Is There a Natural Way to Combat Hard Water?

My sister and brother-in-law were visiting us in Paris this past week and all was going well until late one night, the macerating toilet in the guest bath just went kaput. Our good-natured guests decamped to a hotel down the block (the only other toilet in the apartment is in our bedroom, making late-night bathroom runs a potential British farce) and we called a plumber. What we learned was this: the notorious calcium in the Paris water supply had built up over time in the motor of the toilet causing it to just give up.

Now, I thought the water in Chicago was hard — every week I'd have to combat the pink rings around the drains from all of the excess iron — but it is nothing compared to Paris water. Paris water suffers from an excess of calcium to such a degree that literally every single bathroom cleaner in the store advertises itself as "anti-calcaire" — clearly, this is a major problem for everyone.

What is difficult to find is a natural cleanser or pipe cleaner that's meant to deal specifically with calcium deposits. So, I put the question to you: is there a natural way to clean calcium deposits out of your pipes? Do any of you live in Paris and have experience with this particular problem? Let me know!

Image: Online Water Softeners

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