Why Do Kettles Get Limescale?
Are you an avid drinker of coffee or tea? Have you noticed some chalky deposits in your kettle and you are wondering what causes them?
In this article, we shall discuss why kettles get limescale.
After conducting some research, we found out that limescale in kettles results from a calcium carbonate deposit, which is left behind after hard heating water.
Once you heat hard water in your kettle, it releases minerals that turn into limescale, which is a white crust that clings to the inside of your kettle.
Limescale is the last thing you want stuck in the inside of your kettle.
Not only can it alter the taste of your drink, but it can also eat away the elements of your kettle, causing it to corrode.
Luckily, it is possible to get rid of the limescale in your kettle.
However, you have to keep up with regular kettle maintenance as limescale is bound to reappear as often as you boil hard water.
How Does Kettles Limescale Form?
As mentioned earlier, limescale results from a build-up of soluble calcium bicarbonate present in hard water.
Upon boiling hard water, the calcium bicarbonate decomposes to form insoluble calcium carbonate, which is what causes the whitish residue in your kettle.
The appearance of the white flakes implies the removal of temporary hardness from the water.
Alternatively, it is impossible to remove permanent hardness by boiling the water as the calcium sulfate does not decompose quickly.
After heating as both ions remain in solution form.
But why does limescale often form on hot surfaces, like the inside of the kettle? Well, once you heat carbon dioxide, it produces water.
Once this happens, the reaction itself will try and replace the carbon dioxide in the water inside your kettle.
So annoying how fast kettles get limescale 😤😷
— ♡ Ty ♡ (@tylerpaigee) June 2, 2015
As more and more carbon dioxide finds its way into the water inside your kettle, more limescale continues to form.
Given that users attempt to remove the chalky residue, the limescale floats on the water.
Upon removing the water, the limescale remains behind and sticks to the kettle’s interior, leading to a damaged kettle and tiny remnants left in the water.
Buying a kettle with a filter can significantly help in preventing limescale from entering your beverages. However, it does not stop it from building up in your unit.
What Is Hard Water?
Given that hard water is the reason behind the limescale in our kettles, finding out what it is is crucial.
The formation of hard water occurs when rainwater filters through rocks while absorbing several hard minerals along the way.
Rainwater that passes through rocks with calcium sulfate is permanently hard. As a result, boiling such water in your kettle cannot make it soft.
If you want to test if you have hard water, you can perform a simple hard water test using soap.
Put a small amount of soap in a bottle and fill it up with water. Vigorously shake the bottle to determine if the soap lathers with the water.
If the result is bubbly and frothy water, then you have soft water.
But, if the soap fails to lather with the water and instead forms dull bubbles and cloudy and milky water, no matter how vigorously you shake it, then you have hard water.
You can also purchase advanced water test kits at any local DIY store to determine the level of hardness of your water.
There are also several online postcode tools that can tell you if your locality uses hard water.
Generally, hard water consists of a greater concentration of dissolved minerals, like magnesium and calcium, compared to ordinary soft water.
For instance, water in streams and oceans is hard water as it contains these dissolved minerals.
Once you boil this hard water in your kettle, it evaporates and leaves behind calcium carbonate deposits, popularly known as limescale.
In turn, these deposits build up on surfaces that the hard water comes into contact with, like the inside of your kettle.
The limescale tends to accumulate quickly if you frequently use your kettle, making it more challenging to remove.
Is Limescale In My Kettle Harmful?
No. Since limescale originates from the high concentration of magnesium and calcium present in hard water, it does not have any detrimental effects on your health.
Once consumed from your coffee maker or kettle.
A comprehensive document on hard water published by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Further boosts the fact that hard water does not cause any adverse effects once consumed by humans.
Generally, kidney stones result from a build-up of excessive mineral intakes, such as cysteine, ammonia, and calcium.
However, there is no scientific proof that hard drinking water increases the chances of developing kidney stones.
You are likely to develop kidney stones if you do not consume enough water.
So, it is best to maintain your kettle properly to ascertain it is in good condition for a long time.
Although limescale does not have any health effects on humans, it is likely to affect the consistency and taste of the boiled water you are likely to use to make your brew.
Often you will find that it gives the water a somewhat metallic taste, which is relatively unpleasant.
Can You Get Rid Of Limescale In Your Kettle?
Yes. If you regularly make tea or coffee in your kettle, the chances are likely that your kettle contains limescale.
Luckily, it is possible to get rid of such grime build-up through several proven removal methods.
However, it is vital to note that regular cleaning and maintenance are crucial in ascertaining your kettle’s efficiency.
Lack of proper cleaning reduces the lifespan of your kettle and prolongs the water boiling process.
Generally, the process of removing limescale from any kettle is referred to as descaling.
The process occurs by dissolving the limescale build-up with a variety of mildly acidic home remedies.
However, it is essential to remember that the removal process of limescale from a kettle is not similar to that of removing other limestone-affected appliances.
This is because the substances used for removing the build-up will remain in your kettle, hence affecting the drinkability of your boiled water.
Without further ado, below are the most suitable methods for removing limescale from your kettle.
Using lemon/vinegar: It is possible to get rid of limescale from your kettle by boiling the kettle with a solution of lemon/vinegar and water in the ratio of 1:1.
Then scrubbing the regions stained with limescale. You can also begin the removal process by boiling the kettle with a solution.
Then switching it off and allowing the lemon/vinegar and water solution to settle in the kettle for approximately 15-20 minutes.
Then give it a good scrub. Make sure that you discard the solution after use.
Using citric acid: Generally, citric acid is an effective solution to removing limescale in kettles. Begin by halfway filling your kettle with water and allowing it to boil.
Upon boiling, switch it off and add 1-2 tablespoons of citric acid to the water and allow the solution to settle in the kettle for 15-20 minutes, and then empty it.
Rinse thoroughly and boil the kettle repeatedly to ensure there is no aftertaste in the boiled water.
The next step is to wipe the exterior of the kettle with a damp cloth and an antibacterial multi-purpose cleaner.
I’ve just realised I hate kettles with limescale… Makes the tea bad 🙁
— Sparkle Aftermath (@UKSparkle_Butt) June 21, 2016
Can Soda Pop Remove Limescale In A Kettle?
If you are familiar with various cleaning methods, you have probably heard of the incredible cleaning powers of coca-cola and Pepsi.
But did you know that soda pop can descale your kettle? Yes, it is possible as it contains carbonic acid that is very powerful and efficient in removing limescale in kettles.
So, instead of throwing away flat or fizzy soda, pour it in your kettle and fill it up until it is ¼ or ½ way full.
Switch on the kettle, allow the soda to boiling, and then let it sit for about 30 minutes. Pour the soda out and scrub the affected area thoroughly.
Proceed to rinse the kettle rigorously until there is no aftertaste left in the water.
Can You Use Bicarbonate Of Soda To Remove Limescale In Your Kettle?
If you do not have lemon or vinegar, Yes! it is possible to use bicarbonate of soda to descale your kettle.
Add and stir two full tablespoons into a kettle full of clean water and boil completely.
Once boiling, let the mixture sit in the kettle for a few minutes and use a soft and clean cloth to rub the inside of the kettle. Rinse thoroughly.
Additionally, you can also use it as an extra step after using lemon/vinegar to clean your kettle.
Once you remove the lemon/vinegar or citric acid mixture.
Sprinkle a few tablespoons of baking soda into the kettle and allow it to sit on the kettle’s base for about 20-30 minutes.
Using a clean and dry cloth, wipe the inside of the appliance and rinse it properly.
Does Cleaning The Filter And The Outside Of My Kettle Aid In Removing Limescale?
Yes, As mentioned earlier, cleaning your kettle regularly aids in preventing limescale and in the overall maintenance of the kettle.
You should clean your kettle at least every two weeks and remove any visible marks and grime build-up.
Using a soft cloth and an antibacterial multi-purpose cleaner, wipe the clean thoroughly to remove any residue.
If your kettle consists of stainless steel construction material.
You can opt to smear a small amount of olive oil or baby oil onto a clean and dry cloth to give it a streak-free and shiny finish.
Do not forget about the kettle’s spout, as it is a hotspot for residue.
Additionally, plenty of limescale build-up occurs at the kettle’s filters.
If the filter is removable, detach it from the kettle and drop it in a glass of white vinegar for about 20-30 minutes.
Use a good quality scrubber to scrub out the limescale build-up and then rinse thoroughly.
Can You Prevent Limescale Build-Up In Your Kettle?
The best way to clean your kettle and prolong its lifespan is by preventing limescale build-up in the first place.
There are various ways to prevent limescale build-up in your kettle. First, avoid overfilling your kettle when using it.
When you leave water standing, it is easy for limescale to accumulate and form deposits.
If you have remaining water in your kettle, let it cool and then pour it onto plants to prevent it from going to waste.
Another way of preventing grime build-up in your kettle is by filtering your water.
Luckily, several kettle brands come with in-built filters, allowing you to stop limescale flakes from entering your drink.
You can also filter your water before putting it in your kettle. As mentioned earlier, limescale comes from the mineral deposits that result from boiling hard water.
Filtering such water before putting it in the kettle aids in reducing such deposits, hence preventing grime build-up.
Getting a descaling ball also goes a long way in preventing limescale accumulation in your kettle.
Kettle descaling balls are useful wire balls placed in your kettle to help in collecting limescale in the kettle before it settles at the bottom.
You can remove the ball from time to time to rinse the collected limescale and reuse it.
Limescale reduces the efficiency of our kettles, hindering them from operating at maximum efficiency.
Additionally, the heavy presence of limescale in kettles increases their power consumption since more power is necessary to boil the water.
As a result, the chances are likely that your kettle’s heating functionality will deteriorate gradually.
Luckily, by following the tips mentioned above, you are sure to guarantee the longevity of your kettle.
It is also worth noting that limescale build-up in your kettle indicates the presence of hard water in your locality.
Thus, you should conduct further research to determine long-term solutions to using hard water in your kettle.
For instance, you may opt to invest in a water softening system to create the perfect hot brew in your kettle.