Have you noticed a brown residue in your electric kettle, and you’re wondering how to get rid of it?
The brown residue is called limescale and results from the constant boiling of water. It comprises calcium carbonate in small quantities, making it primarily harmless.
However, you may want to get rid of it since it’s ugly and makes the inside of your kettle lose its luster. If you need practical tips on how to clean an electric kettle and get rid of the limescale, then read on.
Why You Should Get Rid of Limescale in Your Electric Kettle
Like we’ve already indicated, limescale is not harmful to human beings. It is made of calcium carbonate, often used as a supplement for healthy bones and muscles, and antacids.
So, why should you bother to remove it, yet it is harmless? These two reasons may necessitate the removal of the limescale:
- Disgusting Look. If you want to restore your electric kettle’s original shiny look, you should not hesitate to clean the residue. If you’re okay with it, then don’t bother.
- Limestone on Heating Elements. If the residue deposits on the metallic heating element, it will reduce your kettle’s heating efficacy. As such, you will require more energy and time to heat your water, which will result in higher electricity bills. In this case, removing the residue is a necessity.
If you want to make your electric kettle cleaning easy, you should always ensure that you keep the water slightly below the MAX line. This way, the limescale will not rise to the kettle’s opening, which would otherwise be uglier and more difficult to clean.
How Descaling an Electric Kettle Works
Descaling your electric kettles involves removing chemical compounds that are formed due to reactions between the kettle’s surface and the chemical elements found in hard water.
One of the most common debris that forms on an electric kettle is calcium carbonate. This is an alkaline substance that forms inside the kettle, making it ugly and ineffective.
The basic science used to remove the debris is introducing an acidic agent to dissolve the alkaline calcium carbonate.
Most of the acidic agents used include baking soda, coke, lemon, and vinegar. All these agents are readily available, making cleaning of electric kettles a breeze.
4 Best Ways to Clean an Electric Kettle
Several methods are ideal for cleaning your electric kettle. In this section, we’ve listed the five most effective ones for your considerations.
How to Clean an Electric Kettle with Lemon
What you Need
- A bottle of lemon juice/ concentrated lime
- Water (enough to fill the kettle)
- Soft scrubber pad
Pour approximately two tablespoons of lemon juice/lime into your electric kettle (500 ml should be enough for six cleaning sessions). Avoid using more than two tablespoons of lemon juice. It would be best if you then filled the kettle up to the MAX-level mark.
You can either use fresh lemons or buy a 500ml bottle of lemon juice from your nearest store. I find the ready 500 ml purchase more economical since you can store the remainder for later use.
Ensure that all the brown residue is below the watermark. Plugin the kettle and let the water boil. After the boiling is complete, then pour the water and rinse your kettle! It is now clean.
If there are any stubborn spots left, you should use a non-abrasive scrubber to remove them. Ensure that you’re gentle to avoid leaving ugly scratches on the inner kettle surface.
How to Clean an Electric Kettle with Apple Cider Vinegar
Vinegar is a superior cleaning agent that can help you to descale your electric kettle in a few minutes! You will require:
- Apple cider vinegar solution/ White vinegar
Mix your vinegar with water in equal parts (1:1). Fill the kettle with the solution up to the MAX level.
Next, you should plug in your kettle and let the solution boil. After the boiling is complete, you should let the kettle soak in the solution for approximately 15 minutes. You should then drain the kettle and rinse it using clean water.
If the scaling persists, you can repeat the process with a higher vinegar concentration (1:2). If that doesn’t work, you should then use a non-abrasive sponge to gently scrub the inside of the kettle until the limescale is wholly gone.
Rinse your kettle and let it dry. In case the vinegar smell/taste persists, rinse it multiple times or boil water with it several times.
How to Clean an Electric Kettle with Coke
Coca-Cola contains a significant amount of carbonic acid, which is highly effective in breaking the limescale. To achieve this, you should follow these simple steps:
- Fill your electric kettle with coke and bring it to a boil.
- Let the kettle stand for approximately 30 minutes.
- Pour out the Coca-Cola solution and use a non-abrasive scouring pad to remove any remaining stain.
- Boil the kettle with plain water and rinse. Dry it.
Both Diet Coke and Pepsi are also ideal for cleaning. The only difference between diet coke and regular coke is sugar, which plays no role in the cleaning process.
On the other hand, Pepsi contains a significant amount of citric acid. This property makes it an ideal cleaning agent.
How to Clean an Electric Kettle with CLR
Is using CLR safe? Well, CLR is a solution designed to combat calcium, dissolve limescale, and remove Rust (CLR).
According to the manufacturer, the solution is non-toxic, biodegradable, and water-soluble. All its constituents are derived from vegetables and other natural elements.
As such, you can use the solution to clean your kettle comfortably. However, you should follow all the safety precautions provided by the manufacturer.
CLR is not safe for use on natural stone/marble, plastics, nickel, aluminum, galvanized metal, leaded crystal, wood, terrazzo, and other laminated surfaces. As such, you should avoid placing your kettle on surfaces made from these materials during cleaning.
To achieve the best results when using CLR to clean your stainless steel kettle, you should follow the following steps:
- Unplug and empty your kettle
- Add approximately one cup of warm water and one cup of CLR
- Swish the mixture for 3 minutes
- Empty the CLR-Water mixture into a jar nearby and discard it later
- Rinse the kettle thoroughly (we recommend rinsing the kettle five times)
- Repeat the process until there is no debris on the kettle’s inner surface
It’s essential to note that CLR is highly acidic. Suppose you need to neutralize any acidity remaining after the wash. In that case, we recommend using a bicarbonate of soda solution to rinse it (1 tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda and one cup of cold water).
How Often to Clean an Electric Kettle
You should regularly check the status of your kettle. How often you clean it will depend on the frequency of use.
If you regularly use your kettle to boil water, you can be sure that the residue will accumulate within the third week of use. As such, you should clean the kettle once a month. However, the cleaning schedule may change if you don’t use your kettle often.
To know whether it’s time to clean your kettle, you should always check for deposits on the kettle’s metallic heating elements. Never allow the debris to accumulate since it will result in reduced efficacy.
How to Clean the Exterior of an Electric Kettle
Cleaning the exterior of your kettle ensures that you retain its shiny outlook. However, it would help if you always were careful not to use abrasive scrubbers since they will leave ugly scratches. To get the best results, follow these steps:
- Use warm and soapy water to wipe down the kettle using a soft sponge.
- If you’re dealing with stubborn stains, you should dip a sponge in baking soda and use it to scrub the kettle’s exterior.
- When clean, rinse it with lots of water and wipe it using a microfiber cloth. Avoid drying it in open sunlight to prevent the formation of ugly watermarks.
If you want to restore the original shiny appearance, you can smear a little olive oil on the exterior surface before storing it.
Tips to Keep Limescale Away from Your Electric Kettle
If you want to reduce the chances of limescale formation, you should:
- Avoid Using Tap Water. This water contains calcium, iron oxide, and limescale. When you boil it, the mineral content leeches out and forms the debris. As such, you should use distilled water.
- Avoid Storing Water in Your Kettle. Once the water boils, you should transfer it to a thermal flask. Alternatively, you should develop a habit of boiling only enough water for your needs.
- Avoid Overfilling Your Kettle. Only fill your kettle to the MAX level. This way, you will keep the debris out of the opening of your kettle, making cleaning easier.
How to Clean an Electric Kettle – The Bottom Line
Electric kettles are a necessity for many homeowners. However, the convenience and fun of using them can turn into a nightmare when the accumulation of debris significantly compromises their functionality.
If you’ve found yourself with a significantly ineffective kettle, its heating elements are likely covered by limescale.
To restore its efficacy, you will need to clean it thoroughly. This article offers five proven techniques that will restore the shiny appearance of your electric kettle.
How to Clean an Electric Kettle- FAQs
How do you clean the inside of an electric kettle?
You can use coke, white vinegar, CLR solution, lemon, and apple cider vinegar. These acidic agents break down the calcium carbonate that’s primarily the cause of the debris.
How do you clean an electric kettle without vinegar?
If you don’t want to use vinegar, you can manually scrub the kettle using warm soapy water. However, it would help if you used non-abrasive cleaning pads. If the stains are stubborn, you should use baking soda.
How do I remove the smell from my electric kettle?
The smell is coming from debris. You should add a tablespoon of lemon and fill the kettle to the MAX level to remove them. Please bring it to a boil and let the water sit for approximately 30 minutes. Pour the mixture and cleanse the kettle using plain water.
Should I clean a new electric kettle before use?
Yes, it would be best if you cleaned it using plain water. Also, boil water in it two times before you start heating drinking water.
Chef Boniface is a graduate in Culinary Arts from the Institute of Culinary Education, New York. He has worked in several restaurants and is currently the Head Chef at Cavali Restaurant.
He has excelled in developing unique recipes and influencing the menu at the restaurant. He prides himself in sharing his knowledge at thekitchenpot.com where he writes about the best cookware for various recipes.