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Limescale is not something I ever came across in the North of England from whence I hail. Water in the North is lovely and soft and the further north you go the softer it is. Soft water does not create limescale! I forget when I go back to use less shampoo, so my head ends up looking like snowball! Once it is washed though, it ends up much shinier and softer than usual.
As a cleaning company based in Norwich, in the South East of England, we have had to find ways of tackling it, because unless you have a water softener installed it is an issue in all our customers’ homes. If not kept in check it looks unsightly and can have practical implications.
For example, one of our customers who had a build up of scale from years of non-removal barely had a trickle coming from his kitchen tap, plus the plughole had practically disintegrated. It almost took a hammer and chisel to remove the bulk of it. It might not be everybody’s cup of tea but the satisfaction as the lumps of scale fell into the sink revealing the shiny chrome underneath was brilliant, not to mention the free running water.
If you have a problem with limescale and hard water, read Clear Interiors’ tips below or contact us to book a clean. Let us tackle it for you!
What is hard water?
Hard water contains higher levels of dissolved minerals such as calcium and magnesium. As water is a solvent, it easily collects impurities such as these as it runs through rocks and soil. Water becomes harder as the mineral content increases. The build up of limescale is where the calcium and magnesium has deposited.
What problems does it cause?
Hard water can make your clothes stiffer when they have been washed and can damage the fibres of clothes, giving them a shorter lifespan.
Washing hair and skin in hard water can mean that not all soap is removed. This can lead to skin irritations and dull looking hair.
Limescale can damage your pipes and appliances that use water such as your washing machine and kettle. Deposits of limescale can reduce the flow of water and can ultimately cause appliances to break and bring about the need for water pipes to be replaced.
On the plus side in some areas the high content of magnesium and calcium in the water means when people are drinking it regularly it is contributing towards their daily requirements of these minerals.
How do I minimise the effects of hard water?
Make sure you read the labels on your laundry detergent. They often have instructions for use in hard water areas. Alternatively you may need to use a little more detergent than is recommended to get a good clean.
You could invest in an Eco Ball. These replace your detergent and fabric conditioner so there aren’t suds clinging to your clothes. They do less damage to the fibres, giving clothes a longer shelf life. They’re better for the environment, last a long time and don’t cost much!
Reduce the temperature of your boiler as mineral deposits are going to be greater when boilers are set at higher temperatures. 55 degrees celsius should be sufficient.
How do I remove limescale once it has built up?
– These are usually due to hard water deposits, rust or just poor cleaning. Most stains can be treated with neat white distilled vinegar or with a paste made of borax powder and lemon juice. Rub the vinegar or paste onto the stain, let it dry and then rinse thoroughly. In order to completely remove the stain it may be necessary to repeat the treatment a few times.
– If you have hard water deposits around the shower stall or a sink faucet, treat this by soaking a cloth in neat vinegar and laying it over the area for as long as possible. Next scrub the area with a cleaning agent and rinse thoroughly.
– Before tackling the toilet, make sure you empty the bowl of as much water as possible by turning off the water source and then flushing the toilet. Next, always give the bowl a general clean first. Use liberal amounts of cleaning agent or disinfectant and a bowl brush, which should be all-plastic (avoid the toilet brushes with metal wires as these can scratch and permanently damage a toilet). To treat any remaining stains, pour a large quantity of bleach, or vinegar into the bowl and leave, possibly overnight and flush away in the morning. Stains which are more stubborn may need to be scrubbed with some borax powder and then left for at least half an hour before flushing away. Borax powder is a made from the naturally occurring mineral sodium borate.
– If your kettle is getting a build up of limescale, fill it with 2/3 cool water and 1/3 white vinegar. Bring it to the boil and make it continue to boil for 10 minutes. Leave it to cool before checking whether the limescale is flaking off into the water. If there is a large build up, you may need to repeat these steps a couple of times or leave the solution in the kettle overnight. When you empty the kettle it might be useful to give it a wash with a mild detergent and rinse it thoroughly.