Tea lovers know the importance of a good kettle. You can boil water in any suitable container, but having that perfect kettle is part of what makes the tea routine special.
It’s important to note that tea kettles are not teapots. There’s some disagreement about how to wash teapots and whether they should be washed at all. For tea kettles, however, the verdict is pretty clear — wash them often enough to avoid the formation of any residue. In this article, you’ll learn how to keep your kettle spotless with two methods.
Cleaning Your Kettle with Baking Soda
The first method you’ll learn is cleaning your kettle with baking soda. Baking soda is mildly alkaline, which makes it a good cleaning agent. It helps things like dirt and grease dissolve in water. If it doesn’t fully dissolve in the water, it also acts as a mild abrasive, helping to pry loose bits off surfaces when scrubbing.
For this method, you’ll need some baking soda, a bottle brush which you can find in most supermarkets, scrubbing pads, and a soft, dry cloth. And of course, water.
Once you have all your tools and ingredients, follow these steps:
1. Measure out about a cup of baking soda and pour it into the kettle. This is an appropriate amount for a standard-sized kettle of 1.5 liters (50 fl. oz.). For a significantly larger kettle, alter the measurement accordingly.
2. Fill the kettle with cold water, and set to boil. You’ll need to wait until the water starts to boil, so don’t use this method for cleaning electric kettles.
3. Once the water is brought to a boil, remove it from the heat and let it sit for about ten minutes.
4. Take your bottle brush, or other scrub brush and start scrubbing the insides of the kettle. If the kettle is still too hot to handle, let it sit for another ten minutes but don’t let the water cool completely. You can also pour in a quarter-cup of dry rice into the kettle and swirl it around if you don’t have a brush that fits the opening.
5. If you managed to remove all the stains and dirt, then the previous step was your last. If stains remain, you’ll need a little help to scrub out the stubborn bits. Pour out most of the water from the kettle, leaving only a small amount inside.
6. Pour in another cup or so of baking soda and mix it in with the water.
7. When the baking soda and water form a paste, scrub the inside of the kettle vigorously until all the stains are removed. This is where the abrasive power of the baking soda will help you. If the baking soda dissolves completely in the water, add more as required.
8. Once you’ve removed all the stains, rinse repeatedly with cold water and dry with a soft cloth.
That does it for the baking soda method. It’s effective on all but the most stubborn stains and residues. If you clean it this way regularly (about once a month), you won’t have to worry about the interior becoming soiled. Next up is the vinegar method.
Cleaning Your Kettle with Vinegar
With this method, your secret weapon is vinegar — or, more specifically, acetic acid. The acid in vinegar is very good at dissolving buildup such as that left behind by hard water and soap scum. It also works great for general cleaning around the house, including both odor and stain removal.
For this, you’ll need vinegar, of course, white vinegar works best but apple cider can work at a pinch. You’ll also need a soft cloth and a scrub brush or pad. Here’s what you do:
1. Make a 50/50 mixture of vinegar and water to fill the kettle to capacity.
2. Fill the kettle with the vinegar/water mix and set it to boil. Once it has boiled for a few minutes, take it off the heat and let it cool.
3. When the mixture has cooled, you can discard it.
4. Use your brush to scrub the inside of the kettle. If you have a hard time reaching some areas, add a little water and dry rice and close the lid. Then, swirl the rice around inside the kettle to act as a scrubber.
5. When done, rinse it out several times with cold water and dry the inside with a soft cloth.
6. If there are stains on the outside, you can reserve some of the vinegar mixture to wash those off as well.
If you’re washing an electric kettle, or you don’t want to boil the water, you can still use the vinegar method. Leave the vinegar and water in your kettle overnight and go through the cleaning process as if it had boiled. The extra time will allow the vinegar to dissolve the residue slowly but just as effectively.
Avoid using abrasive scrubbing pads, they’ll scar the inside of your kettle and make it easier for future residue to build up. Instead, always use plastic or nylon scrubbers.
One of the best ways to avoid lasting stains on your pot is to always watch it when boiling water. If it sits on a stove dry, that can create scorch marks that are very difficult to remove.
Scouring powders work well for cleaning the inside of your kettle but use them sparingly. Like the abrasive scrubbers, they can damage the inside of the kettle.
A Clean Kettle Makes a Clean Cup
These two at-home methods for cleaning your kettle don’t take up much of your time and provide great results.
They’re both simple. For the baking soda method, you’ll boil baking soda in water for a few minutes and then scrub out your kettle. For the vinegar method, you’ll do the same, except you’ll use a water and vinegar combination. The vinegar doesn’t need to be boiled if you let it sit overnight. And, of course, don’t forget to rinse it out thoroughly when you’re done.