Maintaining your home can be overwhelming at times. From mowing the lawn and trimming bushes to repairing warped deck boards, the challenging nature of home ownership is easy to see. You probably place cleaning at the top of your maintenance list, but understanding why and how you need to clean certain areas of the home is smart. Considering your faucets and showerheads are key parts of your home and everyday life, ensuring they are clean and functional is essential. Unfortunately, limescale is a common problem that can decrease the look of these plumbing fixtures while increasing the risk of permanent damage. Of course, you may not realize lime scale is affecting your fixtures. With this guide, you will learn the signs, causes, dangers, and removal options for limescale on your plumbing fixtures.
The 411 on Limescale
Most homeowners are not familiar with the quality of their water. While difficult to prevent, minerals, sediments, and even some chemicals will end up in your home's water supply, affecting its quality. If you notice a foul smell in your water or you see sediments or discoloration, you should consider having the water professionally tested.
The different minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, iron, and copper, that are found in your water can cause lime deposits to build up in your pipes and in your water. Over time, these lime deposits will make their way onto the actual exterior of your water fixtures.
If you notice a white or green chalky residue on your faucets and showerheads, it is most likely limescale.
You may also notice your water quality has an abnormal taste. In addition, bathing in or washing your clothes in water with high levels of these lime deposits may irritate your skin and eyes, causing allergic reactions and discomfort.
Removing Limescale from Fixtures
Allowing the limescale to remain on your fixtures can become problematic. Over time, the residue will begin corroding your plumbing fixtures, increasing the risk of leaks. Also, the buildup of the limescale inside your faucets and drains can cause clogs, which may be difficult and costly to remove.
Prevention is your best weapon against limescale. If you are continuously noticing the residue on your fixtures, consider having a water softener system installed. This system will mix your water with a solution containing sodium to counteract the effects of the lime and other mineral deposits.
Water softener systems are beneficial for improving your overall water quality, ensuring it is safe to use and drink without any worry of unappealing tastes, foul odors, allergic reactions, and limescale residue.
Removing the limescale from your fixtures may seem complicated, but vinegar and a bit of time are all you need for the task.
Uninstall your fixtures and place them in a bucket of vinegar to soak. Submerging the fixtures in the bucket for about an hour is usually sufficient. The vinegar's acidic properties will eat through the chalky residue without the use of toxic chemicals.
After the time is up, remove the fixtures from the bucket and rinse with water. Use a microfiber cloth to wipe down the fixtures. If necessary, apply more vinegar to stubborn areas and rub the limescale off with a clean cloth.
Limescale in Appliances
When cleaning, make sure to spend some time on your dishwasher and washing machine, as well, since water must run through these appliances.
Mineral deposits may leave streaks on your dishes and glasses and discolor clothing in your washing machine, so removing the buildup in these appliances is necessary.
Add vinegar to the rinse-aid compartment of your dishwasher before running an empty cycle. In your washing machine, add vinegar to your detergent or bleach compartment before running an empty load.
Limescale is unattractive, but it can also affect the function of your plumbing fixtures. This guide and your plumber's help will guide you in the right direction-away from limescale.