If you have an older faucet or sink, or you have hard water in your home, you probably feel as though your water fixtures need cleaning fairly often. You may also notice that the source of the dingy appearance is a green or white chalky film that’s usually centered either around the handle and knobs or nozzle on your faucet. This substance is called limescale, and it can make even a sparkling clean bathroom look dirty and neglected. As a result, many homeowners do everything they can to prevent it, but few know how to do it properly and thus spend a lot of unnecessary time and work doing so. Then, once it’s finally removed, they become discouraged when it almost immediately returns. If you are dealing with this issue, this blog is for you. Here are a few tips for cleaning limescale and then keeping it away.
What Causes Limescale?
Limescale is a big concern for homeowners who aren’t really sure what it is. We are often asked whether limescale means the water coming from a customer’s pipes means it’s contaminated and unsafe for use. Have no fear, your water is most likely totally safe (if it’s not, that’s an entirely unrelated issue). Limescale is actually a by-product of clean water that simply has a higher concentration of certain minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and iron, a condition known as “hard water”. You actually need these minerals in your body to live, so in a way this is a good thing, but hard water does have some negative consequences. For one, the minerals in your water will affect its taste, which could impact your cooking, leave water spots on your dishes, cause your clothes to seem dingy and scratchy after a few cycles in the wash, and even make your skin dry out.
Over time, the minerals in hard water build up are deposited on a surface, often one they can easily bond with like metallic faucets, shower heads, and pipe joints. After a while, the concentration becomes so great that you get the unsightly looking limescale finish you’re dealing with.
Dissolving the Problem Away
What makes limescale so hard to remove? Well, it’s composed of minerals, and minerals don’t just wipe away easily, especially not without something to help dissolve them. The best way to deal with this problem is to scrub it away with a mildly-acidic solution. Vinegar works great for this. Simply remove the affected showerheads, faucets, and other fixtures that have caked on limescale, put them in a bucket of vinegar (you’ll need quite a bit, obviously) and leave them for at least an hour. After a while, the limescale should flake right off with a little scrubbing, which you can do with an old toothbrush.
If that doesn’t work, step up your game a bit. A chemical cleaning solution that’s designed for removing calcium, lime, and rust should take care of the issue quickly, but bear in mind these are much harsher chemicals, so you should use them sparingly and avoid having them contact your bare skin. Wear disposable rubber or latex gloves when using these solutions.
Finally, if you can’t remove your fixtures, soak an old rag in vinegar and wrap it around the faucet or showerhead for about an hour. However, make sure you open a window or two: vinegar doesn’t smell pleasant and it will spread throughout your house while you’re doing this.
Keeping Your Fixtures Clean
If limescale doesn’t seem to stay away for more than a few months, you may have a serious hard water problem. As stated, that’s not necessarily detrimental to your health, but it does have some consequences that can be annoying for homeowners, and even result in costly repairs. If left unchecked, mineral buildup can slowly close off a pipe in your wall, resulting in an extremely expensive repair service. That means prevention is key.
If this sounds like a problem you’re having, call a San Fernando Valley plumber and ask about water softening solutions. There are many different ways you can help remove some of these deposits from your water, including whole-home filtration systems, reverse-osmosis filters, and more. Ask a professional about the best solution for your home and start living without worrying about the next time you have to take your bathroom apart to remove limescale buildup.Call Duran & Sons Universal Plumbing & Rooter today at (818) 946-0545 and ask about the great water softening solutions we can provide you and your home! Schedule a service today.