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Is it really OK to use lemon to clean limescale in electric kettle? Will that accelerate metal oxidation?

Is it really OK to use lemon to clean limescale in electric kettle? Will that accelerate metal oxidation?

fluffy_potatoes

It should be fine, iron is pretty resistant to citric acid, and if it's stainless steel nothing will happen. And even if you got a small amount of iron corroded and some stayed even after washing it won't be a problem as iron isn't particularly toxic


transplanetary

Thanks!


K--beta

This should be fine. Lemon juice is a pretty weak acid and as long as you don't leave it in the kettle after you boil it (and rinse it when you're done) there won't be a lot of time for it to react with the steel. I've been doing this with vinegar in my kettles for years and the heating elements are still fine.


transplanetary

Thanks!


FeatureIsNotABug

Citric acid and limescale will form water insoluble complexes when boiled together, so while no toxicity or oxidation concerns occur, it will create deposits that are harder to clean. If you clean with lemon juice, use hot, but not boiling water to avoid this


mouzie17

What reaction creates a worse problem?


K--beta

Huh? Limescale is largely calcium carbonate, which when reacted with citric acid--at pretty much any achievable temperature--will produce CO2 and (relatively) soluble calcium citrate. It's true that calcium acetate is much more soluble, so OP may get better results with vinegar, but it's unlikely OP has enough accumulated carbonate where the produced calcium citrate wouldn't be soluble in boiling water.


FeatureIsNotABug

The calcium forms a dicitrate chelate complex at lower temperature and at a lower pH, wich is very soluble. But if you heat it to boiling temperature, it forms calcium citrate salt, which is much less soluble. But sure, you're right. This is more of a concern in closed pipe systems with pumps like in a coffee machine


reflUX_cAtalyst

....no. Limescale is calcium carbonate. It will form calcium citrate and carbon dioxide on contact. It will be a soluble salt, and a gas. No solid deposits will be created.