Limescale: Water and Vinegar

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 8 October 2016

Limescale: Water and Vinegar

Limescale is the deposits left behind by hard water. Limescale is mainly made up of calcium and magnesium. We advise you not to use acetic acid-based descaler (vinegar), as this could have a negative effect on the taste of the coffee. Note: Never use a vinegar-based descaling agent with 8% or more acetic acid to descale the appliance, as this may cause damage. (2) citric acid is used mainly for home use, for getting rid of lime scale,(kettles, baths, toilets), in hard water areas. It is a natural material (found in fruit), and is non toxic, and doesn’t smell like vinegar would if you used that.

By the way, I’ve answered your sulfamic acid question. (3) Citric acid is a colourless fruit acid. It is obtained directly from citrus fruits but can also be produced biotechnically. In system cleaning, the citric acid in AquaStar 1 is used for natural and effective descaling of the drinking water system (the water heater in particular). The descaling effect is achieved by a combination of the acid and the formation of a calcium complex. The advantage of using citric acid instead of vinegar for cleaning drinking water systems is the avoidance of the unpleasant vinegary taste.

Citric acid also affords better corrosion protection to stainless steel containers by removing free iron from their surfaces. Vinegar is produced by fermenting alcoholic liquids with acetic acid bacteria (Mycoderma aceti). Vinegar is a descaling agent due to its acid content, but it leaves behind an unpleasant taste which adheres to plastics and rubber and is very difficult to remove. Vinegar is not suitable for descaling drinking water systems in mobile homes, as it attacks rubber seals and even some metals. (4) Many people believe that vinegar is the best limescale remover.

However, using a citric acid-based decalcifier may cause precipitation and thus deposits that can prevent your household appliances from functioning properly, for example by clogging the fine lines and valves in coffee machines. The citric acid can also create an insoluble film that seals off the limescale deposits. Moreover, the decalcification process will take significantly longer with citric acid than with durgol®. The acetic acid and flavour additives in vinegar or vinegar essence produce an unpleasant odour during decalcification.

A further problem is that the odour can be absorbed into plastic materials, an unwelcome side effect especially in food-related applications. Furthermore, certain plastics can be damaged by acetic acid. As with citric acid, decalcification takes significantly longer with vinegar than with durgol®. (5) Advantages of using Sulphamic Acid Sulphamic Acid has very high shelf life. Sulphamic acid do not require storage/handing arrangement hence no adulteration possible. Sulphamic acid has very high effectivity of the descaling. Complete cleaning can be chemically achieved by Sulphamic acid and does not require post descaling manual cleaning.

Sulphamic acid is safe acid, packed in 50 kgs HDPE bags and has no handling hazards. No storage tanks / system required for dosing. The solid can be directly charged to system eliminating the cost of system reduces the leave of scaling solids and acts as anti – descalant. Accidental excess dosing does not affect the metal of the circulating system but it acts to remove the deposited scale from the system. It is recommended to does into the cooling water for descaling the condenser on running plant. (6) Use vinegar to clean away the scale that forms at the base of your kettle or around your showerhead.

The acid in vinegar makes it a great all-round cleaner, and it’s also what makes it an ideal natural descaler. Use the cheapest vinegar you can find. Pour this into your kettle and leave it overnight. The next day, pour the vinegar back into its bottle – you can keep it and reuse it for descaling, it’ll work time and time again. Just remember to label the bottle so you don’t mix it up with the vinegar you use in your food! You’ll see that your kettle is sparkling and scale-free once you’ve treated it with vinegar overnight. Rinse it out well, and boil a couple of kettles of water to remove any traces of vinegar before using it again.

You can also put your showerhead in a bowl of vinegar – again, it’s best to leave this overnight. The vinegar will clean away any scale that builds up around the water holes in your shower head. It’s good to do this regularly (every couple of months) as blocked holes in your shower head can actually cause water temperature fluctuations, which are never pleasant in the shower! As with the vinegar you use for your kettle, you can re-use vinegar descaling the showerhead. (7) Limescale consists of insoluble calcium salts such as calcium carbonate.

Descalers act by forming soluble calcium salts allowing the scale to be washed away . These descalers are usually acidic – vinegar can be used as a descaler because it contains acetic acid and it will react with the scale to produce calcium acetate, which is soluble. The disadvantage of vinegar is that it has a strong taste and smell – so if it is used to descale a kettle , the taste and smell will linger for some time giving a bad taste to tea or coffee made using water from the kettle. Citric acid is preferred because it does not have this disadvantage. It will produce soluble calcium citrate.


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  • University/College: University of Arkansas System

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 8 October 2016

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