Limescale is a hard, chalky deposit mainly made up of calcium and magnesium. It builds up more often in hot water but is also found on the inner surface of old pipes and other areas where "hard water" has evaporated.
The build up of limescale can reduce the life of ceramic cartridge valves and mark taps and sinks over a period of time. The limescale content of water can be seen when dry by its white, chalky appearance and will generally gather around the spout outlet or diffuser/aerator, the base of the spout and the body of the tap. It will also gather internally on the ceramic cartridge/valve.
It is good practise to clean these areas regularly with warm water and a soft cloth to prevent a build up. If limescale has already began to appear the most simple remedy to remove the marks and deposits is to dilute white vinegar with water and soak the effected areas. The soaking is normally only needed for a few hours and then the area can be wiped over with a soft, damp cloth.
The longer the limescale has been allowed to collect, the more time this will take to remove. An old toothbrush may be helpful for tight areas such as the base of a spout. DO NOT scrape the limescale off with a sharp object or pick at it as this is likely to damage the finish/surface.
For more information on cleaning limescale from other products, check out our blog here.
If you live in an area of hardwater you will find that limescale builds up more quickly, the map below illustrates roughly the water hardness in areas of the UK: