How To Clean A Tea Kettle (Step-by-Step Guide)

If you’re an Anglophile, you already know that there’s nothing quite as homey has having a tea kettle on the stove ready to brew some tea. I love tea kettles, but it was only recently that I felt like I would be capable of cleaning one. All those curves end up being a pest to clean—or so it seems, anyway. Is cleaning a tea kettle really that hard? Well, not really. 

Believe it or not, cleaning out a tea kettle can be done by just adding some water and vinegar to it and setting it to boil. The vinegar will clean the hard water deposits in the interior out and disinfect it. If you have solid mass inside the kettle, you can use a bottle scrubber to remove it or just use water to flush it out. 

How To Clean Limescale Off A Kettle

Cleaning limescale off a kettle doesn’t have to be a major ordeal. In fact, it’s pretty easy to do. Here’s how to do it, step by step…

  1. Add a 50/50 mixture of white vinegar and water to your kettle. You don’t have to make it an exact split, but do try to make it somewhat proportional. If you don’t want to use vinegar, go for another acidic substance like orange juice or lemon juice.
  2. Turn the kettle on or place it on the stove. Let the kettle reach a boiling pitch. It might smell a little funky, but you have to deal with it.
  3. Turn off the kettle and swish it around. The acids will remove the limescale without harming the interior of the kettle. Let the mixture sit in the kettle for 10 minutes.
  4. Pour out the liquid and then let it cool. You don’t want to have to touch a kettle that was recently boiling, especially if your kettle has a tendency to retain heat.
  5. Use regular dish soap and water to finish the cleaning gig. Wash the inside just like you would any other dish or pitcher.

How To Remove Heavy Buildup Off A Kettle

Sometimes, you will find a kettle that has just seen better days. It may have buildup with both rust and lime deposits. In this case, washing it out with some vinegar isn’t going to work. You’re going to need to take out the heavy-duty cleaning action…

  1. Add two tablespoons each of baking soda and lemon juice in the kettle, then fill the rest with water. Gentle stirring can help mix out everything.
  2. Bring your kettle to a boil. Leave it on a boil for at least 30 minutes, replenishing with water as needed. You should try to replenish the water whenever you see only an inch of water left in the kettle.
  3. Turn the kettle off and let cool. This usually takes about 10 minutes or so.
  4. Swirl the kettle’s water around, dump it, and then rinse it off with cool water. If there’s any residue left, scrub it away with a sponge. It should be removable by now.
  5. If there’s any grease or additional residue on the outside of the kettle, mix some baking soda and white vinegar into a paste. Use this paste as an abrasive scrubber to remove the residue without causing enamel damage. Wipe the residue away with a sponge and rinse with some extra cold water.
  6. Pat it dry using a towel. Once it’s dry, you should be good to go.

Do You Actually Need To Clean Your Kettle?

At first glance, kettles don’t look like they’d need to be cleaned—especially if you stick to the traditional use of only boiling water in them. However, you still need to clean them from time to time. If you don’t, you will start to get limescale buildup on your kettle’s interior. This, in turn, will look bad and also make your tea taste funky. 

In more extreme situations, you might even end up getting mold growth on the inside of your kettle. So, it’s safe to say that cleaning your kettle is a must.

What Is The Buildup On The Inside Of A Kettle?

In almost every water system, water has to be treated using chemicals and filters in order for it to be considered drinkable. In every area, there will be trace minerals like calcium, magnesium, or even some metals. This is what causes the white-grey buildup that is known as limescale.

For the most part, limescale isn’t going to be toxic and it might not even impact your water’s taste that much. However, it can be unsightly and it will be a little stinky.

How Often Should You Clean Your Kettle?

Ideally, you should clean your kettle after every use. After all, you clean all your other cooking utensils on that schedule, right? If you are not able to keep to a daily schedule, then at least try to sanitize it once to twice per week. If you have not used your kettle in a while and want to use it again, give it a thorough cleaning before you do.

Can You Put A Kettle In A Dishwasher?

It all depends on the material that your kettle is made from. If you have a stainless steel kettle, then you can put it in the dishwasher without any issue. Kettles that are made of porcelain, hard-anodized enamel, or that have specialty materials should never be placed in a dishwasher since the scrubbing can be too much for them.

Another thing to remember is that you should never put an electric kettle in the dishwasher. It’s a good way to destroy its usefulness or even turn your electric kettle into a fire hazard.

Giving Your Kettle A Regular Cleaning Session

Ideally, you’ll clean your kettle every time that you use it. This prevents limescale from becoming a serious problem and can also help keep your tea tasting great. Here’s how to get it cleaned in a pinch:

  1. Place the tea kettle in your sink with some mild dish soap and hot water. Scrub the inside using a non-abrasive sponge if you have an enameled kettle. If you don’t have enamel, you can use an abrasive sponge or steel wool if you want to. However, it’s not necessary.
  2. Give your kettle a final rinse. Once you’ve given your kettle a nice cleaning session, do a final rinse by filling it with water, swirling it around, and pouring it down the drain.
  3. Prevent rust in your kettle by drying it off with a towel. Don’t let rust build-up by leaving it wet. A quick towel dry will leave it squeaky clean.

Related Questions

How do you clean an electric kettle?

Mix a 50/50 combination of water and vinegar, and place it in the kettle. Let it boil for 20 minutes, replenishing the water as needed. Then, let the mixture sit for an additional 15 to 20 minutes. Throw out the water and then give it a final rinse. If you have grease on the outside of your kettle, wipe it up with a damp cloth.

How can I avoid limescale buildup on my kettle?

If you’re having a hard time keeping buildup at bay, then the best way to make sure that you avoid extra build-up is to use a water softener on your tap or in your filtration system. Water softeners will help dissolve the compounds that cause limescale, thereby reducing the number of times you have to clean your kettle.

Is it okay to leave water in a kettle?

Not for more than a few hours. Leaving water (hot or cold) in a kettle for a long period of time will cause limescale buildup to increase at a faster rate. To avoid buildup and a more intense cleaning session, dump the water in your kettle out and pat your kettle dry with a towel. You can always fill it up with water later on.

Is limescale in the kettle bad for your health?

While it may be unsightly, limescale buildup will not be a threat to your health. It just happens to be a buildup of calcium along the sides of your kettle. If you are at a risk of kidney stones, you might want to pay closer attention to the buildup since this problem is caused by excess buildup of calcium in your kidneys.

Can you put your kettle in the refrigerator?

If you want to, you absolutely can put a kettle in the refrigerator. However, it’s important to avoid causing harm to the fridge glass via thermal shock. To ensure your glass shelving won’t shatter, let the kettle cool down first, or place some towels under the kettle to add a cushion to the thermals.