Kettle Maintenance Tips
Now, before we get into kettle maintenance, let's get one thing clear: What's the best tea in Ireland? We’re a nation of tea drinkers and proud of it, but when it comes down to tea choice, we’re divided. With stores in Cork and Waterford, you would think the Irwins Megastore team would be 100% Barry’s tea drinkers. The truth is though, that Irwins harbours green tea drinkers and coffee fans too. It’s a shock, we know.
Good Tea Starts With A Quality Kettle
What the Irwins team is united on is our preference for a good electric kettle. One that boils quickly, regularly and never fails us at tea time. We’re a big team, so our break room kettle has to have the capacity to fill many cups. And, much like any Irish household, our kettle gets used a lot, so it has to be durable.
When choosing a good kettle, consider key factors
- Capacity - is the kettle big enough for your household needs?
- Heating speed - this comes down to preference really but is worth considering if you’re impatient for a cuppa.
- Water level indicator - no more guessing or half cups.
- Ease of use - especially the kettles with extra features like temperature control.
- Cord length - consider where the kettle will be and the nearest plug socket.
- Design - an important consideration if you want it to fit in with your kitchen aesthetic.
- Noise level - again this comes down to preference but some people just like a quiet kettle.
Once you have decided on the important factors, you have electric kettle features to choose from too. Electric kettles now come with some exciting and innovative features. As well as temperature control for ensuring optimal brewing temperature, you choose features like water filters or illuminating glass.
How To Maintain Your Kettle
Of all the appliances in our homes, the electric kettle is possibly used the most. Especially considering that the average Irish adult drinks up to 300 litres of tea per year. So, it’s important to choose a good one and to take care of it. Here are our top tips for maintaining a kettle.
Regularly clean your kettle to remove any mineral deposits, limescale, or residue that may accumulate over time. To do this, fill the kettle half way with equal parts water and white vinegar. Leave it to soak for 1 - 2 hours then empty and scrub the inside of the kettle. Rinse thoroughly with clean water. Do this once every two or three months.
When we’re busy and making hot drinks for everyone, it’s easy to overfill a kettle. Try to avoid this and to only ever fill the kettle with the amount of water you need. Overfilling can damage the kettles heating element which has to work harder to boil the extra water. Doing this regularly can cause your kettle to wear out prematurely. Overfilling a kettle is also a safety risk and can lead to scalding hot water spilling out.
Switching on an empty kettle can also damage the heating element so be sure to check before boiling.
Use Filtered Water
If you’ve noticed small bits of grime floating around your kettle, you probably live in a hard water area. The bits in the water are limescale which can build up inside your kettle and then flake off into the water. Limescale build up can damage your kettle so it is best to avoid using unfiltered tap water.
Some electric kettles now have built in water filters which help alleviate the limescale issue. For kettles without a built in filter, consider investing in a water filter jug. Filtering your water before boiling will help reduce the buildup of limescale and prolong the life of the appliance.
Use A Descaling Product
If you already have limescale build up in your kettle, don’t panic - help is at hand. Commercial kettle descaling products are readily available that are specifically designed to remove limescale from kettles. Follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer for safe usage.
Avoid Submerging Electric Kettles
If you have an electric kettle, avoid submerging it in water or washing it fully in the sink. Instead, wipe the exterior with a damp cloth and ensure the power cord remains dry. Always unplug the kettle before cleaning.
Check the Cord
Regularly inspect the kettle's power cord for any signs of damage or wear. If you notice any issues, have the cord replaced by a professional before using the kettle again.
Be Gentle with the Spout and Lid
Treat the spout and lid of the kettle with care. Avoid forcing them open or closed, as rough handling can cause damage over time. A damaged spout or lid can cause burns or scalds.
When not in use, store the kettle in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight or heat sources. Make sure the power cord is safely away from water sources, cooker tops and out of reach of children.
Routine Maintenance Checks
Periodically inspect your kettle for any signs of wear, loose parts, or leakage. If you notice any problems, address them promptly to prevent further damage.
By following these kettle maintenance tips, you can ensure that your kettle continues to serve you well for a long time.
History Of The Humble Electric Kettle
Did you know kettles have a long history dating back to ancient times? The exact date of their invention is not clear, but they have been used for centuries in different forms.
The earliest known kettles were simple vessels made from clay or metal that were placed over an open flame to heat water. These primitive kettles were used by ancient civilisations long before we Irish became the world's biggest tea drinkers.
However, the design of kettles as we know them today, with a spout and a handle, evolved over time. The first cast iron kettles, similar to what we now consider traditional tea kettles, were developed in the 17th century.
In the 19th century, with the rise of the Industrial Revolution and advancements in manufacturing, kettles became more widespread. Materials like copper and stainless steel started to be used in kettle production, making them more durable and efficient.
Electric kettles were introduced in the 19th - 20th centuries. They gained popularity over time, especially in the latter half of the 20th century, for their convenience and safety.
Since then, kettles have continued to evolve with various designs, features, and materials. Despite the simplicity of their purpose and general design, they are possibly the most popular appliance in Ireland. In fact, 99% of Irish households own a kettle, which raises the question - how do the other 1% make tea?