How To Get Lime Out Of Your Pipes (And Your Teapot): A Guide From Altadena

Lime deposits are what cause that white, chalky, filmy residue that you see on faucets, shower heads and tiles in your Altadena home. Aside from being unsightly, lime deposits can also cause damage over time. Lime builds up inside the plumbing of your home, slowly degrading your pipes. Below are some tips to get rid of lime in common trouble spots.


Lime most often builds up in pipes that carry hot water, since the water heater dissolves the lime in the water. The lime is then deposited on the inside of the pipes when it cools. Here are some steps to clear out the troublesome lime from those pipes:

Turn off your water heater and drain it so it is about half full.
Remove the pressure valve, being careful to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Pour solvent into the heater through the open valve. There are commercial products available specifically designed to break up lime deposits, but white vinegar can be used as a cheaper and greener alternative.
Replace the pressure valve, turn the heater back on and allow it to fill all the way.
Turn on hot water faucets throughout the house. Let the water run until it runs clear or doesn’t smell of vinegar, depending on which solvent you used.

Kettles & Coffeemakers

Mineral deposits in a kettle or coffeemaker can cause your morning beverages to taste bitter. To clean them out, try these techniques:

Put 2 tablespoons of water softener in your kettle and fill it with water. Bring to a boil and rinse thoroughly. Alternatively, you can use a 1:1 ratio of vinegar and water, then let it sit overnight after boiling.
Fill your coffeemaker’s reservoir with water plus 2 tablespoons of water softener. Or, fill it entirely with white vinegar. Either way, run it through once that way, then a few more times with pure water to rinse.

For more obvious deposits, like faucets and tiles, usually a combination of hot water and either lime remover or white vinegar will do the trick. You can get more instruction on removing lime scale at

Those are the tried-and-true methods for making your pipes last by keeping lime at bay. Some plumbers will swear to you that putting magnets on your pipes will prevent lime from building up. Data to support that is inconclusive at best, although it can’t hurt to try.

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