A boiling kettle that has had its limecale removed with bicarbonate of soda

How to Descale a Kettle with Bicarbonate of Soda

Kettles are a staple in many kitchens, providing a convenient way to boil water for a plethora of uses. Over time, due to hard water and mineral deposits, kettles can develop limescale. This not only affects the performance of the kettle but can also impact the taste of the water. Enter bicarbonate of soda—a household hero that’s versatile and eco-friendly. Knowing how to descale a kettle with bicarbonate of soda safely and without damage is a really useful bit of skill.

Using bicarbonate of soda is an eco-friendly and effective way to descale a kettle. For optimal results, one can employ a direct solution soak, combine it with vinegar for enhanced cleaning, or apply as a paste for stubborn limescale spots. Regular descaling, based on water hardness and kettle usage, ensures efficient performance and fresh-tasting water.

Here are these three effective methods of using bicarbonate of soda in more detail.

Descale a Kettle with Bicarbonate of Soda Soak

Descaling a kettle with bicarbonate of soda is both effective and eco-friendly. This method is straightforward, and the results can be seen immediately after the process. Here’s a step-by-step guide to ensuring your kettle gets a thorough clean.

  1. Empty the Kettle: Before starting, ensure the kettle is unplugged and has cooled down. Pour out any remaining water.
  2. Prepare the Solution: Into the kettle, add 1-2 tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda.
  3. Add Water: Fill the kettle about halfway with water.
  4. Stir the Mixture: Using a long spoon or a stirrer, mix the bicarbonate of soda until it’s dissolved in the water.
  5. Boil: Plug in and turn on the kettle to bring the solution to a boil.
  6. Switch Off and Wait: After boiling, turn off the kettle and allow the bicarbonate solution to sit for 20 minutes.
  7. Swirl the Solution: Gently swirl the solution in the kettle to ensure all sides are treated.
  8. Empty the Kettle: Pour out the bicarbonate solution.
  9. Rinse Thoroughly: Rinse the kettle several times with cold water to ensure all residues are removed and it’s ready for use.

Descaling a Kettle with Bicarbonate and Vinegar Combination

Using bicarbonate of soda paired with vinegar offers a more advanced cleaning experience for your kettle. The natural reaction between these two ingredients helps in breaking down limescale effectively. Let’s walk through the process.

  1. Prepare the Kettle: Make sure the kettle is unplugged and has cooled. Empty any remaining water.
  2. Measure the Ingredients: Gather bicarbonate of soda and white vinegar. You’ll need them in equal parts.
  3. Pour Ingredients: Add the bicarbonate of soda and white vinegar to the kettle. You’ll notice a fizzing action, which is normal and aids in the cleaning process.
  4. Mix Gently: Use a spoon to stir the mixture, ensuring both ingredients are well combined.
  5. Wait a Bit: Let the fizzing solution settle in the kettle for about 30 minutes. This allows the active reaction to target limescale.
  6. Start the Boil: Turn on the kettle and bring the solution to a full boil.
  7. Turn Off and Let Sit: After boiling, switch off the kettle and let the mixture sit for an additional 10 minutes.
  8. Swirl Around: Before emptying, swirl the mixture to make sure all areas inside the kettle have been reached.
  9. Empty and Clean: Pour out the solution and rinse the kettle multiple times with cold water, ensuring it’s clean and residue-free.

Bicarbonate of Soda Paste for Stubborn Kettle Limescale

Bicarbonate of soda, when made into a paste, offers a concentrated solution that’s especially effective for tough limescale spots. This method focuses on direct application to ensure stubborn areas get the attention they deserve. Here’s how to go about it:

  1. Ready the Kettle: Before anything else, ensure the kettle is not connected to any power source and is cool to touch. Empty out any water present.
  2. Mix Your Paste: Using a mixing bowl, combine bicarbonate of soda with a few drops of water. Stir until you achieve a thick, spreadable consistency.
  3. Spot the Problem Areas: Look inside the kettle for any visible limescale or mineral deposits.
  4. Apply Generously: Using a soft brush or cloth, dab and spread the paste onto the problematic areas inside the kettle.
  5. Patience is Key: Allow the paste to work its magic by leaving it on the deposits for about 20-30 minutes.
  6. Gentle Scrubbing: With a non-abrasive brush, gently scrub the areas where the paste was applied. This will help lift and remove the limescale.
  7. Shake a Little: After scrubbing, close the kettle’s lid and give it a gentle shake. This helps dislodge any loose particles.
  8. Dispose of the Residue: Open the kettle and pour out any remnants of the paste and loosened limescale.
  9. Final Rinse: Clean the kettle by rinsing it multiple times with cold water, ensuring it’s ready for your next use.


How long should I leave bicarbonate of soda in the kettle?

While the specific time can vary depending on the amount of limescale, a general guideline is to let bicarbonate of soda sit in the kettle for around 15-30 minutes. This duration allows the solution to effectively break down the mineral deposits. If you notice that the kettle has heavy limescale buildup, you might opt for a longer soaking time, closer to 30 minutes or a bit more.

Are there any precautions or safety measures to consider when using bicarbonate of soda for descaling a kettle?

Safety always comes first. When using bicarbonate of soda, it’s essential to remember a few things:

  • Unplug the Kettle: Before starting any cleaning process, ensure the kettle is unplugged to avoid any electric mishaps.
  • Avoid Overfilling: When mixing bicarbonate of soda with water or vinegar, refrain from filling the kettle to the top. This prevents the solution from spilling or bubbling over during boiling.
  • Rinse Well: It’s imperative to rinse the kettle thoroughly after the cleaning process. This ensures that no bicarbonate residue remains, which could affect the taste of your boiled water.

How do I know if my kettle needs to be descaled?

Visible signs often indicate when it’s time to descale your kettle. These signs might include:

  • White or cloudy spots: These are often limescale or mineral deposits.
  • Extended boiling times: If your kettle takes longer than usual to boil, it might be due to limescale affecting its efficiency.
  • Taste: If the water from the kettle has a metallic or off flavor, it’s a hint that cleaning might be needed.

Regular checks and maintenance can prevent these issues and ensure your kettle remains in optimal condition.

How often should I descale my kettle?

The frequency of descaling hinges on several factors:

  • Water Hardness: If your local water supply is hard, meaning it has a higher mineral content, you might need to descale more often, perhaps once a month.
  • Usage: A kettle used daily may require more frequent cleaning than one used sporadically.
  • Visible Checks: Routine inspection of the kettle’s interior will give you a clearer idea of when it’s time for a thorough clean. If you begin to see any signs of limescale or other deposits, it’s a good indicator that descaling should be done soon.


Descaling a kettle is essential for maintaining its efficiency and ensuring the water tastes fresh. Bicarbonate of soda is an eco-friendly and effective solution for this purpose. Whether you choose to use it alone, with vinegar, or as a paste, regularly cleaning your kettle will prolong its life and provide you with better-tasting water. Remember to always rinse thoroughly after descaling and to keep safety in mind during the process.