How to Get Rid of Lime Deposits With Vinegar

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Vinegar eats away lime and mineral deposits.
Vinegar eats away lime and mineral deposits. (Image: Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images)

Lime or mineral deposits can build up just about anywhere tap water is used frequently: in teakettles and coffee pots, and around showerheads and faucets. Vinegar is a safe, inexpensive and effective treatment for removing lime deposits instead of using potentially harmful chemical substances. Regular white vinegar and common household items are all you'll need to remove lime and mineral deposits, leaving your well-used wares clean and sparkling fresh.

Things You'll Need

  • Jug of white vinegar (inexpensive brands are fine)
  • Zippered sandwich bags
  • Rubber bands
  • Sponge

Teakettles and Coffee Makers

Pour 2 cups of vinegar inside a teakettle that has white lime deposits inside. Use enough vinegar to cover the calcified areas, filling the kettle at least one-quarter full. Let the kettle sit for an hour, or more, if there is a lot of lime buildup in the kettle.

Fill the kettle the rest of the way with water, leaving the vinegar inside. Boil the vinegar and water mixture as you would if preparing water for tea. Pour the water mixture out in the drain while still warm, swirling the kettle when there is only a little water left, to help remove the lime deposit. Boil clean water after that. Dump it out, and then boil and dump one more batch of water to prevent vinegary taste in future kettle use.

Pour 2 cups of vinegar in your coffee maker -- use less if your coffee maker only brews a couple cups at a time. Fill the rest of the way with water and brew the vinegar and water mixture. Dump the hot vinegar water down the drain, and then rebrew two more pots of plain water to rinse the vinegar from the coffee maker.

Showerheads, Spigots and Taps

Pour vinegar into a plastic sandwich bag until it's one-third full. Hold the bag carefully and position it over the showerhead or sink spigot so the vinegar surrounds the lime-encrusted metal. Remove the bag and add more vinegar, if necessary.

Open a rubber band with your free hand and slide it over the bag and spigot. Twist the rubber band multiple times to hold the bag in place on the spigot. Leave the bag in place for at least an hour.

Remove the rubber band and bag carefully from the spigot. Pour the vinegar down the drain. Wipe the spigot with a damp sponge.

Tips & Warnings

  • If the area with a lime deposit is on a slope -- in other words, in a place where a puddle of vinegar is not an option -- soak a paper towel in vinegar, and then place the wet towel over the lime deposit until the lime dissolves. This method also works around the base of spigots and faucet handles.
  • Use a quart-sized plastic bag if your showerhead doesn't fit into a sandwich bag.
  • Thoroughly rinse out coffee pots, teakettles and other beverage-ready items after giving them a vinegar soak. Rinse at least twice to eliminate chances of vinegary tasting beverages.
  • Do not scrub lime deposits with a stiff brush or harsh scrubbing pad, as the scrubbing action may damage the metal or metal-plated surface.

References

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