How to Remove Lime Scale from the Bathtub


June asked: How do you remove lime scale from a colored bath? I tried to clean it with Viakal and now I have white streaks which I cannot remove. I did try vinegar, but it did not work.

Limescale is a filmy-white resideue that builds up on surfaces that are in constant contact with hardwater. Hard water contains calcium and magnesium that can build up on the surface of the bathtub. The materials for removing limescale are simple, the hard part is the scrubbing to get it removed.

You Will Need:

  • Vinegar
  • Citric acid
  • CLR
  • Spray bottle
  • Soft cloth
  • Paper towels
  • Water
  • Scrub brush (optional)
  • Mr. Clean Magic Eraser (optional)

The Removal Process:

  1. Begin by cleaning the area as normal to remove any other dirt and build-up. This will give you access straight to the lime scale. It may also be a good idea to open the windows because the smell of the vinegar and other cleaners can be quite strong.
  2. Next, choose your cleaner. Vinegar is readily available and can be used either full strength or diluted with water. Citric acid can be found in most specialty stores and can be mixed with water to the desired strength.
  3. Place the cleaner in a spray bottle for easy application.
  4. Begin by soaking the areas with vinegar or citric acid and allowing it to sit for 30 minutes up to a couple of hours, depending on the severity of the lime scale. Spray the area every 15-30 minutes so the area does not dry out.
  5. If the lime scale is on the wall of the tub, place a paper towel over the area and spray it until it sticks to the wall.
  6. After the vinegar has had plenty of time to soak and loosen the lime scale, it’s time to start scrubbing. It may be helpful to wear rubber gloves to protect your hands.
  7. Use a soft cloth or scrub brush to scrub the area. It will require some pressure to remove the lime scale but avoid using any abrasive scrubbers that may damage the surface. Cleaning with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Sponge will offer an extra level of cleaning power. Avoid using too much pressure as these sponges are slightly abrasive.
  8. Repeat as necessary.
  9. If the above steps do not remove the build-up, apply a commercial cleaner such as CLR. (Always test a small hidden area first when using these cleaners to ensure there is no damage to the surface of the bathtub.) It may be helpful to allow the cleaner to set on the stain by spraying paper towels on the wall as described above. Follow the guidelines on the package to determine how long to let the area soak before scrubbing.
  10. When all of the lime scale is removed, clean the bathtub as normal to remove any cleaning residue.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • If you have access to a steam cleaner, the steam will help to break down the lime scale and clean it away easily.
  • Tilex is another powerful cleaner that can be found in the cleaning products of nearly every store. Use good ventilation as the fumes can become overwhelming.
  • To avoid the build-up of lime scale, clean your bathtub weekly with a mild remover.
  • It is also helpful to keep the bathtub dry, by wiping it down quickly after use. The lack of moisture keeps the lime scale from developing.
  • The white streaks from the Viakal are either residue from the cleaner that were not removed or the surface was damaged. To remove residue, spray again with the cleaner to make the residue “fresh” again and wipe away as quickly as possible before it has a chance to dry.


  1. I tried using the toilet bowl limescale remover and it worked. Just put it on, left it overnight and it melts the limescale. I repeated the steps for a few days days until the stubborn ones were gone.

  2. I recently read this and tried it. It worked like a charm for removing hard water stains off of tile, shower glass, windows, and fixtures, and also shined my stainless steel kitchen sink! I took 2 cups baking soda, and 1 small package unsweetened (it must be unsweetened) lemonade or limeade Kool-Aid mix. I put it in a plastic container, and just mixed it well and shook it with the lid on. I took a squirt bottle and filled that with 1/2 water and 1/2 white vinegar. For hard water stains, you can make this a bit stronger. First, you want to get the surface that you are going to clean very wet. Then, get a soft scouring pad, not too rough so your glass or surface does not scratch. Wet your scour pad in a bucket of water, and scoop out a tablespoon at a time of your baking soda mixture onto the scour pad. Rub it into your glass or surface until your whole area is rubbed or buffed to your desire. You will have to keep moistening your sponge and adding enough powder to clean entire surface. Let the paste soak onto the glass or surface for approximately 15 minutes. The acid in the Kool-Aid will do its magic! Then…Take your spray bottle of the vinegar, and start spraying the entire surface and re-moistening it. It will begin to foam and bubble up on the surface and you can again rub the sponge into it and smooth out the glass or tile a bit more. The smell of the vinagar is a bit strong, and you may need some air as it is quite strong. Be patient; it will be doing its job, and it is not toxic! At that point, you can start rinsing with very warm water and use a rag to rub it all off as you rinse. You should notice that the glass is crystal clear. If you have any spots left, you may need to repeat spots you may have missed! This should not happen unless the area is very full of hard water and really caked on.
    There is also a recipe online to make your own dishwasher soap that leaves your dishes sparkling clean for pennies on the dollar, and you can clean your dishwasher by running it empty and using 1 pack of lemon or lemon-lime sugar-free lemonade. Your kitchen will smell great, and dishwasher as clean as new inside!! :)

  3. Thanks whoever wrote this. I have a gallon of vinegar already!

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