Household appliances greatly facilitate modern people’s lives. And it’s not just about large appliances, such as washing machine or refrigerator. Invaluable help is provided by small appliances, such as an electric kettle or an iron. And their “health”, that is, the technical state, must certainly be carefully monitored, otherwise the device will break or function poorly.
The biggest problem in small household appliances, the tasks of which include heating water, is scale. All owners of electric kettles know that the heating element gradually gets covered with a dense limescale, and a deposit appears on the bottom of the kettle. And, of course, everyone knows the situation when particles of lime and salts fall out of the steam holes in the iron when ironing, which can easily ruin the linen.
What is scale?
Scale is solid formations on the inner walls of heat exchangers, such as kettles, washing machines, irons, hot-water boilers, evaporators, etc. When the water is heated, the salts in its composition break down into carbon dioxide and insoluble sediment, which accumulates on the walls of the heating elements, gradually leading to the device malfunction. The main reason of scaling of the heating element is excessive water hardness due to high content of magnesium and calcium salts in it.
The scale causes a severe damage to the state of the device: the layer of salts decreases thermal conductivity of the metal, and the heating element has to be heated to a higher temperature to preserve a sufficient amount of heat given to the water. And since there is an increase in the conductor resistance, its power, on the contrary, decreases.
Is it possible to remove scale?
There are many ways to deal with scale in kettles and irons. The most radical is, of course, to dispose of the old one and buy a new device every time. But it is much more reasonable not to bring the situation to the moment when the device is worth only throwing it away, but ensure a timely care for it. This will save money significantly: maintenance of household appliances is much cheaper than buying a new iron or kettle.
Magazines and websites on the Internet abound with “folk” recipes for getting rid of scale in the kettle: boiling with vinegar, brine, citric acid, a solution of soda and vinegar, there are even tips to use potato peelings and sparkling water. The housewives need to decide on their own how effective and acceptable such methods are, but do not forget that any acids have an extremely negative effect on the metal of the heating element, causing its corrosion and damage. In addition, in order to completely get rid of the smell of vinegar or brine, the kettle needs to be boiled and washed more than once after cleaning. It is much easier and safer to use Unicum concentrated descaling agent. With its help, you can easily remove scale from the heating element of the kettle without fear of damaging it.
Life hacks:
You should not wait for a lot of scale to accumulate in the kettle, it is better to remove it when there is little salt on the inner surface of the water tank and the heating element: in this case, a smaller amount of descaling agent will suffice and it will act faster. Depending on the water quality, routine cleaning of the kettle shall be carried out once every 2-4 weeks.
Among life hacks for descaling, you can often see advice to clean the kettle with Coca-Cola. This drink contains phosphoric acid indeed, which dissolves the scale. And then in begins to act upon the metal parts of the kettle, because it is impossible to estimate the correct “dosage” of this caustic drink. In addition, coke dyes the inner surface of the kettle into a yellowish hue, which is extremely difficult to remove.
Problems with iron = problems with clothes.
Scaling in irons is also rather common, but using such appliance becomes inconvenient and dangerous for clothes, since ironing leaves rusty or whitish stains on them. Do not hurry to dispose of a working iron, because scale can and must be removed from it. First of all, we have to find out whether there is self-cleaning function in the iron. As a rule, it is available in absolute majority of modern steam irons. Its principle is simple: the iron can clean itself from the inside, you need to fill in maximum water and turn it on full power. The instructions for self-cleaning procedure shall be given in the user manual to the iron. It should be remembered that the iron will not cool down immediately, and in no case should you touch its hot surface with your hands. The linen also must not be ironed right after cleaning.
Folk “medicine” against scaling.
If the iron has no self-cleaning function or you just don’t want to use it, there’s still no reason for despair. Scale is not a death sentence for an iron.
Here folk recipes recommend using solution of citric acid or vinegar again. This method is similar to self-cleaning procedure:  pour the solution into the iron, then heat it full power and press the steam button. As a result, the solution will act upon the scale deposits, dissolving them. At the same time, the iron will “spit” and bubble with an unpleasant odor. Then pour clean water in the iron in order to wash out the remnants of the solution and scale. Of course, these procedures do not always completely remove acid from the iron inner reservoir, and it begins to corrode its walls, which can lead to the iron fault.
Another popular method to remove scale in the iron is to use cleaning stick for iron soleplate. The device shall be preheated, then iron plate is rubbed with the cleaning stick. To remove scale, you have to iron an unnecessary piece of cloth and let the steam come out from the holes. At the same time, just as in the case of citric acid or vinegar, this process will be accompanied by a strong specific odor which can easily cause headache.
You can use the above methods to remove scale in iron, or you can use Unicum descaling agent again. It does not cause unpleasant odors and fully removes deposits of scale and rust in irons. The agent is totally safe for chrome plated, inoxidable and nickel coatings. It contains nanoparticles of silver, which protect the water reservoir from growth of malignant microorganisms.
Life hack: As always, genius is simplicity. To reduce intensity of scaling in the iron reservoir by more than 4 times, use filtered water or special distilled UNICUM water!