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How To Clean Electric Kettle: A Comprehensive Guide

The most frustrating thing to see when cleaning an electric kettle is mineral buildup or kettle furring. While it is annoying, it's not something to be too worried about.

How To Clean Electric Kettle

In this comprehensive guide, we will go through the steps and how you should clean your kettle using household items, as well as how to prevent large amounts of mineral deposits from forming.

How to Clean Electric Kettle: 6 Easy Steps

How to Clean Electric Kettle
© Homesthetics - Monica Hewitt

We will go through a few easy steps you can take to make sure that you can keep your trusty electric kettle clean. Here are the materials, equipment, and steps you need to take.

What You'll Need To Clean Your Electric Kettle

Here are the equipment and materials you'll need to perform the steps we'll be running through.


  • A non-abrasive sponge or a bottle brush
  • A good quality microfiber cloth


  • Dish soap or dishwashing liquid
  • Distilled white vinegar, lemon juice, baking soda, or citric acid powder
  • Olive oil (this is optional)

Step 1 - Combine Water and Vinegar

Step 1 - Combine Water and Vinegar

Source: Kitchn

Using a 3:1 ratio of water and vinegar, fill it to the half-full level. Don't put too much, or it might overflow when boiling.

If you don't have white vinegar, you can substitute it for either lemon juice or citric acid powder. We'll explain how to use these substitutes properly in a later section.

Step 2 - Boil the Vinegar and Water Solution

Step 2 - Boil the Vinegar and Water Solution

Source: New York Magazine

Then, quickly boil water inside the kettle. You can either start by putting the vinegar and water mixture in and then boiling, or bringing cold water to a boil and then adding vinegar.

Once you see confirmation of boiling water, turn it off if your electric kettle doesn't have an automatic shutdown function.

Step 3 - Let the Mixture Sit

Step 3 - Let the Mixture Sit

Source: Saveur

Before you remove the vinegar solution that you've brought to a boil from the kettle, you should let it sit for 20 minutes to overnight.

This depends on how much mineral build-up you've seen inside the kettle. It allows the vinegar solution mixture to work more effectively.

Step 4 - Unplug the Electric Kettle

Step 4 - Unplug the Electric Kettle

Source: ifixit

Before you spend more energy cleaning, you should unplug and disassemble the electric kettle from the other electrical components that might get damaged by the leftover water.

Check out the manufacturer's directions in the owner's manual of your kettle to find out how to safely disassemble the kettle.

Step 5 - Scrub the Inside of the Kettle

Step 5 - Scrub the Inside of the Kettle

Source: Coffee Affection

First, you'll want to clean the water filter. Most are metal and can be cleaned in a solution of hot water and vinegar, similar to the one used for the kettle itself.

Next, you'll want to get a non-abrasive, soft sponge or a soft-bristled brush to scrub the inside of the kettle. This will dispel the mineral buildup left inside, which should come off quickly.


If you're struggling with a tough limescale buildup, you might want to use a vinegar and water solution to help break it down.

Step 6 - Rinse and Reassemble

Step 6 - Rinse and Reassemble

Source: Kitchn

When you're done scrubbing, the next step is to rinse the kettle. First, you'll want to fill the kettle with hot water to remove any remaining scrubbed-off mineral build-up.

Next, you should rinse the kettle using cold, fresh water or soapy water to clean it further. While there's dish soap inside, you should also thoroughly scrub it.

Finally, you should clean the electronic and non-washable parts of the electric tea kettle using a damp cloth. This includes parts like the heating element.

You can even use olive oil and a microfiber cloth to wipe the exterior of the kettle and keep it looking shiny and clean.

Why is it Important to Descale a Kettle?

Here are two reasons why you should always keep your electric kettle clean. The first reason is to prevent a decrease in heating performance.

The limescale buildup can cause electric kettles to be less effective. It may take longer to heat water, which can be annoying if you need to make a cup of coffee or tea quickly.

The mineral build-up can also affect how your coffee or tea tastes. While it isn't hazardous to your health, seeing sediments floating around your tea cup can be annoying.

How Often Should You Descale Your Electric Kettle?

How Often Should You Descale Your Electric Kettle?

Source: Chinese Grandma

You should be descaling your electric kettle at least once a month if you use it every day, or more if you notice build-up already happening.

If you don't use your electric kettle as much, you can get it by giving it a rinse once every two or three months, which is very low maintenance.

If you live in an area with hard water, you should wash and boil to clean your kettle more often.

Methods for Cleaning Your Electric Kettle

If you don't have white vinegar in your cabinet, then there are a few alternative methods for cleaning your kettle.

Baking Soda

Baking Soda

First, fill up a kettle with enough water to reach 3/4 full. Add a heaping tablespoon of baking soda to your clean water, then follow the same instructions as mentioned previously.

However, the difference is that you should boil the kettle again with fresh water to ensure no excess baking soda is left afterward.

Lemon Juice

The second alternative is using a 1 to 1 ratio of water and lemon juice, filling the kettle with the same amount, and then heating it to a boil.

Citric Acid

The last alternative cleaning solution that you can use is citric acid. Use the same amount of water but two tablespoons of citric acid powder and heat that to a boil.

One consistent process between these alternative methods is letting it sit before you rinse, wipe, and perform the rest of the cleaning process.

Tips for Keeping Your Electric Kettles Clean

To prevent any limescale buildup from happening too often, you can do a few things to keep your kettle clean.

Don’t Let Water Sit For Too Long in the Kettle

If you always fill the kettle and let the water stay inside overnight after using it, the minerals will have a faster build-up as they have more time to settle.

Whether you have an electric or stovetop kettle, you should always rinse the kettle after use, as it can affect both kettle types.

Wipe and Rinse the Kettle After Every Use

Another thing that applies to both electric and stovetop tea kettles is cleaning them after each use.

This will remove any buildup that has already formed without you needing to boil water.

Use Distilled Water Instead of Tap Water

You should use distilled water if you live in an area with heavy water. This is because your tap water may have more minerals that can cause build-up in the first place.

Boil to Clean Regularly

If you don't want to do the whole cleaning process over and over again, you should consider boiling water in the kettle, even when not making coffee or tea.

This heat will help remove any vinegar taste from previous cleaning or mineral residue.

Cleaning Electric Kettle FAQs

  • What is the Best Way to Clean an Electric Kettle?

    The best way to clean an electric kettle is by using a solution with water and vinegar for the inside and using a soft cloth and olive oil to wipe the outside and heating element.

  • What Is a Limescale Catcher?

    A limescale catcher is a metal ring that you place inside of the kettle that absorbs and catches any minerals that would have caused build-up.

  • What Are the Common Issues of Electric Kettles?

    The two most significant issues aside from mineral buildup are leaking and the heating element malfunctioning. This could be because the electric kettle switch doesn’t work.

    If you have any of these issues, you should contact the manufacturer of your electric kettle. Most cover these factory defects under warranty.

  • How To Clean Electric Kettle Conclusion
    © Homesthetics - Monica Hewitt


    Hopefully, our article has helped you clear any build-up of minerals from your electric kettle or stovetop model. Whichever method you use should work well.

    However, if you really want to have low maintenance, you should not leave any water in the kettle and clean it after each use to prevent any buildup from actually happening.