If you only have a few minutes to spare in the morning, a kettle is a great way to ensure that you won’t miss your favourite cup of tea before getting to work. Besides, kettles are affordable, convenient to use, 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 still continue to enjoy the convenience of using it with minimal or no defects, proper care and maintenance is essential. If you use hard water in your home, limescale is likely to build-up inside even the best kettles, causing kettle furling or scaling. This calls out for regular cleaning and descaling.
- What Is Limescale, And Why Should You Remove It?
- How To Descale A Kettle
- Cleaning The Exterior Of The Kettle
- After How Long Should You Descale A Kettle?
- How To Prevent Limescale Build-Up In Kettles
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. Just to mention a few, here are the 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. Good news, 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, get rid of 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.
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 off 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 that you can lay your hands on, I’d recommend using this procedure as an extra step to get thorough cleaning after using either of the methods that we’ve discussed above. Either way, use the following steps:
- Fill the kettle with water
- Add a tablespoon of baking soda
- Bring the solution to 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
If natural remedies don’t work for you, you can opt for a commercial cleaning product. 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 oil or baby oil to give the kettle a sparklingly clean look. If your kettle has an inbuilt water filter, remove it and clean as directed by the manufacturer.
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, then 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. If you use soft water, regular descaling is not needed – 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 is likely to 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 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
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.