How to remove calcium buildup on faucets using household items

How to remove calcium buildup on faucets using household items

Calcium buildup, often called limescale, comes from water that carries dissolved calcium salts (calcium carbonate or calcium bicarbonate). Water high in calcium and other minerals is called hard water. If your water is hard, you’ll notice a lot of white buildup or scale around your faucets and drains, as well as in your appliances that use water. If your water contains a lot of iron as well, the buildup may take on a rusty or yellow hue and could stain your sink. To remove the calcium buildup / limescale from your faucet, gather these few household items:

  • Paper towels or strips of soft rags
  • Rubber bands
  • Sandwich-sized plastic bags
  • Sponge or textured cloth
  • Optional: magic eraser; store-bought cleaner for calcium, lime, and rust*
  • White vinegar

*White vinegar is usually sufficient to remove the calcium buildup, but if you plan to use store-bought cleaners with these instructions, be sure to wear rubber gloves and avoid breathing the fumes as you clean.

How to Clean Calcium Buildup

After you’ve gathered your supplies, clean the exterior of the faucet: Soak several paper towels or strips of rags in the white vinegar. Wrap them around all the problem areas of the faucet and secure them with rubber bands. Let them sit for at least an hour. Next, wipe the faucet clean with a wet sponge or cloth. You may use a magic eraser at this time if the sponge or clothisn’t cleaning sufficiently. Finally, dry the faucet completely.

Calcium buildup also affects the ends of faucets or shower heads and the aerators inside. You may even notice that the buildup is partially clogging the faucet and causing the water to trickle unevenly rather than flow. To clean the end of your faucet and hopefully reach the grimy aerator, fill a sandwich bag with vinegar, and secure it onto the end of the faucet with a rubber band. The faucet tip should be fully submerged so that the vinegar goes inside the faucet as far as possible. Leave the bag there for an hour or two, and then wipe the faucet with a sponge, cloth, or magic eraser. Let the faucet dry before you run the water again. If you still have water flow issues after you’ve soaked the end of the faucet, you might need to disassemble the faucet and soak the aerator (and any other scale-caked elements) in vinegar before scrubbing it clean.

Prevent Calcium Buildup on Faucets – and in Pipes!

Calcium buildup can also clog pipes, affect water pressure, and eventually require pipe replacement. The best way to prevent calcium buildup and maximize the life of your plumbing system is to have a water softener installed.

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