Most of us have noticed cloudy, white buildups on faucets at least once in our lifetime. Most of us know already that these are stains from tap water. However, most people even today don’t know what causes them and how to remove calcium deposits that made these stains.
If you are interested in learning more about this phenomenon, you’re on the right spot. Follow this short guide to learn how to remove calcium deposits and what creates them.
What Is Hard Water?
People consider water to be ‘hard’ when it has a high concentration of heavy minerals, mostly calcium and magnesium. These elements are usually picked up by groundwater as it goes through different soil. Around 85% of the water in the US is considered to be ‘hard’. 
Deposits are usually made of calcium, but they can also contain magnesium, iron, or even copper. For example, iron leaves red deposits, and stains from manganese are brownish.
These stains aren’t just an aesthetical problem. The calcium deposits can create a lot of damage to household appliances, water pipes, and even your clothes!
Here are of the problems that can occur if you don’t know how to remove calcium deposits properly:
- Clogged showerheads and pipes. Mineral deposits can build up around the holes in the showerhead, which will cause clogging. The same can happen to the plumbing system, only after a longer period of time. The best way to prevent this is to have copper and PVC pipes.
- Ruined clothes. If you wash clothes in hard water, they can end up damaged as the fibers can get ruined. This will noticeably shorten the life of your clothes.
- Soap scum. Believing or not, hard water will prevent soap from dissolving. Instead, the ingredients of the soap will bond with the minerals in the hard water and create a curd. You can notice this as a soap scum ring in the bathtub.
- Glass damage. Whether to the dishes or the glass shower doors, hard water can permanently damage glass. The material will become cloudy and streaky and there is a chance that you won’t be able to remove it.
- Plumbing damage. When you notice discolored plumbing, it’s usually too late as the buildup has eaten the coating. This can cause serious plumbing damage and leaking.
- Damage on appliances. Any appliance that uses water can get damaged by hard minerals. This can cause leakage and malfunction.
- Hair damage and skin irritation. Yes, hard water can even damage your hair follicles and make your hair appear lifeless. Also, it can leave a film on your skin, which in return can make it harder to remove bacteria.
- Higher energy consumption. Not knowing how to remove calcium deposits properly can even increase your bills! Hard water takes longer to get warm, which means that more energy will be required to run your water heater.
How to Remove Calcium Deposits without Chemicals?
Most people will immediately suggest buying expensive products for removing calcium deposits. Unless you have a lot of deposit, you will most likely be able to remove it without them.
In fact, a solution lies in several products most of us already have at home.
Just soak a cloth in vinegar and wrap it around the faucet, showerhead or stained pipe. Another thing you can do is soak the stained showerhead in the bucket or bag filled with vinegar.
Leave everything in place for several hours and simply wipe the deposit off. For thicker buildups, try combining vinegar with baking soda to create a paste. This will help you scrub off calcium deposits from most surfaces.
Vinegar is filled with acetic acid, which acts as a solvent that helps dissolve the deposits. This method is good because it’s inexpensive and easy.
Also, it’s natural, which means there are no dangerous chemicals. However, be sure to avoid eye contact and to ensure that there are no kids that can touch it.
Vinegar can’t cause serious damage, but it shouldn’t be consumed in large amounts.
If you don’t have vinegar at hand or hate the smell of it, just replace it with lemon juice. Lemon juice contains citric acid which will dissolve calcium deposits. You can also simply soak the cloth in the lemon juice and scrub away any stains.
This method works best for surfaces such as copper, brass or chrome. Just be sure to rinse everything, as this acid is a strong solvent and can cause damage.
Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is another good way to remove deposits from hard water. It is soluble in water, unlike calcium carbonate, so it will reverse the hardening process of calcium deposits.
However, this method isn’t good for flat surfaces. As we’ve already mentioned, you can combine baking soda with vinegar. This will create a paste that can be used on a bigger variety of surfaces.
If the deposit is thick enough, sometimes you might be able to physically scrub it off. This can be done not only if the deposit is on the plumbing, but also faucets.
Just remove the aerator, the small filter that can be found on the edge of the faucet. A good scrubbing tool is a toothbrush, but you can also use any small and hard brush.
Just to be sure that everything is removed, put the faucet in the vinegar bottle afterward.
How to Remove Calcium Deposits with Professional Products
Sometimes, these easily-found ingredients simply aren’t enough to remove persistent calcium deposits. Don’t worry – this doesn’t mean you have to pay a professional to do this instead of you.
You just need the best products for removing calcium deposits. Here are our suggestions for affordable but professional products.
CLR Complete Cleaning Kit
This product is great for removing any (C)alcium, (L)ime, and (R)ust deposits that are found in your bathroom or kitchen. CLR has cleaning solutions that can be bought independently, but this kit contains everything you need. For an affordable price you’ll get:
- A cleaning solution.
- A handheld scrub for persistent scrubbing.
- Thin tip brush.
- A TM microfiber.
This formula is rather gentle and you won’t harm any kitchenware or sensitive materials. It contains no phosphates, which makes it safe to use. Also it’s more effective than most cheaper products, so don’t let the price tag worry you. CLR is a well-known brand that is used by professionals worldwide.
BioClean’s Cleaning Kit
If you’ve always wanted to know how to remove calcium deposits while remaining stylish – this is the way. This product is great for removing any stains that hard water creates. It is also good for cleaning mold and mildew. It’s made from natural ingredients which makes it free from any hard chemicals. Also, it’s biodegradable so you won’t be causing any harm to nature.
The best part of it is that it comes with drill brushes. Yes, you’ve read that correctly. The kit has brushes that can be connected to your drill.
This means that you can clean calcium deposits without ever getting your hands dirty. Also, it comes with a 100% money guarantee.
This alone should be enough to prove how confident the brand is in the product’s quality.
Lime-A-Way Calcium Rust Cleaner
If you’re on a budget, this product might be the right choice for you. It destroys the most hard water deposits without needing to scrub everything. It also has chemicals that can help the surfaces remain clean for a longer period of time.
This product is considered to be an all-purpose cleaner. It is made for everyday use and you can clean any part of your bathroom and kitchen with it. It definitely does a better job cleaning than most regular houseware products. However, it’s not too good to use it if you have a thick stain that has been existing for a while. In the end, this is a cheap product and heavy residues demand more professional solutions.
Hard water residues such as calcium deposits are a common problem. Although no one likes anything that has to do with bathroom cleaning, mineral residues aren’t difficult to get rid of.
Any homeowner should know how to properly remove any bathroom and kitchen stains. If done on time, the process is quick, painless and not too dirty. Why waste money on a professional when you can learn how to remove calcium deposits on your own? Start today!
Michael Davis is a heating & plumbing expert who currently works as independent contractor in SC. He also writes for Plumbertip.
For almost 10 years he worked on various plumbing tasks across South Carolina.