6 Appliances That Need Descaling
Descaling can keep your appliances in tip-top condition so that they’re working to their maximum potential. If you don’t regularly descale them, they can eventually get blocked. Worse still, they can become more susceptible to germs and other bacteria. Here are some tips on dealing with those appliances which need particular vigilance, together with some advice which will cost you virtually nothing.
1. Steam iron
It is relatively easy to see the build-up of limescale on a steam iron. If not treated it can leave stains or streaks on your garments and may start to sputter and spit sporadically. It’s best not to let it get to that stage, which is easy to do in the following way. First, ensure you empty the iron before switching it on, using its ‘cotton’ setting. Next, pour in a pre-prepared mixture of water with vinegar in a 2:1 ratio. Switch the iron off, positioning it over a pot or sink, then allow the solution to filter through its steam vents. Lastly, clean the iron and fill it with distilled water, allowing this to filter throughout the iron and purge out those final elements of vinegar.
2. Electric kettle
Your electric kettle is continually prone to build-ups of calcium which leave that nasty limescale scarring you can see on its heating element. Every few months, fill the kettle about a quarter full with vinegar or lemon juice; either will do. Leave it for about 60 minutes or even longer if there is extensive limescale. Then, add enough water to fill the kettle and switch it on. Pour out and rinse; boil again but only with water. Voilà!
3. Coffee maker
Depending on how much coffee you drink, you may need to descale your coffee maker every few months, as well. Follow the same lemon or vinegar technique as for the kettle, but thoroughly scrub the plastic interior of your coffee machine once you’ve put it through a few brew cycles near the end of that process.
This is another part of your house which is constantly exposed to running water, so is in need of regular de-scaling in order to cleanse it from any limescale build-ups and/or bacteria. Lemon and/or vinegar can be your weapons of choice, yet again, as you unscrew then dunk the showerhead into a bowl of it. Leave it there for at least a few hours, then screw back on and turn your shower on – full blast. Some showerheads can’t be unscrewed; in that case, wrap a small sandwich bag around it after filling that bag with lemon/vinegar mixture, held in place with a rubber band. An old toothbrush can remove any remaining traces of limescale once done, while a toothpick or pin can be used to dislodge any lingering detritus from the shower head’s micro-holes.
5. Washing machine
Limescale is obviously going to be a factor in your washing machine, particularly in areas where the water is on the harder side, heavier in magnesium and calcium; the heating element, water filter, drum, and pipes can all be affected. This will affect how soft your clothes become after being washed.
First, run a hot water cycle on the highest and hottest temperature, perhaps washing the dispenser with bleach. Next, insert a cup’s worth of baking soda and complete the cycle. With a damp cloth wipe down the insides of your machine when it’s done. Lastly, do all of this again but this time with white vinegar in lieu of baking soda. It’s fairly low maintenance and obviates the need for you to purchase an expensive store-bought product.
Your dishwasher is a major source of help but also, annoyingly, limescale. You need to totally empty your dishwasher and ensure that absolutely no bits of food or crumbs remain. Unscrew and remove the filter and thoroughly scrub it with a firm toothbrush and dishwasher detergent. Then, fill an empty bowl with vinegar and place it on the machine’s upper rack. Run a cycle on ‘regular’. Once this cycle is complete, open it up and sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda all over the bottom metallic area of the dishwasher. Run a ‘short’ cycle and then leave it open all night so that all odors are pleasingly purged away.
Overall, be regular in your anti-limescale treatments, and your appliances will remain at their maximum efficiency and cleanliness. Your tea and coffee will taste better, your clothes will feel softer, your dishes and cutlery will be gleaming and polished, and you will find your iron is absolutely effective. The lifespan of these costly products will be elongated and you won’t be having to replace them as often. As you can see, you can do it without having to resort to fancy products from your store, some of which contain strong chemicals and require you to trash yet another piece of plastic that might not be recyclable.