Where I live, the water is hard (water with a high mineral content). It tastes hard, it smells hard and it is hard on things such as our hot water service, our kettle and our (beloved) coffee machine. It shortens the life of these items and I would rather take the time to clean them out than replace them.
Two things have made a difference to the life of our appliances – using a water filter before filling them up (obviously not for the larger items like the hot water system) and descaling every three months. Many places in Australia, like Adelaide and Brisbane, don’t have hard water, so you may not need to do it as often but here’s how to do it should you want to!
You will need:
- Citric acid (baking aisle in the supermarket)
- Filtered water
For a kettle:
- Empty out your kettle and refill with filtered water.
- Promise yourself that from now on, you’re only use filtered water.
- Add 2 tablespoons of citric acid to the full kettle.
- Leave to cool for at least an hour or ideally, overnight.
- Give the inside of the jug, including the element, a good scrub, being careful not to bend or dislodge the element.
- Refill (keeping your promise to only use filtered water) and boil one more time, then empty and using it as normal!
For a coffee machine:
- Add 2 tablespoons of citric acid to 1 litre of filtered water.
- Fill the water reservoir with the acidic water and run through the machine. This may take a few cycles.
- Discard the water that’s been through the machine, empty and rinse the reservoir and clean all of the parts of the machine that you can (capsule container if it’s a pod machine, basket if it’s a dripolator, drip tray etc).
- Refill the reservoir with clean filtered water, reassemble the machine and run the entire reservoir of water through the machine.
- Discard that water, then make a coffee as you would before.
- Promise yourself that from now on, you’re only using filtered water.
After the investment you make in a fancy kettle or a new coffee machine, it’s a simple and cheap step to take to learn to descale them. You may not need to do it very often but file this away for when your machine’s performance drops, your kettle gets noisy or when you worry that something is not quite right with your beloved coffee machine, or it’s end product!