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How to Remove Calcium Buildup on Faucets

Calcium Buildup in Cincinnati, OH

Calcium bicarbonate and calcium carbonate can both be found in the groundwater, which means that it enters the water we have in our home’s faucets. A lot of people deal with hard water (especially people with well water), which means that high levels of calcium are present in the water. When you have calcium building up inside of the plumbing and fixtures of your home, it can cause a few issues.

Calcium deposits inside your plumbing fixtures can reduce the water flow you experience when you turn on the valves. Over time, you may notice that the fixtures are starting to lose their finish or appear worn. Periodically removing the buildup on your faucets can prevent issues, and you can use a few methods to complete this job yourself. Calcium deposits are salt deposits, and you can dissolve these salts with an acid of some type. You probably already have something in your home that you can utilize.

Calcium Buildup Removal Using Acids

Many of the drain cleaners that you can find in the store are made with sulfuric acid or muriatic acid. They work to dissolve a clog and remove calcium buildup, but they can be dangerous to both your health and your home. They have the potential to cause permanent damage to any metal that they touch. Luckily, there are some safer acids that you can use instead.


That 3% white vinegar that you have in your pantry will do just fine for this job. If you have something stronger, you can use that too.

Citric Acid

Citric acid can come in several forms, but you can use it in the form of lemon, lime, or orange juice. This is a great method if you want to use something natural that is completely safe to use around humans and pets.


There is lactic acid in milk that can be used to remove calcium buildup. Unfortunately, the concentration of this acid tends to be low, so you may want to use it for mild to moderate buildup. It will have to be left on a bit longer than other acids, so plan accordingly.

Soft Drinks

Soda and other fizzy drinks contain phosphoric acid that can dissolve calcium deposits.

The Process of Cleaning Calcium Buildup

If the calcium deposits that you’re dealing with are on the outside of a faucet, you’ll want to be careful with the cleaning process. If you use the wrong products or leave them on for too long, you could damage the finish. It’s best to start with something mild and work your way up from there.

Soak a paper towel or rag with the acid of your choice. Wrap that material around the faucet where the calcium deposits are present. Leave it there for a few hours, or it can take as long as a day if you’re using something mild like milk. If the material starts to dry out as it sits there, you can spray some more of your product onto the exterior of the material to soak it again. Once you have removed the material, rinse the area with water. If there are still calcium deposits present, you can repeat the process. The area may look dull, but you shouldn’t be alarmed. This doesn’t mean that you have damaged the finish of the faucet. There just may be some residual calcium buildup that still needs to be removed.

Removing Calcium Buildup Inside a Faucet

If the outside of your faucet looks ok, but you think there’s something going on inside, think about removing the faucet so you can soak all its individual parts. This includes the faucet, handle, valve, O-rings, aerator, etc. Because these parts of your faucet are very prone to calcium deposits, you may find that soaking the parts overnight is necessary to rectify the water flow issues that you’re experiencing. You can rinse everything off the next day and replace the parts to see if you’ve fixed the issue.

If you need assistance with serious calcium buildup on your faucets or within your plumbing system, you can contact Wingate Heating Cooling Plumbing and Electric. You can also schedule routine maintenance or necessary HVAC repairs for your home or office in Cincinnati, Ohio, and the surrounding areas. Other services we provide include duct cleaning and indoor air quality services.

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