Kettle (2x!!) stopped working after cleaning with lemon juice

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mkqq

Assistant Cook
Joined
May 27, 2021
Messages
11
Location
Eindhoven
Hello,

In 2019 I had a Russell Hobb kettle (a few months old) that had some calcium (I think) build up on the bottom. I cleaned it by boiling lemon juice and water in it. The method worked but unfortunately the kettle stopped working right after.

So I bought a new Siemens Kettle. Today I cleaned it the same way (lemon juice and water) and it stopped working right afterwards as well!!!!!

This is obviously not a coincidence. What did I do wrong? Google search results all say that this is a method for cleaning the kettle.

Is there anyway to save this kettle? When I press the ON button to start boiling, it just beeps once and nothing happens.
 

taxlady

Chef Extraordinaire
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near Montreal, Quebec
I have never heard of using lemon juice and water to clean the calcium deposit out of a kettle. I have heard of, and use, white vinegar and water. I have never had a problem with that. I have even run vinegar and water through my drip coffee maker to get rid of mineral buildup. Maybe the lemon juice left some sort of residue. I have no idea, just guessing.
 

Chief Longwind Of The North

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USA,Michigan
It conducts electricity. If it gets on the control circuitry that could do it.

T

With the exception of pure water, all fluids conduct electricity. Though pure water is an insulator, its dielectric breakdown is low, and it will then ionize and conduct water as well. I would suspect that the sugar is fouling up the heat sensor, If it uses a bi-metallic device for regulating temperature, sugars from the lemon juice could gum up the works.

You might try heating water to a boil on your stove, and pouring it through to rinse away any sugar deposits. This is a guess, not knowing how the pot is constructed.

Off topic - do you know why dropping and electric appliance into a pool, or bathtub, with some one in it will electrocute the victim? I mean they are surrounded by a conductive liquid, which is in contact with metal pipes, i.e. ground. Why isn't the water the path of least resistance?

The human body is full of electrolyte saturated fluids, which are much more conductive than is plain water. When in the water, the body is the path of least resistance for current flow. Keep all electric devices away from the tub, and pool.
 

Termy

Senior Cook
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Jun 26, 2021
Messages
303
Location
Parma, Ohio
Yup. Anything in there seems to increase the conductivity.

Many years ago I worked for a high end Sony place, a couple has a camcorder that got dumped in the sea. It was ruined but they got it up anyway.

The right thing to do ? Put it in fresh water, again and again. They were advertising the 8mm alot then and this would have been the poster tape. The tape, even though loaded, the tape that was inside the cassette was in an air pocket.

Same with any electronics, if contaminated water gets in it, rinse the thing many times.

T
 

Chief Longwind Of The North

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Back in my Navy days, I was on the emergency reclamation team on the aircraft carrier - Kittyhawk. There was a time when some fool sailor lit off the overhead fire suppression in the hangar bay. Lots of cockpits were open, and lots of electronics got doused with AFFF, which is corrosive. All the black boxes (anything containing electronics hardware) were sent to me. I had to scrub everything with fresh water, and place the ckt. boards into dryer ovens for 24 hours, then coat them with conformal coating, and put them back into the black boxes to be tested. What a pain that was, and a lot of tedious work.

Electronics can get wet, and survive. It just needs to be cleaned in pure water to remove any unwanted current paths left by mineral residues from the original water, the dried completely. Avoid touching any components, like chips, unless properly grounded to remove any static electricity from your body/clothes, as the micro circuits are MOSFET devices, and a spark so small that you can't even feel it will degrade, or destroy the chip.

Seeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
 

karadekoolaid

Head Chef
Joined
Jul 16, 2006
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1,317
Location
Caracas
I don´t even bother to clean the kettle, but if I did, I´d buy a de-scaling product - which I think is sold to clean steam irons, and removes the calcium deposits.
 

mkqq

Assistant Cook
Joined
May 27, 2021
Messages
11
Location
Eindhoven
Just to clarify. The first time was in the middle of 2019. The second time was yesterday with a kettle that I replaced the broken kettle with from 2019.

Well what do you know this morning the kettle started working again. Last night I left it soaking in some water.

The first time starting was a bit sluggish, it took a few seconds longer than usual to start heating, but afterwards it worked just like before.

There is a small metal RTD (or thermocouple) near the bottom that senses the temperature. I'm guessing that the citric acid caused a major "change" on the surface of the thermocouple and it "confused" the electronics. By soaking it in water (and also trying to clean it with a paper towel), the surface of the RTD would eventually restore itself?
 

mkqq

Assistant Cook
Joined
May 27, 2021
Messages
11
Location
Eindhoven
The website of the electronic store I bought both kettles from actually recommends to clean the clean with lemon juice!
 

dragnlaw

Site Team
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Feb 16, 2013
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7,536
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Waterdown, Ontario
Perhaps, should you be cleaning the kettle again, you might try going with vinegar instead.

I should think that any residue left by the vinegar would more easily be removed/cleaned off than the lemon juice.

I had high mineral deposits on both my kettle and coffee maker from my well on the farm. I was constantly cleaning them with vinegar. If I didn't the coffee maker would slow down horribly and keep sounding as if there was still a bit of water in the bottom to boil. The kettle was more visual, you could see the build up on the coil and they often flaked off and came out when pouring the water out.

Good luck, let us know how it goes next time.
 

Termy

Senior Cook
Joined
Jun 26, 2021
Messages
303
Location
Parma, Ohio
Electronics could be done better, but the bottom line is the bottom line.

I designed an amp or a car that used a power convertor up under the hood. That thing was made so it could operate in salt water just fine.

T
 
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