Different Ways on How to Descale a Kettle

how to descale a kettle

Don’t you find it somehow annoying when you see there’s a limescale build-up in your kettle? Apart from being an eyesore, it could eventually harm your health.

Over time, your kettle will experience a build-up of limescale. This can be potentially harmful, and it can affect the taste and texture of your water. As a result, it is important to know how to descale a kettle. As you will read below, this is a relatively simple process, and you should do it regularly to eliminate pesky limescale!

How to Descale a Kettle Using White Vinegar

The most common way to descale a kettle is using vinegar. Vinegar has an acidic content and thus can help dissolve limescale deposits – it is a natural descaler. You can use normal vinegar, but most people use white vinegar as it has a more potent effect.

Step 1: Create a Solution of White Vinegar and Water

First, create the solution of vinegar and water. This should be equal parts water and vinegar, for example, 50% vinegar and 50% water. Make sure the solution has been mixed thoroughly.

Ideally, it would help if you made enough kettle cleaner to fill the kettle to the maximum fill level. This will ensure that all affected areas are descaled and cleaned – not just the kettle base.

Step 2: Fill Your Kettle With the Vinegar Solution

With the solution created, pour it into your kettle. Be careful when pouring the solution, as you don’t want any of the acidic vinegar to spill on your kitchen top.

It could be a good idea to pour the solution into your kettle in your sink. This way, you can avoid any spillage in your kitchen.

Step 3: Bring Your Kettle to a Boil

Now, return your kettle to the hob or heating elements and turn it on. It would help if you allowed the solution to boil completely. The boiling process heats the solution and will help loosen any mineral deposits and limescale build-up.

Once the kettle has boiled, leave the kettle with vinegar solution to stand for at least half an hour. This allows the vinegar to soak properly into the kettle and work effectively against the kettle limestone.

Step 4: Empty the Water and Rinse

After 30-minutes, you can empty the kettle to remove all of the solutions.

At this stage, check inside your kettle to see how effectively the limescale build-ups have been removed. If you notice any excess kettle loose limescale, use a long-handled scourer, scrubbing brush, or microfiber cloth to give the interior surface a thorough scrub.

Step 5: Fill Your Kettle With Clean Water and Re-Boil

The issue now is that you have a clean kettle with residual vinegar! If not cleaned properly, this will cause a horrible taste for your next cup of tea!

As a result, the final step is to add fresh water to your kettle and re-boil it. This should effectively remove any lingering vinegar. Depending on the strength of the solution, and the lingering vinegar, you may want to repeat this process several times to be sure.

Step 6: Wipe the Exterior of Your Kettle With a Damp Cloth

When cleaning a kettle, it is also important to clean it on the outside. While limescale may not typically build up on the outside, cleaning the exterior of your kettle will improve its longevity.

Use a soft cloth with soapy water to thoroughly wipe the outside of your electric kettle or stovetop kettle. Most kettles will have a protective heat-resistant out layer, but this can still easily get dirty.

Wipe the spout, handle, and base thoroughly, and dry the kettle afterwards.

How to Descale a Kettle Using Lemon Juice

Limescale problems can also be solved using lemon juice. Lemons are also acidic and are thus effective as a cleaning agent. Lemon juice contains citric acid and can effectively similarly remove limescale from vinegar. Interestingly, baking soda is another alternative solution that you can use. Still, it all depends on your preference and what items you have in your kitchen.

Step 1: Create a Solution of Lemon Juice and Water

First, create your water/citric acid solution. This solution is not equal parts. Instead, an approximate guide is to add 30ml of lemon juice to 500ml / half a litre of water.

This is because the citric acid in lemons is stronger, and too much could potentially cause damage.

Step 2: Fill Your Kettle With the Lemon Water

Once you have created the citric acid solution, add it to your kettle. We advise doing this in your sink to reduce the potential mess.

Fill the kettle to the maximum advised level. If your kettle does not have a maximum mark, we advise reading the instruction manual. The instructions should give a clear value for the minimum and maximum levels.

Step 3: Leave the Solution to Soak for at Least an Hour

To prevent limescale, you must allow this solution to soak into your kettle before boiling.

Let the citric acid solution soak for a minimum of one hour. The longer you soak the kettle, the more effective the solution.

Step 4: Bring Your Kettle to the Boil

Once you have thoroughly soaked the kettle, you can now bring it to a boil. The boiling water will help remove any kettle limescale and help the lemon solution work more effectively.

Step 5: Empty the Water and Rinse

Next, make sure the water has completely cooled and then empty it. Ensure that all the lemon water is emptied from the kettle. If you notice any limescale left, use a scourer or microfiber brush to give it a once-over.

Step 6: Fill Your Kettle With Clean Water and Re-Boil

As with filling your kettle with vinegar, the lemon will leave an acidic taste if not cleaned properly. Admittedly, lemon water is not as unpleasant as vinegar water!

However, it is best to add plain water to your kettle, re-boil it, and rinse it. This should remove any lasting odour and residual lemon. You may need to repeat this process several times to remove the residual lemon completely.

Why Is It Important to Descale Your Kettle?

So why is cleaning a kettle important? Descaling is an important process to ensure limescale cannot build up and contaminate your water.

Understanding Limescale

boiling water with a half portion of lemon

Limescale (or its correct name – calcium carbonate) is a tough, milky deposit that can clog up your kettle and other household appliances. Limescale is typically a result of hard water. This is essentially water that has higher-than-usual mineral content.

A common excess mineral in hard water is calcium carbonate. Many areas of the UK are known to have hard water. You can generally tell if you have hard water from the taste and appearance. This type of water may have a metallic tang, and it may look cloudy or milky. It is possible to buy a water filter that can turn this water into soft water, incidentally.

Limescale will typically make your water cloudy, but you may also notice small flakes of it in your water.

The Potential Side-Effects of Limescale

Generally, consuming small amounts of limescale is not detrimental to your health. However, consistent consumption, especially in larger quantities, in hard water, can extremely affect later.

For example, it could result in kidney stones. Also, this type of water can result in dry skin and dry hair. People with restrictive mineral diets may also suffer more.

Aside from the potential detriment to your health, limescale also looks unappealing. Who wants to drink milky water or water with disgusting white flakes floating in it? Moreover, limescale can give your water a strange metallic taste which again is unpleasant.

Not only can limescale give your cold water a strange taste, but an excess build-up can damage your kettle. Over long periods, this could potentially damage an exposed heating element or the interior of your kettles.

Kettle Cleaning FAQs

How Often Should You Descale Your Kettle?

It is important to descale a kettle semi-regularly. The accepted guideline is descaling a kettle every four to eight weeks. We advise regularly checking the condition of your kettle also and descale as necessary. If you live in an area known to have hard water, for example, you may need to descale your kettle more often.

Can You Prevent Limescale Build-up in Your Kettle?

You cannot prevent the build-up of limescale completely. However, you can stop limescale coming into your kettle as often. The simplest way to do this is always to empty your kettle after each use. Standing water is often the biggest cause of limescale build-up.

Look After Your Kettle and Enjoy Better Tasting Tea!

Descaling a kettle is a relatively simple process, as you can see from the different methods above. You should now have a clear idea of how to descale a kettle, and we advise that you do this regularly to remove limescale and keep your kettle in great working order!

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