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How to Descale and Clean a Tap Cartridge

If your tap has a build-up of limescale, it's probably time to give the cartridge a deep clean! Cleaning and descaling your tap cartridge is important to carry out in order to prevent a weak flow of water. 

A key sign of knowing if the inside of your tap needs a clean is if there is a weak flow of water coming from your tap, or the water is coming out of random directions.  Limescale is easy to get rid of using the following tips, and you're likely to have these natural cleaning products in your store cupboard at home!

You Will Need

  • Adjustable spanner
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Phillips head screwdriver
  • Toothbrush
  • Vinegar
  • Bowl or container
  • Clean cloth

How to Remove a Tap Cartridge

1. Mix together warm water and a small glug of vinegar in your bowl or container.

2. Turn off both your hot and cold water using your boiler or isolation valves. Then, turn on the tap to allow any excess water inside to drain out.

3. Use your screwdriver to remove the head of your tap, then remove the nut underneath it. From here you can remove the tap cartridge using your spanner.

How to Clean a Tap Cartridge

1. Soak the cartridge in your mixture of water and vinegar for around 10 minutes to dissolve any limescale.

2. If you remove the cartridge and it still has limescale on it, soak it for longer. If this isn't working. add more vinegar to your mixture and soak your cloth in it and wrap it tightly around the cartridge. Leave this for an hour or two.

3. Using your toothbrush, gently clean around your tap to break down limescale. Remember to clean inside the tap and in the little orifices - then wipe clean with a cloth.

4. Check that every part of the tap is clean and free from limescale, including the washers and ring seals.

5. Put the cartridge back into the body of the tap, covering it with the nut.

6. Screw the tap head on with the screwdriver, being careful not to overtighten as this will damage the tap.

7. Turn your water supply back on and check there are no leaks. If your water was flowing badly due to limescale build up, it should now flow freely.

Descaling a Tap

Simple & Easy

Cleaning a tap cartridge is actually a simple job that can be done at home, however if these steps haven't worked, we recommend phoning a plumber to get to the root of the issue. 

If you’re feeling like you want to put your DIY skills to the test once more and fancy upping the challenge, we’ve got a whole load of DIY advice for getting your bathroom in tip top condition. Check out our how to guides on our blog which is packed full of DIY challenges and recommendations. Please remember that if you have any trouble, you can always contact us


Sometimes cartridges can be in a position where a simple clean won't help and you'll need to replace your tap cartridge altogether! If so, check out our guide for how to change  tap cartridge

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