Good Question: How Do I Clean My Vintage Kettle?

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I just won a great vintage Michael Lax tea kettle (yellow kettle in photo). It was super cheap on eBay and unfortunately is nasty beyond use. There were no promises so I can't really fault the seller, but it smells like a mixture of Chanel #5 and cigarettes.

It smells so strongly that I can taste it just by taking the lid off. I haven't even tried to use it yet, but I have tried to clean it. I've boiled a mixture of vinegar and water, let it soak. I've scrubbed it with baking soda. Let it stand filled with baking soda. Tried the vinegar again, etc. You get the idea.

Any other suggestions for saving my purchase? I've just always loved this tea kettle and it would hurt my heart a little to give it up. - Shayna

Wow, our condolences, Shayna! We have never dealt with such a persistent smell on cookware, and we wonder here if time is the only thing that will help. In other words, how long did you let it stand in a baking soda solution? We would suggest overnight.

You can also scrub in the inside with half a lemon and salt - although test a little first, as this may remove any coating or finish.

One other suggestion we came across is salt and cinnamon mixed - scrub thoroughly and let sit overnight, then rinse. Again, be careful as this may scratch the pot.

Other than leaving her pretty new teapot on the shelf as a decorative accessory only, any suggestions for Shayna?

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Faith is the executive editor of The Kitchn and the author of three cookbooks. They include Bakeless Sweets (Spring 2013) as well as The Kitchn's first cookbook, which will be published in Fall 2014. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband Mike.

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