You fill your kettle in the morning and happen to take a peek inside it. It looks dirty and there’s something on the sides and bottom that looks white and flaky. This is limescale.
What, exactly, is limescale? Limescale is a chalky substance made up of calcium carbonate that’s found in hard water, such as the water from your kitchen tap.
While not particularly harmful to your health, limescale can affect the taste of your morning cuppa. When it builds up in your kettle, it makes keeping your kettle clean a hassle and if you never get rid of it, limescale will damage your appliance.
So, here’s your quick and easy descale kettle guide.
Why Does Limescale Form In Your Kettle?
Limescale is a substance that forms when calcium and magnesium accumulate in hard water. The hard water is produced when water moves through the ground and picks up a variety of minerals on its path to your taps.
When this water gets into your pipes, you take it from your kitchen tap to fill your kettle. So don’t be surprised when you find white floating bits in your kettle. Limescale will also form a murky film on the base and sides of the kettle.
How To Remove Limescale From Your Kettle: 3 Methods
There are three effective ways to remove limescale and prevent white flakes in your cup of tea.
Let’s look at them.
Clean Your Kettle With Vinegar Or Lemon
The first two methods of descaling your kettle involve the use of vinegar or lemon. You don’t want to put harmful chemicals in your kettle to clean it, especially because you might not wash it out properly and end up with a big problem on your hands.
Vinegar and lemon are both useful for cleaning a variety of appliances around the home and they’re a safe way to descale your kettle, too.
Here’s what you need to do.
- Start by filling your kettle with a mixture of half water and half white vinegar.
- If you don’t have vinegar handy, you can use the juice of fresh lemon or lime. Squeeze one lemon into 350ml of water and mix it well. Also cut up the rest of the lemon into small pieces and add these to the mixture. If you’re short on lemons, use lemon juice. You’ll need a 1:3 ratio with water.
- Bring the kettle to a boil. Let the solution sit in the kettle for about an hour. If the limescale is really bad, you should leave it inside the kettle overnight.
- When the time is up, rinse the kettle thoroughly. If you see that there’s still limescale inside the kettle, you can gently wipe it away with a damp cloth.
- If you feel you need something a little stronger to eliminate all traces of the limescale, perhaps because it’s been accumulating inside your kettle for a while, you should apply baking soda to a damp kitchen sponge and use that to gently remove the limescale. To really get into all the nooks and crannies of your kettle, such as if your kettle is round in shape, you want to use a cleaning brush that has a long handle.
- Once you’ve removed all the limescale, you need to boil the kettle with fresh water a few times. This will eliminate that vinegar/lemon smell and taste so none of it gets into your tea.
Note: While the above ingredients will be safe for descaling metal and plastic kettles, you should always check your specific kettle’s user manual to be sure that you’re not putting anything in it that could damage it.
Use Bicarbonate Of Soda
While vinegar and lemon are popular home remedies for removing limescale from your kettle, you might wonder if you can use bicarbonate of soda.
You can! Here’s what you need to do.
- Add a tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda to a full kettle of water.
- Let the kettle come to a boil.
- Afterward, allow it to sit for about 30 minutes.
- Then, pour out the water and bicarbonate of soda.
- Rinse the kettle well with water, then boil it a few times with water until there are no traces of bicarb.
An alternative way to use bicarbonate of soda to descale your kettle is to make a paste with it.
- Add a few drops of water to half a cup of bicarb.
- With the use of a brush or toothbrush, use this paste to scrub away limescale inside the kettle. This method does take a bit more work, but it’s especially good if the limescale is stubborn and won’t budge with other methods you’ve tried.
- After you’ve removed all the limescale, rinse the kettle well and boil it a few times so that it’s fresh and clean, and ready for you to make your next cup of tea.
Why You Shouldn’t Use Coke To Descale A Kettle
While you’re looking for new and innovative ways to descale your kettle, you might wonder if you should use Coke.
It’s been said that if you defizz Coke and put it in your kettle, it will work to descale it. But you should avoid using Coke as a descaling method.
While it’s not harmful to your kettle, leaving Coke in your kettle overnight won’t do the job of removing limescale effectively. It’s simply not strong enough to do so.
You should also avoid boiling Coke in your kettle. Since it contains acids, these will break down and won’t have the ability to clean, which will make Coke even less effective as a kettle cleaner.
Rather give Coke a skip in favor of more effective methods to remove limescale, such as vinegar, lemon, or bicarbonate of soda.
Can You Prevent Limescale?
There are products on the market that can help you to prevent limescale from occurring in the first place. An example is the Dunelm Kettle Descaler. It contains a stainless steel ball so that when you place it inside the kettle it will pull limescale deposits away from the kettle sides and base.
Every month or so, you’ll have to rinse this ball and squeeze it out so that you keep your kettle clean.
Other Ways To Prevent Limescale In Your Kettle
- Every time you use your kettle, you should empty its water. If water remains in the kettle for a long time, it will cause mineral deposits to form. While this tip might feel wasteful, don’t throw the water in the sink. Let the water cool down a bit and then use it to water your houseplants. Get into the habit of only filling your kettle with the amount of water you need to prevent waste.
- Change the water you use. By switching to filtered water, can help you prevent the build-up of limescale. An alternative to this is to use a kettle that already has a filter installed in it. This won’t filter your water but it will prevent limescale flakes from entering your cup and making the water you use for tea and coffee taste a bit metallic.
Should You Use A Descaling Product?
You might not want to go the DIY route by descaling your kettle. Perhaps you want to purchase a product specifically made for removing limescale from your kettle. In that case, here are some products that you’ll want to check out.
- Home Master Kettle Descaler – This product comes in a sachet that you drop into your kettle that’s half-filled with water and then leave it to work its magic for 10 minutes. It’s safe for both plastic and metal kettles.
- Ecozone Kettle & Iron Descaler – This is an eco-friendly way to safely descale your kettle. It’s made with 100 percent citric acid and only takes 30 minutes to work. You won’t be left with a horrible chemical smell after using this product and it’s also allergy-friendly.
How often do you need to descale your kettle?
It’s a good idea to descale your kettle every month or two so that it stays clean. If you don’t remove limescale regularly, it will be more difficult to do so.
Do plastic kettles get limescale?
Even though plastic kettles are made out of polypropylene that doesn’t attract limescale, their metal base plate is a target for it.
You don’t want limescale getting in the way of your delicious coffee or tea. In this article, we’ve looked at what limescale is, how to remove it, and how to prevent it from forming in the future so that you not only ensure the tastiest cuppa but you’ll also increase the lifespan of your kettle.