We Brits love our kettles. From using them for cooking to filling up hot water bottles – and of course, making our precious tea and coffee – they’re an integral part of our day.
It doesn’t take too long, though, for the inside of a kettle to get furred up with limescale, a hard yellowish-white mineral deposit which occurs when hot water evaporates and solidifies.
It’s very important to keep your kettle as free of these mineral deposits as possible, especially in hard water areas, as the furring will gradually slow down the heating process – not to mention spoiling your tea and coffee when you find flakes of limescale floating in them.
To avoid this, clean your kettle exterior once a week and descale the interior at least every few months, depending on how frequently you use it.
Here’s how to do it in a few easy steps – remember, though, to check with the safety instructions for your appliance first.
How to descale your kettle using vinegar
Limescale can be dissolved fairly easily using a solution of a mild acid. The most commonly used is white vinegar.
Fill the kettle with a solution of equal parts water and vinegar, and let this soak for an hour. After that, boil the kettle, then turn it off and unplug it from the power.
Let the water and vinegar mixture sit in the kettle for another 15-20 minutes, then throw it away and rinse the kettle thoroughly.
This should have got rid of most, if not all, of the limescale. If there is a lot of scaling to be removed, you can use a greater ratio of vinegar in the mixture and leave it in the kettle overnight. You may have to rinse the kettle several times to make sure there is no trace of vinegar remaining.
Wipe the inside of the kettle with a clean cloth and leave it to dry completely. After drying, boil the kettle with plain water again to get rid of any lingering taste of vinegar.
How to descale your kettle using lemon juice
If you’d rather not use vinegar, try mixing 30ml of lemon juice with 500ml of water and adding it to the kettle. Again, leave for an hour and then boil.
Pour away the mixture, rinse out the kettle thoroughly then boil it again with clean water until the lemon scent is removed.
Alternatively, you can put a teaspoon of baking soda and some water in the kettle and boil the solution to remove scaling. Citric acid is also considered good for getting rid of the kettle furring.
It’s a good idea not to leave excess water in the kettle after use as standing water can also lead to limescaling. It is best to boil only the amount of water you need, but always to empty any excess out of the kettle after use.