How to descale small kitchen appliances
Don’t let your freshly-brewed tea or coffee be ruined by limescale. Follow our descaling guide and get back to beautiful beverages.
08 Jan 2020
Brits are a nation of tea drinkers. In fact, we drink 165 million cups per day. Putting on the kettle for a cuppa is a national ritual. But nothing ruins that special moment like a kettle clogged up with limescale – which can ruin the flavour of your brew and make your kettle less efficient.
But coffee is getting more popular too. In 2018, we drank 95 million cups per day - and that number seems set to rise. The bad news is that coffee machines are just as susceptible to the damage that limescale does.
That’s why we’re riding to the rescue with our guide to removing limescale. But first, the basics...
What is limescale exactly?
Limescale (also known as calcium carbonate) is the milky residue that is left behind after boiling water. And it’s tough stuff, which makes it difficult to remove.
How do you dissolve limescale?
Calcium carbonate is best dissolved with a mild acid. This could be an off-the-shelf cleaner or acids you’d find in most kitchens – whether that’s lemon juice, vinegar or lime juice. The key thing is to make sure that the acid stays in contact with the limescale for an hour or more.
How to descale kettles and coffee machines: a step by step guide
You can choose between a kettle-cleaning product or a more natural cleaning method. Either should work fine and leave you with a clean and shiny kettle or coffee maker for better tasting tea or coffee.
How to dissolve limescale with a kettle-cleaning product
- Dilute the kettle cleaner with water (as per instructions) and pour into your kettle.
- Boil the kettle.
- Leave the kettle to allow for the product to go to work on the limescale.
- Rinse and treat yourself to a victory cuppa!
Can I descale with vinegar?
You certainly can! It may sound like a bad idea to be putting vinegar in your kettle – but it is actually pretty effective. Just be sure to follow these steps:
- Fill the kettle three-quarters full with equal parts water and white vinegar.
- Boil the kettle and allow it to cool.
- Pour out the water and rinse out thoroughly a few times.
- Boil again with just water and tip it away to remove any aftertaste.
If you don’t have vinegar, try using lemon juice. Alternatively, you can try using a few spoons of baking soda.
How to prevent limescale in your kettle
Since prevention is better than the cure, there are steps you can take to stop the dreaded build up of limescale.
- Descale your kettle once a month to stop build up using the above methods.
- Use a water filter to remove the limescale-causing hard water.
- Use a kettle descaler ball. Just pop it in your kettle and it’ll stop the build up of limescale. You’ll just need to give it an occasional rinse.
- Buy a kettle with a limescale filter to keep your tea free of impurities.
How to descale your coffee machine
Use one of the solutions above and pour it into the water tank or jug of your coffee machine.
- Set your coffee machine on a standard brewing cycle so that the descaler can flow through all parts of the coffee machine.
- Halfway through the cycle, turn the machine off and leave it for an hour.
- Now rinse out the machine by repeating step 2 with clean water. Repeat a couple of times to make sure the descaler is properly flushed out.