My faithful kettle has boiled untold quantities of water for tea and coffee. I recently noticed it's getting pretty grungy inside from all that use. The culprit? A buildup of alkaline scale. Now, I ignored this for a while because I believed it was harmless. Then I read it's actually important to avoid a buildup of scale in your kettle because it can cause the element to burn out
-- thereby landing you with the expense of buying a new kettle. Eeek! Who wants to spend money replacing appliances when the holiday season
is upon us?
Anyway, I went looking online for instructions. Most obvious source: electric kettle manufacturers have preventive maintenance
instructions on their websites. The Krups website
is one example. However, the the best online how-to source that I found is WikiHow's "How to Descale a Kettle."
Here's what you need to know: cleaning the kettle involves breaking down the alkaline scale with an eco-friendly
acidic solution. The easiest way is to fill the kettle with a solution of one part vinegar and one part water. Let is soak, but do not
boil the kettle while the vinegar
is inside. Another tactic is to use lemon
juice or some other source of citric acid. Fill the kettle with 500ml of water, then add 30mg of juice/citric acid. This time it's okay to boil the kettle. Whichever method you use, finish by rubbing the inside clean with a damp cloth that has been dipped in bicarbonate of soda. Finally, rinse the kettle thoroughly before using it again.
One important caveat: you can buy commercial descaling solutions, but these are not necessarily designed for removing scale from kitchen
kettles. That is, they must not be ingested
. For your safety, skip them unless you're one hundred percent sure they are approved for this purpose!
Too busy to read? The photos and instructions on the WikiHow page are actually taken from Video Jug's fabulous short video
on kettle descaling.