Can you solve the mystery of smelly kettle water?Water from Russell Hobbs kettle tastes 'revolting'

03 May 2015

Russell Hobbs Ebony 15076 kettle

Russell Hobbs Ebony 15076 kettle 

After receiving a raft of complaints about kettles making the water boiled in them taste disgusting, we need your help to find out why it's happening.

Owners of the Russell Hobbs Ebony 15076 kettle told us that water boiled in it has a plastic flavour which makes it ‘undrinkable’. So to find out why, we sent the kettle back to the lab for chemical tests. 

But although the lab confirmed there was a problem with the smell and taste, it couldn't find the cause. 

After we told Which? members about our tests in the latest issue of the magazine, we received a deluge of emails and discovered that the problem isn’t limited to one model or brand of kettle.

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Kettles and smelly water

The comments we received told us that smelly water isn’t limited to one model or brand of kettle. Besides Russell Hobbs, owners of kettles from brands including Phillips, Breville, Delonghi and Morphy Richards reported having the same problem.

And many of our members have tried lots of methods to cure their kettle, but haven't managed to succeed.

One told us: ‘I have never quite been able to get rid of the metallic taste. I’ve tried boiling bicarbonate of soda and leaving it overnight and using lemon juice. This made a reasonable difference but it doesn’t seem to have been a lasting fix and that metallic taste is still discernable.’

Several people told us that using fresh water helps, as reboiling water created a ‘plastic’ taste. One said: ‘If I do not empty all the water out between uses and rinse it out, it tastes of plastic.’

Can you help us solve the mystery?

We’ve also had lots of suggestions as to what might be the problem, ranging from the material the kettles are made of to chemicals in the water. 

One member said it could be: ‘The plastic of the kettle breaking down in the heat, giving off the smell.’ Another suggested: ‘I feel there is a very strong likelihood that the culprit is the plastic lid.’

Have you had this problem with your kettle? Then we want to know more

Others thought the problem could be ‘caused by the water treatment chemicals’.

Have you had this problem with your kettle? If so, then we want to know more. We'd also like you to do an experiment - please boil some water separately in a saucepan to see if it still has a funny taste.

Let us know how you get on and share your experiences in our conversation about smelly kettle water.

We’ll be looking into this further – keep an eye out for our findings.

Russell Hobbs’ response

We asked Russell Hobbs if it could explain the problem we found with its Ebony 15076 kettle. Russell Hobbs told us that safety was its primary concern and that all its products are thoroughly tested. It apologised ‘to anyone who has had an unsatisfactory experience’ and said that this was an isolated incident. 

Anyone concerned should contact its customer services team.

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