How to descale & clean a kettle

Noticing some limescale in your kettle? It can look pretty strange, with bits of limescale floating in the water as you fill it up – not appetising in the slightest. Unfortunately, areas of the United Kingdom that have hard water are susceptible to excessive buildup in kettles used consistently, which will inevitably end up in your next brew. It’s important to keep an eye on the limescale buildup in your kettle and to thoroughly clean it on a regular basis to avoid issues further down the lane.

We’ll answer a number of common questions surrounding the cleanliness of your kettle, including;

  • What is limescale?
  • How to remove limescale from your kettle
  • How to prevent limescale buildup
  • Additional kettle cleaning advice

What Is Limescale?

Limescale , or calcium carbonate, is a crusty, off-white, chalky deposit. It can be found anywhere that hard water has evaporated, so household cases are mostly commonly found in the kitchen or bathroom. You’ve likely seen limescale build up on your taps, boiler, and kettle, amongst other things, but why does it develop?

Well, when rain falls from the sky it comes in the form of ‘soft water’. But after hitting the ground and passing through different rock formations it picks up calcium and magnesium minerals. These minerals affect the composition of the water, turning it into ‘hard water’. When this hard water evaporates, it leaves behind the calcium carbonate residue that we know as limescale.

How to remove limescale from your kettle

When limescale develops in your kettle it can be particularly annoying, as it doesn’t taste great and so affects the taste of your hot drinks! But the good news is that limescale can be easily removed, as using mild acids causes it to dissolve quickly. We recommend cleaning and descaling your kettle every few weeks to avoid hard water deposits.

What you need:

  • A mild acid, such as white vinegar or lemon juice*
  • Water
  • The kettle to be cleaned (obviously!)

*Make sure that the acid you use is safe to put into a kettle. Don’t forget, you’ll be drinking from it later!

The Process

The process is very simple since, helpfully, your kettle is designed to hold liquid anyway. We’ve broken it down into 3 simple steps.

  • Fill your kettle with the acid until it is about one quarter full. Then top the rest of the kettle up with water and set it to boil.
  • Once your water has boiled, empty the kettle before the water cools.
  • Make sure to rinse the kettle through several times with cold water. This ensures any traces of vinegar or lemon are flushed out and don’t hang around to flavour your next cuppa.

And that’s it! With just those 3 steps you have a clean & hygienic kettle again.

If you have any trouble getting the deposits out using this method, try leaving the mixture in the kettle overnight to give it a longer time to work.

How to prevent limescale build up

Now you might be thinking, “well that’s great, but how do I stop limescale from building up again in the future?”. Well, the only real way to prevent limescale forming is to not use hard water in your appliances. Even if you live in a hard water area, there is a simple way to ensure you only use soft water – water softeners.

Water softeners work by getting rid of the calcium and magnesium minerals present in hard water before they enter your water system. Using an ion-exchange process, they simply turn this hard water into soft water which eliminates the possibility of limescale build-up.

As a result, you’ll only be running soft water through your household pipes and appliances. Not only does this prevent limescale from forming, it also helps to extend the lifetime of your appliances and improves the quality of your skin and hair.

Additional kettle cleaning tips

  • For a deep-clean descaling session, finish off by putting a small amount of baking soda into the kettle and use it to gently scrub the insides using a damp cloth or sponge.
  • Try not to let water sit in your kettle for long periods of time. It can be tempting to leave excess water in for your next brew, but this can contribute to more mineral deposits building up.
  • Do not scrub on the heating element of your kettle, as this will wear away its protective coating.
  • Similarly, avoid submerging your kettle in water to clean it as this can also damage the heating element.
  • To clean the outside of your kettle you can use dish soap, a multi-surface cleaner, or even just anti-bac wipes to ensure it doesn’t get grubby over time.
  • If you have a stainless steel kettle and want to see it shine, try polishing it with baby oil or olive oil on the outside.
  • Make sure to use a soft cloth so you don’t damage the exterior surface of the kettle, and buff the kettle gently for a streak-free finish.

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