A weirdly paranoid question: did I ruin my electric kettle?
December 1, 2015 2:59 PM   Subscribe

I think I might have misused the cleaning solution for my electric kettle, and need it confirmed that I didn't because I'm a very, very special snowflake.

I purchased Capresso Cleaning Solution. Instructions are as follows:

Dissolve 1 oz (28 g) of descaler with 32 oz (1 L) of water and pour mixture into kettle. Allow mixture to sit inside the kettle for 20-30 minutes. Pour Cleaning Solution out and rinse the kettle 2-3 times with fresh, clean water.

Instead of letting it sit for 20-30 minutes, I let it sit overnight. I then poured it out, took care of something, and forgot about it. Later that day, I rinsed it once or twice with fresh water. I then left some more water in it. That was about a few weeks back, and it's still about 2/3rd full of water.

Do I now have a bunch of unhealthy cleaning solution stuff baked into my electric kettle? Should I just clean it again, this time exactly as indicated by the instructions, in the hopes that'll reset it? And yes, I realize this is paranoid and ridiculous - it's been a rough month. Thanks for your help.
posted by Ash3000 to Food & Drink (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Unless you turned on your kettle during the cleaning process, I wouldn't worry about it. You let it sit longer than usual and didn't rinse it out right away; neither issue is a problem, IMO.
posted by correcaminos at 3:03 PM on December 1, 2015 [2 favorites]

I don't think you hurt the kettle and rewashing with the cleaner won't 'reset' the kettle. I'm pretty sure that 20-30 minutes was the minimum amount of time it takes to get scale out of the kettle.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 3:04 PM on December 1, 2015

I would boil the kettle and pour the liquid away a few times, and then just use it as normal. I've not used that particular cleaning solution, but I have used [whatever option is cheapest on the shelf] and used the method above will no ill effects whatsoever for at least 20 years.
posted by Solomon at 3:04 PM on December 1, 2015

I cannot find the MSDS for the Capresso product specficially, but based on the picture here, I think that it is the same product as Dezcal Descaler, which is apparently 60% citric acid -- like from lemons.

Give it another rinse (just to get rid of stale water) and you'll be fine.

The 20-30 minute instruction was to make sure that people actually gave it time to do its work.
posted by sparklemotion at 3:15 PM on December 1, 2015 [7 favorites]

Yeah just rinse thoroughly. In future, just add a cup vinegar to a full pot of water. Boil. Drain rinse. Save your money
posted by Ftsqg at 3:36 PM on December 1, 2015 [10 favorites]

Personally I'd be a bit skeeved, but wouldn't consider the kettle ruined. I think I'd wash it with soap, then boil and discard water mixed with baking soda to neutralize any acids, and then boil and discard water mixed with vinegar to dissolve any salts, and then boil and discard a few more kettles full. I'm using pseudoscience to plan my hypothetical course of action here, by the way, but that's honestly what I'd do.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 5:36 PM on December 1, 2015

Soap isn't going to get descaler out, that would actually make the kettle kind of gross actually.. If you want you could always rinse with a baking soda solution which would neutralize any remaining acid - regardless of whether it's citric or acetic or whatever, all descalers are going to be some sort of reasonably safe, mild acid.

But a few rinses with fresh water and everything should be fine.
posted by GuyZero at 8:31 PM on December 1, 2015

My scale theory is the scale is good. It covers the largely aluminum element. Washing the kettle with soap should be enough.
posted by Oyéah at 9:58 PM on December 1, 2015

Look inside your kettle. Do you have a metallic element? If so, does it appear pitted or rough? Does the plastic appear brittle or cracked? Those are the only things I can think of that prolonged acid exposure will do to a kettle.

I would rinse it out a couple of times, wipe over the outside, then boil it full of water and discard the water once and then use it.

Don't start putting other stuff in it - you're only going to make it worse.
posted by kadia_a at 11:00 PM on December 1, 2015

I think your kettle's probably going to be fine. At least you didn't do what my wife did to us: filled up the kettle with descaling solution, then forgot about it, so when I made Tom Yum soup the next day, I made it with hot hydrochloric acid. The soup tasted quite odd, and she kept complaining that I'd put "too much lime" in...

It wasn't until the day after, when we boiled water to cook pasta, that she realised what had happened.

How we laughed!
posted by ZipRibbons at 12:20 AM on December 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

I do this all the time, it's fine. Just rinse it out thoroughly.
posted by Polychrome at 2:51 AM on December 2, 2015

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