How to remove limescale from taps: on or inside your faucets

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If you’ve noticed limescale deposits on your spouts, it’s time to find out how to remove limescale from your faucet. Aside from looking dirty, calcium carbonate buildup can increase your water bill because the scaly bits make it difficult for water to flow.

You could have the best bathroom fixtures, but if they’re clogged with limescale, they won’t deliver the polished aesthetic you envisioned.

Luckily, you don’t need a plumber to get rid of this plaque-like substance, nor do you need to buy harsh chemicals to treat your faucets. Because we’ve got some of the best bathroom cleaning hacks up our sleeves (if we say so ourselves), plus tips to prevent it from forming in the first place.

Whether you have a thick layer of calcified contents or are just starting to see limescale stains, we’ll show you how to remove limescale on and inside your faucet.

The most important thing for removing limescale

A modern kitchen with a white butler sink, round kitchen faucet, fruit bowl, flower vase and shelving with framed wall art decor

(Photo credit: Adelina Iliev)

1. Make limescale disappear with vinegar and lemon

Anything acidic is great for breaking down mineral deposits like limescale. But you don’t have to go through the hassle of getting professional chemicals to combat your faucets. Cleaning with vinegar or leftover pickling liquid will erode any buildup and using lemon to clean is the perfect accomplice.

However, remember that if you have one of those pliable faucets with a rubber component, it’s on the list of things not to clean with vinegar. Vinegar will damage rubber with prolonged or frequent contact.

“Faucets are one of the more difficult bathroom fixtures to clean,” warns Emma Foster, Senior Marketing Manager, Mira Showers (opens in new tab).

“Lemon juice or vinegar will drip off when sprayed, not giving the acid enough time to work its magic on the scales. You’ll often notice white buildup on the sink, so it’s a good idea to target that area.’

She presents a simple six-step guide to keeping your faucets clean and lime-free.

Method:

  1. Soak a rag or cloth in vinegar or lemon juice and wrap it around your faucet, making sure all areas are covered.
  2. Secure the cloth with a rubber band and leave it on for an hour.
  3. Squeeze the cloth occasionally to add more acid to the faucet.
  4. Remove the cloth and wipe off the limescale.
  5. If you still can’t completely remove the limescale around the spout, cut a lemon in half and screw it onto the spout until it stays in place.
  6. Leave it on for another hour and then rinse and scrub away any remaining buildup. For stubborn limescale, use a scouring pad, but only on the underside of the spout as it can scratch the surface of the faucet itself.

A modern kitchen with terrazzo motif countertops and backsplash with black mixer tap

(Image credit: Chris Snook)

2. Create a DIY limescale remover using diluted vinegar

As an alternative DIY descaler, make a diluted vinegar solution with water and vinegar and pour this into an inexpensive glass spray bottle (opens in new tab) for an easier, more even application that doesn’t require citrus.

A modern traditional white bathroom with subway tile decor, yellow wall decor, white ceramic sink and two faucets with circular mirror decor

(Image credit: Kasia Fiszer)

3. Remove limescale stains with baking soda

Using baking soda to clean is one of the most environmentally friendly ways to remove limescale stains (and it’s cheap too!). So for sparkling kitchen fixtures, get some sodium bicarbonate and you’re sorted.

Method:

  1. To remove limescale stains with baking soda, simply mix three tablespoons of baking soda with one tablespoon of water in a bowl. The mixture should be a bit pasty.
  2. Then apply to the stain to be treated and allow to dry. With an old toothbrush (or a cheap one from Amazon (opens in new tab)), rub the treated area until it is removed.

4. Use a copper coin to scrape off limescale

Here at Real Homes it’s all about the cheap hacks… but this is one of the most economical to date! All you have to do is raid your piggy bank (or random drawer) to find a copper coin (and you don’t even have to spend it).

Just wet the coin (with water from your faucet, duh) and then use the copper bit to scrape the surface of the faucet. If the scale is on the front of your faucet, you should try an inconspicuous spot underneath it first, just to make sure you don’t damage the metal coating.

A brass faucet in the kitchen with white tile décor and a selection of pastel colored planters and vases sitting on a ledge with a teal window frame

(Image credit: Kasia Fizser)

5. Fight lime stains with toothpaste

Yes, the paste you use to give you a bright smile can also remove stubborn calcium deposits. Taps and teeth have something in common: they can both form tartar. So next time you brush your teeth, try using your toothpaste on your bathroom fixtures. No need to waste your specialty whitening or activated charcoal product for your faucets, Colgate’s regular products on Amazon (opens in new tab) will work just as well.

6. Wipe scale off faucets with WD-40

Is there anything this multipurpose product can’t do? While you shouldn’t use WD-40 (opens in new tab) on anything electronic or plastic – it’s a great buy for removing limescale from faucets, and the little red smart straw that comes with it means you can get right into the nooks and crannies of your faucet, and even into it can reach.

If you’re using it to clean your kitchen faucets (or anywhere with drinking water), it’s best to leave your faucet running for a while to make sure you don’t ingest the petroleum-derived lube.

Stardrops The Pink Stuff Miracle Cleansing Paste Tin

(Image credit: Amazon)

7. Use a commercially available limescale remover

There are many good cleaning products that claim to remove the best stains. But instead of using an expensive cleaner, get the best bang for your buck with a multi-purpose product that you can use anywhere in the home — not just on your faucets.

Cleanfluncer Mrs. Hinch (and our Lindsey Davis) swear by Stardrops – The Pink Stuff Miracle cleaning paste (opens in new tab). It even made our list of best cleaning supplies, but you can also try Bar Keeper’s Friend (opens in new tab)or The Method Shower Cleaner (opens in new tab)making your taps smell like passion fruit or ylang-ylang.

Tulip flowers in a vase alongside orange and lemon citrus fruits in a bowl on a white kitchen surface

(Image credit: Future)

How do you remove scale from chrome fittings?

Chrome is a fairly forgiving material, but you should still handle it with care to maintain that mirror shine. The key is to use gentle acids such as those found naturally in your favorite fruits.

“I love having a bowl full of lemons in my house, not only do they brighten up my kitchen but they can also be very handy and help with cleaning,” says Lynsey Crombie, aka the Lynsey Queen of Clean (opens in new tab).

“Making changes like this and using fewer toxins is so good for you and the environment. Not only do lemons smell lovely, but they can really help improve shine.”

“Lemon is great at fighting limescale. For scale on your faucets, simply cut your lemon in half and run the lemon all over the faucet where the scale is present. Leave the lemon on the faucet for a while to let it work, then rinse it off. You may need to repeat this process.’

We’re all about making lasting changes to our cleaning regimen, and it seems the experts know the best eco-friendly cleaning products too.

A person using a water softener located under the kitchen sink

(Image credit: Harvey Water Softener)

This is how you avoid limescale deposits on the taps

If the scale on your faucets is getting worse, you may be living in a hard water area. Simply put, this means that your H₂O supply contains high levels of minerals such as calcium and magnesium carbonates, bicarbonates and sulfates. While drinking this water has many health benefits, it doesn’t look great on your faucet.

You can prevent it from building up by making sure you wipe down the surfaces right after use. This may involve cleaning a shower with a cloth, towel, or rag to keep your showerhead from dripping onto your faucet.

Scale increases your energy bills and can affect the performance of your favorite shampoos and shower gels. So if you want to save on your electricity and other household bills (opens in new tab)Consider investing in a water softener (Kinetico (opens in new tab) is available in the US and UK, or you could try Harvey Water Softener – the UK’s #1 water softener (opens in new tab)).

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