How to Remove Limescale from a Kettle?

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Learn how to remove limescale from a kettle quickly and easily. In this post, I am discussing your options for describing a kettle and preventing limescale from building up in your kettle.

Limescale in your kettle not only looks terrible, but it also tastes awful. It affects how your tea and coffee taste too. 

So how do you prevent limescale building up in the first place?

remove-limescale-from kettle

How to Prevent Limescale in Kettle?

There is no hard-fast rule to preventing limescale from building up in your kettle. It all comes down to the type of water you have. If you live in a hard water area, then you’re going to see a lot more limescale build-up in all your water-consuming appliances, including the kettle.

One way to tell if you’re in a hard water area is to taste your water. If it tastes metallic, then you’re in a hard water area. If it doesn’t, you might get away with less maintenance for your appliances.

DIY Limescale Prevention

The DIY approach to preventing limescale building up in your kettle is to empty it every time you use it. Removing the water removes the risk of build-up significantly. However, for people like me, whose kettle is rarely off the boil, it’s just not practical.

However, if you’re the type of person who only has a coffee in the morning before work, then emptying the kettle before you leave will do it a world of good. 

You can take the prevention method one step further and even dry out the kettle with a tea towel too.

Longterm Limescale Prevention

If you’ve discovered, you are in a hard water area like me. Then there is something you can do that prevent limescale from building up in your kettle and all your other appliances like the boiler and washing machine. 

Investing in a water softener can save you hundreds on new appliances and make your appliances last so much longer. Investing in a water softener also makes your water taste better. You lose that metallic taste once your water softener has been installed.

How Does a Kettle Descaler Work?

  • Chemical descalers react to each other with alkaline-carbonate particles through hydrochloric acids and other chemicals.
  • The water softening method cleans limescale using calcium hydroxide.
  • DIY descalers like white vinegar and baking soda remove limescale as they are chemical opposites, acidic or salt which dissolves limescale.
  • Other methods for descaling include mechanical cleaning, an industry specialist contractor who comes and physically removes the limescale build-up. They usually work in big industries.
  • And electric descaling, which uses electromagnetism to prevent limescale from clinging.

Chemical Kettle Descalers

Acid-based descaling agents are the most common type of descalers you can find at any store. They use compounds like hydrochloric acid, a strong base with a sour taste to interact and dissolve build up from alkaline elements (limescale). The chemical reaction produces carbon dioxide gas as well as soluble salt that washes away easily afterwards.

Water Softening

Water softening works by attaching a device to your water supply that ionizes it, turning it from hard water to softened water. The process removes minerals like calcium and magnesium, which are the cause of limescale.

DIY Kettle Descalers

DIY kettle descalers such as vinegar, baking soda and lemon work like the chemical descalers but without the chemicals. 

Because limescale is alkaline and vinegar, baking soda and lemon are an acid. They make for super effective descalers. The acid in these DIY cleaners reacts with the alkaline based limescale, dissolving it and lifting it off the surface it’s attached to. And it takes minimal effort to remove the limescale from a kettle.

Mechanical Limescale Removal

As the name suggests, mechanical limescale removal requires the physical scraping off of limescale, not something I suggest you do around your home.

Electric Descaling

Electric descaling is a device fitted to your water supply that uses magnetism to change the shape of the alkaline minerals in your water supply. This makes it harder for them to attach themselves to the insides of your pipes.

Do Wire Kettle Descaler Balls Remove Limescale?

Kettle descaler balls work by attracting the mineral deposits in the water because they are stainless steel. And because they’re made of stainless steel, this means the deposits are sticking to the ball and not the heating element, bottom or sides of your kettle.

Descaler balls work more as a preventative measure and don’t clean your kettle. You still need to rinse out the kettle regularly and clean the descaler ball or replace it.

It’s best to use descaler balls as soon as you’ve cleaned or bought a new kettle to prevent any limescale build-up from occurring.

Remove Limescale from a Kettle with Vinegar.

White distilled vinegar is a must for all cleaning caddies. I covered this over in my Is Vinegar Good for Cleaning? Article already. But did you know you can remove limescale from a kettle with white distilled vinegar too?

Much like I explained in my cleaning the washing machine postvinegar works by reacting with the alkaline deposits that have attached themselves to your appliance.

In the case of your kettle, the limescale build-up occurs mainly in the bottom of the kettle if your element is hidden, or if you have a visible element, it will be accumulated around the element, the sides and the bottom and can be tough to remove.

To clean both types of kettles with vinegar, fill up your kettle with half white distilled vinegar and half water and leave overnight to steep.

Put a “do not use” sticker on the kettle to avoid dopey teenagers and husbands drinking it. You can boil the kettle too, but I’ve found no difference in results with that method but each to their own, and if you want to boil it, you boil it.  

In the morning, just pour out the mixture, rinse and boil a fresh batch of water. Throw this batch out, and you’re good to go.

You can keep some of the mixture to clean the outside of the kettle as well. Often the limescale accumulates around the spout, so give that a little rub and remove any water spots remaining. You can give them a little rub with the same vinegar mixture.

Remove Limescale From Kettle With Lemon

Lemon can be used to remove limescale from a kettle too.

  • Slice up a whole lemon.
  • Place in the kettle.
  • Fill with kettle with water.
  • Leave the water to steep for an hour.
  • Boil the kettle.
  • Pour out the contents.
  • Rinse out.

As a result the limescale will come right off when you pour out the contents, now just rinse and use the kettle as usual.

How to Remove Limescale from Kettle with Bicarbonate of Soda

Bicarbonate of soda and baking soda are one in the same. Nearly. The only difference is that bicarb of soda has three to four times more power. However, whichever you can get hold of will be perfect for descaling your kettle because they both contain sodium bicarbonate, which is the active ingredient.

  • One teaspoon of bicarb or baking soda.
  • 500ml of water
  • Mix together thoroughly.
  • Pour into the kettle.
  • Boil the kettle.
  • Leave the solution to work for 15 minutes.
  • Boil the kettle again, you know just to be sure.
  • Rinse out the kettle.

The limescale will pour out with the bicarb solution leaving your kettle looking brand new again.

Is Limescale in a Kettle Harmful and Bad For You?

Limescale may be harmful to your kettle and does wreak havoc with its efficiency, but in fact, limescale is not detrimental for you to consume.

If we think about this logically, I mentioned earlier that limescale is calcium and magnesium. Calcium and magnesium are essential minerals that our bodies need to function and grow. Hell, most of us take them as supplements!


The key takeaways are that prevention is always the best method, and you can do that with wire descaling balls

And the best way to clean a kettle with limescale is to use white distilled vinegar.

If it’s too late to save your kettle, these are my top three recommended kettles. The third has a filter for preventing limescale!



All Rounder

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Sarah Goldsmith

Sarah Jane Goldsmith is the owner of multiple award-winning cleaning company. Purple Cleaning. With 7 years of industry experience and working with some of the most exclusive clients the Northeast of England has, she's gained a wealth of knowledge in cleaning and home organization. Her company, Purple Cleaning Services have won multiple awards for service in the commercial and domestic sectors. They are corporate members of the British Institute of Cleaning Science, leading the way in safe, effective, and aesthetic cleaning. Sarah runs many social media channels including her successful YouTube channel where she teaches people how to clean and how to get the most from their homes. Her private community of raving fans love being part of her exclusive membership programme, Keep It Clean Club, which can be found at In her spare time, Sarah enjoys nothing more than spending time with her family, she has 2 young daughters and a teenage son. By day she is engrossed in helping many people stamp out the mess in their homes and live happier cleaner lives.

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