Cleaning Calcium Buildup
Updated: Jul 12, 2020
Well, this post is not super exciting BUT it may be helpful for some of my fellow wood stove/ well water friends! This year has been my first year EVER with a wood stove + well water. Not only did I have to learn how to light the woodstove, control the temperature + take care of it, I had to learn how to care for the wood stove steamer, which collects a lot of calcium build up from our well water.
At first, we would clean it regularly enough that we could get a good amount off, or so we thought. However, when it would dry, all the white would come back. Over the winter months, we had less opportunities to dedicate time to cleaning it.
As the season changed to spring and the weather warmed, we stopped using the wood stove, + I was on a mission to get it looking like new. In my mind, baking soda + vinegar should have done the trick. It made a tiny little dent in the thick build-up, but it wasn’t coming off! Three days of baking soda + vinegar mini-volcano experiments with nothing more than little flecks of calcium build-up coming off, I was ready to give up. THEN I realized (thinking back to grade-school science) that I didn’t need the baking soda. I also know from basic cleaning that warmer solutions usually help break down stubborn stains and buildup. So, I took the stove, boiled some vinegar, poured it in the steamer and watched science happen! It bubbled like crazy!!! I knew it was going to work! Yay!! I let it sit until it stopped bubbling (about an hour). I then used a non-scratch yet strong sponge to get off any calcium that was just about to come off and rinsed out the steamer. I ended up using a larger bowl so the overflow vinegar could break down some of the calcium on the lid of the steamer too. I dried the steamer out + then began the process over + over until it was completely clean!! Now, since I know how to do this, it will be easier to keep up with this all winter long. Oh, the simple things that make our lives easier. Just ADD warm vinegar! 😉