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How to descale a kettle and prevent limescale

Natural ways to remove limescale from your kettle and keep it away

How to descale a kettle and prevent limescale
Chloe Best
Chloe BestLifestyle Features Editor
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Helping to keep your kettle clean, working better and your daily brew tasting good, descaling your kettle regularly is a no-brainer.

But when you live in a hard water area it can feel like a thankless task, with stubborn limescale building up regularly, leading to chalky deposits on your kitchen gadgets and even in your drinks.

White vinegar is effective at descaling kettles© iStock
White vinegar is effective at descaling kettles

While you can pick up specialist descaling products at the shops, getting your kettle sparkling clean is simple when you use natural cleaning essentials including lemons and white vinegar, and with some extra care and attention you can not only remove limescale, but also prevent it from forming in the first place.

RELATED: How to get grease out of clothes in 5 simple steps

We caught up with Lynsey Crombie, Queen of Clean, to discover how to descale a kettle in an hour, and it couldn't be easier…

How to descale a kettle

How to descale a kettle

Descaling a kettle is a quick and easy job that requires minimal cleaning products if you follow this step-by-step guide from Lynsey Crombie, Queen of Clean.

What you'll need:

  • White vinegar
  • Lemon juice
  • Kitchen roll

What to do:

  1. Fill the kettle with half water and add in 20ml of white vinegar or neat lemon juice.
  2. Leave to sit for an hour.
  3. Then boil.
  4. Pour away the solution.
  5. Fill the kettle again with just water and then boil again, pour away the water and then you are ready to use again.
  6. If you have limescale/hard water build up around the spout of lid area, simple dampen some kitchen paper with white vinegar and then wrap around that area, leave to sit for 15/20 minutes then remove and wipe away.
  7. You can also use citric acid powder 20ml or slice up a lemon and pop three slices into the kettle. 
  8. To keep your kettle in good working order and keep the hard water away I recommend doing this once a month.

How to prevent limescale in kettles

Leaving water in the kettle can encourage limescale to build up, so it is recommended to empty the kettle out when you're finished with it, particularly if you live in an area with hard water. Better still, you should dry it out after use if you really want to prevent limescale from forming, but this may not always be practical or convenient.

Limescale builds up due to high levels of calcium and magnesium in water© iStock
Limescale builds up due to high levels of calcium and magnesium in water

Where does limescale come from?

Limescale is caused by a high concentration of magnesium and calcium found in hard water. It leaves behind a hard, chalky residue and tends to build up where water is left standing or has been heated – meaning it is regularly found in kettles, along with around taps and shower heads. It can also build up in areas you don't see, such as inside pipes, dishwashers and washing machines. 

READ: The ultimate weekly cleaning schedule to keep your house spotless

SHOP: 21 best kettles so you can get brewing in style

Does limescale damage a kettle?

Limescale can reduce the lifespan of your kettle, as it impacts the efficiency of the kettle's element and can mean it takes longer to heat up.

White vinegar and lemons are recommended to descale kettles with ease© iStock
White vinegar and lemons are recommended to descale kettles with ease

Is it safe to drink from a kettle with limescale?

It is considered safe to drink from a kettle with limescale, however, it may impact the taste of your drinks and eventually lead to a chalky white build-up in your water.

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