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:
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
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
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!
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
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.
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.