Advice on Limescale

Drinking water in Colchester is of a very high quality but if you are concerned about whether you have hard water. The detail below answers the questions most often asked.


What causes hard water?
Water that is hard contains calcium and magnesium compounds. Rain water is naturally soft – it does not contain any minerals, but as it seeps through the ground it can pick up minerals, such as calcium and magnesium compounds, from the soil and rocks it passes through. If rain water passes through soft rocks like chalk or limestone, it picks up these minerals. If it passes through hard rocks, such as granite or through peaty soils, it does not pick up these minerals and so remains soft…… basically we have hard water here in Colchester!


What are the problems with hard water?
Hard water can cause pipes to fur up and scale to collect in kettles, electric irons and washing machines. If the scale collects on heating elements it can shorten their life and make such appliances less efficient. It is also more difficult to work up a lather from soap, washing up liquid and washing powders. It can also cause “tide marks” on basins, sinks, baths and toilets. (see a guide below on how best to get rid of these marks and prevent them in the future)


To clean faucets
Soak a rag or paper towel in vinegar and wrap around your faucet. Secure in place with a rubber band or hair clip. Let sit for an hour before wiping the faucet clean with a soft cloth. The Ultimate Accidental Housewife by Julie Edelman also suggests creating a paste with 3-parts baking soda to 1-part water. Apply the paste to the faucet, leave it on for an hour, and wipe it clean.

To clean kettles
Use 2-tbsp. of water softener in a full kettle of water and boil the solution for 2-3 minutes. Repeat if necessary and then rinse out the kettle with clean water. You can also fill your kettle with equal parts vinegar and water, bring the solution to a boil, and leave it overnight. Don’t forget to rinse it out in the morning!

To clean aluminium percolators
Never use bleach on aluminium appliances. Fill the percolator with water and add 1/4-c. cream of tartar. Run the appliance through for one cycle and then rinse well with hot water.

To clean coffeemakers
Fill the reservoir with water and 2-tbsp. water softener. Run the appliance through for one cycle and then again with clean water. Haley’s Cleaning Tips by Rosemary and Graham Haley also recommends filling it with white vinegar, running it through once, and then running it through twice with clean water. You may also fill with hot water and one regular denture cleaning tablet. Run it through once and once again with clean water.

To clean sinks and tubs
Spray with either vinegar or lemon juice. You may also use a paste of cream of tartar and water. Let sit for 30 minutes before scrubbing clean with a sponge or soft cloth.

To clean toilets
Mix a solution of equal parts white vinegar and borax. Drain the toilet bowl and pour solution in. Leave it in for 2 hours before scrubbing clean with a toilet brush. You can also add 3-c. of undiluted white vinegar to your full toilet bowl and scrub it clean.

To clean windows and shower doors
Spraying white vinegar on your windows and shower doors can remove mineral stains left from hard water. You can use leftover white wine to remove lime scale from glass.

To clean a washing machine
Remove hard water stains from the inside of your washing machine by pouring in 1-gal. of white vinegar and running it on the hot water cycle without any clothes inside.

 Other good limescale products to use are: 

  • Cillit Bang Power Limescale & Shine Cleaner
  • Domestos Zero Limescale Remover Ocean
  • Domestos Zero Toilet Limescale Remover
  • Harpic 100% Limescale Remover Fresh
  • Supermarket own brands work just as well too.

Of course we are always on hand with useful tips for all our tenants and landlords, if there is something you wish to know about then please do ask and we will give you the best advice.