Tips AU

How to descale a kettle (naturally!)

By Claire Mueller

Published: October 25th, 2018

Your kettle is 100%, definitely, no-question full of limescale. Gross, but here's how to clean it in just one boil.

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Whether you’re an avid tea drinker, love a Cup-a-Soup or just have a dodgy hot water system, chances are your kitchen has a kettle, and that you haven’t cleaned it recently. Dare you to go look inside it now.

The inside of your kettle probably looks a lot like this:

clear kettle with limescale

Gunky, right? Gross. That greyish-whitish-brownish deposit is limescale, which builds up on surfaces in frequent contact with hard water.

But no need to stress! It’s easy to get rid of limescale in a kettle.

There are a multitude of commercial descaling products available but save your money and the environment and clean the all natural way with this clever kitchen hack. All you need are a few lemons.

Here’s how to descale a kettle naturally, without harsh chemicals:

Step 1: chop lemons

chopped lemons on marble benchtop

Chop a few lemons into quarters. You may want to remove the pips so you’re not fishing them out of your kettle later. If you have store bought lemons remove the little sticker too or you’ll find your have paper clogging up your kettle (and we don’t have a hack for fixing that)!

Step 2: squeeze lemons into 3/4 full kettle

lemons in clear kettle on marble benchtop

Make sure your kettle is approximately 3/4 full of water then give the lemon quarters a decent squeeze into the kettle. Drop the squeezed quarters in to the water then it’s time to lock and load – close the lid and flick the switch.

Step 3: boil!

lemons being boiled in kettle

Boil the kettle. If you have a clear glass kettle like this you’re in for a treat, it’s really mesmerising. If not you’ll just have to imagine what’s going on inside, we definitely do not recommend opening the lid to have a peek mid-boil.

Note: This kettle had heavy limescale and only needed one boil, but you could do it twice to make absolutely sure it ends up squeaky clean.

Step 4: swish and tip

stainless steel sink with lemons

Once the kettle has finished boiling the water pick it up and (carefully) swish the lemons around inside, then tip all the contents out into the sink. If you want to remove any trace of lemon you can rinse out the kettle with some fresh water.

The result?

TA-DA!

clean clear glass kettle

So fresh, so clean. Now go make a cup of tea to enjoy while you read about how it works.

How does limescale build up in a kettle? Limescale, otherwise known as calcium carbonate, is a sedimentary mineral deposit left over when water evaporates, which it regularly does inside your kettle. Thanks to modern living and plumbing systems the water out of the tap isn’t just H2O molecules. When you boil the water the pure steam escapes and the other stuff is left behind.

What is limescale? A calcium carbonate mineral deposit.

What is hard water? Water with a high concentration of dissolved minerals including calcium and magnesium.

Is limescale bad for your health? There is no evidence that drinking hard water is bad for your health.

How do you remove limescale? Limescale can be dissolved and removed with acids.

Limescale looks icky, and while it’s not going to kill you it is a killer for appliances. Limescale accumulates on limescale, so the longer you leave it the worse it gets, and build up can block small spaces, damage electrical elements and lead to corrosion.

How does the lemon work as a descaler? Limescale reacts with acids, so when you ‘descale’ you convert the deposit into soluble mineral salts that can be easily washed away, with carbon dioxide and water as the by-products.

For a less-natural but totally sweet alternative cleaning hack check out these 15 ways you can clean with Coca Cola.

Need someone to clean the rest of your kitchen so it’s just as sparkling? Hire a cleaner on Airtasker.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Claire

Loves a good Instagram Story.

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