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How to descale a kettle

Not sure why it’s important to descale a kettle? Allow us to help...

The Problem

Would you drink out of a dirty tap? You know the kind, with limescale and weird muck all over it. You won’t (or at least I hope so). Then why should you prepare your morning beverage in a kettle that could be layered with the same stuff? 

Here’s something you may or may not know – limescale, the white-ish deposits found on taps and such – can frequently collect inside your kettle. If you’re curious why this is, it’s due to minerals and salts inside the water (especially hard water) which lead to these deposits over time. 

Medically speaking, they will not cause harm to your body if they’re ingested in small quantities, but they can ruin the experience of sipping on your favourite beverage. I mean, weird chunks of mineral deposits aren’t exactly a delicacy when added to tea! 

And that’s not all. Limescale deposits can slow down the time it takes for your kettle to heat water drastically and it might taste a little bit off, too. 

Fortunately, there is a very simple solution to all of this. Let’s learn how to descale a kettle!

How to Descale a Kettle in 5 Easy Steps!

Limescale dissolves in acid. This means that you could use something acidic to descale your kettle with ease without using any commercial descaling products. The best part is that most of the items you’ll need to descale a kettle can be found at home. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • White vinegar or lemons (you can use either)
  • Water
  • Clean microfibre cloth
  • A dirty kettle 

Before we begin, it’s important to double-check that your kettle can work with vinegar inside it. A lot of kettles don’t, and if yours is one of them, you could look into using lemon juice which we will get to later. If your kettle works fine with vinegar inside, good news! Cleaning is going to be slightly easier. 

First, you want to unplug your kettle (if it’s electric). Then, fill it half-full with a 1:1 or 50-50 mixture of white vinegar and water. Please be careful about the ratios here. Too much vinegar might ruin your kettle, and too little would not be sufficient to descale a kettle.

Pour the mixture into your kettle and let it sit for a few minutes to an hour (depending how stubborn the limescale is). Once that’s done, bring the white vinegar & water solution to boil for approximately one minute, after which, let the kettle sit idle for an hour.

After an hour has passed, you can drain the solution from the kettle and give it a good rinse. Your kettle should now be mostly clean except for a few rigid spots. The good news is that the acidic solution will have softened the limescale quite a bit, making it super easy to clean with a cloth. So naturally, the next step would be to whip out your clean microfibre cloth and start wipin’! 

Although a microfibre cloth is recommended, it is perfectly alright if you don’t have one handy. Any good quality clean cloth that’s damp will work just fine. If you see visible residue still hanging around inside the kettle, dab your damp cloth in some baking powder and wipe again. Once you’ve cleaned the kettle well, phase one of the process is complete. You just need to add the finishing touches now.

Washing with vinegar will naturally make the kettle smell like vinegar. A good way to remove that smell is to pour fresh plain water and boil it. Depending on how pungent the vinegar smell is, you might have to repeat this process a couple of times, but the outcome will be 100% worth it.

If you do not have white vinegar lying around, you can use lemon juice. The process takes a bit more effort, but it really isn’t a deal-breaker and will save you the effort of going to the store. The steps you should follow while using lemon to descale a kettle are going to be exactly the same as before, just that instead of a vinegar solution, we’ll prepare the solution with one whole lemon.

Use the freshly-squeezed juice of one whole lemon and add it to one and a half cups of plain water. Once that’s done, chop the lemon up into small pieces and add it to the solution we just created. From there, you can follow the same procedure as you would if you were using white vinegar.

 

 

Here’s a summary of the process you should follow the descale a kettle:

  1. Mix white vinegar (or the juice of one lemon) with water and let it settle down for a few minutes to an hour, depending on how rigid the limescale deposits are.
  2. Let the water boil for a minute, after which you can let it settle down for an hour.
  3. Drain the water solution and thoroughly rinse the kettle a few times.
  4. Dab a high-quality cloth in some baking powder and proceed to wipe any stubborn limescale residue.
  5. Run a few boiling cycles with plain water to help deodorize your kettle.

Pretty straightforward, isn’t it?

Here’s to your limescale free cup of tea!!

 

 

 

Some Top Tips:

  • You can use limes instead of lemons, but we recommend using lemons because they’re more effective.
  • You can use store-bought lemon juice instead of fresh lemons although fresh lemons will work better.
  • Citric acid also works (we need something acidic to dissolve the limescale).
  • Sodium bicarbonate or baking powder will not work instead of lemon juice or vinegar. We need an acidic substance here.
  • This method will work on super durable plastics and other materials, too. Just make sure you check manufacturer specifications first because it might potentially damage weaker containers.

Conclusion

There are quite a few products available in the market that will help you descale a kettle. However, the logic behind how they work is almost exactly the same as what we discussed here. So why not opt for something more natural and easy to do? Afterall, the taste of your favourite beverage depends on it!

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