How to Remove Rust Stains From an Electric Kettle

Electric kettles are a staple in many kitchens. If you’ve had an electric kettle for a while, you know that without regular cleaning, they can be prone to rust. Before you replace your old kettle for a brand new one, try giving it a good thorough cleaning. Below is our guide for how to remove rust stains from an electric kettle. Plus we have a few other cleaning tips to keep your kettle looking new.

Electric kettle

Why should you clean your electric kettle?

Kettles are a trusted part of many of our kitchens. However, they are also one of those kitchen accessories that seem to be neglected in terms of regular cleaning. They’re only used to heat water, why should they need to be cleaned?

Without regular cleaning, you’ll likely start to see limescale and mineral deposits, rust, or even mildew. Especially if you tend to let water sit inside the kettle for days at a time. Cleaning your kettle is simple and takes hardly any time at all.

How often should you clean an electric kettle?

How often you should clean your kettle can depend on a few different factors. These include how often you use it, if you let water sit in it or dry it out after each use, and how hard or soft the water is in your area.

A good general rule of thumb is to clean your kettle with dish soap and hot water at least once a week and do a more thorough descaling every couple months. But because of those varying factors, a simple visual inspection every now and then to check if your kettle needs to be cleaned will do. We have a detailed guide on how to clean and descale a kettle here.

How to remove rust stains from an electric kettle

Below are a few different methods for removing rust stains from electric (or stovetop) kettles using ingredients that you probably already have at home.

White vinegar

White vinegar is an effective cleaner of many kitchen appliances, including kettles. It’s also great for removing rust. The process is simple and although the vinegar may leave a mild odor, it goes away after a few rinses of the kettle.

  1. First, fill your kettle three quarters full with equal parts water and white vinegar.
  2. Let it sit for 1-3 hours.
  3. Then bring the water to a boil and allow to boil for 5 minutes.
  4. Unplug the unit and let the kettle sit until the water cools or for about 20 minutes. Then discard the water.
  5. If needed, take a bottle brush or soft toothbrush and gently scrub the areas inside the kettle where the rust is present.
  6. Lastly, rinse the kettle thoroughly. If you still notice a faint vinegar aroma, you can wash the kettle with a little bit of dish soap and hot water.

Baking soda

Another option is to use baking soda to remove rust stains from your kettle. It’s a fine abrasive which gives it some extra scrubbing power to combat rust. 

  1. First, add a tablespoon of baking soda to your kettle and fill the kettle three quarters full with water. Mix well.
  2. Allow the kettle to sit for about 10 minutes.
  3. Next, bring the water to a boil and allow to boil for 5 minutes. 
  4. Unplug the unit and let the kettle sit until the water cools or for about 20 minutes. Then discard the water.
  5. If there is still rust present, make a paste with baking soda. Take one tablespoon of baking soda, add a drop of water at a time, and stir until a paste is formed. Using a soft toothbrush, gently scrub the affected areas until the rust is removed. 
  6. Lastly, rinse the kettle thoroughly.

Lemon

Lemon is a great natural cleaner that is high in citric acid, making it effective at removing rust stains.

  1. First, fill your kettle three quarters full with a ratio of three parts water and one part lemon juice. You can either squeeze fresh lemon juice yourself or buy bottled lemon juice – it doesn’t matter.
  2. Allow the kettle to sit for about 10 minutes.
  3. Next, bring the water to a boil and allow to boil for 5 minutes.
  4. Unplug the unit and let the kettle sit until the water cools or for about 20 minutes. Then discard the water.
  5. If the rust stains persist, make a paste with lemon juice and table salt. Use a soft toothbrush to gently scrub the area and let the paste sit for several minutes before rinsing. 
  6. Lastly, rinse the kettle thoroughly.

How to prevent your kettle from rusting

Now that we’ve gone over how to remove rust stains from an electric kettle, let’s talk about preventing them from happening in the first place. The number one thing you can do to prevent your electric or stovetop kettle from rusting is to never leave water in it. After each use, let the kettle cool down and then use a dry kitchen rag or paper towel to dry the inside thoroughly. Doing this will ensure that you won’t have to worry about your kettle rusting.

What about limescale?

Aside from rust, another common issue with kettles is limescale. If you live in an area with hard water, limescale is a common problem. But the good news is that it’s pretty easy to spot, especially in stainless steel kettles. Its color is most often white or off-white inside a kettle, although it can appear pink to reddish-brown on other surfaces. The texture is most similar to that of chalk. 

If you’ve inspected your kettle and found limescale inside, don’t worry. Limescale isn’t harmful to drink. The main concerns with limescale are that it can make your water taste a bit off and possibly lessen the lifespan of your kettle by causing corrosion and damaging the heating element.

If you want to keep your kettle in good shape, it’s important to clean it regularly and descale it when needed. We have a detailed guide on how to descale a kettle here.