How to clean under tap flanges


I posted this picture on Instagram last week and asked whether this was something others did when they cleaned their bathrooms or whether I had gone overboard.

Undoing taps
The reaction confirmed that this is something a plumber would do and one that is experiencing an extreme form of nesting instinct.


Some of you agreed it was a bit over the top, but then others of you admitted you would love to have been able to clean under the taps flanges like I had.


I thought I’d share how to clean under tap flanges and why it’s important if you have a typical capstan style tapware like I do.


Firstly, undoing the buttons (the hexagonal tops with ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ written on them) and flanges (the bell shaped bottoms sitting on the basin) keeps them easy to undo when it’s time for the plumber to come and replace the washers or spindles.

under taps
I don’t know how many times I’ve gone to replace washers or spindles and have found myself stuck when it came to removing the flanges because they have never been unscrewed. An accumulation of soap, cleaning product and time almost welds the flanges into the basin, making them nearly impossible to undo with footprints (a plumbing tool) or can result in damaging the flanges from the footprint claws or breaking the basin from the force needed to remove said flanges.

I suggest cleaning under the taps once every 6 to 12 months or when you can’t stand the site of the brown green lime scale that develops over time under the flange.

In some cases, more modern taps that require a pronged allen key to undo the handle in order to remove the flange may be a bit more tricky to undo.

I wouldn’t suggest doing this with mixer taps as you need to disconnect the water supply to remove the mixer to clean underneath and in most cases, little water or soap gets trapped under a mixer tap because it is firmly sealed into the basin or sink. Flanges are hollow, hence why water and soap freely seep underneath and sit to create the lime scale.

If you are confident at removing the button, handle and flange, all that is needed is some bicarb soda and vinegar poured around where the marks have occurred and scrub away the marks. Sometimes you may need to use a flat head screw driver to scrape the lime scale off. This won’t damage the ceramic basin. If it does, it is easily covered by the flange anyway.

clean taps
Once the area is clean, it’s simple to wind the flange on, place the handle over the spindle and screw the hot and cold buttons into the handle. I replaced my hot and cold buttons with new because the old ones were starting to go a bit yellow. Instead of throwing out the discoloured buttons I turn them into cufflinks.

Tap Buttons
 Do you clean under your tap flanges? Or do you think it’s a bit OTT? I’m linking up with Essentially Jess for I Blog on Tuesdays.