How To Remove Limescale

Learn all about limescale, hard water and how to eliminate them.

Effective Ways To Remove Limescale Buildup

Unsightly in the short run and potentially damaging in the long run, limescale can be tough to eliminate. Here are the best strategies to tackle limescale and descale your bathroom and appliances.

What Is Limescale?

Limescale is formed from the deposits in “hard” water, which is high in dissolved minerals, mostly calcium and magnesium. When heated, calcium carbonate and magnesium carbonate are removed from the water and produce a scale buildup in our household appliances.

What Does Limescale Do?

Limescale causes a hard, brownish buildup on and around faucets, shower fixtures, sinks, inside kettles and hot water heaters. Not only is it unsightly, it affects performance. A large scale buildup slows the heating process and requires more energy to heat water.

It clogs up the little holes in shower heads, reducing water power/pressure.

A buildup of limescale in electric kettles, washing machines, and hot water heaters affects efficiency and energy usage. Water heaters with large accumulations of mineral buildup will have shorter life spans. Scale deposits also corrode and plug plumbing fixtures.


Possible Solutions To Soften Hard Water

You can install a water softener system, designed to eliminate hard water, as well as the build up of limescale. Extend the life of your household’s plumbing and appliances by getting rid of the calcium and magnesium ions, salt and sediments in your water supply.

Alternatively, you may want to use water softening agents in your washing machines and dishwashers. Hard water problems can be reduced by using detergents that include water softening chemicals in their formulation. Some types of chemicals can be added to hard water to reduce the negative effect from calcium and magnesium.

How To Remove Limescale?

As limescale is mostly calcium, which is an alkali, it needs an acid to dissolve it. Though there are many efficient descaling products on the market, vinegar is a cheaper and simpler alternative.

Sinks, Showers, Bathtubs

Spray regularly with a diluted vinegar.

Leave on for a few minutes before rinsing off.



Soak the shower head in a solution of 1 part water and 1 part vinegar.

Scrub off any remaining deposits using a toothbrush.

If necessary, use a needle or pin to poke deposits out of the holes.

Faucets/Taps/Shower Mixers

Fill a plastic bag of cotton wool soaked in vinegar.

Place the bag over the faucet/tap, making sure the vinegary cotton wool touches the affected parts.

Tie with a rubber band and leave overnight.


Do note that though vinegar is an effective limescale remover, it is still an acid. If used too strong, or for too long, the acid will eat into the surface of an enamel sink or bathtub – causing it to look dull and making it less resistant to dirt.