Without hot water, there’s no coffee. As an avid coffee drinker, you’ve likely boiled more than your fair share. You might have noticed your frequent brewing habits have contributed to less than crystal clear kettle water.
Whether you like your kitchen appliances clean or you’ve noticed scaling, it’s handy to know a few cleaning tips. Of course, electric kettles are the best for easy use and fast heating. But not all are low maintenance, making it tricky to clean them in a dishwasher or soak them in a sink.
Read on to learn six ways to clean an electric kettle! While you’re at it, you might want to clean your coffee maker, too!
How Often Should You Clean Your Electric Kettle?
The more often you use your kettle, the more frequently you should clean it. However, another consideration is your water’s mineral content.
All water, filtered or not, contains natural minerals. When you boil water, some minerals collect in your kettle. If you live in an area with hard water, your water has a lot of minerals. The mineral deposits build in your kettle over time, eventually creating scaling or furring.
While consuming water from a scaly kettle is safe, it can be strange to see chalky residue floating around. Scaling can also coat the heating element of some electric kettles, impacting the heating efficiency. Additionally, if you have sensitive tastebuds, a higher concentration of minerals will be noticeable.
In areas with hard water, you’ll likely see scaling more frequently. Regular cleaning every 1-3 months will help maintain your kettle clean.
You can avoid the chore a little longer if you live in an area with lower mineral content. However, it’s best if you clean your kettle at least four times a year.
If your electric kettle has a filter or cartridge, follow the instructions in your user guide for how often you should clean it. Generally, manufacturers recommend cleaning every other month.
What Should You Use to Clean an Electric Kettle?
While you can clean the outside of your electric kettle as often as you want, you should wipe it down at least as often as you clean the inside. You can use the cleaning solutions recommended below.
Vinegar is the go-to natural cleaning solution. It’s nontoxic but the acid in vinegar is enough to burn away bacteria, scaling, and general grime. As a result, it cleans as effectively as most chemical cleaners but at half the cost.
However, it’s not a cure-all cleaner, as it can damage certain appliances and sealants. Skip the vinegar for stainless steel, aluminum, or copper kettles.
Glass and plastic electric kettles are excellent candidates for a vinegar cleansing. Remember to rinse well because any remaining vinegar may curdle milk or cream. It will also taste unpleasant.
How to Clean Your Kettle with Vinegar
- Fill your kettle with equal parts white vinegar and fresh water.
- Set your kettle to boil.
- After boiling, let the solution sit for 15-20 minutes.
- Pour out the vinegar solution.
- Rinse thoroughly.
Some manufacturers don’t recommend using vinegar, as it can be harsh on certain metals, but lemon is a fantastic substitute. So if your electric kettle user manual warns against vinegar, try the lemon.
It’s all about the juice for this all-natural disinfectant. It removes odors and stains and descales. Don’t have a lemon, but you do have lime? You’re in luck because both work, freshly squeezed or in a bottle.
How to Clean with Lemon
- Fill your electric kettle with equal parts lemon juice and tap water.
- Boil the kettle.
- Let the solution sit 20 minutes after boiling.
- Pour out the lemon water.
Citric Acid Powder
You can use citric acid powder for general cleaning, but it also packs a punch for stubborn scaling. The compound is taken from citrus fruits, like the popular lemon, and can disinfect and remove rust.
How to Clean with Citric Acid Powder
- Fill your kettle with cold water.
- Add two tablespoons of citric acid powder.
- Set your kettle to boil.
- The citric acid solution should sit for 20 minutes.
- Pour out the liquid.
Baking soda can remove odors from your fridge, clean tarnished silver, and descale your electric kettle. It’s a handy kitchen ingredient that can make cleaning easier.
How to Clean with Baking Soda
- Add a teaspoon of baking soda to 500 ml (16 oz) of water.
- Boil the mixture.
- Let the mixture sit for 15-20 minutes.
- Pour out the water.
Alternatively, you can create a paste with baking soda to use as a scrub. You’ll use more baking soda than water, mixing it in a separate container. Use a sponge or small brush (such as a toothbrush or bottle brush) and scrub the baking soda paste on any stubborn mineral buildup. Rinse out the kettle afterward.
Has your soda gone flat? Don’t toss it yet. You can use soda pop, like Coke or Pepsi, to descale your electric kettle. Unfortunately, you can’t disinfect using pop, but you can remove residue and rust.
How to Clean with Soda Pop
- Fill your kettle half with water and half with flat pop.
- Bring the kettle to a boil.
You can’t submerge your electric kettle in the sink and soak it in soapy water, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use dish soap. If scaling is an issue, dish soap will remove some, but not all. If the taste or appearance doesn’t bother you, focus on keeping it clean.
Boiling soapy water in your electric kettle can also take some of the work out of cleaning, as the heating moves those soap bubbles around for you. However, if you want to be extra thorough, you can use a damp cloth or soft sponge to wipe the kettle’s interior before you set it to boil.
How to Clean with Dish Soap
- Pour half a teaspoon of dish soap into your electric kettle.
- Fill kettle with water.
If you don’t have kitchen ingredients and dish soap isn’t powerful enough, you can turn to a commercial kettle cleaning product. Solutions made specifically for kettles can be challenging to find but are usually stocked in home improvement stores or similar online retailers.
Directions will vary depending on the solution you find, but most will follow a soak and sit rule.
A clean electric kettle keeps the water tasting good and the kettle working. Now that you know how to clean an electric kettle with six unique methods, you’re ready to start boiling again.