If you have an electric tea kettle, you probably find yourself wondering how you ever lived without it. They offer a faster, more energy efficient way to get boiled water for tea, coffee, instant oatmeal, hot chocolate, instant soup, broth, etc. They automatically turn off when done. They’re portable. And they’re inexpensive. While it’s a simple appliance, it does require some occasional care.
Over time, minerals from the water you heat in your tea kettle can build up in the form of deposits. What does this look like? A white, salt-like coating that doesn’t wash off. That coating is called “scale.” Getting rid of it requires using some type of de-scaler. While you can buy products meant to de-scale mineral deposits, there’s really no need. You get the job done with items you probably already keep in your apartment or townhouse.
But first, why even bother getting rid of scale? It does two things that you probably want to avoid. First, as it gets thicker, parts of the scale can flake off and end up in your heated water. And no one wants white flakey things floating in their tea. Second, it decreases the efficiency of your tea kettle. That means it takes longer to heat up and has to work harder. As a result, your kettle won’t last as long as it would have with regular cleaning.
You should clean your kettle about every three months. If you use it frequently and start to see scale build up, clean it more often. Your goal is to clean it before you see a build-up of scale. Once it visibly forms, it’s harder to remove.
Here are three ways to clean your electric tea kettle with things you probably already have on hand.
Fill your kettle half way with an equal mix of water and distilled white vinegar. Boil the mixture and let it sit with the cover on for 20 minutes. Discard the mixture and use a non-abrasive sponge or soft-bristled brush to scrub the inside of the kettle. Give it one final rinse and you’re ready to go.
Fill your kettle half way with an equal mix of water and lemon juice. You can also use citric acid powder in place of the lemon juice. Boil the mixture and let it sit with the cover on for 20 minutes. Discard and use a non-abrasive sponge or soft-bristled brush to scrub the inside of the kettle. Give it one final rinse and make yourself a cup of tea.
If you’re a cola drinker and end up with Coke or Pepsi that’s gone flat, you can actually use it to clean your kettle. Fill it half way and boil the cola. Let it sit for 30 minutes with the cover on. Discard, use a non-abrasive sponge or soft-bristled brush to scrub the inside of the kettle, and give it one final rinse.