Asked on Jul 19, 2013

How can I remove lime scale from Marble Tile

Ha! It may have taken 1-year but I got my neighbor to let me help her solve a severe Calcium Build-up Problem on her marble shower. Problem Solved using a product called "GET-OFF MY Shower Glass" . Updated 4/26/14.

Original problem: The white marble tiles is a finished smooth tile, but now it is snow white with a severe build-up of calcium lime scale. Of course, we don't want to damage the original marble tile surface - so I need tips on what is safe and effective to use on it.
I look forward to your comments.
I took care of cleaning the shower glass - which looks great. But the marble inside the shower is quite coated with white scale - although hard to see in this photo.
BEFORE: Crusted Calcium Build-up on Shower Floor and Bottom Wall Tile.
AFTER: Right-side Tile Polished with "GET-OFF MY Shower Glass" DIY Kit. Crust is GONE!
Unpolished Wall Tile: Years of Calcium Stain build-up. Dull, non-reflective.
Wall Tile Polished with "GET-OFF MY Shower Glass" Kit and Water - no chemicals. Clean, Smooth and Reflective.
  74 answers
  • Z Z on Jul 19, 2013
    I'm confused Matthew. I just checked the link on your profile so why are you asking how we clean our bathrooms?
  • Matthew Gingerella Matthew Gingerella on Jul 19, 2013
    Sorry to confuse you Becky, I'm always interested in learning the best ways to get a bathroom clean - it is an ART & a Science. The information learned are important tips that I can pass on to others to help them get their bathrooms clean. My website is about PROTECTING your bathroom surfaces - AFTER you get the bathroom clean. Those are separate subjects. In addition, with my previous question post - I was also trying to find out how much TIME that others are spending to get their bathrooms clean. My core area of interest is in trying to understand the plight of my fellow bathroom cleaners and how that burden can be lessened. I'm also trying to understand the challenges for the professional cleaning companies as well. It's all in good faith - believe me. For this question, I am trying to help my neighbor across the street get the scale off of her marble this weekend. I do a lot of hands-on cleaning to try out all the tips that I learn about and see how effective they are. Thanks again for all of your great input!
  • Z Z on Jul 19, 2013
    Thank you for explaining Matthew. I appreciate it. I agree you would want a bathroom very clean before you seal it if it weren't a new bathroom. Even then there are construction dust and dirt you'd want to clean off before sealing it. Are your sealers DIY?
  • Z Z on Jul 19, 2013
    Ah, I looked further and saw that yes it is DIY.
  • Matthew Gingerella Matthew Gingerella on Jul 19, 2013
    Thanks for understanding Becky. Yes my Self-Cleen ST3 Spray-on Self-Cleaning Coating is sold as a DIY Kit. It's a high-tech commercial coating that I am bringing directly to consumers and service professionals to protect the bathroom surfaces and reduce cleaning frequency & time. It was born out of necessity from the issues I mentioned regarding having my teenage daughter constantly destroying her bathroom. As you mentioned - New Remodeled Bathrooms are the easiest to prepare for protective coating and I am working with professionals in that industry, also. If you want to try out Self-Cleen ST3 - you can use the 20% DISCOUNT CODE: matt's friends The CODE is valid through July 31st. Talk to you soon
  • Z Z on Jul 19, 2013
    Oh you need to teach your daughter to keep her own bathroom clean Matthew.
  • Matthew Gingerella Matthew Gingerella on Jul 19, 2013
    Ha - too late for that! Daddy brought her up as a Princess - that ain't gonna happen.
  • Z Z on Jul 19, 2013
    Our daughter was a little princess too, but she was a princess that learned how to clean. I'm sure her hubby appreciates that she did as will their own little princess when she's old enough to appreciate living in a clean house. Teaching any child, male or female, to clean is just simple life training. Both our children even did their own laundry by fifth grade.
  • Matthew Gingerella Matthew Gingerella on Jul 20, 2013
    Ah - You got me again Becky! I Give.
  • Teresa Hendren Teresa Hendren on Jul 20, 2013
    I clean my bathroom with Dawn and a magic eraser. Works like "magic"
  • Matthew Gingerella Matthew Gingerella on Jul 20, 2013
    Well thank you Teresa, I keep hearing about this Magic Eraser...have you used it on Marble TIle?
  • Z Z on Jul 20, 2013
    I'll leave you alone after this Matthew, but IF you decide to teach your daughter to clean her own bathroom, remind her she may be your princess, but YOU are the King. :^D
  • Sia@South 47th Sia@South 47th on Jul 20, 2013
    I have to admit I was confused at first as well @Matthew Gingerella . And I agree with @Z on all accounts LOL!!! GOOD LUCK!
  • Teresa Hendren Teresa Hendren on Jul 21, 2013
    No sorry I haven't. I have used it on our fiberglass tubs and showers with no damage caused. It's super easy to clean them with this and the Dawn.
  • Teresa Hendren Teresa Hendren on Jul 21, 2013
    You could try it on an inconspicuous area first.
  • Me Me on Jul 21, 2013
    Help answer this question...If you come across a solution I'd sure appreciate you passing it along; I too have the same issue although no Princess, two Kings!
  • Cindy Tucker Cindy Tucker on Jul 21, 2013
    Plain white vinegar in a spray bottle, let it soak, wipe down with a non abrasive scrubby, viola!
  • Mikell Paulson Mikell Paulson on Jul 21, 2013
    I would caution you when you wash Marble! I had some marble in the kitchen, certain things stained it and vinegar etched it. I wanted it in my new house and was told not to put it in a shower, do the the problem of cleaning. It is not like granite, It will etch . I would go with the Dawn and Mr. Clean eraser, do it in a small place to make sure it doesn't etch! Good luck!!! Please no vinegar!!
  • Matthew Gingerella Matthew Gingerella on Jul 21, 2013
    WHAT!....I'm the KING and nobody told me????!!!!! Yay Me! Thanks Becky
  • Matthew Gingerella Matthew Gingerella on Jul 21, 2013
    Thanks for your reply Teresa, what can you remove from the tubs and showers with the Magic Eraser? Is it just good for maintenance cleaning, or can it remove severe scale buildup?
  • Matthew Gingerella Matthew Gingerella on Jul 21, 2013
    Hi Me, glad to hear from you and as far as Royalty goes - The More Kings the Better! Removing scale from Marble seems to be a very Touchy Task so I am also doing some internet research while I am waiting for some proven tips from our Hometalk friends. I will post and pass along my findings to you. Thanks
  • Matthew Gingerella Matthew Gingerella on Jul 21, 2013
    Dear Cindy Tucker, Thanks again for your suggestions, however, my recent internet research states that you should NOT use any Vinegar or any acid based product on Marble because it can etch the marble and diminish the shine and finish. That's why this Question is a much harder problem than for regular tile and bathroom finishes. Don't use vinegar.
  • Matthew Gingerella Matthew Gingerella on Jul 21, 2013
    OK Sia - thanks, but do you have to Gang Up on me with Becky?!!! : )
  • Matthew Gingerella Matthew Gingerella on Jul 21, 2013
    Thanks very much for your CAUTION message Mikell - I agree 100%. My understanding is that GRANITE is much more forgiving in the shower environment, and my neighbors really WISH that they chose Granite over Marble now! Have you personally tried the dawn and Mr. Clean eraser on marble?
  • Sherrie Sherrie on Jul 21, 2013
    1/2 cup of ammonia to a gallon of water and .0000 steel wool. Clean and rinse. And dry. Vinegar will etch as a number of other household cleaners. This is for those that really need to clean it. This is from the Marble Institute of America cleaning guidelines which anyone can use.
  • Matthew Gingerella Matthew Gingerella on Jul 21, 2013
    Excellent Work Sherrie! Thanks for coming up with a solution and as a BONUS - cited you Source! Just out of curiosity have you actually used this method in your cleaning business?
  • Matthew Gingerella Matthew Gingerella on Jul 21, 2013
    More details from Sherrie's source - Marble Institute of America can be found at this link: Don’t use vinegar, lemon juice, or other cleaners containing acids on marble, limestone, travertine, or onyx surfaces. Don’t use cleaners that contain acid such as bathroom cleaners, grout cleaners, or tub & tile cleaners. Don’t use abrasive cleaners such as dry cleansers or soft cleansers. Bath and Other Wet Areas:Soap scum can be minimized by using a squeegee after each use. To remove soap scum, use a non-acidic soap scum remover or a solution of ammonia and water (about a half cup cup ammonia to a gallon of water).Frequent or over-use of an ammonia solution may eventually dull the surface of the stone Water Spots and Rings(surface accumulation of hard water)—Buff with dry 0000 steel wool. BIG KUDOS to Sherrie! - Thanks again!
  • Matthew Gingerella Matthew Gingerella on Jul 21, 2013
    Sherrie - where can I get .0000 steel wool at?
  • Matthew Gingerella Matthew Gingerella on Jul 21, 2013
    Oh - Cool Becky - thanks for the warning!
  • Sherrie Sherrie on Jul 21, 2013
    Matt yes I have done this. I carry distilled water and a chamois to clean marble. I never use vinegar, bleach, lemon, cleaning products on marble. Not a greenie, or magic eraser. No bathroom cleaners. I also don't use any cleaners on travertine tile, granite, or anything that can be damaged. If I have to I use a ph neutral cleaner but it is made for marble or for the surface I am cleaning. I don't deal with sales people but the manufactor directly I am sucessful because I know surfaces and my business. And if I don't know how to clean something it is beyond my scope I call the manufactor and find out how to take care of it. If it is still beyond me I find those that specialize and recommended by the manufactor and have my clients call them. I have done work for the State and the Federal Government. Who also has written guidelines. I only with the permission of the business or home owner use what I call last resort cleaning methods. I know that many people think they can clean because anyone can pick up a rag, cleaners and run a ad but can they do it without creating damage? Guess that is my problem you can only hire me by word of mouth. I don't need ads.
    • @Sherrie ...As a former personal Professional Housekeeper ( and I also worked at two Dental Practices and a Veterinarian Practice as Housekeeper ) I appreciate your comment. There are many ' high end' finishes that one MUST know how to clean, as to not damage the surface. Also...working with MSDS is something not everyone will know of. I agree, if it was something I wasnt sure of, I educated myself on it , or called the manufacturer !
  • Matthew Gingerella Matthew Gingerella on Jul 21, 2013
    Excellent - You ROCK Sherrie! Thanks for the great information.
  • Z Z on Jul 21, 2013
    Sherrie, I've always said I'd never hire anyone to clean my home because I didn't trust anyone to care for it as if it where theirs. I believe you would. Therefore I would hire you.
  • Sherrie Sherrie on Jul 22, 2013
    Thank You! I created my share of damage when I first started and paid for it out of my pocket on a Corian countertop, I learned my lesson the hard way.
  • Matthew Gingerella Matthew Gingerella on Jul 22, 2013
    Oouch! I'm sorry about that but at least you Learn from you lessons. And thanks for sharing to keep us from falling into the same trap!
  • Z Z on Jul 22, 2013
    Ouch is right. I think anyone in business has those kind of stories. As long as you lean from them. Mine was cutting fabric way too short on a window panel. The fabric was expensive enough that it pretty much ate up my profit. I never did that again.
  • Matthew Gingerella Matthew Gingerella on Jul 23, 2013
    Yeah Becky - and I bet you never forget the lump in the throat that you got at the time. We just got to keep learning. And this forum is a good way to do that.
  • Z Z on Jul 23, 2013
    I knew it right away. When I first lay our fabric for WTs the first thing I do is measure it marking each yard with a yellow headed pin. Red headed pins are for cutting. I cut by a yellow headed pin. I was just sick. At least when I sliced my finger with the rotary cutter while cutting light colored fabric I was able to get my finger out of the way before it started dripping blood. That taught me to always, ALWAYS click closed my rotary cutter before I lay it down. That was a different kind of OUCH!
  • Matthew Gingerella Matthew Gingerella on Jul 23, 2013
    Whoa! - OK...Note to Self - Keep sharp objects away from Becky! lol Thanks for sharing.
  • Z Z on Jul 23, 2013
    Ha ha ha.
  • Stacey Stacey on Jul 24, 2013
    This might sound like an odd answer, but if you were to install a water softener, the lime scale would come off all on it's own, and you would never have a lime scale issue again.
  • Matthew Gingerella Matthew Gingerella on Jul 24, 2013
    Dear Stacey, thank you for your suggestion - a water softener would definately help; but it would not eliminate lime scale. I have worked in Industrial Water Purification and water softeners will capture a certain percentage of minerals - but not nearly all. So, there would still be lime scale build-up over time - but not nearly as fast. The down-side to Water Softeners is that 1) You have to pay a significant amount to have them installed; 2) They have high-priced consumable costs because you need a maintenance contract for the company to come out every few months and change the softener tank. It is a helpful solution - but an expensive solution. Thanks again.
  • Z Z on Jul 24, 2013
    We have well water so we have not only a system for that, but have an added water softener. We've lived here almost ten years and have only had to have the company come out twice. The deliver the "salt" for less than what we can buy it for anywhere and my hubby fills it when needed. Yes there was the initial cost and the cost of salt, but in our case it's been well worth it. It did take some time getting used to the feel of it. Because of the "softness" we didn't think the soap was rinsed off. Now I don't even notice that.
  • Matthew Gingerella Matthew Gingerella on Jul 24, 2013
    Oh - thanks for sharing your real experience with a water softener Becky. Do you still have mineral deposits to deal with?
  • Z Z on Jul 24, 2013
    Matthew, maybe if I didn't clean the shower every time I used it with the squeegee there might be some, but since I do I can't really answer that question in a way that would help. I also use a steamer on it every once in awhile and then squeegee again.
  • Matthew Gingerella Matthew Gingerella on Jul 24, 2013
    Hmmm Becky.... how about in the toilet or around your faucets...any scale build-up?
  • Z Z on Jul 24, 2013
    Nope. I keep on top of wiping things clean and dry often enough that they don't have a chance to build up. As my doctor says, OCD isn't always a bad thing.
  • Matthew Gingerella Matthew Gingerella on Jul 24, 2013
    Lol - No I guess it's not Becky - thanks!
  • Z Z on Jul 24, 2013
    LOL You're welcome.
  • Stacey Stacey on Jul 26, 2013
    Hi, Matthew, I installed a Kinetico water softener 10 years ago, and it has a quadrasystem that first softens the water and then filters it through a membrane that eliminates chlorine and other impurities, so yes, you are right about the water softener alone not being enough. From time to time we turn off the system just to run chlorinated city water, and our incredibly hard water immediately begins to ruin our showers and dishes (in the dishwasher) with scale. However, when we turn the system back on, the water is so pure that the scale immediately comes off without needing to scrub it. It's a really neat system. I never spend more that $5 a month in salt, the system runs on water pressure (not electricity), and the filtration membrane is self-cleaning so I have never had to replace it. I have only had to call the company out once to move the system from one house to another, but never for maintenance. It's amazing. :)
  • Matthew Gingerella Matthew Gingerella on Jul 26, 2013
    Wow Stacey, that sounds like a great water treatment system! Thanks for sharing the details with us. Take care
  • Z Z on Jul 26, 2013
    @Stacey that's the brand of filtration system we have too. We also have their reverse osmosis drinking water. It's ruined me for any other drinking water. I can't get enough of that water and I have never been one that drank water on a regular basis. Now I carry around a bottle of ice water and rarely drink anything else. We're on a well though. Our water is so good that when the city water made it to our area we didn't get it.
  • Stacey Stacey on Jul 27, 2013
    @Z, we bought the Kinetico reverse osmosis system too, and I agree, it's great!! @Matthew Gingerella- I have heard several plumbers say that California is looking to outlaw water softening systems because the salt is said to contaminate the city sewer system. You worked in water purification- do you know anything about this??
  • Matthew Gingerella Matthew Gingerella on Jul 27, 2013
    Stacey, thanks for your question. Unfortunately, I am not up on the legislation that you heard about outlawing water softeners in CA. Your plumber friends would be impacted so I am sure that they are more up to date. However, on the Scientific-side: The water softener is filled with Salt (Sodium Chloride) and when higher chemical-ranking dissolved substances like Calcium enter the system - they kick the sodium off of the Choride ion and take its place - making Calcium Chloride. The result is the Calcium is caught in the water softener system and the treated water that flows though has less Calcium in it and More Sodium in it. The Calcium is traded with the Sodium on a 1 to 1 basis. So, the water going to the sewer will have more Sodium going into it - which is not natural for our water system. I am not positive to why they are so concerned about the increased Sodium into the sewer which leads to our waste-water treatment plants, but if I had to take an educated guess - it would be that Sodium ion is a natural bacteria killer. That's why gargling with warm salt water helps get rid of sore throats that are caused by bacteria infection. The salt shifts the pH in your throat to a level that ruptures the bacteria and kills it. Therefore, since our waste water treatment plants use LOTS of bacteria to help break down the WASTE - and they must always maintain a certain level of bacteria in huge treatment beds; then the concern is likely that the increased Sodium in the waste water may be killing off large amounts of the Good Bacteria used in the treatments system. This would make treating the water much harder and more expensive because they would have to continually add Good Bacteria to the system. Depending upon how much of a negative impact the Added Sodium Load is having with the Municipal Water Treatment - I could see the possible argument for some people wanting to ban water softeners. But there will be a large lobby of Water Softener manufacturers and industries that are reliant on the water softeners fighting back against the ban. And, with the snails pace of the CA Legislation System - it may take them years to even take up such a debate, so I would not be immediately worried if I was you. I hope this info helps.
  • Stacey Stacey on Jul 28, 2013
    Wow, @Matthew Gingerella, thanks for the information. I know this might sound strange, but I find all this very fascinating!! On another note, the plumbers also said that a "lifetime" filtration system was being offered in lieu of a water softener. Apparently, they are installed underground right off the water main (adjacent to the meter), and never need replacing. I'm not sure how that's possible, but its definitely interesting.
  • Matthew Gingerella Matthew Gingerella on Jul 29, 2013
    You are very welcome Stacey - glad you found it interesting. It sounds like your plumber friends are on top of the changing legislation and technology too. I have never heard of a "lifetime" filter that never needs replacing! That would be one incredible "filter". Although, the filter doesn't need to be "replaced", did they mention anything about it needing to be periodically cleaned or maintained? Great stuff!
  • Matthew Gingerella Matthew Gingerella on Aug 13, 2013
    Talk about frustrating...I'm dying to try @Sherrie's suggestion for cleaning the scale off my neighbor's marble shower, but she's gone cold and the project and is very busy. I feel like just barging over there and telling her that I'm cleaning your nasty marble and that's - that! :)
    • Sherrie Sherrie on Aug 14, 2013
      Matt I am OCD. I have a hard time understanding how anyone can get into a dirty shower and feel clean when they get out of the shower. Heck leaving the door open after you shower even if you never wipe it down would prevent most of that.
  • Matthew Gingerella Matthew Gingerella on Aug 14, 2013
    Yeah - I'm with you @Sherrie! I do want to get pics or video footage of the cleaning of her marble though - I think it will make a great case study. Thanks again for sharing your expertise!
  • Matthew Gingerella Matthew Gingerella on Aug 19, 2013
    Hi all, on the topic of marble and granite cleaning - although I haven't gotten at my neighbor's marble shower tile - I am posed with descaling a family member's Memorial Head Stone that is covered with hard water stains. I found a Hard Water Stain Remover product on-line, at, that is specifically designed for removing tough baked on hard water stains - without damaging the marble or granite stone. I will let you know how it works in a week or so. If it works well on the memorial stones, then it should work well on bathroom hard water stains too. Let's hope! Thanks, Matthew
  • Bill Soukup Bill Soukup on Dec 10, 2013
    Warning: be very careful is you use standard lime and scale removing chemicals, even citrus products or vinegar. Test a small remote area first to insure that these chemicals don't damage the stone surface. Stone is calcium carbonate. Lime and scale removing products are designed to dissolve calcium carbonate. A nice, strong option my be Lime & Scale Cleaner. It is stronger than vinegar, works as well as the best lime & scale non-green cleaners, yet is less damaging to stone surfaces. Again, you would want to test a remote area to insure this product doesn't damage the surface. Your stain may be soap scum. Lime & scale removers will not remove soap scum. A nice, surface friendly option is BioWorx shower cleaner. It removes soap scum and scale and is a green product.
  • Matthew Gingerella Matthew Gingerella on Dec 10, 2013
    Dear @Bill Soukup, thank you for your warning - we definitely do not want anyone damaging their beautiful marble tile! Matthew
  • Matthew Gingerella Matthew Gingerella on Apr 27, 2014
    Watch the video above to see the Effective Solution that was 1-year in the making, but I got her done!
  • Matthew Gingerella Matthew Gingerella on Apr 27, 2014
    Go watch the video of the Calcium Build-up Removal Solution at:
  • Christine Brown Christine Brown on Aug 31, 2014
    @ hotalk, use what is called the works for toliets, clean t beautiful with brush, does not take long
  • Matthew Gingerella Matthew Gingerella on Aug 31, 2014
    Dear @Christine Brown thank you for your recommendation. Although, it seems that Marble is a bit sensitive to use harsh chemicals on. I know that acidic cleaners and chemicals are not allowed, but I haven't tried a caustic chemical like the Works.
  • Elizabeth Dwyer Simpson Elizabeth Dwyer Simpson on Sep 01, 2014
    This GET_OFF MY SHOWER sounds effective. Could this be used in the toilet for lime build up? Anybody know or have suggestions?
  • Matthew Gingerella Matthew Gingerella on Sep 01, 2014
    Hi @Elizabeth Dwyer Simpson - thank you for your comment and question; however, I GET-OFF MY Shower Glass will not get to all of the places in the toilet that need to have the hard water stains removed. I do have the answer for you though, I use a Soft Pool Tile Pumice Stone and it works every time - see complete details on my blog post:
  • Christine Brown Christine Brown on Dec 11, 2014
    Well it works great. Use a brush on rinse, looks like new
  • Stefan Stefan on Feb 28, 2015
    Lime away and or Lysol for bathrooms! Works wonders on porcelain and tiles,grout to.
  • Diane Diane on Aug 26, 2016
    Where do you buy this I never heard of it
  • Cyndi Neumann Cyndi Neumann on Dec 14, 2016

    Have you tried vinegar? and maybe add lemon juice or baking soda or both!

  • Christine Brown Christine Brown on Dec 16, 2016

    I know the toliet bowl cleaner the Works is the best and quick. But use a brush , open a window and jump inside of there and spray the stuff on, rinse. Just like new. That Works will burn if you get it on skin. My kid have 5 bathroom, when she got house it was nasty. Cleaned up nice. It takes off rust also.

  • Stefan Stefan on Dec 18, 2016

    This one is ez! I spray lime away then I use a single edge razor blade like a scraper. It's ez and fast.

  • Sandra Sandra on Jan 25, 2017

    I use a spray called awesome . cost about a dollar a bottle . works wonders on glass shower doors . then turn on the shower to wash away. should be safe for marble . but try a small spot first

  • Sandra Sandra on Jan 25, 2017

    I use a spray called awesome . costs about a dollar a bottle . works wonders on glass shower doors . then turn on the shower to wash off. should be ok for marble . just check the bottle first to make sure its safe for marble . if it is try a small spot first . then run the shower . good luck hope this works for you .