How to clean the kettle

It’s only in the last two years that I have started drinking coffee.  I can’t believe I went through my whole 20’s without it, but it just didn’t appeal to me.  I have found that over time the kettle gets a build up of limescale.  This is a chalky layer that forms over the heating element in the kettle, which then prevents the kettle heating the water to the required temperature.  It can fall away from the element and float in the water, which may then be poured into your next coffee.  Open up your kettle and have a look inside, if it’s a bit grotty, follow these tips to give it a clean.

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How to clean limescale off the kettle

  1. Fill the kettle with 1 part vinegar to 2 parts water.  You don’t need to fill the entire kettle, just enough to cover the heating element
  2. Boil the kettle
  3. Allow the water to cool in the kettle for 20-30 minutes
  4. Tip out the water and rinse the inside of the kettle with tap water, repeat to ensure all vinegar and limescale is removed
  5. Wipe over the outside of the kettle to remove all dust and dirt, then dry (the outside) with a cloth

NOTES:

  • For lingering vinegar smell, rinse the kettle several times or fill kettle and boil, tip out water
  • For stubborn limescale repeat the above process, increase the amount of vinegar, 2 parts vinegar to 1 part water
  • Descale your kettle each month if used daily
  • Use the boiled vinegar to kill garden weeds.  Pour the vinegar over the weeks and they will sign dry out and die.

READER TIP – A great way to clean your kettle is to cut a lemon in half, place both halves in the kettle, fill with water and boil it. It removes all the build up from inside, without chemicals. Pour the lemon and water out, rinse the kettle and you’re done ~ Liljaneymac

What does your kettle look like inside?

How To Clean Limescale off the kettle

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35 comments

Smaggle March 4, 2014 - 9:40 AM

Coffee is my life’s blood. I must have it. Speaking of which I have to go…

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Kat - The Organised Housewife March 6, 2014 - 7:00 PM

Definitely is important!

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Mareesa March 4, 2014 - 1:25 PM

I have heard that you shouldn’t boil a stainless steel kettle with vinegar in it. My kettle is stainless steel, and I fill it to the top with 2pt vinegar, 1 pt water, let sit for 30 mins, then rinse a few times to remove vinegar smell/taste.

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Kat - The Organised Housewife March 6, 2014 - 7:00 PM

Always check your manufacturer’s recommendations.

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Carley Monk March 4, 2014 - 7:06 PM

This was great to be reminded to do, it’s one of those things that people (I know I) tend to not even think of doing. Mine now looks spotless thanks, but was wondering how do you clean those coffee pod machines? I use mine everyday, but couldn’t tell you how to clean it, any tips?

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Kat - The Organised Housewife March 6, 2014 - 7:01 PM

Hmm, not sure. Maybe do a “dry” run with no coffee and just water? The heat and steam might work.

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sonia June 11, 2014 - 9:26 PM

you can buy the descaler at ALDI.

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Sarah Hudson March 4, 2014 - 8:12 PM

I’ve used the Rubbedin brand “Kettle Magic/Descale Magic” that did a fantastic job, but to be honest, looking at the ingredients, it’s mostly citric acid – boiling up lemons would do the same job. I do, however, use their Washing Machine cleaner and descaler, and I also have CLR for cleaning limescale in the bathroom.

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Kat - The Organised Housewife March 6, 2014 - 7:01 PM

Yes, it’s great to be able to cut out the chemicals and go straight to the “core ingredient”!

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SueM March 4, 2014 - 10:16 PM

I use citric acid. need to reboil kettle a few times after to make sure the next user doesn’t taste it. ask me how I know this 😉

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Kat - The Organised Housewife March 6, 2014 - 6:59 PM

Haha, oh dear!

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Bradley March 5, 2014 - 5:11 PM

I would boil the kettle with it on the draining board. We didn’t have much vinegar in the kettle and it boiled over.

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Kat - The Organised Housewife March 6, 2014 - 7:00 PM

Yikes, careful of the hot water!

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Lisa March 26, 2014 - 3:43 PM

I read your ‘how to clean a kettle’ post but at the end there was a reader tip which I tried since I had a lemon and no vinegar. This worked 100% perfect! I was never sure how to get rid of the limescale and it surprisingly worked with no harsh chemicals. With the boiled lemon water I put it into a bowl and with a warm tea towel I cleaned the outside of the kettle with the hot lemon water. That also worked a treat! Thank you! From one very happy housewife <3

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Kat - The Organised Housewife March 28, 2014 - 9:14 AM

That’s great Lisa, so glad yo were finally able to get rid of the limescale!

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Jacqui April 26, 2014 - 7:07 PM

Wow – it worked my kettle is now really clean – thanks for the Tip.

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Georga November 7, 2014 - 9:57 AM

Wish I had read the boiling over comment before I just did this! Only had about half a cup of vinegar and a cup of water to cover the element and when it reached boiling point it shot out of the spout like a fountain, flooding my toaster and the kettle element! Lol. Toaster is now out in sun drying out but I suspect I will need a new toaster and kettle! At least it will be a clean kettle I guess.

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Eddy December 18, 2016 - 7:09 PM

Many years later of course, 2016…I read your comments before doing the same to our kettle…gee whiz..did the same thing when it boiled. Apparently, I didn’t believe you! Silly me! But it worked wonders.

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Katrina - The Organised Housewife November 7, 2014 - 1:15 PM

Oh no Georga! Oops.:)

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Alistair April 29, 2015 - 3:47 PM

Thanks for a great tip, this is a really simple solution.

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Jacqui October 11, 2015 - 11:34 AM

OMG just tried the lemon in the kettle tip. OMG my kettle is sparkly!! I’ve tried vinegar in the past and it never seemed to work.

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Kate - Kat's Assistant October 12, 2015 - 8:56 AM

Lemon works wonders and yes so sparkling.:)

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Dawn January 12, 2016 - 4:31 AM

I put water & vinegar in my tea kettle and boiled it to clean it and now I can’t get the vinegar taste out of it. Any suggestions? Thank you.

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Louise January 28, 2016 - 6:57 AM

My kettle is stainless steel, manufacturer’s directions to clean it is to us the 1 part vinegar to 2 parts cold water and leave overnight, don’t boil it at all. Tip out in the morning, you may need to give it a bit of a rub, but definitely works. Rinse out, then fill and boil twice before using for tea or coffee.
I find this works well, but thinking of giving the lemon and water a go also.
Thanks for your great tips, Kat and all the other readers.

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Katrina - The Organised Housewife January 28, 2016 - 10:11 AM

That’s a great idea to soak it overnight, will help to lift all the scale.

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Darra January 28, 2016 - 9:20 AM

I clean my coffee pod machine, kettle and thermos’s all at the same time.
(Works with plastic kettle, stainless and glass)
Buy citric acid from the baking aisle (near the baking powder).
Dissolve half a jar of citric acid in warm water and fill the water tank of your coffee pod machine with water mixed with this citric acid.
Have 2 large coffee cups, empty kettle and thermos’s nearby.
Flush the water through your coffee machine til all gone. Each time you get a mug of water with citric acid from the machine pour it straight into your empty kettle.
Once you have emptied the citric water mix from the coffee machine rinse the water tank and flush through 2 water tanks worth of plain water to remove any taste.
Leave the citric water in your kettle for a few hours, then boil and pour it into your thermos’ for a few hours.
Tip out down the sink and swish around your sink to clean it at the same time.
Rinse with 2 lots of boiling water to remove taste.
Repeat at least 3 monthly.

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Katrina - The Organised Housewife January 28, 2016 - 9:56 AM

great tips Darra, I don’t have a pod machine, so this is great to know how to clean one!!

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Jen January 29, 2016 - 5:58 PM

The lemon was so super simple and such a super sparkling result – love it!

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Kate June 13, 2016 - 5:08 PM

I used 6 parts water and 1 part vinegar, and did not bring it to full boil. It works great too 🙂

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Kim July 30, 2018 - 1:49 PM

Half a lemon in the kettle, boiled once, clean!! I’m in shock. It’s like new. Amazing!!

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Georgina August 20, 2018 - 10:14 AM

The manual for my glass Breville kettle says to use the vinegar method but it didn’t make any difference. I used the lemon method and it worked a treat! I only had a small lemon from my tree but it still worked. Maybe the vinegar didn’t work because we are on tank water? Thank you for your wonderful website Kat.

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Danger Mouse November 11, 2019 - 10:34 AM

After reading this, I went and tried the vinegar method and it did make a difference, however, as I wanted a coffee that morning (should have done this in the evening when I dont drink coffee) I followed the lemon method and the lemon worked the best! I have done this 3 times in a row as i was curious to see how much it would remove and it’s pratically spotless now. Fingers crossed after a plain water boil rinse, I’m hoping my coffee will taste like coffee. It might even have a whole new taste now afrer being cleaned haha

Thank you for the helpful tips, 2 enthusiastic thumbs up 🙂

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Katrina - The Organised Housewife November 15, 2019 - 12:03 PM

My pleasure! So pleased that you got such fabulous results – thanks for sharing. Kat x

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sara April 7, 2020 - 3:08 PM

Lemon and Citrus acid working well for me

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Katrina - The Organised Housewife April 14, 2020 - 9:43 AM

Good advice! Thanks Sara 🙂

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