overnight by attaching it securely with a tape.
  • Tiled surfaces, sinks, showers and baths – Again, lemon or vinegar (diluted) can be sprayed on the discoloured tile and grout surface, on the sink, shower base or bathtub. Leave the solution to sit for awhile. You can scrub in some soda, too, for better effect and then rinse and wipe the surface.
  • Toilet – If you have run out of your Domestos toilet cleaning gel but you have plenty of Coca-Cola in the fridge, put it to good use and do your teeth a favour. Cola will remove successfully hard water deposits from your toilet bowl if you leave it to work for several hours. The drink contains high levels of phosphoric acid, which is proven to be effective against rust and limescale.

What Can You Do To Prevent Hard Water Deposits Buildup?

To keep your home limescale-free may require simply diligence and persistence. All the above cleaning tips can be used as preventive measures against unwanted water calcifications. If you treat your appliances kindly on a regular basis and apply extra care against the potential buildup of mineral deposits, you may never have to know what limescale even looks like.
In addition, you can use only purified water in your kettle, for instance, by treating it, first, through a water filter jug that uses replaceable cartridges.
Still, some people live in regions, where the water is really hard, so they may need to take more assertive measures to avoid its negative impact in the home and on the entire waterpipe system.

As a large proportion of households in Britain are located in such areas, they resort to treating their water before it makes contact with surfaces and home equipment. Families generally rely on either the water softening or the water conditioning method. The first type of system works by a chemical process, where sodium quantities are raised in the water, replacing the calcium. The water becomes softer but it is not recommended for drinking. The water conditioning process uses a magnetic or a radio field device that is attached to the pipes. The treated water is still drinkable. Both systems are effective and prevent successfully limescale buildup in the pipeworks.

The Conclusion

So, to sum it up, no one needs to put up with the adverse effects of hard water, running through our homes. But if you’ve left it a bit late, due to your busy schedule, and your home surfaces are badly suffering from limescale deposits, you can easily find a solution in our signature one-off spring cleaning service, which is designed to deep clean, delime and descale your home.