How to Descale a Kettle

How to Descale a Kettle

If you live in a hard water area, then you'll likely find that your kettle starts to build up an unpleasant layer of limescale inside. While most kettles come with a limescale filter fitted to the spout, that build-up can still end up damaging your kettle- and leave an unpleasant taste in your tea, too.

Luckily, we're here to help. Our kettle experts have put together the following article with a few different ways to descale your kettle.

Related: Top 10 Best Kettles of 2024

Why You Should Descale Your Kettle

Limescale isn't harmful if you ingest it- in fact, it contains magnesium and calcium, both of which are important minerals for the human body. However, it is unpleasant, as it makes water taste slightly metallic or chalky. What's more, if you don't descale your kettle, then you'll likely find flakes of limescale popping up in your cuppa.

But while limescale is only an annoyance for us, it can be exceptionally harmful to your kettle. Over time, limescale will build up on the metal elements inside your kettle. The more of it there is, the less efficient the heating element will be, and you'll find the kettle takes longer and longer to boil. Eventually, it can cause the element to burn out completely.

Naturally, you won't want that to happen. To get the most out of your kettle, we'd recommend that you give it a thorough descaling every three months or so. There are a few different ways that you can do this.

Method 1: White Vinegar

Fill your kettle up to the halfway point with distilled white vinegar, and then top it up to full with water. Put it on to boil, then switch on your extractor fan or open the window- otherwise you'll be left with a kitchen that stinks of vinegar! When it's boiled, leave it for a few minutes and then pour the liquid away down the sink. Refill the kettle with water, boil, pour away, and repeat for four times in total to remove any lingering taste of vinegar from the kettle.

While this is perhaps the smelliest way of removing limescale from your kettle, we found it to be the most effective. If you want to get the same results without the odour, then fill the kettle with the mixture of vinegar and water, but don't put it on to boil. Instead, leave it to soak overnight. In the morning, you should find that any limescale flakes are dislodged. Just make sure no one accidentally makes a cup of tea with the vinegar!

Method 2: Bicarbonate of Soda

Another cheap and easy way of cleaning your kettle, although this method isn't quite as good at dealing with larger limescale build-up. Fill your kettle three-quarters full with water, then add a generous tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda. Give it a quick stir, then pop the kettle on to boil. Once it's done, leave the mixture to sit in the kettle for an hour or so, and then pour it away. Fill it up again, boil, and pour away- unlike the white vinegar method, you should only need to do this once to get rid of any lingering taste.

While this method is a good way of keeping your kettle free from smaller bits of limescale, it may not be enough to remove larger flakes.

Method 3: Kettle Cleaning Products

Finally, you can buy little sachets of kettle cleaner, either from hardware shops or off Amazon. Often these are just powdered citric acid- you can get the same results from lemon juice, although you might have to use quite a bit of it. This method is just as effective as the white vinegar one, but without the unpleasant smell. In fact, if you're using lemon juice, it can actually smell quite nice!

How to Keep Your Kettle Free from Limescale

If you're reading this blog post, then you probably already had a kettle filled with limescale to begin with. While the above methods will help get your kettle back to working order, it's best if you stop things getting too bad to begin with.

You could, of course, only use filtered water in your kettle. This can be expensive in the long run, though. A much cheaper method is to use a kettle protector. These are small wire balls, made from stainless steel, which draw limescale away from the kettle itself. Cleaning these is simply a matter of giving them a good rinse in the sink once a month.