The kettle is considered an essential kitchen appliance. Not surprising, with most Brits drinking tea or coffee at least once a day. Statistics from the UKTIA (UK Tea & Infusions Association) found that over 80% of the UK population drink tea on a daily basis.
Lot’s of tea and coffee, means lots of boiling kettles. Over time, limescale deposits can build up on the inside of the kettle, leaving unsightly flakes in your favourite cup of tea. While there are commercial products available for removing limescale deposits, it can also be done naturally with a few cheap, natural, ingredients.
What is limescale?
Limescale deposits build up on the inside of a kettle when hot water evaporates. Over time, these mineral deposits harden on your kettle and can make it more difficult to bring liquids to a boil. They can also shorten the life of your kettle and leave little white or yellow flakes inside of your hot liquids.
What Natural Products Remove Limescale?
Two common, all-natural household cleaning products are great at removing limescale from a kettle. Vinegar and lemon are known for their powerful cleaning properties, which makes them perfect for naturally removing limescale deposits from a kettle. They are also much cheaper than commercial products that promise to descale a kettle.
What are the steps to take when descaling a kettle?
Descaling a kettle has a few steps, but once you do it a few times, it will become very easy and natural. To descale a kettle:
Fill your kettle with equal parts white vinegar and water, or the juice of one lemon and enough water to reach about halfway up the kettle. Allow this mixture to soak for at least an hour.
After letting it sit for an hour, bring the solution to a boil. Turn off the heat once it starts boiling and allow the mixture to cool inside of the kettle for 30 minutes.
Pour the vinegar or lemon mixture out of the kettle and fill the kettle halfway up with plain water. Bring the water to a boil in order to remove any lingering vinegar or lemon taste from the kettle which could seep into your favourite tea or coffee.
Allow the water to cool, pour it out, and then rinse the kettle thoroughly with cold water. Wipe it dry with a soft cloth, or allow the kettle to air dry before its next use.
- For tougher limescale deposits, allow the vinegar or lemon solution to sit overnight in the kettle before boiling it, the complete the remaining steps.
- Descale your kettle at least once a month, or as often as needed to remove limescale deposits.
- Those with hard water may need to descale their kettle more often because limescale builds up faster.
- Always read the manufacturer’s instructions for your kettle before using any acidic products in it. Some materials may become damaged when acidic products are used.
How to Prevent Limescale Deposits from forming?
Limescale deposits occur naturally when hot water evaporates. Hard water is more prone to producing limescale deposits, though, so installing a water softener in your home can help reduce the number of limescale deposits on your kettle. The fewer limescale deposits, the less often you’ll need to descale your kettle.
Is it safe to descale a stainless steel or copper kettle?
Stainless steel and copper kettles are more prone to scratches, so care should always be taken when cleaning them. Most stainless steel and copper kettles can be descaled with a vinegar or lemon solution, but it’s always best to check the manufacturer’s instructions on your kettle before cleaning it. Never use an abrasive cleaner or sponge on your stainless steel or copper kettle as this can scratch the surface and ruin the kettle.
Will my hot liquids taste like vinegar or lemon after descaling?
The boiling process that takes place after the descaling process should eliminate any vinegar or lemon taste from the kettle. Boil the plain water in the kettle after the descaling process until you no longer smell any vinegar or lemon. Lemon isn’t as strong of a taste as vinegar, so if you are concerned about this, use the lemon solution instead of the vinegar solution.
Are limescale deposits dangerous?
Limescale deposits, just like most other minerals, are not dangerous when consumed in small quantities. Descaling your kettle is more to prolong the life of the kettle, to make it easier to boil liquids, and to eliminate the possibility of unsightly white or yellow flakes in your favourite tea or coffee.
Descaling your kettle can be done in just a few easy steps. By using common household ingredients, you can rest assured that the descaling process is safe for your family, your pets, and your kettle.
Related: Energy Efficient Eco Kettles