How to Clean a Kettle and Descale it Quickly and Easily

Modern conveniences have brought simple but pleasurable things to make life easier for people today. Kettles, toasters, and sandwich makers are small household appliances that play a huge role in bringing convenience to our time-crunched schedule.

From making a cup of tea before an exam day to making instant soups on a cold winter night, kettles have always been our go-tos. As constantly as they are used, kettles come in contact with so many substances, and like all other appliances, a little care keeps it in top form. To know how to keep your kettle doing the magic, you have come to the right place! Here is a guide on how to clean a kettle for best results.

How to clean and descale a kettle

How do you clean the inside of an electric kettle?

Due to the boiling of water in the kettle multiple times a day, you must have witnessed a yellowish-white layer of substance on the interior of your kettle. This mineral deposits is limestone build-up which appears due to evaporation of hard water and causes kettle furring. Continuous formation of this substance causes a kettle to lose efficiency in its heating process while also affecting the taste of the recipe prepared. Fortunately, to get rid of it, we can employ the process called descaling.

How do you descale a kettle?

Descaling is a process that helps remove hard built residue of calcium carbonate accumulated on the inside of the kettle. This happens quite often if you use the kettle in hard water areas. Currently, a lot of commercial products are available in the market to descale the kettle, however, you don’t have to make unnecessary supermarket runs when natural descaling agents are right at hand in your house! Best part? They are a lot cheaper and environmentally friendly.

Here are a few ways to descale your kettle and keep up its consistent performance:

White Vinegar

No matter the type of kettle used, white vinegar is an efficient domestic acid hard on nasty hard water stains. It is a simple yet effective method for cleaning electric kettles made from steel, glass, plastic, or other material. Below are the steps:

  • Take equal parts water and white vinegar, sufficient enough to fill the kettle halfway.
  • Fill the kettle with vinegar and water solution and bring it to a boil. Unplug the kettle and let the solution sit in the kettle for around 20 minutes.
  • Take a toothbrush or bottle cleaner to scrub off the stains. Especially target the edges and hard to reach areas of the kettle which are home to limestone build-up
  • Pour off the solution and remove any remaining stains with a soft non-abrasive sponge. Properly rinse the kettle and let it dry
  • Boil water to ensure there is no smell or taste of vinegar left in the kettle

If limescale build-up is hard and has layered up thick, increase the amount of vinegar in the solution and repeat the process to clean your kettle. Some appliances are not suitable for vinegar hence it is wise to read the manual before cleaning.

Following are the ways to clean an electric kettle without vinegar:

Lemon Juice

Good for breaking down gunk and grime, citric acid is abundant in citrus fruits like lemons or limes. Widely used to remove tough grease and hard water stains, citric acid powder or liquid has the potential to completely clean and shine all types of materials. Here is how you can use lemon juice to remove limescale:

  • Fill the kettle with water halfway or three quarters and heat to boiling water
  • Turn off the kettle and add 1-2 spoons of lemon juice or citric acid. Let the mixture sit in the kettle for 15-20 minutes
  • Pour off the mixture and clean the kettle with a sponge until all stains are removed
  • Rinse with cold water

Baking Soda

To fight the calcium bicarbonate build-up, baking soda is another efficient substance for cleaning plastic, glass, and stainless steel kettles. Below is the technique to clean the kettle limescale with baking soda:

  • Fill the kettle with water up to three quarters and mix around 1-2 teaspoons of baking soda in the water
  • Boil the kettle and then let the solution soak in the kettle for around 20 minutes after unplugging
  • Clean the stains using brush or scrub and properly rinse using cold water

How do you clean the outside of the kettle?

Just like the inside, using a kettle multiple times a day exposes the exterior of the kettle to many things and that too needs cleaning to ensure safe use and consistent use.

Depending on the type, there are multiple ways to clean the outside of the kettle. You may also employ the above-mentioned solutions to clean hard-to-remove stains. Below is how you can take care of your appliance’s exterior:

Clean using dish soap

  • Take some warm water and add a few drops of dish soap or dishwasher liquid
  • Mix the solution and immerse a soft sponge in the soapy water
  • Gently scrub the outside of the kettle with the sponge and wipe it off using a dry cloth

Make sure to unplug the electric kettle before cleaning and not let water solution inside the kettle. Do not put the kettle directly in water solution as it may cause damage to the heating element or harm electric engines.

Polish with oil

Pro tip: To maintain the shine of a stainless steel kettle, you may need to use a lubricant to do the job. Pour olive oil on a microfibre cloth and wipe the exterior gently to shine up the surface.

Use Coke to deal with rust

Due to the constant use of water in the kettle, both interior and exterior of the kettle can rust easily. A cast-iron kettle can be scrubbed using a soft wire brush to remove rust. To help with the interior, you may fill the kettle with coca-cola and let it soak from around 20 minutes to one hour. Pour off coke and scrub off the remains using a scrubber. Rinse the kettle thoroughly using warm water.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

How often should you clean the kettle?

If you live in a hard water area and moist air, it is important to wipe your kettle off with a damp or dry cloth after every use to protect it from rust.

Frequent use of kettle, especially in an area with hard water can cause limescale to build up pretty quick. Cleaning the kettle regularly avoids limescale from building up.

Long left limestone build-up can lead to distaste in the recipe and flake your tea or coffee. Moreover, it hinders the performance of your kettle, slowing down the heating process. To avoid, properly clean the appliance every two weeks.

How to keep the kettle clean for longer?

Try a Brita filter kettle

Brita filter kettles have a built in filters that help remove metals and chlorine from the water. This in turn means better taste and reduced build up of limescale overtime, meaning a longer life for your trusty kettle.

Avoid using hard water

Hard water evaporates to create the most bicarbonate residues. If you don’t already have a Brita filter kettle, try to always use filtered or freshwater instead of tap water to reduce the scales.

Fill only the necessary

Don’t let it stand! Always fill the kettle with the right amount of water needed. Pour off any leftover water from the kettle so that standing water may not create rust or deposits

Clean after use

To avoid hard-to-get rid-of chunks or limescale in your kettle, rinse and wipe the kettle with tissue paper or soft cloth after every use. It will also protect the appliance from rusting.

What to keep in mind while cleaning an electric kettle?

Always unplug

Whether you are cleaning the interior or the exterior, let the appliance cool down before any cleaning action is taken. If you are cleaning an electric kettle, always take care of electric elements and sockets to avoid electric shocks or any related damages.

Remove water filter

For better cleaning and protection of appliances, it is important to remove the filter before you descale a kettle. To remove limescale build-up from the filter, use a similar solution of white vinegar and warm water by soaking it for around 15 minutes in the solution and cleaning with a bottle brush.

Boil the kettle

Once you descale a kettle and reassemble it, make sure to fill the kettle with water and bring it to a boil. Discard the boiled water and ensure that no residue, solution, or smell is left in the kettle.


Now that you know how to clean a kettle, not only the limescale problems but all the worries are now gone! Apply the procedures and you are ready to make that evening tea with the ever-so-new cleaned and fresh electric kettle.

Would you like a kettle that’s a bit easier on the ears? Check out our top picks of the best quiet kettles.

Wondering what to read next? Check out our guide on the cost of boiling a kettle here: