Does your kettle make water smell and taste awful? Find out what could be causing it, and get tips to help you try and fix the problem.
The issue of smelly kettles is one we've been trying to solve for years, and it's a lot more complicated than it may seem. It could be caused by your kettle, your water supply, or even a combination of the two.
Thankfully none of the funky smells coming out of your kettle are a danger to your health, so at worst you'll have to put up with a few iffy cups of tea before the problem is resolved.
Smelly kettles are a far more common problem than you might think. In our recent , a handful of respondents told us that they had issues with their kettle developing a strange smell in the last few years.
Judging by the results of our survey, it's more common in some brands than others, although a large number of brands were affected.
If your kettle has any loose plastic parts inside, it could be worth removing those and boiling it again to see if they're part of the problem.
Many brands use plastic water level indicators that can be taken out without damaging the kettle - although double-check this won't void your warranty before you do it.
There are a few different things you can try if your kettle starts to smell a bit funny.
Your first port of call when faced with a funky scent is to give your kettle a good deep clean. Remove any build-up from the inside, give it a good scrub and make sure there's nothing in there that shouldn't be.
Rogue limescale won't usually have a distinct smell, but it can make your water taste funny and give it an unexpected crunch if left untreated for too long. Descaling your kettle can make a huge difference, so head to our guide on for more info.
2. Try using filtered water
A water filter will help remove any impurities that are making your kettle smell weird. They're a cheaper alternative to using bottled water and just as effective.
If you do decide to start using filtered water in your kettle, make sure you look after your water filter jug to avoid the problem happening again. Clean your water filter jug regularly - white vinegar is good for this, and ordinary washing-up liquid and water are fine too. You should also replace the filter regularly, as per the manufacturer's instructions.
Water companies add chlorine to our drinking water to prevent the spread of waterborne diseases. It isn't dangerous to drink, but it is one of many things that could contribute to a smelly kettle.
To remove the taste or smell of chlorine from your water, some water companies recommend storing it in a covered container in your fridge before using it. Which? scientist Monika Gil says the chlorine will evaporate more quickly at room temperature, and even more so if you put the water in a container with a wide opening, such as a jug. Cover the container with a clean cloth or another breathable material rather than an airtight cover.
Leaving your water to stand for a few hours like this will allow any excess chlorine to evaporate but it won't kill any bacteria - in fact, the lack of chlorine can cause bacteria to build up after 24 hours, so be sure not to leave the water for too long before using it in your kettle.
There are many other things that could contribute to your water starting to smell. According to Thames Water, different odours can point to different issues, for example:
If there has been any disturbance to your pipework, you may experience issues with your water for a few hours. If it doesn't return to normal after running your tap for two to three minutes, you should contact your local water board to report the problem.
Experiencing an issue when boiling water can be really frustrating, but even if you're not 100% clear on what's causing the problem, you might be able to return your kettle.