Want to know how to get rid of limescale? Many of us in the UK have hard, or medium hard, water. You might prefer the taste to the soft version, but when it comes to keeping your home clean and your appliances in good working order, the downside of some hard water becomes apparent.
Limescale can coat kettles, slow down coffee machines, clog irons and shower heads, and build up in large appliances like the washing machine and dishwasher, as well as on your bathroom fixtures and fittings.
To keep everything working – and looking – as it should, and the fur out of your brews, limescale removal is a job that needs to be done. Jump to read our tips on how to make limescale remover. Or, keep scrolling to discover how to get rid of limescale around your home.
Find more tips, hacks and expert advice on our cleaning hub page.
How to get rid of limescale
Get rid of limescale in the dishwasher
You could go with the branded cleaner from your dishwasher manufacturer, or a proprietary cleaner, but if you’re after a store cupboard solution, white vinegar is your go-to. Fill a large dishwasher-proof cup with the liquid, add it to the top basket, and run a cycle without detergent (or any dishes, of course).
Get rid of limescale in the washing machine
As for your washing machine, there are plenty of products around, but white vinegar will do the job a treat, too. Add a large cup to the detergent drawer and run a hot wash cycle. Keep your clothes out of the equation for this wash, of course.
If your washing machine manufacturer discourages the use of vinegar in the machine, we've tried out the best washing machine cleaners. Our favourite is Calgon Washing Machine Tablets 2 in 1, as they not only clean inside the appliance but help to protect the drum and any plastic parts from limescale build-up, too.
Find out how to clean a washing machine from top to bottom in our guide.
Get rid of limescale in a kettle
OK, you guessed it. Vinegar will also remove the limescale from your kettle. Rinse out the loose flakes, add a half and half white vinegar and water mixture to the kettle, boil, and leave to stand for 30 minutes. Rinse and boil with clean water then discard contents twice.
Find out more ways to clean yours in our guide to how to clean a kettle.
Get rid of limescale in a coffee machine
Yes, vinegar will sort out your coffee machine, too (but some manufacturers do warn it can damage the machine and invalidate the warranty, so check the manual, and if necessary use a recommended product, according to instructions). For a filter machine, half fill the water compartment with white vinegar and add water to get it to the maximum level. Run a brewing cycle, then repeat with plain water twice to rinse.
How to clean a coffee machine – our guide will give you more options.
Get rid of limescale in an iron
Vinegar? Yes, it’ll work but we have to say that we’re fans of Oust All Purpose Descaler, which is recommended by many manufacturers. It just takes 10 minutes to do its job, to which we say, hurrah.
How to clean an iron – our definitive guide.
Get rid of limescale in toilets
Our favourite eco remedy? Yes, white vinegar around the limescale-encrusted bowl and rim, left overnight, scubbed with a toilet brush, then flushed. Our top product? HG Professional Limescale Remover. You can use it diluted, or neat, depending on the severity of the problem. Apply with a sponge (wear gloves), leave for a few minutes then wipe off or rinse with water.
Find more of the best toilet cleaners in our guide.
Get rid of limescale on a shower head
The shower head is a tricky customer – but you can say goodbye to limescale deposits there with this neat trick. Make up a half and half white vinegar and water solution, and put in a plastic bag large enough for the shower head. Submerge the shower head in the bag, secure with string and leave to soak for 30 minutes. Turn on the shower to remove any remaining limescale.
Get rid of limescale on taps
Like the shower head, taps need an approach that keeps the cleaner in contact with the surface. Our top strategy? Soak a cloth in white vinegar and wrap it around the tap, making sure every part is in contact with the cloth. Leave for an hour, then rinse. Repeat if necessary for any stubborn limescale. Don’t use this method on plated taps, though.
Get rid of limescale on tiles
You can use a half and half white vinegar and water solution on tiles. Apply with a cloth, or try a spray bottle. Particularly scaley? Use neat vinegar, then rinse.
Get rid of limescale from a bath and sink
If your bath is made of enamel, swerve neat vinegar. You could try a half and half white vinegar and water solution, but make sure you apply it to the limescale only (not the surrounding areas of bath) using a soft cloth. Keep rinsing and re-applying and rinse again thoroughly when you’re done. For acrylic baths, and basins, apply a half and half solution of vinegar and water from a spray bottle, leave for 30 minutes, then rinse thoroughly.
Get rid of limescale on shower doors
Again it’s a spray bottle with a 50:50 white vinegar and water solution that’s your countermeasure to pesky limescale on the glass. Apply to the shower screen or enclosure, leave for a few minutes, then rinse and squeegee. Some people recommend white wine, btw, but it just doesn’t seem right to us somehow.
How to make limescale remover
You will need:
- White vinegar
- Spray bottle
- If removing limescale from the dishwasher, we'd recommend filling a large mug with white vinegar, placing upright on the top level and running on a single cycle – without any other dishes.
- To tackle limescale in a washing machine, add white vinegar to the detergent draw and run on a single, hot cycle.
- It's also possible to fill your kettle with an even proportion of water to white vinegar in order to remove limescale. Leave to stand for 30 minutes, then rinse thoroughly.
- Take on the toilet by pouring white vinegar around the rim and leaving to work its magic overnight. Go at it with a toilet brush in the morning for super shiny results.
- Using white vinegar to remove limescale from a shower head takes a slightly different approach. Place an even white vinegar to water solution in a sealed plastic bag, place your shower head inside, secure with string and leave to soak for 30 minutes.
- Tackle tiles, baths and sinks with an even mix of water and white vinegar in a handy spray bottle and use as you might any other bathroom spray.
- Our advice for taps is to soak a towel in white vinegar, wrapping around a tap and ensuring it's completely covered. Leave for an hour, before rinsing.