Easy Methods to Keep Your Electric Kettle Clean
How to Clean an Electric Kettle
Electric kettles tend to build up mineral deposits from the water you use in them. Cleaning is necessary to keep them functioning at their best.
Mineral deposits, especially from hard water, affect the efficiency of the element in the kettle so it takes longer to heat up and this reduces the lifespan of the kettle. Limescale can also affect the taste of your tea or coffee and looks unsightly when floating around in the cup.
What is Limescale?
When water boils inside the kettle, it evaporates as steam but deposits in the water as calcium and magnesium, and remains behind in the kettle. Over time they form a hard coating on the walls and bottom of the kettle. When this hard coating forms, it becomes more difficult to remove.
It is difficult to remove limescale deposits by scrubbing alone and the harder you scrub, the more likely you are to damage the inner surface. However, using mild acid easily dissolves the chalky build-up.
Using a natural limescale remover is cheaper and more environmentally friendly than using shop bought kettle cleaners. Any mild acid, like white vinegar or lemon juice, works well.
Materials You Will Need to Remove It
When cleaning electric kettles, you do not want to use anything that is too harsh or that is not food safe. Here are some good things to use.
- Distilled white vinegar (or lemon juice)
- Non-metallic pad or brush
- Microfiber cloth
Cleaning the Inside of the Kettle
Mix equal parts of water and vinegar in a measuring cup and pour the mixture into the kettle. Turn on the kettle and allow it to boil. Then, turn it off, unplug it and allow the mixture to sit for about 20 minutes.
Then, pour out the mixture and use the non-metallic pad or brush to scrub the interior of the kettle, making sure you avoid the heating element on the bottom.
After plugging in the kettle in again, boil some fresh water and dump it. You may need to do this once or twice to make sure no smell or taste of vinegar remains.
If you notice that some deposits remain, you may have to use more vinegar and leave it in the kettle for longer, even overnight.
Some manufacturers warn against using vinegar on their products. In this case, you may use water with lemon juice and lemon slices. Boil the water and leave for about an hour. When the kettle has cooled, unplug it and empty out the water.
Fill it with cold water and boil it again. This method has the benefit of making your kettle smell like fresh lemon but if you do not want the taste of lemon, put more water in, boil it and throw it out. Repeat until the lemon taste and scent disappears.
Some people also use baking soda to get rid of limescale and the method remains the same when using vinegar or lemon juice.
How Often Should You Clean the Inside of Your Kettle?
You should clean the interior of your kettle at least once a month or once every few months, depending on how often you use it and the type of water you use. If you have soft water, you may not have to worry about descaling.
Soft water contains low concentrations of calcium and magnesium so you may not experience any chalky build-up and your kettle will have a longer lifespan.
Cleaning the Outside of the Kettle
While cleaning the outside of the kettle, be careful not to scratch the finish. You can use a water and vinegar mixture on the outside or use any dish washing liquid. Wipe it after cleaning with a clean, damp cloth. If you want to make a steel kettle look shinier, put a bit of olive oil on a cloth and rub the outside of the kettle.
- Do not immerse your kettle in water to clean it – it is important that all the electrical parts stay dry.
- It is best to empty your kettle after each use. When water is left inside the kettle, it speeds up the limescale forming process. Also, when water is left in the kettle for long enough, it can stagnate and dust particles can enter through the spout.
- Limescale is common in hard water areas, where calcium and magnesium cause the chalky build-up. If you invest in a water softener, you can help to prevent limescale from forming.
Cleaning your kettle is a simple process if you do it routinely. If you boil hard water in your kettle, try to descale it once a month and clean the exterior weekly. It is only when you neglect cleaning it that the limescale builds up inside your kettle and becomes more difficult to remove.