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:
- White vinegar
- 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 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 cloth isn’t cleaning sufficiently. Finally, dry the faucet completely.
Calcium buildup also affects the ends of faucets or showerheads 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. If you already have one, keep it well maintained so it performs well. Mr. Rooter has years of experience in water softener installations and repairs, and we have locations all over the country. We can explain your options for water softeners that are compatible with your plumbing system and your budget.
If cleaning your faucets does not improve your water pressure, your pipes may be caked with limescale, or there could be another issue. Ask your local Mr. Rooter Plumbing for a plumbing inspection and consultation. Whether you need pipe replacements or a simpler repair, our plumbing pros will provide honest advice and quality service every time. Schedule an appointment online or call (855) 982-2028 for 24/7 emergency service.
For more natural, safe cleaning options for your faucet and sink, check out Molly Maid’s tips for how to clean a sink without harsh chemicals. Molly Maid is one of our sister companies in the Neighborly network of trusted home services providers. Molly Maid offers residential maid services that match your schedule and budget.