How to Get Rid of Lime Deposits
While regular cleaning can prevent the build up of lime scale, also known as “hard water”, there are times that even regular cleaning cannot remove what has become white scaling along the surface of your sink, shower or toilet. Items such as shower heads or coffee pots are often affected as well.
The cause of lime scale is usually the build up of calcium and magnesium in the water. When these levels are high enough over time they begin to concentrate on the materials your water comes into contact with. While mostly an eyesore, they can build up enough to clog your shower-heads reducing the water efficiency.
The simplest way to attempt removal is to utilize a common household acid, vinegar. For sinks, toilets and tubs fill with water as high as possible and add an appropriate amount of vinegar and allow to sit overnight. An appropriate amount of vinegar would be as little as 1 cup for a sink or toilet or half gallon for larger tub. Drain, rinse and scrub the surfaces. For those stubborn stains, mix together a paste of vinegar and baking soda and again allow to sit overnight. Follow this up with another scrub and rinse. Not all hard water stains can be removed. Mineral deposits can be dissolved, however, sometimes the metals in the water bonds with surfaces can leave permanent stains. Oft times it can etch into glass causing significant damage.
Fixed faucets and shower-heads can be difficult to treat but not impossible. Soaking a cloth or paper towel in vinegar and wrapping around the item securing with rubber band if needed, can work quite well. Add more vinegar to the wrap as needed. Using an old tooth brush can aid in the scrubbing power. Be sure to rinse thoroughly as the acid can continue to eat away at the surface if not properly rinsed.
There are commercial products designed to remove lime deposit and may be used if the label says it is safe for the surface. Do not use acids on fiberglass, nor any commercial product unless label says safe for fiberglass. A common commercial product is C-L-R and many rave about its effects on lime and rust stains. However, be sure to use good ventilation when using these products.
A little effort can go a long way to bringing your surfaces back to pristine condition. If you are without vinegar another acid can be substituted, such as lemon juice. It might take a few days of soaking and scrubbing but the results will be worth it.