Calcium, magnesium or other mineral deposits from hard water can clog faucets and water-using appliances around the home. White vinegar’s acidic nature makes it effective at removing lime mineral deposits without flushing chemicals into the municipal water supply or the home’s septic system.

Unlike synthetic alternatives which contain harmful chemicals, white vinegar can be safely used on surfaces and appliances that make contact with food and drink.

Vinegar removes lime deposits from coffee makers and teapots

To unclog mineral deposits from an electric coffee maker, brew a full pot of half vinegar and half water using a clean coffee filter. Turn off the coffee maker about half way through the brewing cycle and let the solution sit for about an hour. Turn the coffee maker back on to brew the rest of the vinegar solution, replace the coffee filter, and then rinse by running two cycles of clean water through the coffeemaker before use.

To remove mineral deposits from an electric or stovetop teakettle, boil one cup of vinegar with a quarter cup of baking soda for a few minutes, and then rinse thoroughly.  

Mineral deposits on showerheads and sink faucets

To remove mineral deposits that clog showerheads and sink faucets, add equal parts water and vinegar to a plastic bag. Attach the bag to the faucet so that it is submerged in the bag and secure it with a rubber band. Soak the faucet for about an hour and then run the water for a minute to rinse.

For heavy mineral buildup on the outside of faucets, soak a cloth in white vinegar, wrap it around the faucet and secure it with a rubber band or heavy string. Let it sit for 30 minutes or so before rinsing. Scrubbing mineral buildup with an old toothbrush can help to remove any stubborn residue.

Vinegar flushes minerals from clothes irons and humidifiers

To flush mineral buildup from a clothes iron, fill it with half water and half vinegar, let it heat up, and run the steam until it is empty. Once the iron has cooled, you can refill it with clean water and steam it again to rinse.

To remove mineral deposits from a humidifier, soak the filter in a pan of undiluted vinegar until it is free of the sediment. Adding a quarter cup of white vinegar to a humidifier’s water tank once a week will also kill bacteria and prevent mineral buildup.