Descaling in an environmentally friendly way: home remedies as a cheap alternative

Whether kettle,  coffee machine  or iron. Household appliances that work with water will sooner or later want to be descaled. Some chemical agents are available commercially for this. As is so often the case, the tried and tested home remedies of the mother or grandmother do the same. The secret to getting rid of limescale is quickly revealed – all you need is an acid. Most lime cleaners work with acids that you may already have in your kitchen cupboard at home and that are definitely worth trying to decalcify.


Why should you (not) use home remedies?

There are of course some advantages and disadvantages to using home remedies. If you do not use chemical decalcifying agents, it protects the environment. Most home remedies are more easily biodegradable as they do not contain any additional fragrances or detergents. Home remedies are cheaper compared to conventional descaler. Savings are particularly noticeable with very hard water, as the limescale has to be removed much more often. However, you may pay dearly for these savings later. Many manufacturers of equipment such as coffee machines recommend a specific descaler that they have tested their equipment with. The use of other means often invalidates the guarantee. Descaling with home remedies is always at your own risk.

The problem with home remedies is that the correct dosage cannot be clearly stated. Chemical decalcifying agents indicate exactly in what proportion the product has to be mixed with water, with home remedies it is usually “learning by doing”. A slow approach to the correct dosage is advisable. It is easy to find some instructions on the Internet. If you have no problem with math, you can try to adjust the mixing ratio to chemical descaler. Commercially available agents usually have an acid content of around 15% and are mixed with one or two parts of water, depending on the degree of calcification. The solution that ends up in kettles etc. has between 5 and 7.5% acid. This corresponds roughly to the acidity of an ordinary lemon. However, chemical agents descale more effectively, so that the acid concentration of the home remedies must probably be above this value.


Which home remedies are suitable for descaling?

Depending on the desired application and device, different home remedies are differently suitable.

citric acid

One of the most popular means of descaling is citric acid. It leaves a pleasant smell, but no annoying aftertaste. It must be noted that the acid is only suitable for cold decalcification. If it is heated to 40 ° C or higher, it can combine with the lime and form calcium citrate. This mixture is even more difficult to dissolve than lime and, in the worst case, can seriously damage equipment.

acetic acid

Acetic acid works effectively, the concentrated vinegar essence is even stronger. But the effectiveness also has its disadvantage – coffee machines should not be descaled with vinegar, as the acid can attack sensitive hoses and rubber seals. The intense smell is annoying, and vinegar can also remain in taste. Caution is also advised with the vapors, they should not be inhaled.

baking powder

The all-round talent from the kitchen also removes lime. Baking powder has the positive property that it does not attack chrome and is therefore ideally suited for cleaning calcified chrome fittings. Incidentally, when heated, it foams very strongly, so you should use it sparingly.

Denture cleaner or aspirin

Acid is also found in denture cleaners or aspirin. If you dissolve a tablet in water, the mixture is ideal for descaling. However, some denture cleaners contain flavorings such as mint, which can be difficult to get out of the device.


The popular drink contains phosphoric acid. Cola is primarily suitable for cold decalcification. If it is boiled in a kettle, for example, the sugar it contains can burn in. Since the acid is weaker than in other home remedies, it is not bad to let Cola soak in overnight.

Baking soda

Soda cannot be seen as a classic descaler. This is because it is not an acid, existing limescale deposits cannot be removed with it. But if you add baking soda to the water, it has a softening effect and can prevent limescale deposits. This can also improve the taste of tea and coffee. A tip of a knife every time in the full kettle or the tank of the coffee machine should be enough.

Amidosulfonic acid

This “home remedy” sounds very chemical. In principle, it is not a home remedy, as it is the active ingredient of most chemical descaler. But many swear by ordering the acid in bulk packs on the Internet and using it to mix a decalcifier themselves. That can be cheaper than buying conventional descaler. But it is not an environmentally friendly alternative.


How do I use home remedies correctly?

With strong acids such as acetic acid or citric acid, caution should be exercised when decalcifying. Wear gloves and be careful not to come into contact with the acid. If you heat the acid, you must not inhale the resulting vapors. Under no circumstances should children handle the descaling agents.

Home remedies can also be used wherever a descaler or detergent against limescale is usually used. Nevertheless, there are a few things to consider with the individual devices.

To a washing machine  To descale, the machine can be run without washing with the descaler solution. If the faucet has calcified, it works well to simply fill a balloon or condom with the solution. Placed over the tap, the home remedy can work well and the lime is dissolved. Parts that can be removed – like a shower head – are best placed in a bath with the descaler. Of course, this also works with larger components such as a removable boiler basin or toilet cistern. It is important to rinse or rinse everything well after descaling.

As already mentioned, you have to slowly approach the right dosage for home remedies. Better to start with a low dose and increase if necessary. Incidentally, you can use a decalcifying solution that has already been used again without any problems. After a descaling process, the acid is usually not yet saturated and can dissolve further lime.