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How to clean and descale a kettle in 5 steps


Even the kettle deserves some TLC. Here’s how to clean and descale an electric kettle in five simple steps. 

electric kettle
© ducdao | 123rf

A kitchen wouldn’t function without a kettle. This small kitchen appliance may often be overlooked, but it’s, in fact, one of the most important items you should have at home. Want to drink a cup of tea or coffee to help you stay awake for all the scheduled zoom meetings that you have for the day? You need a kettle to boil the water. Craving for instant noodles in the middle of the night? Just boil some water and a wholesome meal will await you in five minutes.

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Never underestimate the power of a kettle. 

However, like most kitchen appliances, after using it for years, you’ll find that your kettle is plagued with white salt-like scales on the inside and it doesn’t boil as quickly as it did before. Instead of tossing it away and getting a brand new one, here’s a simpler way to make it look brand new and get this, you don’t even need to pay a single cent. Everything you need to clean a kettle is already in your kitchen. You just need to take five minutes to clean it. 

Here’s how to clean and descale a kettle in five steps. 

What you need: 

  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Water
  • Small brush
  • Microfiber cloth

Step 1: Make a vinegar solution

© 123rf

Before you get started, you should make the cleaning solution first. Combine one cup of vinegar and one cup of water in a measuring cup before pouring the mixture into the kettle. Leave some mixture for later. Remember, it has to be an equal part of the solution. Too much vinegar or water will damage the kettle. 

Step 2: Let it boil

Then, turn on the kettle and boil the solution. Once it’s done, turn the kettle off, unplug it from the outlet and let it cool. 

Step 3: Clean the exterior

Now, turn your attention to the outside of the kettle. Dip a clean microfibre cloth into the vinegar solution and wipe the kettle down. 

If you own a stainless steel kettle, dip your microfibre cloth with some olive oil and buff it until all the smudges and scratches are gone.

Step 4: Get scrubbing

Take a small brush and scrub the interior of the kettle until it’s clean. Don’t forget about the small corners! Once you think it’s clean enough, pour out the solution and rinse it with clean water. 

Step 5: Boil it one last time

kettle on a gas stove
© Vereshchagin Dmitry | 123rf

Finally, fill up the kettle with plain water and bring it to boil again. The hot water will remove any vinegar odour. 

What is limescale and how does it form?

© andriano | 123rf

The water that we get at home is more than hydrogen and oxygen. They contain minerals. When you boil water, the minerals fall to the bottom of the kettle and get stuck on it. Over time, these minerals will build up and gunk up the heating element, thus causing your kettle to be inefficient. 

Is limescale bad for your health? 

The short answer is no. Limescale is made of minerals in the hard water, ingesting it won’t cause you any harm. There’s no research that shows that drinking hard water will pose any health risk. The only problem it will cause is ruining the taste of your cuppa. Nevertheless, give your kettle a good scrub because while it doesn’t cause you any harm, it will damage your kettle in the long run.

How to prevent kettle limescale? 

While having limescale in the kettle is inevitable, there are some methods you can use to prevent them from building up. 

1. Don’t leave water overnight in the kettle

Letting boiled water sit in the kettle for hours will only encourage limescale to build up. Emptying the kettle after using will slow down the process. 

2. Clean and descale it as often as possible

As mentioned previously, there’s no way to stop limescale from building up in the kettle. All you can do is clean it and descale it often with the methods above. 

How often should you clean your kettle?

It all boils down to how often you use the kettle. If you’re using it on a daily basis, then you should descale it every three to four months. As for the exterior, try wiping it down to remove any dirt or smudges once a week to keep it clean and shiny. 

2 simple tips to keep kettle clean for longer

  • Don’t let water sit overnight. Heat only the amount of water you need. If you have extra water, use it to water the plants or pour it down the drain
  • Instead of boiling tap water, try using distilled water. If you live in an area with hard water, it will promote limescale build-up.


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