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Limescale is made of calcium carbonate and is usually worse if you live in a hard water area. Around 16 million people in the UK do, so find out if you’re one of them with this handy map.
As well as being unsightly, limescale can lead to an accumulation of harmful bacteria, cause blockages in your pipes (which can reduce your water flow) and reduce the efficiency of heat transfer in your boiler. Luckily, there are plenty of products on the market to help keep your appliances in tip-top shape and leave your glass, draining boards and taps shiny.
To compile our recommendations list, we spent five hours scouring expert articles about the best limescale removers (and applied our own knowledge and experience in this area too) and read through countless consumer reviews on retail sites such as Amazon, Lakeland and Wilko.
We then assessed and compared these recommendations against those given by hundreds of Mumsnetters who’ve tried and tested these products in their own homes. Whether you need an all-rounder limescale remover for your bathroom and kitchen, or a powerful formula that will finally give you the stain-free toilet that you deserve, we’ve got something for you here.
Here are the best limescale removers to buy right now.
1. Best overall limescale remover: Viakal Limescale Remover Spray
Price: £5.08 | Buy now from Amazon
“I also find Viakal very good for limescale around taps, for e.g. Have to use it regularly since we’re in a hard water area.” (Rated by Mumsnet user GETTINGLIKEMYMOTHER)
When Mumsnet users ask for limescale solutions, the name Viakal comes up again and again. This powerful spray works on all your kitchen and bathroom surfaces, including shower doors, chrome taps, tiles and ceramic sinks, so you won’t ever need to worry about limescale build-up in your home again.
As well as removing limescale and hard watermarks, this spray also cleans lurking bacteria and dirt, prevents limescale from returning, and leaves taps and surfaces shiny and streak-free.
We like that the bottle is made from 100% recycled plastic and that Viakal is safe to use (as long as you don’t mix it with bleach) as it’s free from ammonia, bleach and chlorine.
Efficiency is at the heart of this limescale remover as it only takes a couple of minutes to work. However, if your limescale is particularly stubborn, spray and leave it for 10 minutes, then rinse and wipe away.
- Works quickly and is very effective
- Suitable for a range of surfaces
- Easy to spray
- Free from ammonia, bleach and chlorine
- Smell can be strong
- Can’t be mixed with bleach
- Not suitable for gold, silver, copper, aluminium or natural stone surfaces
2. Best budget limescale remover: Stardrops The Pink Stuff Paste
Price: £3.43 | Buy now from Amazon
“Yeah, [The] Pink [Stuff] Paste is the key. It'll bring anything up like new!” (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user DonLewis)
Stardrops’ The Pink Stuff Paste is suitable for kitchen and bathroom limescale removal and works on surfaces such as ceramic tiles, showers, glass, sinks, saucepans, outdoor furniture, and paintwork.
Not only is this versatile paste budget-friendly, but it also uses 99% natural ingredients, is non-toxic and suitable for vegans. However, you need to be careful when applying this formula to glass, plastic, ceramic, acrylic, steel and ceramic hobs as it may scratch the surface if you apply too much pressure. We recommend you do a patch test first.
The Pink Stuff Paste is made from baking soda, quartz, sodium silicate and soap, which makes a mildly abrasive paste - meaning minimal scrubbing is needed. All you need to do is apply the paste with a soft cloth or sponge, gently rub the surface (ensuring all limescale residue is covered) and rinse the paste off with hot water. Leave it on for longer for particularly stubborn limescale stains.
- Works on a variety of surfaces
- Mild fruity scent
- Can’t be used on warm or hot surfaces
- Need to do a patch test as the paste can scratch certain surfaces
3. Best toilet limescale remover: Harpic Power Plus
Price: £4.60 | Buy now from Amazon
“Black bottle Harpic. We live in a hard water area and it's the only stuff that works! Give it a good scrub, then just keep [...] using it every few days.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user NeverSurrender)
Limescale on loos can be tough to clean, but Harpic Power Plus can effortlessly remove limescale, hard watermarks, stubborn stains, rust and strong odours as well as 99.9% of germs.
Just apply under the rim like any other toilet cleaner and leave it to work its magic for five minutes. And don’t forget to open the window or ventilate your bathroom as this product has a strong chemical smell.
If the limescale is very stubborn, we recommend that you leave the liquid in the toilet for several hours or even overnight. If the limescale is really bad, use your loo brush as a plunger to lower the water level and it will work in the toilet bowl without getting diluted.
Some users recommend using Harpic Power Plus with a pumice stone to gently remove a big build-up of limescale, but once it’s under control just use Harpic every day to stop the limescale from returning.
- Works on stubborn limescale, watermarks, stains, and rust
- Kills 99.9% of germs
- Ideal for porcelain
- Only suitable for loos
- Strong chemical smell
4. Best limescale remover for shower doors: Cillit Bang Limescale Remover
Price: £7.55 | Buy now from Amazon
“Seriously, Cillit Bang lime and grime. Totally works. I've cleaned away horrendous limescale in about 30 minutes with stuff.” (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user Happycow)
It’s almost impossible to see a Cillit Bang product without uttering their slogan “Bang! And the dirt is gone!” but that’s exactly what happens when you use their limescale remover.
The good news is that it only takes five minutes to work, and you can use it on a multitude of surfaces, including toilets, sinks, bathtubs, showers, tiles, glass, and stainless steel taps.
This powerful limescale remover is also designed to tackle soap scum and rust stains, so it’s a great all-around cleaner to have in your kitchen or bathroom. Mumsnet users particularly rate it on shower doors, especially when you use a scourer too.
During our research, we came across several reviewers who said they had stopped buying Cillit Bang because of the strong chemical smell, but tried the miraculous product once again and found that the new formula smelled fresher and cleaner than before.
The new formula also makes your surfaces dirt- and water-repellent, which helps to prevent stain build-ups and makes cleaning easier. For the best results, use Cillit Bang regularly (at least once a week).
- Works on limescale, soap scum and rust
- Only takes five minutes to work
- Fresh and clean scent
- Strong chemicals
- Need to regularly use the product for the best results
- May need multiple applications for stubborn limescale stains
5. Best limescale remover for taps: Limey Standard Tap Head Cleaner
Price: £5.99 | Buy now from Lakeland
“These [Limey Standard Tap Head Cleaners] are great.” (Rated by Mumsnet user loobylou10)
The Limey Standard Tap Head Cleaner is a great way of tackling limescale, as it’s perfectly designed to fit on most taps. Without this handy gadget, you’d have to soak some kitchen roll in a limescale remover and then wedge it around your tap or use a gel, still not fully reaching the underside.
But with this nifty product, all you need to do is fill it up with a limescale remover then loop the Tap Head Cleaner over your tap and leave it to soak for 15 minutes. Lakeland sells an accompanying Limey Tap Descaler that you can use with the Limey, but you can also choose a different limescale remover or even opt for a natural one such as white vinegar or citric acid.
Your taps will get the chance to soak, and the limescale will vanish or loosen enough for you to chip it away. Mumsnet users rate the Tap Head Cleaners because they’re easy to use, easy to clean and come with a three-year guarantee.
- Designed especially for taps
- Can be used again and again
- Comes with a three-year guarantee
- Lakeland’s accompanying limescale remover isn’t included
- Can only clean one tap at a time
6. Best bathroom limescale remover: Kilrock Gel Limescale Remover
Price: £5.01 | Buy now from Amazon
“Kilrock is amazing stuff.” (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user samlovesdilys)
Kilrock Gel is much more concentrated than sprays, so it’s really effective on stubborn limescale. It comes with a handy brush tool, which makes it easy for you to apply the gel to your limescale stains then leave it to sit for a few minutes and rinse off.
The gel formula also means it clings to hard surfaces, allowing it to get to work without gravity sabotaging its best efforts. It’s ideal for tiles, shower heads and shower trays, and is safe to use on all ceramic and plastic sanitaryware. But make sure you follow the instructions and keep it away from marble and chrome plating as it’s very strong.
- Gel formula means it’s non-drip
- Comes with a handy scrubbing brush
- Easy to use
- Pricier than some
- Very strong
- Stubborn limescale may need multiple applications
7. Best limescale remover for showers: HG Professional Limescale Remover
Price: £1.80 | Buy now from Amazon
“HG professional limescale remover.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user DeePlume)
HG’s professional range is ideal for heavy-duty cleaning, and their limescale remover is no different. This high concentrate bathroom descaler is suitable for removing limescale from your taps, shower, plastic bath, sink, shower door, tiles and shower head.
You get total control with this limescale remover as you can choose whether to use it undiluted or diluted, depending on how much limescale you have. But be warned, it’s powerful stuff, so be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.
To use it, just apply it with a sponge, leave it for a few minutes, wipe it off with water and then rinse. You can also submerge clogged shower heads in the remover for 30 minutes and then scrub with a brush.
- Very concentrated and powerful
- Suitable for various surfaces
- Apply with a sponge, not a spray
- Not suitable for all surfaces, including non-acid resistant surfaces and bathtubs, vulnerable paintwork, lead-glazed materials and calciferous natural stones, such as marble, granite and travertine
8. Best eco-friendly limescale remover: Ecover Limescale Remover
Price: £6.98 | Buy now from Amazon
“Ecover limescale remover is superb.” (Rated by Mumsnet user GeeEmcee)
If you want a limescale remover with eco credentials, but don’t have the time or patience to make your own from lemon, vinegar or bicarb, then try Ecover.
All ingredients are plant-based and biodegradable – its main ingredient is citric acid – which means it’s safe to use on kettles and coffee makers, as well as showers, loos and draining boards.
Ecover also never tests its products on animals, and even the bottle is made from recycled and plant plastic.
Just spray and wait, then wipe off. The foam consistency clings to vertical surfaces like tiles, which makes it even more effective.
- Good for the environment
- Smells great
- Foam consistency can cling to vertical surfaces
- Natural ingredients make it less powerful than chemical-based removers
- Not suitable for enamel, marble, natural stones, brassware, gold, silver, household appliances or damaged/hot surfaces
9. Best limescale remover for sinks: Oust All Purpose Descaler
Price: £4.35 (2 pack) | Buy now from Amazon
“What descaler are you using? Oust sachets are good. Just re-boil the kettle when the water stops fizzing and repeat until the scale has gone. I only quarter fill the kettle before adding the oust.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user MaisyMary77)
Small appliances can be extra tricky when it comes to removing limescale. Any products you use on kettles and coffee machines need to be food-safe as you don’t want a dodgy-tasting cup of tea or coffee.
Oust sachets are very easy to use – each one is exactly one dose. Just boil your kettle, add Oust and wait for 10 minutes. Then make sure you reboil the kettle with fresh water and you’re good to go.
The limescale disappears before your eyes to leave your kettle bright and shiny. It will also stop the limescale scum you get when you pour tea or coffee, meaning you’ll get a more delicious drink every time.
But it’s not just kettles. You can use Oust with irons, shower heads and some models of baby bottle sterilisers too. Just check the instructions first.
- Designed for kettles and small appliances
- Very effective - works within 10 minutes
- Needs using frequently
- A pack only contains three sachets
10. Best limescale remover for washing machines: Dettol Mould and Mildew Spray
Price: £3.50 | Buy now from Wilko
“Washing machine: Dettol Spray Cleaner Antibacterial Mould & Mildew Remover. Once clean, be sure to leave the door open for a day every now and again - means everything dries out and so slows down things like mould. Also, using powder (vs gel tabs) reduces mould and bacterial growth.” (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user SpinachIsAGatewayDrug)
While there are specific limescale remover products that you can just whack in the washing machine, there’s also a cheaper alternative - Dettol Mould and Mildew Spray.
With just a cloth, Dettol and a bit of elbow grease, you can get your washing machine sparkling again. And you can remove limescale and dirt build-up in the rubber door seal with more ease than a washing machine cleaner, which mostly only cleans the drum itself.
Dettol’s Mould and Mildew Remover kills 99.9% of bacteria and viruses. And it has active bleach ingredients, so there’s no scrubbing required - just spray it on the limescale, leave it to sit for five minutes and rinse or wipe it off.
You can use this cleaner in various places around your home as it’s suitable for ceramic basins and toilets, acrylic baths and showers, tiles, plastic, chrome and stainless steel and grout.
- No scrubbing required
- Allows you to remove all limescale in your washing machine
- Suitable for removing limescale from other surfaces too
- May not remove stubborn limescale stains
- Strong bleach smell
How do you get rid of thick limescale?
Limescale is also known as calcium carbonate and is the result of hard water. The chalk-like deposits are left on anything that comes into contact with hard (and often warm) water, such as taps, shower heads, tiles, toilets, glass and washing machines, looking cloudy and grubby even when you’ve scrubbed them clean.
To get rid of thick limescale, you need something to break down the deposits, such as a limescale remover (which comes in a spray, gel and powder form) or natural remedies, such as lemon juice, citric acid or vinegar. Some Mumsnet users rate gel products rather than sprays as they cling to the surface, giving the ingredients longer to act.
For homemade natural remedies, just mix your product with water to make a paste and cover any surface affected by limescale.
The surface affected by limescale will determine how and what you clean it with. For example, you wouldn’t want to use a strong chemical-based limescale remover in your kettle in case you can't get rid of the chemical smell and taste. Thankfully, specially designed products like the Oust Descaler (recommended above) are at hand to clean your small household appliances.
On ceramic and porcelain, like toilets, you can use an old pumice stone to gently rub away the limescale below the water level.
Some limescale removers have high concentrations of acid, which may damage chrome taps. Before using any limescale remover, we recommend that you read the label and follow the instructions on the bottle.
Whether you buy a limescale remover or create your own, you need to regularly break down the deposits to prevent unwanted limescale build-ups, which can cause problems with your pipes.
You can get rid of limescale for good with water softeners, but these are costly. Water softener devices are fitted into your home to reduce the hardness of the water, but they can cost anywhere between £300 and £1,000.
Does bleach dissolve limescale?
Although bleach is a magical cleaning product, it doesn’t dissolve limescale. Bleach can kill bacteria and viruses, disinfect surfaces and remove tough stains. It can also brighten discolouration, which is what it does to limescale.
When using bleach, you might think that your limescale problems are dealt with, but what you're doing is just covering them up, and soon the discolouration will return. To properly dissolve limescale, you need a proper limescale remover.
How do you remove stubborn limescale from glass?
No matter how much you’ve scrubbed your bathroom, it can seem impossible to remove limescale on glass, but you just need the right products. Sometimes, these products might already be in your home.What you’ll need:
- White vinegar
- Washing-up liquid
- Bicarbonate of soda
- Spray bottle
- Non-scratch scouring pad
The best way to remove limescale is to let the products cut through the chalky deposits, so you don’t need to scrape them. Here’s how you do it:
- Pour 250ml white vinegar into 250ml of hot water.
- Add some washing-up liquid to the mixture and place it in a spray bottle.
- Spray the affected area with your solution and leave it to sit for 15 minutes (or longer for large limescale build-ups).
- Rinse off with warm water and wipe any residue off with your non-scratch scouring pad.
- If the limescale is still there, you can either use the rougher side of the pad or use bicarbonate of soda to do the work for you. Bicarb is a natural abrasive, which means when you apply it to your glass with a damp cloth and wipe it away with a dry one, it should remove any remaining limescale stains.
One Mumsnet user, Laila747, says, “White vinegar in a spray bottle, add some Fairy Liquid and spray all over shower screen, leave for 15 minutes then rinse. Perfect streak-free shower screen every time!”
Using a shower squeegee after you have a shower might also help you keep on top of your limescale build-ups.
How do you get rid of limescale naturally?
Limescale removers are a fast, effective way at removing mineral build-ups, but if you don’t have any in or want to try a more natural approach then you need lemon juice (which contains citric acid, a known substance that breaks limescale down) and vinegar (which contains diluted acetic acid - something that attacks limescale).
For stronger, more stubborn limescale build-ups, you'll need more acidic products, such as pickling vinegar or lime juice. But every surface is different, so here are our tips for removing limescale from each surface naturally:
To remove limescale from your toilet, you need to use vinegar. Pour vinegar (straight from the bottle) into the toilet bowl and leave it to sit for three hours or longer. Then scrub the bowl with a toilet brush to wipe off the limescale residue and flush.
Getting all the limescale off taps can be tricky because you need the natural solution to stay on the affected area. That being said, it’s possible using either vinegar or lemons.
Vinegar method: Pour vinegar into a spray bottle and coat your taps in it (ensuring all the limescale affected parts are covered). Leave the solution to sit for 30 minutes and then use a sponge to scrub it clean.
Lemon method: Cut a lemon in half and rub the flesh side onto the limescale-affected part of the taps. Again, leave it to sit for 30 minutes and then scrub it with a sponge to remove the limescale residue.
Limescale that clogs your shower head can be fixed with either lemon juice or vinegar.
Lemon method: Cut a lemon in half and rub the juice onto the shower head, making sure you cover it fully. Leave the lemon juice to work its magic for an hour or two and then use a toothbrush to scrub the showerhead, including the holes.
Vinegar method: Pour a generous amount of vinegar into a food bag and fasten the bag with string around the shower head. Leave the bag on overnight and wipe the shower head clean in the morning.
Baths, showers, sinks and tiles
Flat surfaces are much easier to remove limescale from, which is why baths, showers, sinks and tiles will only need some lemon juice or vinegar applied and some scrubbing on your part.
If lemon juice or vinegar don't work, you can use bicarbonate of soda and white vinegar. Combine two parts bicarbonate of soda with one part white vinegar - this should create a paste, which you then can apply to the surfaces and leave to sit for 15 minutes. Then scrub off the limescale residue.
Washing machines and dishwashers
Both vinegar and lemon juice are suitable for getting rid of limescale in your washing machine and dishwasher.
For washing machines, you need to pour a large cup of either vinegar or lemon juice into the machine and then run your usual washing cycle. For dishwashers, you need to pour a large cup of either vinegar or lemon juice into the base of the machine and run the dishwashing cycle.
Kettles and coffee machines
Kettles and coffee machines can also use vinegar or lemon juice to remove limescale. Fill the kettle or coffee machine a quarter full with either liquid and leave to sit for an hour. Then top the kettle or coffee machine up with water and boil it or run the coffee machine as normal. Pour away the water and vinegar/lemon juice liquid and rinse it with cold water a few times to remove the smell and taste.
What is the strongest limescale remover?
Viakal Limescale Remover is the perfect all-rounder and one of the strongest limescale removers around. It leaves shower screens sparkling and draining boards shiny and clear. You can spray it on taps and it helps built-up limescale to disappear.
For appliances like washing machines and kettles, you can’t go wrong with Oust Powerful All-Purpose Descaler.
How we chose our recommendations
All of our recommendations for limescale removers came from Mumsnet users themselves - because we believe that the best way to find highly-rated products is to ask real people who’ve used them time and time again in their homes.
During our research, we analysed Mumsnet forum posts about which limescale removers worked well and which ones were most popular for shower screens, baths, toilets, sinks, washing machines and kettles.
We also looked at consumer reviews on Amazon, Lakeland and Wilko and expert review sites, such as Which, to see which limescale removers performed well across the board.
Why you should trust us
We work hard to provide unbiased, independent advice you can trust. We do sometimes earn revenue through affiliate (click-to-buy) links in our articles. This helps us fund more helpful articles like this one.