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How to clean a kettle and remove limescale

Do you want to remove limescale from your kettle? These simple tips will make it sparkling clean again.


Reading Time: 5 minutes

By Cleanipedia Team

A kettle on a kitchen counter
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The average kettle takes a bit of a pounding – especially as being the most famous nation of tea-drinkers, the UK consumes over 65 million cups of tea a day. That’s going to lead to a lot of grime accumulating in our kettles.

Fortunately, there are a number of easy ways to tackle limescale build-up – just follow these pointers on how to clean a kettle to get it glistening like new.

Cleaning a kettle with lemon juice

A kettle on a kitchen counter alongside some sliced lemon

Lemon is another natural way to remove limescale from a kettle. However, check the instructions to make sure that your product plays well with lemon juice (some manufacturers warn against using it).

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There are two methods – one using lemon slices, the other just the juice.

Using lemon slices

  1. Cut a medium-sized lemon into slices and put them in the kettle.

  2. Fill the kettle halfway with water.

  3. Boil the kettle.

  4. Drain the kettle, but leave the lemon slices in.

  5. Repeat the process until the kettle is clean (it should take a couple of boils depending on the limescale accumulation).

Using lemon juice

  1. Squeeze the juice of a medium-sized lemon or use about 30ml of bottled juice and add it to the kettle.

  2. Fill the kettle halfway with water and boil.

  3. Leave for an hour.

  4. Rinse the kettle a few times until odourless.

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How to clean a kettle with vinegar

A kettle on a kitchen counter alongside a jar of vinegar

Follow these simple instructions to get your kettle back to its former glory.

  1. Fill the kettle a quarter full of water.

  2. Then fill with a quarter full of white vinegar.

  3. Boil the kettle.

  4. Leave for an hour.

  5. Give it a good rinse with cold water.

  6. It’s ready to use!

How to descale a kettle with bicarbonate of soda

Adding a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda to a kettle

At Cleanipedia we are big fans of bicarbonate of soda and you’ll be pleased to hear it’s great at cleaning kettles. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Fill the kettle halfway with water.

  2. Add a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda.

  3. Boil and then let it soak for 20-30 minutes.

  4. Rinse thoroughly with fresh water.

Discover more great ways of cleaning with bicarbonate of soda here.

Using a kettle-cleaning product

You can also use a commercial product to descale a kettle. They come in liquid, powder and gel form, but all operate in generally the same way (however, make sure you carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions). It’s usually as simple as diluting the product, boiling it and then leaving it to soak.

Answers to your questions on how to remove limescale from a kettle

The inside of a kettle

What is limescale?

Limescale is a tough, milky white deposit often referred to as calcium carbonate. Generally, limescale problems are worse in hard water areas (hard water contains greater mineral deposits).

Limescale is commonly found clogging up places where hot water has evaporated and solidified, such as hot-water tanks, pipes, central heating systems and, of course, kettles (find out more about how to remove limescale and hard water deposits around your home).

How often should I descale a kettle?

If you want to stay on top of limescale build up then try to clean your kettle every couple of months.

How do you clean the inside of an electric kettle?

Most modern kettles don’t have an exposed heating element so you should follow one of the procedures above.

Those with elements need to be treated slightly differently: make a mixture of bicarbonate of soda and lemon and use that to scrub at the limescale build up. Make sure to unplug the kettle to avoid any possible electric shock.

How do I remove all the residue after cleaning?

To make sure there is no lingering smell, taste or product residue, thoroughly rinse out the kettle after cleaning; then boil it a couple of times before you use it. This is especially important if using commercial products (which may contain chemicals) to ensure water safety.

Not cleaning the kettle regularly can affect its performance and you’ll start to find limescale scum floating in your cup of tea. The good news is that limescale is easily defeated by acids, such as vinegar and lemon.

How can I prevent limescale build up ?

Perhaps the best way to keep your kettle in glittering condition is to stop the accumulation of limescale in the first place.

The easiest way to do this is to not overfill your kettle – limescale will happily accumulate when water is left standing.

Water filters can also help reduce mineral deposits and can be particularly effective when used on hard water.

Originally published