If you have hard water problems in your home, you’re already quite familiar with the trouble that it can cause. It’s not a health risk, but it can definitely affect the cleanliness of your dishes and laundry. There are a variety of different cleaning products available for sale on store shelves, but we’re going to show you a few ways to clean up calcium buildup using products that you already have on hand in your home. Here’s a look at the causes of calcium buildup, and a few ways that you can remove it from your faucet and aerator.
What Is Hard Water?
Hard water is caused by a buildup of calcium and lime deposits in your water pipes. Natural spring water and well water are stored within the earth and collect sediment along the way. Even treated water can still hold calcium in its soluble form. The most common way that hard water affects us in our homes is that it reduces the effectiveness of soap and creates unsightly buildup on glassware, sinks, and faucets. Hard water poses no known health risk, but calcium deposits are unsightly and they can clog up your sink aerator. They can also accumulate in your shower head and create uneven water distribution and water pressure problems.
You should always call a plumber when you encounter any major problems with your home plumbing, but calcium carbonate deposits and limescale are easy enough to clean up on your own. You won’t have to purchase any expensive products, because you already have all the ingredients on hand. You won’t need to buy any products, but you’ll need some patience and plenty of elbow grease to do a proper job!
Cleaning Stainless Steel Faucets
Stainless steel sinks and faucets look their best when they’re spotlessly clean, but hard water deposits can deposit unsightly chalky residue all over the place! The good news is that white vinegar is a highly effective cleaning product, and it’s completely safe to use around children and pets. You can also safely use vinegar to clean a copper sink.
You can use a soft, non-abrasive sponge, washcloth, or microfiber towel to clean up your sink and faucet. Just soak it with white vinegar and wipe the surfaces clean. You can also soak a towel and hang it over your sink for 30 minutes to an hour to break up the really stubborn deposits. The acidity of the vinegar will start a chemical reaction with the calcium carbonate deposits and release their grip on the faucet and other surfaces. Be sure to keep a spray bottle of white vinegar handy in the kitchen for future cleanup tasks as well.
Cleaning Your Aerator and Shower Heads
We’ve all put our thumb over the tip of our garden hoses from time to time to create a little extra water pressure, and a clogged aerator creates water pressure problems in the same way. Calcium and limescale can accumulate in the screens of the aerator over time, and you’ll need to remove them to clean them. Fill up a bowl with white vinegar and soak your aerators for at least 30 minutes.
While you’re at it, you can go ahead and remove your showerheads and soak them at the same time. You might need a pair of pliers or a special tool to remove your shower head, but be careful not to strip the showerhead or your faucet. You might need to spray some WD-40 or silicone lubricant to budge a stubborn shower head. Allow it to soak for a few seconds and apply gentle pressure to loosen the showerhead. You might need to soak your shower head and aerators overnight for best results.
After everything has soaked for a sufficient length of time, use a toothbrush or cleaning brush with soft bristles to scrub away any remaining loose particles. Rinse everything with hot water, and ensure that you have a tight seal when you reattach the aerators.
Cleaning your Aerators with Lemon Juice
If you don’t have any vinegar convenient, you can also clean away calcium and limescale accumulation with lemon juice. Citric acid reacts with calcium and lime in the same way as white vinegar, and it has a fresh and clean smell. It can also help keep away ants! Cut a lemon in half, and make a small incision to fit the size of your faucet head. Stick the lemon onto the faucet and cover it up with a paper towel or a plastic bag. Secure everything with a rubber band, and leave it in place for at least a couple of hours. After everything has soaked, use a toothbrush or microfiber cloth to scrub away any remaining residue.
Cleaning Your Faucet With Baking Soda Paste
You probably remember mixing vinegar and baking soda to make a volcano in science class, and you can use the same chemical reaction to remove calcium carbonate and limescale deposits from your faucets. To get started, you’ll need to mix up a small batch of paste by adding about 1/4 cup of white vinegar to ½ cup of baking soda, and about a tablespoon of olive oil. While the mixture is still frothy, use your sponge or microfiber cloth to spread it around your faucet. Apply liberally to the really grimy areas and allow it all to sit for at least ten minutes. Use your sponge or your toothbrush to wipe away the remaining residue, and use paper towels or a microfiber cloth to wipe all of the surfaces dry and buff your faucets to a shine.
A Few Tips to Prevent Future Calcium Buildup
Once you’ve thoroughly cleaned up your sink and faucets, the hard work is done. Just be sure to remain vigilant to prevent future buildup. Calcium deposits take time to form, and you might not notice them all at once. Just be sure to test your faucets on a regular basis and deal with visible deposits right away.
Installing a water softener system is a great investment for homeowners who have persistent hard water problems in their homes. A water softener uses an ionization process that safely eliminates suspended magnesium and calcium in your water. They’re a significant expense, but they offer a lot of long-term benefits. The cost of water softener systems is also likely to continue decreasing as more homeowners purchase and install them in their homes.
If a water softener system is currently out of your price range, be sure to keep a spray bottle of white vinegar or lemon juice handy to spot clean affected areas. You should also keep a melamine foam sponge handy, and make sure to always dry the sink and faucet with a clean microfiber towel after each use. These tips are also just as useful for cleaning up your toilets, showers, and bathtubs!
Sunrise Plumbing has been offering top-quality plumbing services in Rockwall, Texas, since 2013. We’re always here to help if you encounter any calcium buildup problems that you can’t resolve on your own. You can deep clean all you want, but if you have a problem deeper in your pipes it’s probably time to schedule a service appointment. We bill for all of our plumbing services according to standard labor rates, and we have an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau! Contact Sunrise Plumbing today to schedule a service call or a free no-obligation estimate for a new hot water heater in Rockwall, TX, or in the Dallas metropolitan area.