Home and Garden

Home and Garden, Natural Cleaning

How to Descale A Kettle With Vinegar or Citric Acid

Don’t let limescale ruin a perfectly good cup of tea. Here’s how to quickly, easily, and naturally descale a kettle two ways – with vinegar or with citric acid – whatever you have to hand.

I blog about tea quite a lot. That’s because I’m pretty partial to a cup myself. Whether it’s herbal tea that I’ve grown by myself – such as mint tea or lemon balm tea – or helping you to find the best plastic-free teabags, tea is never far from my thoughts or my lips!

Whilst there’s nothing like the thought of plastic in your tea to ruin a perfectly good cup of tea, limescale is a close second. Let me show you how to descale a kettle naturally, two ways – one way with vinegar, and another with citric acid – so you never ruin a good cup of tea again!

What Is Limescale And Is It Bad For You?

Firstly, what is limescale? Limescale is a harmless chalky white residue that accumulates in appliances that use water, such as kettles, coffee machines, dishwashers, and washing machines. Limescale is particularly prevalent in hard water areas. Here, in this mineral-rich water, higher concentrations of calcium and magnesium dissolve in water, leaving limescale deposits as they evaporate.

Limescale is completely harmless to your health and isn’t bad for you to drink. Calcium and magnesium are both minerals found in the body, so consuming them in your water poses no risk.

The problem with limescale in your kettle is that it can spoil your tea a little. However, its greater problem is the effects of limescale on our appliances. Limescale can shorten the lifespan of your kettle because it can corrode the elements. Limescale deposits also negatively impact the energy efficiency of your kettle. This means it takes longer, and uses more energy and therefore money, to heat up the water, and also reduces your kettle’s lifespan.

In short, whilst limescale is not harmful to your health, it’s best to tackle limescale on a regular basis. Doing so will prolong the life of your appliances and save energy, particularly if you live in a hard water area.

How to Naturally Descale A Kettle

A green kettle on a white background with the caption how to naturally descale a kettle using vinegar or citric acid

Thankfully, it’s really easy to descale your kettle. You can buy expensive and chemically dubious kettle descalers. However, I say save your money and use these natural yet effective methods to descale your kettle.

How To Descale A Kettle With Vinegar

Descaling your kettle with vinegar is really simple and cost-effective. Simply buy a bottle of white vinegar and add equal parts water to equal parts vinegar (e.g. 500 ml water and 500 ml white vinegar) to your kettle.

Next, boil your kettle and then leave the vinegar/water solution to sit for an hour before tipping the water out. You may need to give your kettle a little scrub to remove any lingering limescale, but it should come off easily.

Finally, rinse out your kettle thoroughly, and then boil some water to remove any trace of vinegar.

If you are new to using white vinegar for cleaning purposes, then here is everything you need to know about cleaning with white vinegar.

How to Descale A Kettle With Citric Acid

Citric acid is, I have to say, my preferred method to descale a kettle naturally.

All you have to do is add 1 tablespoon of citric acid to half a kettle of water. Allow the water to boil and then leave it to sit for an hour. Next, tip the water out, and scrub away at any lingering limescale. Again, it should come away easily. Finally, give your kettle a good rinse out and the job’s done! Citric acid won’t leave an aftertaste, so there is no need to reboil the kettle again. Less faff equals more time for tea drinking!

New to the amazing superpowers of citric acid? It’s an amazing natural cleaning product that packs a mean punch against limescale. This is because it’s a highly concentrated fruit acid, and as such citric acid is a key element in my green cleaning arsenal. As well as being useful to clean your kettle, you can also use the leftover citric acid to make this amazing citric acid cleaning spray. This is a great natural cleaning spray, that’s especially useful if you aren’t into the smell of vinegar.

Worried about tracking it down? Worry not, citric acid is easily available in homebrew shops, Asian supermarkets, or online. Find out more about the wonder that is citric acid in my full guide to citric acid for cleaning.

How To Prevent Limescale

If you live in a hard water area, then limescale is a fact of life. It’s just one of those things that you have to get in the habit of descaling your appliances, such as your kettle, dishwasher, or washing machine, regularly, to help prolong their life.

However, when it comes to your kettle, there are steps you can take to help reduce the need to descale it as often. One of these is to use a water filter to filter your water before filling the kettle. Water filters used to be pretty wasteful, however, you can now buy reusable water filters, meaning there’s no plastic waste. I wrote about this Phox water filter here some time ago, when they were in the fundraising stage, and it’s great to see it now available for sale.

You can also buy a reusable stainless steel limescale catcher* for your kettle. This clever product lives in your kettle and absorbs the calcium carbonate that causes limescale. Every so often, when it turns a white colour, just take it out and give it a wash. Once you’re done, pop it back inside your kettle and you’re good to go again.

Thanks for letting me chat through kettle cleaning with you! Now time for a good old (limescale free!) cuppa I think!

Home, Home and Garden

Seven of the Best Soy Candles For A Sustainable Glow

Today let’s talk soy candles.  And not just any old soy candles.  The best soy candles that are eco-friendly for a cosy and sustainable glow.

The thing I love buying most isn’t ethical shoes. It isn’t houseplants. It’s candles.  On a dark night, there’s nothing better than closing the curtains, dimming the lights, and lighting some soy or beeswax candles to create a lovely relaxing atmosphere. Especially after a hectic day at work or if I’ve spent the day with my young kids, and I’ve finally got them into bed.

What’s Wrong With Standard Candles?

Standard candles I don’t love so much.  Standard candles are made from paraffin wax.  This is a fossil fuel-based petroleum by-product that is made when crude oil is refined into petrol.  As well as being made from non-renewable fossil fuels, burning these kinds of candles can affect your indoor air quality when you burn them.  And that’s before we’ve even covered the artificial fragrances contained in candles, which can hide a cocktail of particularly undesirable chemicals.

Soy candles are made from soy wax.  This is a renewable vegetable wax made from the oil of soybeans.  This means they are petroleum-free, which benefits the environment.  However, soy does have a bad reputation because it is linked to deforestation of the Amazonian rainforest. It’s important to remember that soy is the primary source of protein for most animal feed, and it is the demand for meat that has seen the demand for soy rocket. Approximately 75% of all soy grown is used for animal feed, so it really isn’t the soy candle industry that is driving this deforestation. Burn your soy candles without remorse.

If you want to avoid any Amazonian source soy, then some candle makers do source their wax from EU-based sources. European soy is grown in Italy, France, Romania, and Croatia, so more locally sourced soy is available.

Seven of the Best Sustainable Soy Candles

Two candles on a white background with some purple flowers and a blue text box that says the best soy candles for a sustainable glow

I’ve tried a lot of candles in my time.  Here are six of the best soy candles in case you’re in the market for some candles.  Or maybe you’re like me and candles are your fail-safe thing to buy for people who are really hard to buy for!

In order to help support the running costs of Moral Fibres, this post contains affiliate links, denoted by *. Moral Fibres may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to readers, on items that have been purchased through those links. This income helps keep this site running.

Handmade Candle Co

Handmade Candle Co's amber glass sustainable candles, pictured on a wooden plinth on a bath in a white tiled bathroom full of plants

Handmade Candle Co’s* luxury soy wax candles are hand-poured in Shropshire. Made with 100% vegetable soy wax, these are fragranced with phthalate-free fragrance oils.

Price: from £14

Old Man & Magpie

Old Man and Magpie's soy candle, in sequoia wood fragrance.  The candle is sat on top of a Lonely Planet guide to California book.

Old Man and Magpie* make sustainable soy candles in Manchester. Made using only 100% pure and natural soy wax, alongside phthalate-free essential and fragrance oils, and using cotton wicks, these candles come in beautiful apothecary style and recyclable amber glass jars. 

Price: from £15

Osie Norfolk Soy Candles

Osie Norfolk's candle in a terracotta pot, sitting on top of green book and next to pink dried flowers.

Osie Norfolk’s* beautiful sustainable candles are hand-poured in Norfolk, and are vegan and cruelty-free, as well as palm oil-free. Made from 100% soy wax, they are also scented will all-natural phthalate-free ingredients and essential oils. And for an added eco-friendly bonus, you can buy a candle refill* from Osie for just £7.99 once you’ve burned the candle. Alternatively, you can reuse the lovely terracotta pots for plants in your home or garden.

Price: £7.99 for refills, £18 for the candle and terracotta pot.

Paddy Wax

Paddy Wax, one of the best soy candle makers, candles, sat on a cosy dinner table, next to a stack of plates.

Paddy Wax soy candles, available online from Ethical Superstore*, are one of my long-standing favourites.  I’m currently burning the redwood amber candle, which has a lovely sweet yet earthy scent (derived from essential oils) that I find hard-pushed to describe.

Paddy Wax candles are a little more strongly scented than other scented soy candles I have tried.  I find that a good thing when you are trying to fragrance a larger area, such as a living room.  However, they may be a bit overpowering in a small bathroom, for example.  Save your Paddy Wax candle for fragrance purposes, rather than mood lighting when you’re in the bath!

What I love most about Paddy Wax is that the candles come in a wide variety of holders.   I have had a few of the recycled bottle and apothecary jar candles in the past, and have saved the empty jars for candle making.  I also have a wooden octagon candle pot that has now been reused as a plant pot.  Meanwhile, the ceramic candle, pictured above, could easily be reused as a vase.

Price: from £11.95

Vegan Bunny

Vegan Bunny soy candle in a copper candle tin, sat on top of a pile of pink books.

Vegan Bunny’s* eco-friendly candles tick a lot of boxes. Handmade in Britain from 100% natural and sustainably sourced ingredients, not only are they plastic-free, but vegan and cruelty-free too.

Price: from £10

YR Studio Soy Candles

YR Studio's Into The Woods candle, in a glass jar, sat on a round wicker mat, and surrounded by ferns.

All of YR Studio’s soy candles* are hand-poured in Somerset, using only vegan ingredients that are not tested on animals. Coupled with eco-friendly packaging, including home compostable and water dissolvable packing peanuts made of corn starch, these are a sturdy sustainable swap for standard petroleum-based candles.

Price: from £14.99

PF Candles

PF candle in amber and moss

I’m a fan of PF Candles stylish ethical soy candles*. In particular the amber and moss fragrance. PF Candles are pretty strong smelling, so they are best suited if you want to fragrance a room, rather than wanting to create ambiance through candlelight.

Price: from £24.99

Do you have a particular favourite soy candle brand?

PS: you can also make your own beeswax candles.  It’s really easy.  If you’d rather use soy (perhaps if you’re vegan) then simply replace the beeswax with soy flakes to make soy candles.