Picture of the Farberware 104556 Cordless Electric Kettle, showing the large mouth and attached hatch lid.

How to Clean Stainless Steel Tea Kettle




We’ve heated gallons upon gallons of hard and soft water for tea and hot cocoa making, with our Hamilton Beach Stainless Steel Tea Kettle. In this post, we show how to clean stainless steel tea kettle with baking soda or vinegar. We’ve cleaned our stainless kettles many times. We also discuss how to keep the stainless steel kettle clean to begin with.



We’ve found that without routine cleaning, metal kettles can get brown or white stains. This happens a lot when you brew the tea directly in it after the water boils. That unsightliness can be hard to remove. So, wanting to keep that shiny, new look as long as possible, we looked for ways that would keep our stainless steel tea kettle spiffy. The tips listed next, we’ve found work quite well.

How to Clean Stainless Steel Tea Kettle? Keep it Clean to Start With

With minimal periodic cleaning, powered kettles, since they’re metal and / or glass, are easy to keep tea stain free. Your first strategy against hard water build up? Do not allow them to build up in the first place. Clean your stainless steel kettle after every use. Make sure to unplug it first of course. Don’t let any beverage dry inside.

Regular dish detergent (for the sink, not the dishwasher) works well for general purpose and mild stain cleaning.

But if your kettle still smells of tea after cleaning than you did not clean it well enough. So, repeat the steps again. Your kettle may need several tries, or a stronger soap too.

You can also try baking soda, lemon juice, vinegar, or citric acid, to effect serious descaling and odor removal.

How to clean stainless steel tea kettle with baking soda. Picture of a 2 pound box of Arm & Hammer pure baking soda, front view.
How to clean stainless steel tea kettle. Arm & Hammer pure baking soda, 2 pound box, front view.

In the very worst cases of stubborn calcium deposits, we suggest trying Lime-A-Way. This is a very harsh hard water deposit remover. So we only apply it as a last resort. Further, do not use this cleaner unless the kettle’s instruction many says that it is safe. Even then, put a drop on a hidden area. Then, wait a few minutes to see if the area changes color, grows rough, or shows other signs of damage. If so, do not use Lime-A-Way.



Follow Users Guide Instructions for How to Clean Stainless Steel Tea Kettle

Most tea kettles come with an owners guide, with detailed cleaning procedures. First and most importantly, follow them, as the manufacturer probably knows best how to clean their kettles effectively. Their tips and advice, in all circumstances, supersede any tips offered here. Many recommend nothing stronger than a squeeze of dish detergent. Do not worry about this creating an aftertaste. It will not if you rinse the stainless kettle and parts well.

How to clean stainless steel tea kettle. Picture of the Hamilton Beach 40891 stainless steel tea kettle, Disassembled, showing the kettle, strainer, lid, and power stand.
How to clean stainless steel tea kettle. Hamilton Beach 40891 stainless steel tea Kettle, Disassembled, showing the kettle, strainer, lid, and power stand.

The picture above displays a typical tea kettle, completely taken apart. We have the lid, strainer, kettle stand with power cord, and the kettle itself. Clean each piece with the right cleaners. Plus, handle the pieces carefully while you work. We discuss in detail below.

Avoid Scratching and Rubbing Stainless Steel Surfaces Too Hard

Stainless steel finishes resist staining as long as you do not scratch or mar them. So avoid scouring with any rough cleansers, gritty pot scrubbers, steel wool pads, and bathtub cleaners. Avoid any metal scrubbers, such as wire brushes or burnishing tools. Even plastic or Nylon scrubbers can scratch and rub off finishes. So use them sparingly on stainless steel, chrome, and plastic parts. Save these for the really tough stains, and rely primarily on your dishcloth for routine cleanup.



Throw Out that Old Beverage

Also, keep your electric tea kettle clean by dumping unwanted, unused beverages right away. Best not to let hot drink stand in the tea kettle for long. Doing so can “bake in” that pesky yellow-brown color.

How to clean stainless steel tea kettle. Picture of the Chef's Choice 6772 stainless steel tea kettle, removed from the power stand.
How to clean stainless steel tea kettle. Chef’s Choice 6772 stainless steel tea kettle, Removed from the Power Stand

How to Clean Stainless Steel Tea Kettle? Try Soaking with Hot Water and Baking Soda

White baking soda may not completely descale your tea kettle. How well it works depends on the amount and type of minerals in your water. If it does not, then try adding two tablespoons of baking soda. This, along with a bit of dish soap, may do the trick.



Do not boil with soapy water. This quickly creates a sudsy mess. Plus, the suds erupt like a volcano out of the spout and around the lid too.

Many report that automatic dishwasher soap (E.g. Cascade) added to a full kettle of boiling water removes deposits well. When allowed to mellow until the water cools this soap really lifts those deep brown stains well. Plus, it works safely as well. It’s does not scratch and is gentle on glassware, china, and stainless steel. So it is safe to use on your glass and metal tea kettles.

How to clean stainless steel tea kettle. Picture of the Farberware 104556 stainless steel tea kettle, operating. Shows the blue LED pilot lamp glowing, and the water gage adjacent to the handle.
How to clean stainless steel tea kettle. Farberware 104556 stainless steel tea kettle, operating. Shows blue LED pilot lamp glowing, and the water gage adjacent to the handle.

Stainless Steel Tea Kettles Need Not Be Perfectly Clean

Some brown staining on the interior does not adversely affect the flavor of the tea brews. So you need not keep your kettle spotless. Prevent buildup of the loose residues and minerals that build up after even one use. Then your fresh brewed tea and cocoa will taste just fine.

Besides, a brown cast on the water handling parts means (to some) a well-seasoned kettle. A seasoned kettle brews better tasting hot drinks than those brand new, stain-less kettles.

General Cautions and Warnings for How to Clean Stainless Steel Tea Kettle

Disconnect the power before cleaning. Even in cordless stainless teakettles, water and electricity do not mix. Otherwise, you could receive an injurious electric shock.

Also, do not immerse any parts of the kettle unless they’re submersible. You can dunk lids and strainers. But keep the kettle itself and the stand out of the water. Just fill the kettle with the cleaner. Then, let it mellow until clean. Wipe the stand with a damp soapy cloth. Then wipe it again with a clean rinsed cloth. Soak the spout strainer and lid in the sink if these become too soiled.

Note that procedures that work well for an aluminum vessel may be inappropriate for a stainless steel teakettle. So, apply the right techniques to your particular kettle. Again, consult its users manual for appropriate cleaning tips and advice.

No harsh chemicals. Avoid using acids, drain cleaners, and any strong smelling or fumy compounds. They can damage or even soften any plastic components (handles, knobs, Etc.). Plus, solvents can discolor the stainless steel finish and dull its shine.



When small amounts of vinegar do not work, heat a full-strength load in their tea kettles. This often works better than the half-and-half solution with water for thick deposits. When you have lots of scale and other hard water deposits, try strong vinegar. While this probably will not harm the teakettle, it smells horrific! If you must boil undiluted vinegar, place your kettle outside. Then, let it boil there, where the moving air will carry away that sour vinegar odor.

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Revision History

  • 2018-04-16: Originally published.