How to Remove Calcium Buildup in a Shower Drain

The use of hard water often leads to calcium buildup in shower drains. With time, the deposits can clog up the shower drain. Calcium deposits and other mineral deposits can damage some metals if not cleaned off in time. Knowing what to use to remove calcium buildup in the drain is the first step to getting rid of it. 

Pour ½ a cup of white vinegar and ½ a cup of baking soda into the drain, then cover it with a damp cloth. Leave it for 5 minutes, then pour a bucket of hot water down the drain to remove the calcium deposits. Clean the tiles around the drain with dilute vinegar to eliminate all the limescale.

Calcium Buildup in the Shower Drain

Causes of cement-like stuff in shower drains

Calcium buildup in shower drains is caused by calcium deposits in hard water. Hard water has minerals such as calcium, sodium, magnesium, limestone, chalk, and gypsum. These minerals don’t completely dissolve in the water and will get deposited onto pipes, showerheads, and drains. If, for example, your shower head makes roaring noises, it’s likely a calcium buildup.

Since calcium and magnesium are the most abundant in hard water, most of the white buildup in shower drains is made up of calcium and magnesium deposits. If you use soft water in your bathroom, it’s unlikely that you will have a hard buildup in the shower drain. 

Your shower drain should have a P-trap that keeps sewer gases away from the house. The P-trap can easily get clogged by calcium buildup.

How to get rid of calcium buildup in shower drains

Remove hard water buildup in the shower drain by adding equal parts of white vinegar and baking soda to the drain. Commercial cleaners such as Lime-A-Way Bathroom Cleaner and CLR can also be used to remove calcium deposits. 

The problem with some lime drain cleaners is that they emit toxic fumes and aren’t safe for consumption. On the other hand, you can safely consume baking soda and white vinegar as they’re also used as ingredients in food. 

This exercise requires white vinegar, baking soda, and hot water. The steps to get rid of calcium buildup in shower drains are as follows:

1. Drain water from the drain and drain pipes

If the limescale has clogged up your drain, some water will be in the drain. Get rid of this stagnant water by plunging the drain hole with a plunger. If this doesn’t work, insert a brush into the drain towards the drainpipe, then brush off the limescale to open up the drainpipe. Drain the water away. 

2. Pour white vinegar and baking soda into the drain

Pour half a cup of baking soda and half a cup of white vinegar into the drain. Pour them in any order, as there is no change in effectiveness, whether you start with baking soda or white vinegar. Baking soda and white vinegar make a great homemade limescale dissolver. 

3. Cover the shower drain with a damp cloth for 5 minutes

Put a damp cloth on the opening of the shower drain to cover the ingredients and prevent the gas generated from escaping. You use a damp piece of cloth because the dampness makes the piece of cloth airtight. The water fills the spaces between the fabric pieces in the cloth, thus making it airtight. 

After covering the drain, wait for about 5 minutes for the vinegar and baking soda to dissolve the calcium buildup in the drain and drainpipes. You’ll hear fizzing and bubbling sounds from the drain. 

4. Rinse the shower drain with hot water

Remove the piece of cloth from the shower drain, then pour at least a gallon of hot water into it. The hot water will further dislodge the remaining limescale in the drain and drainpipe, then wash it down. 

5. Clean up around the drain

Clean the area around the shower drain a using sponge with a tablespoon of white vinegar. Gently wipe the area for any baking soda or white vinegar that might have spilled on it. 

You should also clean the shower drain cover by putting it in a solution with equal parts of white vinegar and baking soda. Brush it with a soft-bristled brush, then rinse with hot water. 

At times, calcified drain pipes may need a plumber to take them apart and remove the mineral deposits, especially if they have completely clogged the drainpipe. Clogged pipes also lead to a smelly shower drain. Baking soda and white vinegar remove clogged drain mineral deposits quite effectively.

Best Lime Drain Cleaners

Some of the best lime drain cleaners you can use include:

1. Green Gobbler Drain Clog Dissolver

The Green Gobbler Drain Clog dissolver clears your drains by liquefying substances such as soap scum, hair, paper, grease, and others. It works on toilets, sinks, showers, pipes, and even tubs in a few minutes. It doesn’t harm pipes since it has no sodium hydroxide or bleach. 

2. CLR Calcium, Lime & Rust Remover

Use this CLR formula to clear and clean limescale from drains, countertops, tubs, ceramic tiles, plastic, glass, sinks, and other surfaces. Pour the CLR Calcium, Lime & Rust Remover on the dirt, then rinse promptly with clean cold water. 

3. Drano Max Gel Drain Clog Remover and Cleaner

Drano Max unclogs drains by eating away at the clogs and deposits without affecting the pipes or other parts of the plumbing system. Simply pour Drano Max Gel Drain Clog Remover into the drain, then wait for 15 minutes before flushing with hot water. 

How Often to Clean Up Limescale in the Shower

If you use hard water in your home, clear the white crust in shower drains at least once a month. You don’t need to wait until the limescale builds up in the shower before you clear it out. Simply set a date every month when you clean the shower drain off any lime buildup. 

If you use soft water, cleaning the drains every six months will be enough. There are few minerals in soft water to cause the buildup of limescale in the plumbing system. 

How to Prevent Mineral Buildup in Drain Pipes

You can use a few methods to prevent calcium buildup in drain pipes and drains. These methods save you the headache of dealing with lime buildup every now and again. 

The methods to prevent calcium buildup in the bathroom include the following:

Use soft water

Soft water is the best way to prevent calcium buildup in the drain and other parts of the bathroom. Soft water lacks significant amounts of minerals such as calcium, and the rate of buildup will be so slow you won’t have to clean the drains every month. Instead, once or twice a year will be enough. 

Install a hard water filter for your shower

If you can’t access soft water for your shower, install a water-softening showerhead to prevent the buildup of limescale in the shower drain and shower tiles. 

Water-softening shower heads have a cartridge that filters out chemicals and minerals from the water before it’s heated. The result is that your shower heats up soft water even when the supply is hard water. 

The best water-softening showerhead filter is the AquaBliss High Output Revitalizing Shower Filter. Instead of buying a whole new showerhead, this filter will connect to your current showerhead and soften your water right as you take a shower. If you’d rather buy a showerhead, the best water-softening showerhead is the NOSAME Shower Head. It’s a handheld shower head that filters hard water minerals out of the water as you take a shower.

Clean the Shower Frequently

You should know how to remove lime buildup in the drain, shower floors, and the rest of the bathroom. If you use hard water, clean it monthly. Even with that, clean the drain pipe buildup as soon as you notice it. With this routine, you won’t see water pipes clogged with calcium.

Effects of Calcium Buildup in the Shower

Some of the effects of having calcium buildup in your bathroom include:

  • Makes hair dull and sticky when the deposits get into your hair. 
  • Sour odor on clothes. The clothes will also become harsh and scratchy. 
  • Soap film on the skin after showering/bathing. This could lead to skin irritation. 
  • Clogging pipes due to excessive clogging. 
  • Makes appliances run inefficiently. If your washing machine, coffee maker, or water heater uses more electricity than usual, it could be due to calcium deposits. 
  • Streaks and spots on utensils. 
  • Soap scum buildup. 

The hard white stuff in your shower drain is calcium buildup, and cleaning it each month does away with these issues. 

How to remove calcium buildup in pipes

If your pipes have calcium buildup, follow these steps to clear it:

  1. Shut off the water at the mains leading to your home. 
  2. Drain the water from the pipes by opening all the taps and showers, then flushing the toilets.
  3. Pour one cup of baking soda and one cup of white vinegar down each drain. Keep pouring until the drains are full. Let the mixture sit for 3 to 4 hours. 
  4. Remove and soak the showerheads in a solution of baking soda and white vinegar mixed in equal parts. Let them soak for 3 to 4 hours. Rinse in hot water. 
  5. After 4 hours, pour hot water down the drains to clear the calcium buildup. 
  6. Turn the water back on. 

This should do away with the calcium buildup in the pipes. Doing so twice a year will prevent clogs in your pipes.

How to clean up lime buildup on shower tiles

Remove calcium from shower tiles using baking soda and white vinegar paste. Clean calcium off shower tiles is as follows:

  1. Make a paste from baking soda and white vinegar by adding the vinegar to the baking soda as you mix them up. 
  2. Apply the paste to the shower tiles, then wait 10 to 15 minutes. 
  3. Scrub with a soft-bristled brush, then rinse with warm water. 

From this information, you can learn that white vinegar is what dissolves calcium. Baking soda adds a level of abrasion to the paste. You can use commercial cleaners for the same purpose.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does calcium build up in the shower drain?

The main cause of calcium buildup in the shower is hard water that doesn’t dissolve. If it’s left without cleaning, it can lead to costly plumbing issues.

Can you use CLR in shower drains?

CLR can be used in shower drains, sinks, toilets, showers, grease traps, and garbage disposals. It dissolves the sources of clogs, such as soap scum, oil, toothpaste, shampoos, and conditioners.

What dissolves calcium water deposits?

You can remove calcium water deposits using white vinegar, baking soda, and lemons.

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