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How to remove limescale from tiles

If you are struggling to remove unsightly hard water marks or finding it difficult to manage the build-up of limescale, this guide will help. Our team of tiling professionals have compiled this list of tips and advice, so that you can quickly clean your tiles to restore their professional finish.

What causes water marks and limescale on tiles?

If you live in a hard water area, unfortunately your tiled areas will be more susceptible to limescale build up than those in soft water areas. By definition, a hard water area will have a higher level of minerals in the water, such as magnesium, potassium and calcium. This means that when water evaporates from surfaces such as your shower cubicle, your bath and your tiles, the minerals will be left behind.

Although these deposits may not be visible straightaway, if the area is not cleaned regularly the layers of minerals will quickly leave behind hard water stains which can be difficult to remove from tiles and grout. It doesn’t take long for a surface to lose its shine; however, our tips will help you to prevent build-up and protect your surfaces.

How to prevent limescale build-up on tiled areas

The first step in preventing limescale build-up is to choose tiles which will help to prevent the issue, such as ceramic or porcelain tiles which have a smooth, gloss finish. It is advisable to avoid using natural stone tiles in hard water areas, such as limestone and marble, as the porous surface will allow the minerals within the water to seep into the tiles. This in turn creates difficult to remove hard water stains, especially when the water is allowed to settle.

If the tiles are already in place, the best way to prevent hard water stains is to clean the area regularly. This will prevent large stubborn build-ups, and the more regular the cleaning, the easier the surface will be to maintain.

How to remove hard water stains on tiles?

There are a variety of excellent tile cleaners available which will effectively remove stubborn hard water stains, such as the HG Cement and Grout Film Remover and the Lithofin KF Ceramic Clean. The HG product is a powerful acid-based cleaner which is designed to remove thin grout films on tiles, however it is also great at removing limescale and rust stains. Whereas, the Lithofin product is designed for use as a maintenance cleaner, and will effectively remove limescale, rust, grease and soap marks.

There are also various home remedies which can be effective, however you should always exercise caution. We recommend avoiding harsh bleach and instead creating a gentler cleaning solution. A great combination is white vinegar with baking soda, which will effectively combine to help break down and dissolve the limescale build-up, however this should not be used with marble. The smooth paste can be applied using a cloth or scouring pad, with gentle pressure applied to clean the area.

Once stubborn layers of limescale are removed, a solution such as white vinegar and water can be kept in a spray bottle for quick and easy use. Simply spray on the tiles regularly and use a sponge to remove any stains. As always, when using cleaning products, care must be taken to avoid damage to the tiles and grout lines, so always follow instructions carefully.

Unfortunately, the tiles themselves are not the only area which will need cleaning, as limescale can also build up along the grout lines. A specialist grout cleaner such as the Lithofin KF Grout Cleaner will help to restore your grout to its original colour, with a little elbow grease quickly removing limescale.

Our top 3 tips

1) Prevent stain build-up – Preventing limescale build-up is much easier than removing difficult staining, so clean and dry tiles regularly.

2) Use vinegar or lemon juice – These are great at cutting through mineral build-up, simply spray over tiles and leave for an hour before rinsing away.

3) Avoid acidic cleaners with natural stone tiles – The acid within some cleaning products can damage and etch the surface of natural stone tiles. Instead, choose specialist cleaning products or use a neutral pH detergent with gentle scrubbing.

We hope this guide is useful, and if you would like further advice about any of the cleaning products mentioned in this blog, please contact our team.

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