How to Descale a Kettle (and Get Rid of that Pesky Limescale)

If you love to start your mornings with a cup of tea (and enjoy having one at other times of the day as well), you will naturally want to keep your stove top kettle free of limescale. 

Come to think of it, you will want to keep your kettle limescale-free even if you use it once in a fortnight. 

Don’t worry if you’ve noticed an unappetizing layer of limescale at the bottom of your favourite kettle. It in no way reflects how well you wash your dishes – and it happens to every kettle over time. You can get rid of it easily, and restore it to its original shine in no time at all. 

How to Descale a Kettle?

The easiest way to get rid of limescale is to use the solution of a mild acid – most commonly white vinegar.

Mix together a solution of equal parts vinegar and water and pour it into the kettle. Leave it to soak for an hour, then bring it to a boil. 

Leave the solution in the kettle for another 15 to 20 minutes, then give your kettle a thorough wash.

This remedy should be able to handle most of the limescale. If you are dealing with an excessive build-up, you can increase the ratio of vinegar in your descaling solution, or you can leave the kettle to soak overnight.

You may need to repeat the process a couple of times, but it should be enough to completely descale your kettle. 

Once you are satisfied with the results, you can bring the kettle to another boil using plain water, to ensure there is no residual vinegary taste left.

If you don’t have any vinegar to speak of, there are other ways you can descale your kettle too.

How to Descale a Kettle Using Lemon? 

Another popular solution is to use lemon juice instead of vinegar. 

Mix 30 millilitres of lemon juice with 500 millilitres of water and pour into your kettle. Leave it for an hour, then bring to a boil. 

Pour away your lemon and water solution, rinse your kettle, and use plain water to bring it to another boil. This should get rid of any lemony aftertaste. 

How to Descale a Kettle Using Bicarbonate of Soda? 

Bicarbonate of soda is another great natural cleaning agent you can use for descaling.

You essentially use the same method as before. Add 2 tablespoons of baking soda into a full kettle of water and bring it to a boil. Rinse and boil another kettle of clean water. 

You can also sprinkle baking soda into a dry kettle and leave it to do it’s magic for 15-20 minutes. Then use a soft cloth to wipe the inside, removing the limescale.

How to Descale a Kettle with a Descaling Product? 

You can of course use a descaling product too, as its name suggests. 

There are different ones on the market that work quite well – but always make sure to check if they will work with the material your kettle is made of. 

If you prefer to stick to natural solutions, the ones I listed above should be all you need to rid your kettle of limescale.

And now to tell you a bit more about that annoying white layer of untidiness and how it comes into being.

What is Limescale? 

To get perfectly technical, limescale is actually calcium carbonate, the solidified remains left behind after hot water has evaporated. 

You can find it not just at the bottom of kettles, but in pipes, water tanks, around your sink, in your washing machine. 

Limescale is especially common in areas with hard water, as it is full of dissolved calcium and magnesium.

Why do I Need to Descale my Kettle? 

While limescale is not necessarily bad for you – you do need to descale your kettle from time to time. 

Limescale will cause your kettle to boil more slowly, and if it accumulates too excessively, your kettle could even break. 

You will be spending more electricity (or another form of fuel) to boil your water, which is bad both for the environment, and your bank account. 

Also, a mug of tea with limescale bits floating around is not exactly appetizing.

How Often Should I Descale my Kettle? 

Ideally, you want to do it once every 3-4 weeks. 

If you notice there is a significant build-up of limescale in your kettle between descaling sessions, tackle it sooner rather than later.

If you live in an area where the water is especially hard, you might want to do it every 2-3 weeks, just to be safe.

Does Descaling Damage my Kettle? 

No. 

Especially if you use one of the natural solutions I’ve mentioned. A store-bought descaler might be a stronger mixture, so make sure you read up on its uses and potential side effects before making a purchase.

How to Prevent Limescale from Accumulating in my Kettle? 

The simplest way to prevent limescale from building up in your kettle is to rinse it after every use (or wash it if you’ve boiled something other than water), and thoroughly dry the inside every time. 

Don’t just leave the kettle to air dry, as the evaporating water is certain to turn into limescale. 

Make sure you clean your kettle regularly, and store it somewhere where dust and other particles can’t accumulate in or on it. 

You can also invest in a water filter that will soften your water. This will prevent the minerals from building up, and the taste of the water will improve as well. 

What is the Difference Between Descaling and Cleaning my Kettle? 

Simply cleaning your kettle won’t remove any of the limescale. It will wash away any remnants of the drink you’ve served or boiled in it, but the limescale will remain intact. 

Ideally, you should clean your kettle after every use – but I do understand the temptation to just rinse and set it aside. I do that often myself.

However, cleaning your kettle after every few uses will ensure that the beverages you are using it for are tasty and safe for you, so do remember to add kettle cleaning to your to do list every so often.

On the other hand, descaling is meant to get rid of limescale, and not to clean the kettle. This is a process you also need to tackle, as I’ve mentioned, once every 3-4 weeks. It will ensure your kettle stays with you for a long time to come. 

To Descale or not to Descale – is that a Question? 

I honestly hope not, not after I’ve hopefully succeeded in conveying just how simple yet important it is to descale your kettle every so often. 

After all, you have to admit, no one likes to see that nasty white buildup at the bottom of their kettle. 

And as with most other things in life, tackling the issue before it spreads is the best policy – so grab that vinegar (or lemon juice if you prefer) and march yourself to the kitchen. 

Think of me as you pour your next mug of tea from your sparkling kettle – and I’ll toast you with mine to celebrate your little kitchen win. 

J.

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