I probably shouldn't have cleaned my electric kettle with bleach???

The coil of my electric kettle turned brownish after letting bleach soak a bit. I’m not sure if it is safe to use now? I have no idea…. I’m smacking myself in the head now.. I wasn’t thinking. sigh.

19 Replies
AJ said

Bleach is a strong oxidizer, and steal contains a good amount of iron; I would throw it out, because even if you can get the coil out and a heavy-duty sander to it to remove the outer rust layer, altering the coil like that would void any warranties and make the kettle very unsafe for use.

On top of that, bleach can react with some plastics, or at the very least could sink into it (so if your kettle’s plastic—as I believe the majority of electric kettles are). Both could cause an unpleasant flavour in the water. Rust itself isn’t POISONOUS, really, but it’s still not something you should be consuming.

Wait a second.. what about that commercial that shows bleach being used on plastic pet food and water bowls or babies toys that they chew on?

I ask because you said bleach could soak into plastics.. it doesn’t seem very safe for pets or babies then…

Uniquity said

I presume that said commercial was advertising bleach, as in general, it’s not a good thing to use. And definitely not on anything that you can end up ingesting (anything you drink or eat out of). I doubt you’ll keel over but in a world of toxic everything you might as well eliminate as many factors as possible.

Twynk said

Clorox advertises their “Clorox Anywhere Hard Surface” for pacifiers, etc. There is no way I would use that on anything meant to go in someone’s mouth, let alone an infant.

Caitlin said

I think the commercials suggest a ridiculously small amount for a gallon of water so its super diluted, but I still couldn’t see using it on something that might be ingested.

AJ said

It does depend on the plastic (certain types outright react with bleaches, while bleach can tend to stick to others), but that’s the extent of my chemistry knowledge in that area.

And yeah, as Caitlin pointed out, most of the commercials mean (but don’t say or imply) for you to use only very diluted amounts of bleach when cleaning food-related items. Mostly only for sanitation. There’s lots of laws about what you can and can’t claim in commercials, and I suppose there just isn’t one prohibiting the advertisement of bleach as a food-safe cleaning agent. Bleach in very small quantities like that isn’t enough to cause serious harm (you’d have to drink something pretty concentrated), just some irritation of the stomach, and nausea. Vomiting if it’s bad enough.

If it cleans up well enough, I’d probably try filling it with water, boiling it, pouring it out and repeating that a few times. Hopefully getting rid of whatever bleach is left. I suppose after that, it’s only a matter of does it still make the water taste bad.

thanks everyone for the replies. I still can’t believe I put bleach in it. Believe me, I HOPE I’m thinking a bit more than that when I’m using bleach…

Well, I have drank tea out of my bleached tea pot and I’m still alive and well! That will never happen again, argh.

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I scrubed the coil with a sponge after soaking it in plain water, and the coil seems better.. most of the rust is gone. I’m soaking it in vinegar now. I can’t believe I just put bleach in it. I don’t even like to use bleach for cleaning…

Uniquity said

I feel like your only risk (if you have all the rust off now) is that it would be more likely to rust again in future. Mostly a grotty taste issue.

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Jillian said

Question for you guys – if not bleach, then what would you use to clean out an electric kettle?

My kettle is starting to look a little skungy inside after so much use. The directions on the box said not to immerse it in water and I don’t want to use anything that might transfer its flavour to the water I’m boiling.

I would try a mix of baking soda and vinegar – make it like a paste, and let it sit a little. It should be slightly fizzy. I haven’t used it inside my kettle, but I use it inside my teapot and cups – it acts sort of like an all natural “scrubbing bubbles” and gets the gunk off. I’ve also heard adding some lemon juice, and even using the lemon as a sort of scrubber helps. I haven’t had to go that far myself :)

Kristin said

vinegar

PeteG said

I totally agree with JacquelineM…safest way to clean anything!!!! You will continue to enjoy your teapot/cups and health! Grandma knew what she was talking about…

Jillian said

Thanks for the advice guys, I’ll give it a try. :)

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Uniquity said

I’ve always used vinegar mixed with water for cleaning things like that. My Mum still cleans her dishwasher and coffeepot with vinegar water, using it much like others use bleach.

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VegTea said

I would definitely use vinegar. Bleach won’t be effective at removing scale, anyway. You would only need bleach for disinfecting, and if your kettle is only used for water, it doesn’t need to be disinfected.

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elemental said

Citric acid is best, but vinegar works well and is cheap and easy to obtain. Just mix with warm water and let it set over night. If there is a lot of scale you have to do it more than once. Be sure that you do not use either one on anything made of aluminum (which you shouldn’t be using anyway). If you have a ceramic/glass pot or cup with tea stains, try using denture cleaning tables. Use warm water, drop in 1-2 tablets and let set over night, and the tea stains will wipe of easily with a paper towel — again, not for aluminum.

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ashmanra said

I read that you can use denture tablets in really hot water to clean tea stains out of a tea pot. Perhaps it would work for this as well. In my pots and pans I use white vinegar or lemon juice. To scour I use baking soda, or if it is cast iron I use salt.

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