What Is Limescale and Is It Cause for Concern?

Everyone loves having a clean, spotless bathroom or kitchen. It’s often why many homeowners across Arizona renovate their homes or invest in high-quality, effective cleaners to use. But when you keep finding white stains on your showerhead or brown stains all around your toilet bowl, it’s only natural for you to get a little concerned.

After a bit of asking around and doing research, you might find that these stains point to one thing; limescale. What is limescale, though? And, is it dangerous for plumbing systems?

These are common questions that people in Arizona often ask, especially if they only recently bought a new home. 

At Diamondback Plumbing, we want to help you and other homeowners that have found themselves in a similar situation. That’s why we’ve put together this article. 

Today’s article will act as a guide that will teach you what limescale is and whether or not you need to be concerned. We’ve also included a few ways to get rid of it yourself! But, if you think you have limescale problems deeper into your pipes, just contact our team at Diamondback Plumbing.

What Is Limescale? — An In-Depth Guide

Limescale is a surprisingly common problem in homes and businesses throughout Arizona. Limescale is usually composed of dried-up mineral deposits left behind from evaporated water and can be found anywhere water sits for extended periods of time. 

The exact makeup of these minerals can vary depending on location, but typically, limescale is formed from hardened calcium and magnesium deposits – in addition to a few carbonate ions. 

What Does Limescale Look Like on a Faucet or Showerhead?

When it comes to stains around your home, few are as noticeable as the white chalky marks that are found on faucets and showerheads. This is what limescale typically looks like when dried, but it can be somewhat tinted depending on the mineral contents. However, while limescale is usually white, it can also show up as brown stains on the inside of your toilet bowl or a white sink.

As mentioned, these limescale deposits can form wherever the water sits for a prolonged period of time. Knowing this can often help homeowners understand the answer to the question, “what does lime buildup look like?”.

More often than not, you’ll find limescale in glassware, kettles, and even some of your appliances and radiators. Depending on how quickly you wipe away the water, limescale can either appear as a layer of chalky deposits or as flecks and dots on glassware. These appliances often come in contact with quite a lot of heat while in use, which, in turn, increases the speed at which the water containing the minerals evaporates. 

This is often the main cause of the fact that limescale is connected to hot water!

What Causes Limescale Buildup in Homes?

Of course, in order to understand the answer to the question, “what is limescale?” and whether or not homeowners need to be concerned with it, you also need to know its cause. As we’ve mentioned earlier, limescale is the chalky-looking, dried-up mineral deposits around the base of your faucets wherever water evaporates. But, only one kind of water can cause these stains; hard water!

The key difference between hard water and ordinary water – often differentiated by the name soft water – is the number of minerals in it. Hard water often has higher concentrations of calcium and magnesium, the minerals that most commonly form limescale. 

For the most part, hard water and, to some extent, limescale isn’t harmful like you might expect. You can drink and use hard water safely; drinking out of a glass with a few flecks of limescale won’t hurt. That being said, these buildups do tend to cause damage to your home’s pipes and appliances. Limescale can form quite quickly as well, and leaving the deposits unattended for too long can cause clogs and blockages.

How to Get Rid of Limescale

Now that you know what limescale is, what causes it, and whether or not it’s actually dangerous, all that’s left is removing it from the surfaces in your bathroom or kitchen. Fortunately, there are a few great things that you can try if you’ve been wondering, “what removes limescale?”. Best of all, you probably have some of the ingredients in your kitchen. 

Lemon Juice Mixtures 

Lemon juice is often considered to be a universal household cleaner. This is thanks to the fact that lemon juice is acidic. If you plan to scrub the deposits away, you can simply apply the lemon juice directly with a cloth. The juice should soak into the limescale, making it far easier to wipe away.

Vinegar and Water Solutions

Vinegar is another great solution if you’ve been wondering “what removes limescale?”. Vinegar is primarily made of acetic acid, specifically at a volume of 4% to 6% depending on where you buy it from and what brand it is. However, this is limited to cooking and food-grade vinegar. If you want some for cleaning purposes, you can buy it as well.

Food-grade vinegar works just as well as the cleaning alternative, though it is often a weaker acid. Nonetheless, the acetic acid component in basic white vinegar can be just as effective at cleaning off limescale. Simply soak a rag in the vinegar – watered down with an equal amount of water if the limescale isn’t too bad – and apply it over the area. Let it sit for 15 to 30 minutes before washing the surface. 


At the end of the day, the best way to get rid of limescale is to invest in a water softener. Many new homes are likely to already have one installed so there’s a high chance that you won’t need a new system. Installing and keeping a water softener working efficiently makes sure that all the excess minerals in the hard water won’t affect your appliances. In the best case, the softener will completely remove or negate the minerals, giving you perfect soft water.

If you want to purchase a water softener for your home, or if you need help maintaining another aspect of your plumbing system you can rely on our team at Diamondback Plumbing.

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