If you have a natural-stone shower, bath, countertop or other surface in your home, you need to be aware of what limescale is, how it forms and, most importantly, how to safely remove it without harmful chemicals that can damage your natural-stone surface even more.
Many homeowners don’t become aware of limescale until there is visible build-up around their sinks and faucets. The good news is that limescale can be removed from granite and other natural-stone surfaces quite easily, restoring the natural luster and shine of the area.
Left unchecked, however, and limescale will cause serious damage to stone.
What is Limescale and What Causes Limescale Build-up?
Limescale is a common issue in any area that is exposed to hard water, such as the areas around sinks, tubs, showers and other faucets.
Hard water often has high mineral content containing calcium carbonate. So, even after the water itself has dried from your natural-stone surface, it will leave behind a chalky film of this powdery-white substance on surfaces and in your pipes. Although it is most often white, it can also appear as a reddish-brown, gray or pink color depending on the other minerals present in the water.
The build-up may not be visible after just a few uses or limited contact with hard water. But after continuous exposure – coupled with improper cleaning – you will begin to see it on your granite or other natural-stone surface. This build-up can also be very difficult to remove with standard household cleaners, which contain other harmful chemicals that will do more damage to your stone than good.
How not to Clean Limescale From Natural-Stone Surfaces
Before we share our recommended limescale remover and step-by-step process, it’s imperative to know what should be avoided when cleaning limescale from granite countertops and other natural-stone surfaces.
Do not use traditional, all-purpose cleaning solutions or a DIY solution.
The only way to properly clean natural-stone surfaces and safely remove limescale build-up is with a pH balanced, non-toxic solution that is specifically formulated for use on natural stone. Any other solutions will cause even more damage to your stone due to their acidic ingredients.
Acid can cause pitting and etching in the stone as well as eat away at the stone sealer that you’ve applied.
Other cleaners that are advertised to remove limescale and options currently in your home, such as vinegar, are also very acidic and will cause damage to a countertop, sink, shower, bath, floor or other surface that is an organic material such as granite, marble, travertine and more.
Beyond cleaning solutions, you should avoid using abrasive cleaning supplies like steel wool or metal brushes. This can be tempting to use due to the textured nature of limescale build-up, but it can scratch and cause permanent damage to the natural stone underneath.
How to Remove Limescale Without Harmful Chemicals
The severity of the limescale stain will determine how you approach the cleaning process.
If you notice it before there is a significant chalky build-up of minerals – or clean your natural stone after it comes in contact with other substances – then you will be able to clean the surface in the same way you clean hard water stains off the granite and other natural stone.
You can follow the steps below to remove minor limescale build-up and prevent future build-up from occurring:
- Using Granite Gold Daily Cleaner®, spray the from an area of 6-8 inches from the surface.
- Scrub with a stone-specific soft-bristled nylon brush, such as the one included with Granite Gold Grout Brush®.
- Rinse the area with water.
- Wipe dry with a lint-free cloth.
If your natural stone has a lot of visible limescale and other mineral build-up, you will need a slightly more aggressive cleaning method. To deep clean limescale build-up, use a single-edge razor blade and gently shave the surface of the stone (it won’t harm the stone) or a stone-safe, non-scratch scrubbing pad to scrape away the limescale.
When using a single-edge razor to remove limescale, soak the surface with Granite Gold Daily Cleaner. Then, using gentle pressure, begin to move the razor over the surface of the countertop.
You should be able to remove the limescale with a smooth action and without applying too much pressure.
If you are unable to remove the limescale with either of the above approaches, call one of our Stone Care Experts and we will advise you on other options.
Cleaning Natural Stone Daily to Prevent Future Build-up
Once you’ve removed the existing limescale build-up, you should take preventative measures to avoid a difficult cleaning process or irreparable damage in the future. In addition to daily cleaning, polishing weekly will help prevent the build-up.
If you have any other questions about removing and preventing limescale, our team of Stone Care Experts can help you at 1-800-475-7866. We have more than three generations of stone care in our family and have formulated the line of Granite Gold® stone care solutions to help you maintain the original luster and appearance of any natural stone in your home.