Saturday, 7 July 2012

Natural Cleaning Challenge - Week 4 - Descaling #NatClean2012

Hard water causes limescale - we all appreciate that.

But did you know that you can remove scale easily just by using natural ingredients?

Using a simple solution of Citric Acid (a very mild acid, derived from and found in Lemons for example),
or vinegar, it's possible to banish accumulated limescale and with regular use, keep it away.

Limescale is mostly Calcium Carbonate which can be readily removed without the need for chemical descalers.  

Why would you want a chemical descaler in your kettle?  Or indeed want to pour the used chemicals down the drain?

Kettles clogged with scale will be less efficient so this #NatClean2012 tip will save you money whilst caring for our environment.

To descale a family kettle;


Fill to just above the scale line
Add 2-6 teaspoons (depending upon the amount of scale. Do this frequently and you will only need a couple of teaspoons) of Citric Acid
Boil the kettle
Allow to cool
If clear of scale, tip out and rinse, boil again with clean water, the tip out.
If any scale remains, repeat. If you know your kettle is really "furry", leave the Citric solution overnight.  I've never had to do this though and we have REALLY hard water.


Empty your kettle
Fill to just above the scale with vinegar*
Leave overnight
Tip out and rinse
Boil with clean water and tip out

*Any kind of vinegar will do, the aim is to rinse and rinse until the kettle is clear of any residual vinegar anyway. If you're worried about possible smell or taste remaining, use White Vinegar. 

Happily, you can press this method into use with your coffee machine, washing machines, dishwashers and baby bottle sterilisers.  Cheap, quick and with no fear of nasty chemicals remaining.

Coffee machine - as above in the water unit - leave overnight (switched off)
Dish washer - place Citric acid directly in the base of the dishwasher and run as normal
Washing machine - use a cup of vinegar or a solution of Citric Acid in your laundry powder drawer and run (without clothes) 

Here's my kettle in its various stages. 
I descale with Citric every couple of weeks so it's not too bad at the beginning but it will give you an idea.  This took only minutes.

Before - enough scale to affect the taste of your tea!

During - this was at the second boil

And after - no scale left at all

When using either the Citric Acid method or the Vinegar method, take care not to overfill the kettle - it will fizz and may foam.  If leaving overnight, it's probably best to leave a note near the kettle too...


If you've enjoyed reading and using our #NatClean2012 posts please do comment and follow us on Twitter for more hints & tips.  Don't forget to use the hashtag #NatClean2012 that way we can share ideas :)

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