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. Denver says:

    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.

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