With a low-cost DIY method, you can get rid of those pesky limescale deposits in your teakettle.
Who can resist a steaming cup of tea when the weather cools? But be cautious! If you drink a lot of tea, you’ll notice that the inside of your kettle will eventually become coated in limescale. When hot water evaporates and leaves solid minerals behind, these white calcium deposits grow on the interior of kettles, both electric and stovetop. The end product is both ugly and unpleasant. Furthermore, if left unchecked for an extended period of time, limescale can decrease the life of your kettle. While professional solutions may be used to descale your kettle, common household acids are just as effective—and frequently less expensive.
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Limescale Build Up
Because the element in the kettle was always exposed and in touch with the water, limescale buildup was one of the leading reasons of kettle failure in the past.
Nowadays, most kettles have the element covered beneath a metal base plate, which lowers the danger of element damage and extends the life of the kettle. This isn’t to say limescale isn’t a problem.
Metal kettles can still become covered with limescale on the interior and on the base plate, which, if removed, produces unpleasant chalky particles in the water. Plastic kettles are constructed of polypropylene, which does not attract scale; nevertheless, the metal base plate does. Kettles with built-in filters prevent limescale from being spilled into your water.
How Often Should You Descale Your Kettle?
It is important to clean your kettle every few months. Limescale and other mineral deposits accumulate within your kettle over time, affecting its function and even shortening its lifespan, therefore you should clean it on a regular basis. You may need to descale your kettle more regularly if you reside in a hard water location.
- Remove persistent limescale: If there are any hard limescale spots left behind after cleaning the kettle, give the regions a gentle wipe with a pan scourer to remove the last few particles. After that, thoroughly rinse. You may also use a toothbrush to apply the baking soda paste as described below.
- Treat stainless steel kettles: Dip a soft cloth in olive oil and rub it over the outside surface of a stainless steel kettle. To leave the kettle shining, use a gently rubbing and polishing motion. A towel soaked in warm, soapy water can be used to clean plastic kettles.
- Keep an eye on the electrics: When cleaning your kettle, always take additional precautions to keep the kettle’s base and electrical parts dry.
- Allow it to cool: If you are cleaning the interior or outside of the kettle by hand, make sure it has cooled down and unplug it first.
How To Descale A Kettle
The priority is safety. Make careful to disconnect an electric kettle or switch off the heating element on a stovetop type before descaling. When the kettle is cool enough to touch, drain any residual liquid, remove the cover, and clean the inside with cold water.
Clean Outside Of Kettle
To remove external dirt or grease, use a soft sponge wet with water and dish soap to gently wash the sides and base of the kettle. To remove caked-on residue from copper and stainless steel kettles, use only non-abrasive sponges or cloths. Avoid using wire brushes or scouring pads, which can cause damage or discoloration to the kettle. Using a gentle towel, dry the kettle.
When using an electric kettle, take care not to submerge the electrical components or the socket in water. Never submerge a water-filled electric kettle. If your electric kettle has a built-in water filter, make sure to clean the filter as well. Remove the filter as directed by the manufacturer, and then rinse it under hot water. Wipe the filter gently with a soft cloth before drying and reinstalling it.
Clean Inside Of Kettle
Half-fill the kettle halfway with a solution of cold water and white vinegar, a natural descaling agent. As an alternative, citric acid may be used to dissolve limescale; simply fill the kettle halfway with the juice of one fresh lemon or lime, followed by cold water.
Bring the solution to a boil on the burner beneath the kettle, or in your electric kettle. When the water is boiling, switch off the heat, whether it’s a burner or an electric heater. (If your electric kettle has an automated shut-off feature, leave it alone.) Allow the vinegar-water (or citrus) combination to rest for 30 minutes to an hour in the kettle.
While diluted vinegar or lemon are gentle enough for most kettles, you should follow the manufacturer’s recommendations to prevent exposing your kettle to substances that might damage it. If you’re not sure how an acid will react with your kettle, test a drop of the solution on an inconspicuous spot before going with the whole soak.
You can now pour out the vinegar-water (or citrus) solution when the decalcifying stage is complete. Remove the cover and clean the interior of the kettle with cold water once it is empty. A clean, moist cloth can be used to remove any remaining limescale. Because vinegar’s acetic acid is strong enough to remove limescale, aggressive scrubbing is not required nor advised.
Even if you successfully descaled a kettle, it does not imply it is ready to boil water for your next beverage. Fill the kettle halfway with cold water to prevent any vinegary flavour from seeping into subsequent cups of tea. To deodorise the water, turn on the burner or plug in the electric kettle and boil it. When the stink has subsided, dump the water and air-dry the kettle before using it again.
Repeat this procedure to descale the kettle once a month or so, depending on how frequently you use it, and you’ll keep pollutants at away while keeping your beverages fresh and delicious.
How to prevent kettle limescale
To avoid further limescale buildup, use a kettle protector, such as the Dunelm Kettle Descaler, which is a stainless-steel wire ball that draws deposits away from the base and sides. Rinse and squeeze once a month to keep the scale clean.