“ Brand: Tesco / Type: Limescale Remover / Category: Cleaning & Disinfectant „
I only became aware of what limescale was when I left home and moved in to my first place in a hard water area in Hampshire, where the kettle would clog up with thick time-scales in weeks, and also the bathroom and kitchen things would become grey and scaley.
I didn't realise my Mum had been doing all this secret de scaling and and anti - limescale work ! As she was not far away and also in the same water area. I have had showers and 2 washing machines broken, I think mainly due to limescale.
I used limescale remover for cleaning the bath and kitchen and kettle and put these Tesco Limescale Prevention Tablets in the washing machine to prevent the build up of limescale in the washing machine.
You just unwrap it and put it inside the washing machine at the back. Use 1 per wash they are quite strong so you may want to use a clpth to put them in or wash your hanfs after.
You get 40 tablets in a box for £3.50 and it says to put one in with every wash as well as your powder of course. I think it depends on how bad the water is in your area, as the limescale will be more concentrated, maybe that logic doesn't work out but that is what I do.
I have used these properly after paying a fortune to have repairs and buy a new washer / dryer , then I did everything I could to protect it. But since moving to a very soft water area I have noticed the kettle never furs up and the shower head never clogs up like my old one did every few weeks. So I have become a bit lazy or complacent, and have only been sporadically using these.
As to whether they work, I am sure that they do work, but you cannot see the direct cause and effect in the way you can when you descale a kettle.
===Hard Water Problem===
We live in an area that is notorious for its hard water. This results in lime scale round taps, in the toilets, in the shower, the kettle and so on. I sometimes feel that lime scale is the bane of my life!All of this means extra cleaning, and extra cleaning products. Lime scale is an unsightly nuisance in a lot of these contexts, but its effects are probably most serious and significant when it comes to the washing machine. The difficulty with this is that you can't generally see what's going on inside, so any lime scale build-up may go unnoticed until such time as there's a malfunction. That's bad news because it generally means a rather expensive repair is called for. It can also be an inconvenience if no-one is available to perform the repair for several days, made worse if spare parts are needed and there's a delay. This has happened to us on several occasions. I remember one Christmas when I was unable to use our washing machine for several days and had to rely on my mother doing a load or two for us.
===What To Do? ===
There seem to be more products available to counter the problem these days. When our previous washing machine died, and we were looking at potential replacements, we noticed that many new models had information attached advocating the use of branded products. Our local retailer pointed out that, if you're going to go to the expense of using an anti-lime scale product in your machine, you should really do it within the first month or so of its active life. I guess this is so that the chemicals effective against lime scale formation have time to work before a significant build-up begins.
===A Considered Decision===
We thought long and hard about whether to do this. On the one hand, we had spent a lot of money on washing machine repairs in the past, but on the other the cost of using the suggested products in the recommended doses was probably going to be as high if not higher if you did the maths - a bit of a Catch22 situation!
=== Time For Action ===
When the new machine came I was so pleased with its performance that I felt I wanted to take some action to prolong its life, if possible. Having seen that Tesco had their own brand lime scale tablets available right next to the brand names I decided to try these out first. I'm happy to admit this was primarily to keep the cost of laundry down, as I do think it's expensive: apart from all the different washing products, fabric conditioners, pre-treatments etc there are the running costs to factor in. As an all-adult household we don't have as many loads per week as families with young children might have, for instance, but we still generate plenty of washing.
===Take The Tablet===
The Tesco tablets come in a pack of 40. At a cost of £4.20 for our most recent pack, that's a little over 10p per wash. I should say that there is also a powder format available, but I elected to go for the tablets mainly for storage purposes. I thought that there was more chance of my son remembering to add a tablet to his loads, too. I think we have about a 50% success rate on that one! When I first started to buy them they came in a foil-type wrapper, but now it's a clear cellophane with blue text on which basically identifies what they are in several languages, probably to avoid accidental ingestion. I think the boxes the tablets are supplied in have changed, too - today they are basically quite a light blue, but I think previously they were closer to royal blue.
===Read The Instructions===
I used a tablet on the very next wash I put on after purchasing them. I unwrapped the tablet from the pack and placed it in the dispensing drawer of the machine, in the compartment where you put liquid detergent, if that's what you're using. The tablet then gets washed into the drum as the water washes the detergent through. It was only while reading the box more closely for the purpose of this review that I realised that I was supposed to put them in the drum, unwrapped and at the bottom back, before the clothes are added. Whoops! I'm always doing things like that. I suppose it's just possible that the original boxes instructed use in that way. More likely I never read it properly! Either way, I haven't noticed any adverse effects.
===Pros and Cons===
I wondered whether using these tablets would affect the washing itself in any way. I can't say I've noticed anything at all. I use all detergents, fabric conditioners exactly as I always do. I notice that the inside of the drum always look very shiny and clean, and even after 5 years there is no sign of rust or corrosion. I do sometimes find that the tablets aren't carried into the drum, so that there's a whole or half-dissolved tablet still in the dispensing drawer at the end of the wash. That could be my fault for putting them in the wrong place, I realise now. It's not a big problem, just a bit annoying. What is more of a problem is that I sometimes find the tablets break as I unwrap them, or, even worse, have crumbled within the packaging. This has happened with the more recent boxes, which is odd as I can see the tablets within their packages. They all look whole, but an occasional one is crumbled. It's a problem because it's not difficult then to spill the contents on the floor, which is very messy. It's a bit ironic that there's a warning on the back of the box not to break or crush the tablets!
===Caution - Irritant!===
I find the information on the box - mainly on the back - to be quite informative. I usually switch off a bit if things are too technical. There are clear, appropriate symbols indicating that this is an irritant which should be kept out of children's reach. There are instructions about what to do if it gets in the eyes or is swallowed. This information is given pictorially, too. The Tesco contact address and freephone number[with times that it is operational] is given. There is also a website: www.cleanright.eu This is not a website specific to Tesco, but one which gives information on household products generally, including what to do when things go wrong. I didn't look too closely but it seemed quite useful.
===How They Work===
The contents are listed but mean little to me. More useful are the directions for use and the information about what the tablets do. Apparently they help prevent the heating element from overworking and breaking down, protect the drum and plastic parts from becoming encrusted, and help keep the machine cleaner, as it's easier for dirt and any residue from the detergent used to rinse away.
I can't remember exactly when I started using these tablets but as the washing machine is over five years old it must have been at least that long. In all that time we haven't needed repairs. With previous machines I would say within 3 - 5 years there would have been a malfunction connected to lime scale build-up, usually manifesting as a problem in the spin cycle. We did buy a brand of washing machine that was new to us on this occasion, so it's difficult to say whether what I believe is better performance is down to the tablets or the machine. I would have thought, though, that lime scale would be a problem whatever the machine so I feel that the tablets have helped keep it functioning well. I certainly intend to carry on using them so I rate them as a 5 star product.
Thank you for reading my review. It may appear on other sites.
© Verbena March 2013
When I moved into my new flat I had to get a few brand new appliances, one of which was a new washing machine. I live in a hard water area and was conscious of how damaging this can be for washing machines, causing components to fur up and eventually stop working. It was for this reason I decided that from the offset I was going to use limescale prevention tablets to try and increase the lifetime of my machine. My mum has always used Calgon but these are quite expensive and I noticed that Tesco did their own version at a fraction of the price. 40 tablets cost £3.95 which compares with around £8 for just 30 Calgon tablets.
The tablets come packaged in a blue cardboard box which has a picture of a fizzing tablet on the front of it. The front of the box explains that this tablet protects all vital parts of your washing machine. There are further details on the back of the box which explain that the tablets work by neutralising limescale during the washing process, stopping it from building up in the washing machine and damaging the components. It claims to have a superfast dissolving action in the drum. I must admit that I was a little worried that using limescale prevention tablets would affect the softness of my clothes or would mean that I would have to use more fabric softener. However Tesco claim that the limescale tablets will also help your clothes to remain soft as well as acting to soften the water so that less detergent needs to be used.
Each tablet measures about 3cm x1.5 cm and comes individually wrapped in foil packaging. To use, the tablet has to be placed directly in the drum rather than in the soap drawer like Calgon is. I tend to use a tablet with each wash that I do. I place the tablet at the back of the drum before placing the clothes that need to be washed in it. I add the same amount of detergent and fabric softener that I usually use and set the machine going. As the drum starts to rotate you can hear the tablet bashing away inside the machine. I must admit I was a bit alarmed the first time I used it but have now got used to it, though I do still find it a little annoying. At times the tablet is flung out of the drum so that it sits half dissolved in the rim of the door although more often then not it then tossed back into the drum and used up completely by the end of the wash. There have been a couple of occasions though when this has not happened and at the end of the wash I have to remove a mushy, partly dissolved tablet from the machine. Not great! For this reason I would have a preference for a tablet that was placed in the detergent drawer.
Obviously I cannot say how effective this is at preventing limescale build up without opening up the machine and inspecting each component. However I would expect limescale to also accumulate on the inside of the drum and I am pleased to note that after 8 months of regular use the inside of the drum is still gleaming like new. Overall I am quite pleased with these tablets - they are cheap and work well. My only niggle is that I would prefer it if they were placed in the soap drawer rather than in the drum because of the noise that they make and also due to the fact that they do on occasion get stuck in the rim by the washing machine door. However given the huge price difference between these and the Calgon I will be sticking to these.
I have had my new washing machine for almost a month and I decided from the start that I would take greater care of this one than I have of previous models. Admittedly I do not live in a hard water area, but my kettle, baby bottle warmer and iron do scale up over a period of time (particularly annoying in my iron) so there is room for improvement even with my supposedy 'soft' water.
With prevention rather than cure in mind I made sure I purchased some limescale prevention tablets before my first wash in the new machine and have endeavoured to use them every wash since (My partner is not as diligent however). I initially looked for these tablets among the washing detergents in Tesco and was surprised not to find them there, instead they were located in the cleaning aisle. I had several brands and types of limescale prevention products to choose from, gels, powders, expressball tabs and tablets. I am familiar and comfortable with the tablets so decided to follow my mother's lead and use an easily dispensed tablet. Comparison of prices made Tesco's Limescale Prevention tablets preferable to Calgon tablets with prices coming in at £3.43 for 40 Tesco tablets (currently on offer 2 for £6) and £4.22 for 15 Calgon Expressball Tabs. As I live in a soft water area I was prepared to use the cheaper version on a regular basis, perhaps if I lived in a very hard water area I might use Calgon occasionally as extra insurance against limescale.
Why use limescale prevention tablets?
These tablets prevent the build up of limescale in the mechanism of the washing machine therefore extending the life of the machine, making it more energy efficient, preventing limescale marks on clothes that have been washed in the machine and reducing the amount of detergent required to clean your clothes. Limescale prevention tablets also help keep clothes soft and I have not used any fabric softener in my new machine at all.
How to use the tablets
One tablet should be used per washload. Simply unwrap the tablet and place on top of your usual detergent (powder, liquid or gel) in the detergent drawer. Programme machine as usual and walk away.
My experience of using the tablets
My new washing machine has only been in use for 25 days but has done over 40 washes in that time. The inside of the machine is still gleaming and I have had no problems with limescale residue on any of our clothes. One thing I have noticed is that the detergent draw has not required cleaning yet. The drawer of my previous machines required regular cleaning due to detergent build up, the fact that this one remains so clean may be due to the machine design or it may be due to using the limescale tablets. I don't know, but I thought it was worth mentioning.
*** Advantages of Using Any Limescale Protection ***
Preventing limescale has the following advantages for washing machines.
You will need to use less detergent.
The heating element will be more efficient, so will use less electricity, and be less likely to break down.
Helps delay rubber pipes deteriorating.
Encrusted limescale can break off and stain clothes worse than before you tried to clean them. My experience is that this may be impossible to get off without harming the fabric.
*** Manufacturer's Claims ***
Calgon is the big brand that I most associate with limescale prevention.
Calgon say that their brand is, "Up to 3 X Better Than the Rest." I think the important words here are "up to". I have no reason to believe that it is any better than the Tesco own brand product.
Both manufacturers say that it contains 15-30% polycarboxylates, it is suitable for cool (30 degrees) to hot (95 degrees) washes, place one tablet in main wash dispenser drawer, use amount of detergent recommended for soft water, produced in EU, keep away from children, keep away from eyes and do not ingest.
So is there any difference in benefits?
*** My Experience ***
To explain why I recommend Tesco Limescale Tablets, I need to tell you of my washing machine history.
I have had my own home (and washing machine) for many years now, and have always lived in the same hard water part of Essex.
I have had various brands of washing machines during that time. When I have needed a new one, I have bought the cheapest one that does an 8 lb wash, has a fast spin speed and it available immediately. The brands have been Hoover, Electra (which was our local electricity board's own brand), Servis and Indesit.
The first washing machine started giving me trouble just after the year's guarantee was up, leaving more stains on my clothes than before the wash. With hindsight, this was caused by the build-up of lime scale. I had not used a water softener during that time.
With my second new machine I used Calgon, it was expensive but not as expensive as replacing my machine annually. Without spending extra money on insurance or maintenance, this started to have mechanical problems after 6 years. I didn't think it was worthwhile repairing a machine of this age, so I got a new one.
The third and fourth machines also served me well for about 6 years.
After that I discovered, and started using, Tesco's Limescale PreventionTablets, which are considerably cheaper than Calgon. I have had 2 more washing machines since then, also lasting approximately six years.
The last machine never had any operating faults, but after the usual 6 years I still had a problem. It was called my husband. The plastic door handle snapped off when he helped with the washing. He said it wasn't him being heavy handed, and if that plastic had become fragile over time, he had better buy a new machine, because the other plastic parts would probably wear out soon as well.
*** Conclusion ***
My conclusion is that it is important for me to use limescale prevention tablets when using my washing machine in my hard water area.
As I have had the same results with using Tesco's Limescale Prevention Tablets as with Calgon, I prefer to buy the cheaper of the two versions.
I have always used one tablet per wash. I prefer the convenience of using the pre-measured amount in the separately sealed tablets, as that way, even if I am clumsy, I don't make a mess. (Tesco and Calgon also sell their own brand powder, which works slightly cheaper per wash than the corresponding brand's tablet.)
15 Calgon Tablets currently cost £4.22 in both Tesco and Asda.
40 Tesco Limescale Prevention Tablets cost £3.41.
I will continue using Tesco Limescale Prevention Tablets.
For washing machines / Tesco Limescale prevention tablets neutralise limescale during the washing process, stopping it from building up in the washing machine and damaging the components.