How to Prevent Calcium Buildup on Faucets

Constantly cleaning calcium buildup from various faucets in your home gets old quickly. Not only is it an eyesore on otherwise sparkling clean faucets, but it is also hard on plumbing and appliances. Although cleaning the hard water gunk is relatively simple doesn’t take much of your time, it’s best to do what you can to prevent buildup altogether.

So, how do you do that? In this article, we’ll look at several different aspects of calcium buildup: what causes it, how to remove it, and how to prevent it. Continue reading for a quick guide on the ins and outs of avoiding calcium buildup.

What Causes Calcium Buildup On Faucets?

Calcium deposits, also known as limescale, develop as a result of water that contains calcium salts. Tap water with dissolved calcium salts in high concentrations is known as hard water. When you have hard water moving through your plumbing system, buildup occurs, causing deposits all over faucets and plumbing.

You may notice calcium buildup on faucet handles, spouts, aerators, where the faucet meets the sink, and so on. Over time, the gunk can accumulate and cause all sorts of issues for plumbing and faucets.

What Does Calcium Buildup Look Like?

What Does Calcium Buildup Look Like

You may notice bluish-green buildup accumulating on your faucet. These are limescale or calcium deposits. Pure limescale deposits appear white and crusty. If you have copper pipes or fixtures, the deposits become the blue-green hue.

How To Get Rid Of Calcium Buildup On Faucets

To remove existing calcium buildup from your faucets, you’ll need a few materials, including:

  • White vinegar
  • Rubber bands
  • Paper towel or soft rag strips
  • Sandwich plastic bags
  • Sponge

For the most part, white vinegar will handle mineral buildup on faucets. If it doesn’t seem to help, there are special chemical cleaners designed to target calcium, lime, and rust. When you use store-bought cleaners, protect your hands with rubber gloves and try to avoid breathing in the fumes.

  1. Soak the paper towel: First, soak paper towels or strips of soft cloth in your white vinegar. Wrap them around all areas of the faucet corrupted by the buildup, and then secure them with rubber bands as needed. Allow them to sit for at least an hour or more.
  2. Wipe off the residue: After the vinegar has had time to work, wipe the problem areas clean with a wet sponge or cloth.
  3. Dry the faucet: Lastly, thoroughly dry the faucet.

If the faucet’s aerator is causing issues (such as reduced water pressure), possibly from mineral buildup, the clean is equally as easy. Fill a sandwich bag partway with white vinegar, then secure it onto the end of the spout with rubber bands, ensuring that the faucet tip is completely submerged.

How To Get Rid Of Calcium Buildup On Faucets

From there, the instructions mirror those outlined above. The only difference is you cannot easily wipe dry the interior of the aerator, so allow the area to dry entirely before flushing water through the spout. If this didn’t solve the aerator issue, you might have to remove it to soak the aerator alone then scrub it clean.

The same concept applies to showerheads: fill a plastic bag partially with vinegar and secure it onto the showerhead with rubber bands. Let it sit, then wipe it clean and allow it to dry. 

What Breaks Down Calcium Buildup?

As we mentioned above, white vinegar and time to soak will usually do the trick. It helps dissolve the buildup, freeing your faucet to run smoothly. However, if it doesn’t, you might consider trying a store-bought cleaner that is specifically designed to target limescale, calcium, and rust.

Does Apple Cider Vinegar Dissolve Calcium Deposits?

Yes, you can use apple cider vinegar to dissolve calcium deposits. Given its close similarity to white vinegar, it helps clean in much the same way. However, it isn’t as strong as white vinegar, and it is colored, which could stain certain surfaces.

If you have white vinegar, it’s usually the best way to go, but if you don’t have it on hand, you can try apple cider vinegar.

How To Prevent Buildup On Faucets

Calcium buildup can accumulate over time and clog pipes, eventually requiring pipe replacement. The best way to stop calcium buildup from happening in your home’s plumbing and various fixtures is to install a water softener.

Do Water Filters Get Rid Of Calcium

There are various water softener options available that are compatible with numerous plumbing systems. If you’re not sure about water softener systems, talk to a plumber who can help you determine which option is the best fit for your home.

What Do Water Softeners Do?

Water softeners serve as a filtration system that sifts through your water. They work to eliminate elevated concentrations of calcium and magnesium from the water, both of which cause hard water.

As water flows through the system, it filters out these minerals, pushing out softened water free of the excessive mineral content. It then flows through the plumbing to wherever it needs to go.

Do Water Filters Get Rid Of Calcium?

Given the numerous water filter options that exist, a catch-all answer is complicated. With that said, however, filters that utilize reverse osmosis or specific multi-stage filtering processes do filter the majority of calcium from the water.