Lime-scale is the big problem for all of us...
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what is lime scale?
Lime scale is the hard, off-white, chalky deposit found in kettles, hot-water boilers, steam generators, hot-water central heating systems and washing machines.
It is also often found as a similar deposit on the inner surface of old pipes and other surfaces where "hard water" has evaporated. In addition to being unsightly and hard to clean, lime scale seriously impairs the operation or damages various components.
The type found deposited on the heating elements of water heaters has a main component of calcium carbonate. Hard water contains calcium (and often magnesium) bicarbonate or similar ions. Calcium salts, such as calcium bicarbonate and calcium carbonate are both more soluble in hot water than cold water.[dubious – discuss] Thus, heating water does not cause calcium carbonate to precipitate per se. However, there is an equilibrium between dissolved calcium bicarbonate and dissolved calcium carbonate:
Other ways to clean Lime-Scale:
Cracking limescale - a clever use for vinegar and lemon juice.
The less fastidious will not be familiar with limescale. But those who like to admire their reflection in a gleaming chrome appliance will hate the milky white deposit.
It is possible to scrub off the limescale deposits. However, the minerals involved are very hard, so abrasives that will effectively scrape them off are also likely to damage the finish of the material underneath. Luckily, calcium carbonate is easily dissolved in a range of mild acids. You can buy brand-name limescale removers, but many common household substances will also do the trick. Two of the most effective substances are lemon juice and ordinary vinegar. Lemon juice is usually the best (and will also leave a lovely smell behind). Stronger pickling vinegar and lime juice are both even more acidic and can be used for really stubborn deposits.
The problem with removing limescale is not usually finding an appropriate acid around the home, but making sure the acid stays in contact with the surface for long enough to do its job. Limescale is not so easy to remove that you can simply wipe it off with a cloth soaked in juice. Instead, you need to leave it soaking for an hour or more to really do the trick.
Washing machines and dishwashers
Both vinegar and lemon juice will do a great job of removing any lime scale deposits and freshening up your machines' innards at the same time. In a washing machine, use a large cup of either liquid in place of your usual detergent and run a normal washing cycle (without clothes). In a dishwasher, pour the liquid into the base of the machine rather than the detergent dispenser.
Meanwhile, use the juice you collected to create a cotton wool "dressing" for the rest of the tap, as before. Wait an hour then rinse and scrub your tap clean. If any scale remains, simply replace the lemon for longer and scrub again.
Your steam generator must be kept clean from lime scale build up and deposits,.
if you are in a hard water area you must descale the steam generator regularly, (we are not responsible for the water you use or the hardness of water in your area), descaling agents are readily available, try using distilled water or captured rain water then filter, as this is the best type of water to use.
Use collected rain water , e.g. from a water butt, then filter water through a fine mesh (e.g. fine mesh tights) to remove any foreign objects such as leaves and small debris.
This type of water is the best to use, as it contains very few impurities that our normal tap water contains.
Your hay steamer is classed as a cooking utensil, as like your food cooking utensils at home you must keep clean.
Regular cleaning and preventative maintenance is very important to maintain your hay steamers functionality.
Tiles and other surfaces
Limescale deposits on flat surfaces are much easier to get rid of. In most cases, scrubbing gently with vinegar or lemon juice will get them sparkling again.
Steam Generators / Kettle's / Coffee Machine's
Your steam generator is a ready-made liquid container, so the descaling process is pretty simple. Start by quarter-filling the generator with water then empty the sachet of Oust into the generator, you can use an empty milk container to pre-mix the Oust de-scaler solution, if this is easier. Turn on the generator, allow to start to boil then switch generator off and leave to cool. When cooled, pour the contents away then rinse generator with clean water to remove any Oust residue remaining.
This method can also be used to descale coffee makers. Add the Oust to the water compartment as before, then top up with water and run the coffee-making process with this solution and no coffee. Repeat this twice with plain water to rinse.
The tricky part is keeping the taps in contact with your descaling liquid. The best method I have come across is to take a small plastic cup of vinegar, immerse the tap in the vinegar and wrap a tea towel around both cup and tap to hold it in place. For limescale build-up around the posts and other parts of a tap, soak a pad of cotton wool in your descaling liquid and wrap this firmly around the relevant parts. Leave it there for an hour or two, giving it a squeeze now and again to make sure the acid gets into all the corners and grooves. After this time, all parts of your taps should be able to be wiped clean, though you may need to scrub with a plastic sourer to loosen the more stubborn bits of scale.
Another effective method uses a couple of lemons. Cut them in half then squeeze them gently into a bowl to gather some juice. Don't use a lemon squeezer, as you want to make sure the fleshy parts remain intact for the next stage. Then take a lemon half and shove it on to the spout of your tap, twisting gently until it stays in place. The fibres and chambers inside the lemon should catch on the edge of the spout, preventing the lemon falling off. Now you can simply leave it to do its descaling job. (If the lemon won't stay in place, use the tea-towel trick.)