An electric kettle — sometimes called a water boiler — is one of the most beloved pieces in many homes. But when it becomes grimey with mineral deposits, limescale and mold, it can be a little heartbreaking.
We’re going to show you how to clean an electric kettle so you can avoid these nasties. Our step-by-step guide will show you how to decalcify a kettle, too.
Soon enough, you’ll be making the world’s best cup of tea, thanks to your spotless kettle.
- Clean an electric kettle every two months using vinegar, citric acid, baking soda, or soda to remove limescale and mineral deposits.
- Rinse the kettle well after cleaning to remove any cleaning solution residue.
- Clean the kettle’s exterior regularly, using different methods depending on the material (plastic, stainless steel, or glass).
- Replace your kettle every four to five years or if it takes too long to boil, has a strange taste, or shows significant discoloration.
How Often to Clean an Electric Kettle
We recommend deep cleaning an electric kettle every two months. You may need to issue a deep cleaning once a month if you notice more deposits inside your kettle. But thankfully, electric kettles are low maintenance.
What are Mineral Deposits?
One of the main reasons you need to deep clean your electric kettle is to remove mineral deposits. But what are they?
Mineral deposits come from the elements in your water, particularly if you live in a hard water area.
These minerals include magnesium and calcium, which won’t evaporate. Therefore, they cling to the kettle’s interior. They’re usually white and chalky.
Mineral deposits are also referred to as limescale.
How to Descale an Electric Kettle
Deep cleaning your kettle, otherwise known as descaling, is easy. This method uses distilled white vinegar to loosen mineral deposits, remove odors and thoroughly clean your kettle’s interior.
- Time: 30 minutes.
- Difficulty: Easy.
What You’ll Need
- Distilled white vinegar.
1. Fill the Kettle With Solution
Fill your kettle half full with distilled white vinegar. Fill it the rest of the way with water.
2. Boil the Kettle
Turn the kettle on to boil. Let it fully boil.
3. Let the Vinegar Soak
Let the solution soak in the kettle for about 20 minutes to loosen any residual limescale.
4. Rinse Well
Rinse the kettle a few times to remove the loosened limescale and vinegar residue. Refill the kettle with plain water.
5. Boil the Kettle Again
With just water in the kettle this time, boil the kettle again. This will help get rid of vinegar residue. Nobody wants their next cup of tea to taste like vinegar.
Repeat a couple of times until the vinegar smell is gone from inside the kettle.
How to Clean an Electric Kettle Without Vinegar
If cleaning with vinegar isn’t your cup of tea (no pun intended) or you don’t have any, you can use another product. We’ve got three other cleaning methods to try.
With Citric Acid
Citric acid is a compound derived from lemon juice and a naturally-effective cleaner. To use it to clean your kettle, follow these steps:
- Make solution: Add one tablespoon of citric acid and one cup of water to the kettle.
- Boil: Boil the kettle.
- Rinse: After the kettle has boiled, rinse the kettle out a few times.
- Dry: Use a towel to dry the inside of the kettle and remove any traces of the acid.
- Rinse again: If you feel it’s necessary, rinse the kettle again. Fill it with water. Boil it. Then rinse once more.
With Baking Soda
Baking soda is a cheap and non-toxic cleaner. It’s really easy to use for cleaning your kettle.
- Make solution: Add two tablespoons of baking soda to your kettle and fill the rest of the way with water.
- Boil: Bring the kettle to a boil.
- Leave: Leave the kettle to sit for 10 minutes. This gives the baking soda a chance to remove limescale even further.
- Brush: Once the kettle is cool to the touch, use a non-abrasive scrubbing brush to scrub the inside of the kettle.
- Rinse: Rinse the kettle well a few times.
- Dry: Dry the kettle with a dish towel.
As a bit of a fun experiment, you could also descale your kettle with soda, such as Coca-Cola. Because of its acidic nature, this can help to remove mineral deposits.
- Make solution: Fill the kettle with about 500 milliliters of soda. If you have a smaller kettle, just fill it halfway.
- Boil: Boil the kettle, then leave it to stand for 30 minutes.
- Scrub: Once the kettle has cooled, empty it and scrub the inside with a non-abrasive brush.
- Rinse: Rinse well with water a few times.
- Dry: Dry the inside with a dish towel.
How to Clean the Outside of an Electric Kettle
Kettle exteriors can get dirty. Fingerprints, oil, splashes from other foods, coffee stains, and debris can stain the outside of your kettle. Let’s get it clean.
Here’s how to clean a plastic exterior:
- Create solution: In a sink, mix together warm water and dish soap.
- Wipe kettle: Dampen a microfiber cloth in the soapy solution. Wring it out well, then rub the outside of the kettle. The dish soap and warm water will remove blemishes, stains, and dirt.
- Dry: Use a dry microfiber cloth to wipe the kettle exterior.
Stainless steel kettles are easy to clean, but they quickly get grimey. Most stains show up very clearly on steel. Here’s how to clean it:
- Make baking soda solution: Add three tablespoons of baking soda to a bowl with warm water. Mix well.
- Wipe kettle: Dip a microfiber cloth into the baking soda solution and wring it well. Wipe the kettle to remove dirt, debris, and stains.
- Dry: Use a separate microfiber cloth to dry the kettle.
- Oil the kettle: If you want a shiny finish, add a drop of olive oil onto a clean cloth and rub the kettle in circular motions. Leave it to dry for about an hour before you touch the kettle again.
Glass kettles are gorgeous, but sometimes stains ruin the aesthetic. Did you know you can clean a glass kettle with lemon? Here’s how:
- Use a lemon: Cut a lemon in half and rub the open side over the stains on the glass.
- Wipe with a damp cloth: Dampen a lint-free cloth in warm water and wipe the kettle.
- For further stains and streaks: If you’re still unsatisfied, make a 1:1 solution of white vinegar and water. You can keep it in a spray bottle for future uses. Dampen a cloth with the solution and scrub the outside of the kettle to remove stains and add shine.
- Air dry: Let the glass air dry to avoid streaks.
Kettle Maintenance Tips
Electric kettles aren’t cheap, but they can last a long time with proper care. Here are our top maintenance tips:
- Clean it regularly: Deep clean the interior at least every two months. We recommend cleaning the exterior every week.
- Empty out water: Don’t leave water sitting in the kettle. Try boiling what you need. Fill a mug with water, then pour it into the kettle to have the exact amount for your cup of tea. You can use the leftover water to feed your plants.
- Use distilled water: Tap water is full of mineral deposits, especially if you live in a hard water area. Instead, use distilled water to minimize limescale.
- Clean cartridges and filters: Your kettle has cartridges and filters, too. Check your user manual for cleaning instructions. These need cleaning regularly.
- Don’t turn it on while empty: Sometimes, we accidentally nudge an empty kettle and end up flicking it on. But try and avoid this at all costs as this will damage the heating element.
- Don’t clean the electric parts: Never get the heating elements or the kettle’s base wet. You don’t need to clean these parts. You can wipe them with dry cloth from time to time to remove dust.
Make Fresh Tea
There’s nothing quite like coming home from a long day, boiling the kettle, and enjoying a rich cup of tea.
But for the best flavor, we recommend deep cleaning an electric kettle every two months. Our method is easy — it takes 30 minutes (this includes 20 minutes of waiting time).
Don’t forget to clean the exterior, too. The methods differ depending on the material of your kettle.
When in doubt, check your user manual for specific instructions.