From the ambition of a one-person, office-wide tea-making operation, to the logistics of desk delivery – there’s nothing in the world quite like the office tea round. Of course, COVID-19 made the etiquette of the tea round somewhat cloudy, but with office returns and vaccines on the up, we’re sure the old art of office tea-making will be back in full swing soon.
Speaking of cloudy – your office kettle probably hasn’t had a decent clean in… well, ever. So if you’ve noticed your boiled water’s a little on the cloudy side, it’s time to check for the kettle killer: limescale. But is it bad for you? In this post, we’re finding out why you really need to clean the office kettle, and how to do it properly.
The joy of teatime, made better
The average British office worker will drink 24,648 cups of tea at work over the course of their career. That’s a lot of tea – about ten baths, filled to the brim with the stuff. And that’s because tea is amazing in just about every way. It’s delicious and refreshing at any time of day, usually most enjoyable as a pick-me-up from the dreaded post-lunch slump.
But tea does so much more for the soul. Teatime gives people a chance to connect with their coworkers and build team spirit, providing a valuable break in the day that can boost energy levels and productivity. It’s good for teams, and good for business. So, with all the benefits it brings the body, mind and office community, why would anyone drink tea that’s been made with a dirty office kettle?
Read more – How to Clean the Office Coffee Machine
Put simply, most of us forget how hard the office kettle works and pay little attention to it (until it breaks). We only open our kettles up to fill them, without inspecting them for deposits or for wear. But if you’ve ever poured boiling water into a mug and noticed a familiar dusty aroma coming from it, you’re likely to be smelling mineral deposits – which can not only be a kettle killer, they can make your tea worse.
In many parts of the UK, hard water (with heavy limescale deposits) absolutely punishes kettles, dishwashers, washing machines and plumbing fixtures. Here in Wales, we’re lucky to have soft water – but over time, mineral deposits (including calcium and magnesium-rich minerals responsible for limescale) can build up.
Scaly cups of tea, a dusty flavour and a furry mouthfeel (not to mention stained teeth and mugs) are all results of a dirty kettle. Over time, the deposits in a kettle or hot water urn can cause damage, especially if they cause the element (the part that gets hot in the kettle) to overheat regularly. This happens because mineral deposits reduce the thermal efficiency of the kettle, making it work even harder to boil water.
But the good news is that, while not great for the whiteness of your teeth, these mineral deposits aren’t bad for your insides. In fact, they might actually be providing you with a little extra calcium and magnesium!
The real reason to clean the office kettle is to have better tasting tea – and to make sure your kettle will last for years to come. If you use a hot water urn in your office (trust us, it’s a great time saver!), the principles are exactly the same.
How to clean the office kettle
Cleaning the office kettle is a simple process, but it takes a little time and effort. The key ingredient is acid, which breaks down the mineral deposits into carbon dioxide gas and soluble salt. Household vinegar or lemon juice will do the trick nicely, without damaging the rest of the kettle.
Step 1: wash out the kettle
Make sure the kettle is cool enough to touch before beginning. Scrub or pick away any loose deposits, and use cold water to wash out as much as possible. Take out the particle filter (if it has one – usually near the spout), and drop it inside the kettle for descaling.
Step 2: descale
Now, it’s time for acid. Yes, you can buy purpose-made kettle descaling tablets – but they’re quite pricey for what they are, and they’ll still need thorough rinsing. Plain old vinegar will do the job for pennies, but may take some time to work through a particularly dirty office kettle. If you’re in a hurry, don’t dilute it. You’ll still need at least an hour for it to act.
The acid in vinegar and lemon juice, although weak, will eat through the limescale and mineral deposits, causing the slow, fizzing release of CO2 gas. Once the fizzing has all but stopped, boil the kettle to shake loose anything still clinging on.
And there you have it – a scale-free kettle! But what about that vinegary or lemony smell that’s been left behind?
Step 3: rinse, boil, rinse, boil
Lemon juice leaves a slightly more pleasant aroma than vinegar, but both odours can be eradicated easily with thorough rinsing and boiling.
Once you’ve rinsed it with cold water, cycle the kettle through two full boils, again rinsing thoroughly in between, to get rid of all traces of vinegar, lemon juice and dissolved salts.
Your office kettle should now be back in top working condition – so get a round in!
Professional office cleaning in Cardiff
The Abbey Cleaning Service provides customers with professional office cleaning in Cardiff. Call 029 2067 9323 today – and find out how we can help make office cleaning quick and easy, with minimal disruption to your business.