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You know that pesky white buildup that clogs your coffeemaker and destroys your morning brew? This hard coating that also lines your tea kettle and showerhead is simply a build-up of calcium, magnesium, lime, and other minerals that are commonly found in hard water.

This buildup can become so thick that it seems like you’d need sandpaper or chemicals to remove them. But as it turns out, these minerals are actually fast and easy to remove. There are a few commercial mineral removers out there, but the easiest, least expensive, and cleanest way to get rid of the deposits is simply with white vinegar. And unlike the commercial cleaners, vinegar is completely non-toxic.

Here are a few handy tips.

Remove mineral deposits from an electric coffeemaker

  • Brew a full pot of half vinegar and half water, using a clean coffee filter.
  • Turn off the coffee maker about halfway through the brewing cycle and let the solution sit for about an hour.
  • Turn the coffeemaker back on to finish brewing.
  • Replace the coffee filter and then rinse by running two cycles of clean water through the brewing cycle.

Remove mineral deposits from a teakettle

  • Boil one cup of vinegar for a few minutes.
  • Add a quarter cup of baking soda for extra cleaning power, if needed (optional).
  • Rinse thoroughly.
  • Works for both electric and stovetop tea kettles!

Remove mineral deposits from showerheads and sink faucets

  • Add equal parts water and vinegar to a plastic bag.
  • Attach the bag to the faucet, so that the faucet is submerged in the bag.
  • Secure the bag to the top of the faucet with a rubber band.
  • Let it sit for about an hour.
  • Remove the bag and run the water for a minute to rinse.
  • Remove stubborn mineral residue on the outside of the faucet with an old toothbrush, if needed.

Remove mineral deposits from a clothes iron

  • Fill the iron with half water and half vinegar, and turn it on.
  • Once the iron heats up, run the steam until it is empty.
  • Once it has cooled back down, refill it with clean water and steam it again to rinse.

Remove mineral deposits from the humidifier

  • Soak the humidifier filter in a pan of undiluted white vinegar for about an hour or until it is free of sediment.
  • To kill bacteria and prevent future mineral buildup, add a quarter cup of white vinegar to the water tank once a week.

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