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How to remove limescale from marble and granite

The chalky white build up left behind on sinks, showers and worktops is a common problem in the UK. Limescale is a bigger problem in hard water areas and situations where cold water is heated and then allowed to cool, such as kettles and hot water tanks. The build up of limescale is unsightly and can impede the function of domestic appliances so most people will want to remove it from their granite tiles or marble worktops. Continue reading for our top tips on removing limescale from marble and granite:

Regular cleaning is the best solution

It may be too late, but it’s easiest to tackle limescale when the build up is small. Drying areas that regularly get wet (such as around taps) can prevent the problem from getting worse, and regular cleaning (with a scrubbing brush if necessary) can remove small amounts of limescale.

Don’t use vinegar or lemon juice on limestone or marble

Limescale is mainly calcium carbonate, which can be easily dissolved by mild, food-safe acids like kitchen vinegar or lemon juice. While this is great news if you want to clean your kettle (just fill it with vinegar and leave to soak overnight) these home remedies shouldn’t be used on limestone or marble worktops, or on any stone with a high-gloss finish.

Calcium carbonate is not only the main ingredient in limescale. It’s also found in limestone (as the name suggests) and marble, too. This is one reason you have to be particularly careful when using products that remove limescale on natural stone. A strong cleaner than dissolves limescale can also damage a marble worktop.

High-gloss finishes in any stone can be dulled by acids and strong cleaners, as they create micro-abrasions on the surface. So even though you can’t feel or see any damage, a dull patch can appear. On rougher granite and quartz worktops, vinegar can normally be used, but make sure you do a test before using it as a general cleaner.

Do use a specialist cleaner for natural stone

While normal household remedies are out, there are plenty of good specialist cleaners available. For the reasons described above, look out for one which is for your particular type of stone. This is essential if you have limestone or marble worktops or tiles.

Don’t try to chip limescale away

Any tool that can remove limescale is likely to damage the surface beneath it. This applies equally to stone tiles as to a linoleum counter – limescale is tough.

Polish up afterwards

Having worked on a limescale-ridden area on a bath or counter, you’ll often notice a slight difference in colour afterwards. This is often simply an optical illusion due to focussing on one area for so long, but if you’re worried giving the whole worktop a clean and a polish (using an appropriate polish) can work wonders and give you that brand-new feel. This is as true for (dare we say it) wood or ceramic as it is for our own favourite stones.

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