Product Type: Other Brands Household Cleaning
Newest Review: ... three sachets you get in slowly. This froths up a bit and you leave for ten minutes before rinsing, boiling and rinsing again. However, ... more
All fizzzzz, no trousers
Oust All Purpose Descaler
Member Name: sandemp
Oust All Purpose Descaler
Advantages: Works eventually
Disadvantages: Definitely not super fast, not truly all purpose, takes more than one sachet to work .
The area I live in is beautiful, rolling countryside, sheep in fields and water that is as hard as nails. Honestly the water here is dead hard and would quite happily take on Ross Kemp and all his gangs. Even when we use a water filter the kettle takes on a crusty lining of calcium carbonate (otherwise known as limescale) within hours of being cleaned. Our taps aren't much better, leave one dripping and I swear it grows stalactites overnight. The latest weapon in my never-ending war with the evil limescale is Oust All Purpose De-scaler, which is sold in boxes containing three sachets of liquid and claims to clear limescale within ten minutes.
Both the box and sachets are printed with the instructions for use on (or should that be in) kettles, coffee makers, irons and shower heads. Hey, I thought this was an all purpose de-scaler, what about taps and draining boards, they get scaly too. To be perfectly honest I don't own a coffee maker, my shower is one of those cheap rubber things you attach to the taps and my iron has one of those fancy anti-calc functions, so I've only ever used this in my kettle. But the instructions are very clearly printed should you want to try it on any of those other items. Along with the instructions there are a number of warnings, such as this is an irritant and contains lactic acid (which comes from milk and would be why it's an irritant).
My usual weapon of choice when it comes to annihilating limescale is acetic acid, or vinegar as it's better known, which I leave to work it's magic overnight. So the idea that I could remove all traces of limescale within ten minutes did appeal to me and I couldn't wait to see if this would work. The instructions stated that I should half fill the kettle with water, boil it and then unplug before slowly adding the contents of the sachet. It was easy enough to open the sachet, although a pair of scissors was required as there wasn't a tear here notch. On adding the contents of the sachet to the kettle there was a very satisfying fizz as the acid began to dissolve the limescale. From my vague recollection of schoolgirl chemistry, as the acid reacts with the calcium carbonate (limescale), it releases CO2 (hence the bubbles) and forms a water soluble compound. The intensity of this reaction is increased by heat which is why the acid is added to boiling water.
After adding the sachet to the kettle, I had to wait 10 minutes for it to work it's magic, so I toddled about wiping the sides down while I waited and checking every couple of minutes to make sure it was still fizzing. Each time I checked I got a whiff of the slightly unpleasant smell that surprisingly enough smelt of acid, in fact to me is had the slight whiff of sulphuric acid mixed with off milk. Anyway it wasn't pleasant and certainly not something I would choose to smell. After the 10 minutes were finally up, I had a good look inside and while the fizzing had faded away the limescale certainly hadn't. If anything the interior of the kettle looked worse, you see rather than being one of those fancy boilers of water with a hidden element, the element is there for all to see and the oust had managed to remove a little of the limescale. Meaning that the element was now a patchwork of dull limescale on a shiny background, with there definitely being more dull than shiny.
The instructions do state that if you don't get the desired results within ten minutes you can turn the kettle back on just long enough to start everything fizzing again, which I did. I then waited another 10 minutes and checked the results, which were quite frankly still disappointing. I then decided that the concentration simply wasn't strong enough to deal with the extra resilient limescale that had taken over my element. So I emptied the kettle out, refilled it to the minimum level, boiled it, added another sachet and left it for not ten but twenty minutes. The results, success at last, the limescale had put up a fight, but I had finally won the battle and was rewarded with an ultra-shiny element that looked almost as good as new. I say almost because as well as forming a delightful crust, limescale also stains metal meaning it will never be quite as shiny as when it was new.
After finally getting a result I was happy with, all that was left was to empty the kettle, rinse it, fill it with cold water, boil, rinse, fill and boil once more before emptying the kettle a final time. There the kettle was finally ready to use again and it only took 45 minutes. So much for the ten minute promise.
To be brutally honest, I was very disappointed with this de-scaler, I know that I live in an area of extreme hard water, but this simply isn't up to the job. I bought this to save time, after all ten minutes is significantly less than overnight, but I think it would have been far less work to leave vinegar in the kettle overnight and miss all the faffing about checking that it had worked. I also think the all purpose label is a misnomer, there's no way this can be described as all purpose, it cannot be easily used on taps or draining boards. So from my experience I'm going to give Oust All Purpose De-scaler a measly one star out of five and suggest that rather than buying this you spend the £1.60 on some white vinegar which can be used to remove limescale from all surfaces and even add a tang to your chips.
*To remove limescale from your kettle using white vinegar, simply just under half fill it using one part water and one part vinegar, put it on to boil, switch off and leave over night. The next morning you just need to rinse it a few times, safe in the knowledge that you haven't used any nasty chemicals. You can also use vinegar to remove limescale from taps (soak a piece of cotton wool in vinegar then secure to tap with elastic bag), draining boards, shower heads etc. (That's truly an all purpose limescale remover).
Summary: Don't bother, buy some vinegar instead
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