Cleaning Guides

How to Remove Limescale from Taps

Limescale is one of the most frustrating things to remove when cleaning taps and sinks. The harder you scrape, the harder it is to remove and, often in the process, you damage the surface you’re supposedly cleaning. The thing is, you need to clean smarter, not harder. So, if you:

  • Notice that your running water is slightly slower than it used to be;
  • Can’t remove the limescale with traditional cleaning methods,

Then, read along and learn how to remove limescale from taps.

What is limescale and what problems does it cause?

Limescale is a white, chalky build-up that consists of calcium carbonate. It is the result of evaporating water that contains that same element. We call this “hard water”. 

Limescale builds on every surface it touches, such as inside pipes, kettles, boilers, and in and around taps, sinks, and bathtubs. Generally, wherever there is warm hard water, there is also limescale build-up.

Limescale can reduce the efficiency of your home a great deal. It reduces water flow in pipes and can eventually result in blockages and cracks. It prevents heat transfer in electronic appliances, such as kettles and boilers. The result is more extended use of appliances and higher utility bills, but unchanged or even lowered efficiency. Cleaning the taps of limescale regularly is crucial, so we’ve added it to the bathroom cleaning checklist.

As far as your health goes, limescale is not harmful. However, it can make your skin dry. If you live in an area with very hard water, consider using a moisturising soap. If you are not sure whether you have medium or hard water, check this hard water map by Bristan where you will find information on every major city in the UK.

Items for a natural limescale remover

Instead of jumping to commercial products, you can first try some of the items you already have at home. They will be just as good but less hazardous to your children and pets. The only two ingredients you will need are:

  • Lemon juice
  • White vinegar

These two contain citric acid, which will break down limescale deposits without damaging surfaces. Lemon juice also smells nice, so there’s that. Mind you; it won’t be as easy as spraying some lemon juice on the surface and simply wiping it away. The ingredients need time to break down the deposits. The hardest part will be making sure they stay in place long enough to do their job.

How to remove limescale from chrome taps

Chome is a soft metal and very easy to scratch. The finish can be damaged by prolonged exposure to white vinegar, so the best way to clean chrome taps is with lemon juice.

  1. Slice a fresh lemon in half crosswise. An old lemon can also suffice, provided it still has juice in it. Make a fresh cut and squeeze gently to find out.
  2. Push the piece of lemon with the cut side into the tap spout. The tap spout needs to sink into the lemon slightly, so don’t be afraid to push and rotate the slice back and forth. The tap needs to stay “submerged” like this for the juices to break down the limescale. 
  3. Fasten the slice as best as you can, so it doesn’t fall off. Put a plastic bag around the neck of the tap and tie it with a rubber band, making sure the lemon slice is still where it needs to be.
  4. Leave it like that overnight. If you only have a slight build-up of limescale, a few hours will be enough. If you have lots of build-up, then leaving the lemon overnight is recommended.
  5. Discard the lemon and plastic bag.
  6. Scrub the tab with an old, clean toothbrush. The limescale will fall right off.
  7. Use a needle or the sharp point of a safety pin to clean spray holes where the limescale has still not fallen off.
  8. Wash the tap with fresh hot water to remove any remaining lemon juice and small leftover pieces.

While you can clean the taps regularly with lemons, it’s much easier to just use white vinegar and water. Check our post on how to clean chrome taps for more information.

How to remove limescale from brass taps

Lemon juice works for chrome, but it can cause damage to brass. That’s why if you have brass taps, you need to clean them with a white vinegar solution.

  1. Mix one part of white vinegar and one part of water in a container.
  2. Soak a clean rag into the mix.
  3. Scrub the limescale as much as you can.
  4. Tie the rag around the areas where there’s limescale build-up.
  5. Leave for a few hours or overnight.

It’s important for the vinegar to be diluted, otherwise, it may tarnish your brass taps. Another alternative is to make a paste of one part white vinegar and two parts baking soda. Rub the paste into build-up stains and rinse after 30 minutes.

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Hire professionals

If you don’t feel like waiting for a slice of lemon to loosen limescale build-up and wish to spend your time on more pleasurable activities, then you can always hire professionals. Fantastic Services works with professional cleaners who are very experienced and fully equipped. Rest assured your taps will look like new! You can also book either a one-off cleaning or a regular service, depending on your needs and schedule.


  • Limescape cannot simply be brushed away, it needs to be loosened beforehand.
  • Use lemon juice to remove limescale from chrome taps.
  • Use diluted vinegar for brass taps.
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