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How To Descale A Kettle: Tips 

Published by: Chef Matty Riedel • Updated: February 3, 2024

If you only have a few minutes to spare in the morning, a kettle is a great way to ensure you won’t miss your favourite cup of tea before work. Besides, kettles are affordable convenient, and can be used for various kitchen tasks such as boiling water, making tea, and much more.  

But, if you want to keep your kettle in excellent condition and continue to enjoy its convenience with minimal or no defects, proper care and maintenance are essential. If you use hard water in your home, limescale will likely build up inside even the best kettles, causing kettle furling or scaling. This calls for regular cleaning and descaling.  

What Is Limescale, And Why Should You Remove It? 

Limescale is a white-chalky mineral deposit of calcium and magnesium that builds up inside heating elements such as kettles. When water heats, it evaporates, leaving behind substantial mineral deposits. With time, these deposits build up to form limescale. Here are the main disadvantages of limescale build-up in kettles: 

  • It reduces the efficiency of your kettle – it slows down the heating process 
  • It can flake off when heating, leaving floating particles in your water or tea
  • It can ruin the taste of your tea, coffee, or water  
  • More energy is required for the heating process, increasing your energy bills  
  • If not cleaned for long, limescale damages and shortens the life of your kettle 

How To Descale A Kettle  

Fortunately, you can bid goodbye to those stubborn effects of limescale with much ease. The good news is that you won’t need to use harsh products or spend hours scrubbing off the limescale. Below, I have shared the best, safest, and most convenient methods of scaling your kettle.  

Before descaling, make sure the kettle is unplugged or turned off. Also, remove any remaining liquid and rinse the kettle in cold water. Similarly, avoid exposing the kettle’s electrical components to water.  

Once you’re ready, use any of the following procedures to descale your kettle: 

Procedure 1 – Vinegar Solution  

White vinegar is a natural descaling agent, making it highly effective for descaling kettles. Follow the following steps: 

  • Mix equal amounts of water and white vinegar to make a solution- enough to fill the kettle three-quarters full.  
  • Bring the solution to a boil.  
  • Turn off the heat and allow the solution to soak for one hour. 
  • Drain the solution and wash the inside of the kettle with a soft towel – don’t use a metallic sponge to avoid scratching the kettle’s surface.
  • Rinse the kettle several times. 
  • To remove the vinegar taste or smell, boil water to capacity again and discard. Repeat until the taste or smell is gone.  
  • Your kettle is clean.  
how to descale a kettle

Procedure 2 – Lemon Water  

Lemon is another highly effective yet readily available home remedy for descaling a kettle. Like vinegar, lemon juice is highly acidic and thus great for dissolving limescale. Follow the following steps: 

  • Fill the kettle with water – ensure the limescale is covered  
  • Squeeze in lemon juice in the water – you can use more than one lemon
  • Allow the solution to boil 
  • Turn off the heat and allow the solution to cool for about 30 minutes or more. 
  • Discard the lemon solution. 
  • Clean the inside of the kettle with a soft sponge and rinse thoroughly  
  • Your kettle is ready for use  

Procedure 3 – Baking Soda  

Unless it’s the only ingredient you can lay your hands on, I’d recommend using this procedure as an extra step to get a thorough cleaning after using either of the methods discussed above. Either way, use the following steps: 

  • Fill the kettle with water 
  • Add a tablespoon of baking soda 
  • Bring the solution to a boil and turn off the heat 
  • Let the solution soak for 30 minutes or more 
  • Discard the solution
  • Wash off the interior with a soft sponge and rinse thoroughly  
  • Boil water several times to get rid of the bicarbonate soda taste and smell 
  • The kettle is ready for use 

Procedure 4 – Use A Commercial Cleaning Product  

You can opt for a commercial cleaning product if natural remedies don’t work. Luckily, they are readily available, and you can get them in a store near you. As for the descaling procedure, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.  

Citric acid is a common commercial cleaning agent for descaling a kettle. To use it, follow the following steps: 

  • Add water in a kettle – about halfway full (ensure the limescale is covered) 
  • All the water to boil, then put off the heat – unplug it  
  • Add two tablespoons of citric acid to the hot water and stir to make a solution (take caution since the water is hot) 
  • Allow the solution to rest for about 30 minutes  
  • Discard the solution and rinse the kettle thoroughly
  • Boil water a couple of times and discard it – to get rid of the citric acid completely  

Cleaning The Exterior Of The Kettle    

You must also remember to clean the face that you see when making tea or boiling water. The kettle’s exterior should be cleaned regularly using a soft sponge or towel and a basic dish detergent. After washing, rinse off the kettle thoroughly and allow it to dry.  

You can use olive or baby oil to give the kettle a sparklingly clean look. If your kettle has an inbuilt water filter, remove it and clean it as the manufacturer directs.  

After How Long Should You Descale A Kettle? 

How often you can descale a kettle majorly depends on two factors. One, how often you use the kettle. If you use the kettle regularly, say every day, more consistent cleaning is needed. Every four weeks is fine. 

The second factor is whether or not you use hard water. If you do, then regular descaling is essential, say, once per month. Regular descaling is unnecessary if you use soft water – you can do it every three months. You should clean the exterior of the kettle once per week. 

How To Prevent Limescale Build-Up In Kettles 

To ensure long-life performance and optimum daily performance, use the following tips to care for your kettle: 

  • Clean and descale your kettle regularly  
  • Always empty the kettle after use. Scaling will likely occur if water or tea is left to cool inside the kettle.
  • Install a water filter in your home  
  • Don’t place an electric kettle in the water.  
  • Polish the exterior of the kettle with baby oil or olive oil to give it a sparkling look and prevent rusting & spotting 
  • Don’t use harsh detergents or metallic sponges to clean the kettle 
  • Make sure you use food-safe commercial cleaning products  

If your kettle has flat out had it consider replacing it with one of these great brands:
> Russell Hobbs
> Breville

how to descale a kettle


Cleaning and descaling your kettle regularly will keep it clean and ensure that it operates efficiently. Similarly, it will extend the lifetime of your kettle and reduce the heating process, thus saving energy.  

On the other hand, if you don’t like the awful effects of limescale in your kettle, you can consider using distilled water. Or, more conveniently, install a water filter in your home.  

Chef and Restaurant Owner Matty Riedel
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