Rust can be a major scourge anywhere you have to deal with it. However, it’s particularly bothersome when it happens on a kitchen appliance that is in direct contact with food or beverages, such as an electric kettle.
How do you remove rust from an electric kettle? The most common method for removing rust from an electric kettle is:
- Use a wire brush to scrub the rust stains.
- Rinse it off with cold water.
Fortunately, the process of cleaning your electric kettle is relatively simple and straightforward.
What Causes Residue Inside an Electric Kettle?
When you are continually using your electric kettle to boil water and make drinks and soup, it might develop a residue after a while. This residue can be rust, but more commonly, it is what is referred to as “scale.” It can come in a multitude of different colors. Sometimes it’s a reddish color, like rust. However, it can also be white or yellow.
This buildup forms as a result of water boiling over and over within the kettle. Most of the buildup that forms is limestone buildup, rather than the type of red rust that you would generally see on your car or pipes. However, this doesn’t mean that it isn’t problematic, and you should make sure not to ignore it when you see it.
However, in some situations, the buildup is rust or iron oxide. It’s essential to know the difference since the most effective cleaning methods differ depending on the nature of the buildup.
How to Remove Rust from an Electric Kettle: The Process
The first thing you should remember is that if you want to keep your electric kettle clean, it’s a good idea to clean it every day instead of waiting until you see a buildup of rust. You should wash the kettle with dishwashing liquid and hot water, rinse it thoroughly, and dry it out daily. If there is an enamel finish, make sure that you avoid using abrasive scrubbers, such as steel wool, that could scratch the surface and cause rust formation.
You might have tried to scrub the residue off of your kettle, but most likely, you have found that this didn’t work. Most of the residue that forms on electric kettles is extremely stubborn and cannot be removed with scrubbing alone. You might be able to improve the situation, but you will likely not get rid of the residue entirely.
The Most Popular Method for Removing Rust from Your Kettle
Believe it or not, Coca-Cola can be used to remove rust from your kettle. It contains phosphoric acid, which undergoes a chemical reaction with the iron oxide in rust and causes the rust to dissolve.
If you see rust on your electric kettle, you can follow this procedure:
- Attempt to remove it by scrubbing it with a wire brush
- Rinse off any remaining residue with fresh, cold water.
- If you can’t get rid of all of it this way, pour Coca-Cola up to the fill line in your kettle.
- Let it sit for 20 minutes, or overnight if there is a lot of rust.
Other Methods Worth Trying
If you know for sure that the residue in your kettle is rust, the above method is the first one to try. However, there are other options, as well.
Vinegar is effective at rust removal, and it also happens to be the most popular and effective method at removing scale, which is the most common residue inside an electric kettle.
Vinegar is inexpensive, non-toxic, and very effective. However, make sure that you use plain white vinegar. If you use apple cider vinegar or any other type of vinegar that has a strong flavor or aroma, this could end up infiltrating the plastic components of your kettle and mixing in with the flavors of drinks that you brew in the future.
This method is quite simple. To get rid of the rust in your kettle, follow these steps:
- Mix a solution of water and white vinegar in a one-to-one ratio.
- Pour the solution up to the “maximum fill” line in your kettle.
- Let the solution sit for 15 minutes.
- Then, boil it for 5 minutes.
- After you boil it, let it sit for another 15 minutes. (You can let it sit for more if you would like.)
- Rinse the kettle out with fresh water.
Towards the end, you might need to do some scrubbing to get rid of some of the more stubborn buildup. However, in conjunction with the vinegar method, scrubbing should be more productive. In most cases, you’ll be able to get rid of all of the residue with this method.
If you have trouble getting the vinegar out of your kettle completely, you can use baking soda to remove the vinegar by following these steps:
- Fill the kettle with fresh water.
- Mix in a tablespoon of baking soda.
- Allow this solution to come to a boil the same way you did with the vinegar solution.
- Then, let it sit again and rinse out your kettle with fresh water.
How to Remove Scale
Most of the time, what you may think is rust is actually scale. The vinegar method already described is the best way to remove scale in most cases. However, if you don’t want to use vinegar or don’t have access to it, there are other methods that you can try. In some cases, these other methods will be your only choice, because some kettle manufacturers will tell you that you should not be using vinegar on their products.
Lemon or Lime Water
You can try cleaning your electric kettle with lime or lemon water. Follow these steps:
- Mix a spoonful of lemon or lime juice into 500 milliliters of water.
- Pour it into your kettle.
- Boil the mixture for between 20 and 30 minutes.
- Then, pour the solution out of the kettle.
- Unplug the kettle.
- Allow the machine to cool down.
- Wipe off the remaining hard water residue with a little bit of sodium bicarbonate on a damp rag.
- Rinse your kettle about five times with fresh water.
Baking Soda Solution
Instead of using the baking soda to supplement the vinegar method, you can just start with the baking soda. In this case, you would:
- Mix about a teaspoon of baking soda into the water that you pour into the kettle.
- Bring the solution to a boil and
- Allow it to soak in the kettle for about 20 minutes.
- Pour it out and rinse it with cold, fresh water.
In some cases, a commercial cleaner might be your best option. Make sure that it is a cleaner that is compatible with your kettle. Dilute it with water according to the instructions on the package, and boil the solution in your kettle. In most cases, just like with any other method, you will let it sit for a while, and rinse it out with cold water when you’re done.
Options include the following:
- Zojirushi Electric Dispensing Pot Cleaner and Descaler
- Durgol Universal Multipurpose Descaler/Decalcifier
- OXO BREW All-Natural Phosphate-Free Descaling Solution
Why Is It Important to Clean Your Electric Kettle?
Unwanted residue within your electric kettle can cause problems because it slows down the heating process. It also leads to higher electricity consumption since your kettle is going to take longer to heat the water. Additionally, it can compromise the quality of the water in the kettle; this will only worsen over time if you continue to neglect your kettle’s cleanliness.
If you don’t make an effort to clean your kettle regularly, this could lead to damage to the machine. You should also be aware that deep cleaning efforts are not guaranteed to be effective.
It can be a relief to know that you don’t have to replace your kettle just because you see rust or residue. It’s also good to know a little bit more about how the rust and residue form, so that you can prevent its formation in the future and make sure that your electric kettle stays clean.
Understandably, you would be concerned about this issue. After all, you don’t want any unknown scaling, rust, or other residues that you don’t fully understand to be coming in contact with your beverages. With the appropriate knowledge of how to clean this residue off your electric kettle, you’ll be able to use it with plenty of peace of mind in the future.
See also: No-Rust Tea Kettles (Best Kettles That Won’t Rust)