Your Electric Kettle Can Clean Itself With One Simple Solution

An electric kettle is the type of kitchen appliance that just makes life easier. Once you have it on hand for all your water-boiling needs — think: french press coffee or tea — you won't want to look back. But if you give your kettle a closer look, it's likely that you'll find some limescale build-up or the white, chalky stuff that accumulates over time as a result of minerally hard water. The good news is there's no need to scrub your kettle to get rid of it. Rather your kettle can clean itself. All that's needed is a simple solution of vinegar boiled with water, done conveniently right within the appliance.


Boiling vinegar and water is a useful cleaning tip, especially if your kettle isn't made of clear material making it hard to see the build-up, or if it has a smaller lid, which makes it hard to reach in and remove the mineral build-up from all the inside surfaces and crevices. Plus, for most electric kettles, to maintain their heating mechanisms and material, it's best to avoid harsh scrubbing. By bringing the vinegar-water solution to a rolling boil, the friction and heat, along with the dissolving abilities of vinegar, are all you need for a solid cleanup; no elbow grease required.

Boil a vinegar-water solution to clean your appliance

Descaling your electric kettle just requires a good self-cleaning session, and it's as easy as running water and vinegar through the machine. If you keep a bottle of distilled vinegar in your kitchen cabinet, this acid will do the trick. Other vinegar types (like apple cider or white wine) will work too, or even lemon juice though be mindful of how their flavor could remain in the kettle if you don't thoroughly rinse it. 


When you're ready to clean your appliance, simply combine a 1:3 ratio of vinegar to water — if you've got a lot of build-up, some people even fill their kettle with equal parts water and acid. Fill the carafe to its maximum volume line, and turn on the kettle to heat the vinegar and water mixture to a boil. Once it boils, turn the kettle off, and let the heated vinegar solution sit to soak the walls of the appliance for 20 or 30 minutes. Once the waiting time is up, simply pour the solution out. To complete the cleaning process, boil and drain one to two more carafes filled with water only, to ensure no acidic flavors linger from the vinegar.

Additional considerations for keeping your kettle spotless

Crucial to maintaining the quality of your kitchen appliances is cleaning them on a regular basis. When it comes to your electric kettle, since it's primarily used to boil tap or filtered water, you likely just need to clean it every few months. If you use your kettle a lot to boil water for multiple cups of tea or coffee throughout the day, or if where you live has particularly hard water, you'll want to consider cleaning it more frequently — as regularly as once a month. Of course, it helps to give the inside a glance to check for visible mineral build-up.


After each self-cleaning with water and vinegar is complete, it's usually a good idea to give the outside a polish too. This can be done with a towel, dampened with soap and water. Remove any accumulated dirt or messiness, then dry it thoroughly with a clean towel. Your kettle will be sparkling clean, inside and out, and so will the water you boil in it.