We all love a nice hot drink on a cold night—a good cup of tea warms your hands when you hold it and your soul when you drink it. That’s why a kettle is such a staple in every household. And how long it lasts depends on how well you take care of it.
Most electric kettles will last around four years, and a stovetop kettle can last much longer. A kettle will have a longer lifespan if it’s properly cared for. To avoid limescale build-up, clean it regularly, and don’t leave water in a kettle to be reboiled.
To make sure you’re looking after your kettle properly and getting the most out of its lifespan, we’ve put together a simple care guide. Keep reading for more information on how to clean your kettle and other important tips that can help you expand its longevity.
How Long Does a Kettle Last?
How long your kettle will last depends on a few things, including whether you have an electric or a stovetop kettle.
According to scientists at Manchester University, the average electric kettle will last you around four years. Of course, many variables can affect how long your electric kettle lasts, including the brand’s quality and how well you look after it.
A stovetop kettle will likely last you much longer than an electric one purely because it’s usually the electric heating element in an electric kettle that fails, rendering it useless. A stovetop kettle can even last for decades, assuming that you look after it properly.
How Often Should You Clean Your Kettle?
Caring for a kettle is the most important way to prolong its lifespan. Making sure that you clean your kettle properly and store it correctly will mean that your kettle can last for years, whether it’s an electric or a stovetop variety.
How often you should clean your kettle depends on how often you use it. If you’re using it at least once a day, rinse it out with detergent every few months. Descaling should occur more frequently—at least every eight weeks—because limescale is harder to remove once large deposits have built up.
You can clean the outside of your kettle whenever it looks dirty, and it’s best to clean marks off of your kettle as soon as you see them; otherwise, they can become hard to remove. If you have a kettle made of a material such as stainless steel, it’s best to wipe the kettle down daily to prevent finger marks from building up.
How To Clean a Kettle
Cleaning a kettle is an easy process that should only take you a few minutes at most. The method is relatively the same for a stovetop or an electric kettle.
What You Need
Below are the things you’ll need:
- Dishwashing liquid
- Baking soda and white vinegar
Here are the steps to clean your kettle:
- Make sure your kettle is cool before you clean it. If it’s an electric kettle, make sure it’s unplugged, and remove your kettle from the base.
- Remove the lid of the kettle and pour a tiny bit of dishwashing liquid inside. If you don’t wish to use dishwashing liquid, you can get the same results using vinegar or baking soda mixed with water and then following the rest of the steps.
- Fill the kettle about halfway with warm water.
- Using the dishcloth, wash the inside of the kettle.
- Wipe the outside of the kettle with the damp dishcloth. If your kettle is made of stainless steel, you can remove marks on the outside with a paste made of baking soda and vinegar. Simply mix the paste, apply it to the outside of the kettle, scrub it a little with a dishcloth, and rinse thoroughly.
- Rinse the kettle thoroughly two or three times (until the water pouring out of it runs clear) and then leave it to dry.
Should You Clean a New Kettle Before Using It?
When you purchase a new kettle, don’t make that first cup of tea without properly cleaning the kettle first because all appliances have a chemical coating that keeps them from getting damaged, such as rust when they’re in storage.
This chemical coating can be removed by following the steps listed in the previous section—fill the kettle with water, boil it, and discard it. Repeat the last step a few times to ensure all of the chemical coating is washed away.
Is It Okay To Leave Water Inside a Kettle?
Leaving water inside a kettle isn’t okay for two reasons:
- First of all, leaving water in a kettle can potentially cause it to rust.
- The second (and more common) reason you shouldn’t leave water in a kettle is that it can cause limescale to build up inside it.
Limescale is caused by a build-up of two particles found in tap water: calcium and magnesium. It can look like brown or black marks on the bottom of your kettle or chalky deposits when you pour out the water. Limescale isn’t harmful to your health, but not only can it make the water from your kettle taste rather awful, but it can also ruin the kettle itself by making it much harder to heat the water.
Many kettles have filters that’ll stop any limescale from being poured into your cup of tea, but the limescale itself will still be able to be formed inside the kettle. To prevent limescale build-up, always empty your kettle after use, and only boil the amount of water you intend on using.
You can also purchase a kettle descaler, which are small stainless steel rings that work by attracting the limestone to them instead of the metal base of the kettle.
The good thing about these descalers is that they’re reusable, and you only need to clean them out once or twice a month.
How To Get Limescale Out of an Electric Kettle
To get limescale out of a kettle isn’t tricky; all it takes is white vinegar and a dishcloth.
If you don’t want to use this method, various descaling chemicals are available to purchase from most stores or online. I recommend Durgol’s Universal Descaler (available on Amazon.com), as it’s a professional grade cleaner that can remove limescale and any mineral buildup.
What You Need
Below are the things you’ll need:
- White vinegar
Here are the steps on how you can get limescale out of your kettle:
- Make sure your kettle is cool before cleaning it. If it’s an electric kettle, make sure it’s unplugged and removed from the base.
- Fill the kettle to the top with two cups of white vinegar and the rest with water.
- Put the lid back on and wait overnight.
- In the morning, scrub the inside of the kettle to dislodge all of the limescale.
- Empty the kettle and rinse it twice, boiling the water each time.
- Leave the kettle to dry.
- Repeat this process if there is a significant limescale build-up in your kettle.
Is It Okay to Reboil Water in a Kettle?
It’s okay to reboil the same water in a kettle, and it isn’t the most dangerous thing in the world for your health, but it’s best to avoid it when you can, especially if you’re pregnant. Simply fill up your kettle with the required amount of water each time, and you will avoid this problem altogether.
When boiling water in a kettle for a hot drink, it’s best to use fresh water each time. This is because if you’re reboiling the same water, it can cause the water to take on a bit of a strange taste. It can also cause some minerals in the water, such as fluoride and nitrates, to become more concentrated.
When Should You Buy a New Kettle?
Even if you take the absolute best care of your kettle, eventually, you’ll reach a point where your old appliance just won’t cut it anymore. There are a few key signs that mean it’s time to replace your kettle, and it’s best to do it as soon as you notice any of these:
- The kettle is broken. If there’s anything broken about the kettle, such as an electrical fault, meaning it won’t turn on or heat water properly, or a structural fault like a broken spout, meaning it won’t pour water properly, the safest option is to replace the appliance.
- The kettle is rusty. If you’ve left water in your kettle for too long and it’s gotten rusty, it’s best to replace the kettle.
- There’s too much limescale build-up. If you have a problem with limescale in your kettle left unaddressed, eventually, the minerals will build up so much that they’ll be virtually impossible to remove. When that happens, it’s a good idea to consider buying a new kettle.