Five ways to remove limescale from a kettle

Five ways to remove limescale from a kettle
Five ways to remove limescale from a kettle
Milk, sugar, limescale? There are some things you cuppa doesn’t need (Picture: Getty)

If you’re a coffee drinker, chances are you’re pretty fond of your kettle – but that also means that you’ll be familiar with the build-up of limescale in your device.

Limescale is a chalky substance that’s mainly made up of calcium carbonate, usually found in rocks and seashells.

However, it doesn’t stay beside the seaside, and can affect kitchen and bathroom appliances, especially if you live in an area with hard water – made even worse by the fact that 11% of us have apparently never washed our kettle.

This is because hard water supplies contain larger amounts of calcium and magnesium, which builds up and forms a tough coating if left for too long.

Limescale is a natural occurrence and isn’t harmful to consume… but it looks unsightly and can leave a bitter aftertaste – which can have a knock-on effect on your hot drinks.

If you’ve got limescale in your kettle, how can you get rid of it?

Five ways to descale a kettle

There are different methods to try to get rid of limescale in your kettle.

Some involve buying products designed to specifically target limescale, but you can also try using household products you might already have in the cupboards.

Hand in marigolds pouring vinegar in kettle.
It’s time to give your kettle a clean (Picture: Getty)

Using descaling powder in your kettle

You can pick up descaling powder in most large supermarkets, online or from DIY stores.

Follow the instructions outlined on any packaging, but most descaling powders involve a similar methodology.

You can expect to simply pop a sachet into a recently boiled kettle and waiting around 10 minutes for it to remove the limescale.

Once you’ve waited the set amount of time, pour out the water and give the kettle a bit of a rinse and a wipe down.

Close up of faucet on tap with limescale
Limescale can affect showers and taps – luckily these tips can be used all over!(Picture: Getty)

How to use descaling liquid

Descaling liquids, like powders, are available from most supermarkets or DIY shops.

The method will be largely the same as the descaling powder but be sure to always wear gloves and read the instructions thoroughly.

Descaling a kettle with vinegar

If you want to try giving it a clean without popping out to the shops, vinegar, a mild acid, is great at treating limescale.

To try this method:

  1. Measure out equal parts white vinegar and water, then fill your kettle around three quarters full with the mixture
  2. Bring to a boil and leave to stand until it’s cooled, before rinsing it out several times.
  3. Once the limescale is gone, fill your kettle up with clean water, boil it and empty it again.
  4. Repeat this process two to three times to remove any traces of vinegar – a vinegary brew wouldn’t go well with your biscuits.

How to use lemon juice to descale kettle

Lemon juice is a natural antibacterial and antiseptic agent, so can be used for lots of household cleaning purposes.

To effectively remove the limescale from your kettle using lemon juice, either squeeze enough fresh lemon juice into a glass or buy pre-made lemon juice.

Then,

  1. Fill your kettle with half lemon juice and water and bring it to the boil.
  2. Let it sit for a while – anywhere between 10 and 30 minutes depending on how much limescale you’re dealing with
  3. Once it’s cooled, pour the mix away and give it a good rinse before making a drink

Using citric acid to descale kettle

If the smell of vinegar is too much for you to bear, you can use a very similar method as outlined above but with citric acid.  

You can pick this up at most DIY shops and it’s just as good at removing stubborn limescale.

The methodology involves:

  • Boiling a half-full kettle, switching it off and unplugging it
  • Next, adding one to two tablespoons of citric acid.
  • After leaving this to work for around 15 to 20 minutes, pour out the water.
  • Finally, rinsing out the kettle a couple of times before using.


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Author: Jack Slater