When your faucets look scummy, cloudy or stained, the culprit is probably the tap water. Typically household water carries dissolved minerals such as calcium and magnesium through the home plumbing. As the water evaporates, it leaves behind minerals that build up on and around the faucets. Over time the minerals accumulate as hard, scaly deposits. The solution may be as near as your kitchen for common, earth-friendly cleansers that remove these deposits, called lime or lime scale, and bring back the faucet shine.

Part 1

Things You Will Need

  • Paper towels

  • Rags

  • Lemon juice

  • White distilled vinegar

  • Plastic bag

  • Rubber band

  • Toothbrush

  • All-purpose cleaner

  1. Wipe off the faucet with a damp rag and soapy dish detergent or all-purpose cleaner. Focus especially on the underside of the spout and back of the fixture where water drips, and clean up any scum around the fixture base. Rinse and wipe dry.

  2. Wipe faucet lime deposits with a lemon half or with lemon juice. The mild citric acid dissolves the minerals and can be used on chrome, brass or copper faucets. Rinse thoroughly and dry with a soft cloth

  3. Remove stubborn stains with vinegar. Wipe on and let stand a few minutes before rinsing. Or soak a paper towel or cloth in vinegar and wrap it around the stained faucet. Let it stand for several hours and rinse. Or apply a paste of vinegar and baking soda to the stains, especially scrubbing around the base with a toothbrush. Let it stand up to half an hour and then wipe off and rinse.

  4. Pour 1/3 cup vinegar into a plastic bag and secure it around the faucet with a rubber band for hard lime buildup. Leave for two or three hours, wipe off deposits and scrub remaining deposits with the toothbrush.

  5. Clean deposits from the aerator by twisting off the small faucet insert containing the filter screen. Flush out debris, use a toothbrush to scrub loose deposits and rinse the screen. If the aerator is coated with mineral deposits, put it in a small bowl of vinegar for up to an hour, rub off the softened deposits and replace it.


When lime buildup is severe, use a commercial lime remover. Follow directions carefully as these products contain stronger ingredients that can irritate skin and lungs.

Wear rubber gloves during cleaning as common products such as vinegar and lemon juice may irritate skin.


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