Last update: 2 months ago
Not everyone is particularly bothered about making a cup of tea or have their coffee fix in the morning out of scaly kettle. After all, most devices have a filter and very few whitish flakes end up in the cup of hot beverage, right?
But what happens to your device’s performance over time, if left unmaintained for long, is another matter… In other words, removing the limescale deposits from your kettle now and again will not only ensure that your refreshing drink is free of undesirable particles but the appliance will also “live” and serve you for longer. Not to mention that a limescale-free kettle is a green kettle, as it uses less energy.
This post will delve into the methods of cleaning hard water deposits from the handy device, regardless of its type (electrical or stove-top) and the material it is made of (high-grade steel, another kind of metal, plastic or glass).
How to naturally descale your kettle
As limescale contains compounds like calcium carbonate, magnesium bicarbonate and other forms of these two minerals, they can be naturally neutralised by acidic substances that are knocking around in every average household. This could be any type of vinegar, whether white, malt or made from cider, as well as lemon juice. Also, as coca-cola contains three types of acids, you may have some modest success in removing light limescale build-up with this popular carbonated drink if you leave it for long enough in contact with the scaly appliance.
So, here’s what to do:
- Pour some vinegar or lemon juice into your kettle until the device is half full.
- Leave it overnight to soak, so the acid has a reasonable chance to disintegrate the mineral deposits. If the device is furnished with a filter, you can remove it and soak it separately for best results.
- On the following morning, add water and boil the kettle for 2 to 3 minutes.
- Rinse well with cold water.
- You can, then, fill the appliance with just water and boil again. This will help neutralise the smell if you’ve used vinegar, as well as clean away any residues.
If you have some left-over de-fizzed coca-cola lying around, you can soak your kettle with it for the night and rinse the appliance on the following day. The results will depend on how bad the limescale has affected the inside of your kettle, as coke is not so powerful when it comes to neutralising hard water minerals.
And if you own a stove-top kettle or an electrical one with an external heating element, you can sprinkle bicarb soda first, mixed with lemon, and gently scrub the white encrustations from the bottom. For fancy glass kettles, the vinegar/lemon method, described above, is the safest limescale removal technique.
Descaling your kettle with store-bought products
Most people go for natural descalers to avoid using chemicals. But to be fair manufactured kettle descaling solutions are also acid-based and are specially designed and safety-tested for use in drink/food preparation devices. Basically, they are not only safe to clean your kettle, coffee machine, pots, and pans but also, their formula has a stronger effect when it comes to eliminating limescale traces from your kitchen and drink-making appliances.
So, whether you choose a kettle descaler in a tablet, powdered, liquid or gel form, you just need to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to achieve the desired result.
In brief, the detergent solution is commonly diluted in water, first. Then, a similar boiling and soaking process follows to ensure that the mineral deposits are effectively dissolved. Finally, what you usually need to do is to give your appliance a good rinse with cold water.
Also, people have reported achieving good results after using a dental tablet to descale their kettles. The cleaning product is as safe as it can be because it has been specially devised for sterilising devices that one puts in their mouth.
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Things to be aware of when cleaning your kettle
Whatever method, natural or chemical, you have selected, there are a few things to keep in mind. So, to make the most of it when descaling your appliance, give a thought to the following tips:
- Not keeping the 1:1 ratio when diluting the vinegar with water, may result in the mixture bubbling over the device when boiling if the acid is more than the water.
- Don’t boil coca-cola in your kettle, as some of the acids it contains will break down and will no longer have the same cleaning properties.
- Lemon fruit is not as effective as store-bought lemon juice or vinegar when it comes to neutralising even a mild limescale build-up.
- To get rid of the vinegar smell after cleaning your device, add a little lemon juice and a sprinkle of cinnamon during the second round of boiling.
- Don’t scrub bicarb soda on internal heating elements, caked with limescale! You may damage their protective coating.
- Descaling tablets are not only quite pricey but they are also rather weak. So, it’s best if you consider purchasing a new generation limescale remover to save yourself money and hassle.
- On that note, powdered descaling agents are very effective and will not break the bank.
- Always read the manufacturer’s advice on the product’s label as different descalers are meant for use on different types of appliances, based on the material they are made from.
- Don’t use any other limescale neutralising product that you might have left over at home, even it has been decorated with an all-purpose sign. Stay safe and purchase a solution, which is designed for kettles only.
- Kettles should not be cleaned with bleach, regardless of how many times you intend to rinse the device afterward.
Limescale prevention tips
And isn’t prevention the best cure? So, clean your kettle as regularly as you can as a preventive measure by applying any of the above techniques, even when there is nothing to descale!
- Invest in a limescale catcher – These metal balls will effectively attract the mineral deposits and prevent them from lining the inside of your device.
- Clean the inside of your kettle once a month – It is very likely that you live in a hard water area, considering how large the UK’s hard water supply network map is. So, our advice is to descale your appliance routinely every month.
- Don’t leave water standing for hours – You will promote limescale build-up even more if water sits inside overnight before you need to use the kettle again in the morning. And think! Wouldn’t your tea taste better if you made it with fresh water?
Safety tip: Always shake your kettle before turning it on! It’s so easy to switch the appliance empty, first thing, when you are still half asleep and burn it or worse, now that you’ve learned to throw away the excess water after each use!
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