Maintaining small appliances
Most households use their kettle and coffee machine several times a day. They will generally give years of trouble free service, but by removing limescale, you will be saving energy and ensuring maximum service life.
In some appliances it's very obvious that you have limescale; in others such as coffee machines, you may not see it. If you find that the water flow is reduced, then you should descale it as soon as possible. Failure to do so means that not only are you using more electricity, but you may be straining the pump if the small outlet/filter holes are blocked with limescale.
You can reduce the impact of limescale in mops, steam irons and wallpaper steamers by using filtered or pre-boiled water in . There are also specialist 'water treatment' products available. Using filtered water in coffee machines and kettles will also reduce the problem.
The tell-tale sign of limescale
How to descale your appliances
Thankfully, it's relatively easy to descale your kettle, coffee machine or iron. There are a number of products that you can use and they are all generally one form of acid or another, either in liquid or powder form. They will be labelled as 'limescale remover' or 'descaler'. Powder based products will need to be dissolved in water before they can be used. As a general rule, limescale is more effectively removed when the limescale removal liquid is hot as the chemical reaction between the acid and the alkali limescale deposits are enhanced.
Alternatively you can use mild acids such as white vinegar or citric acid. For mild limescale build up, white vinegar is fine, but citric acid works better on more established limescale.
Some examples of limescale removers:
Descaling a kettle, coffee machine or iron is relatively straightforward and basically involves soaking the limescale in the acidic solution for a short period of time. A warm solution works much better and if the limescale is visible, you will usually see the limescale fizz and disappear before your eyes.
Some coffee machines have a descale function (refer to the instruction manual) - simply follow the instructions. If not just pump through the solution - around 3 cupfuls for a normal domestic coffee maker. Then run some empty clean water through a few times.