How to descale your Nespresso machine

Last Updated on October 2, 2023 by Pablo Barrantes

Over the years, I have had the opportunity to repair and maintain many Nespresso coffee makers. One of the most common problems I have seen is limescale buildup, which often causes water leaks and poor performance of the coffee maker.

Most people are unaware that descaling at the right time can prevent problems in a coffee maker and significantly improve the coffee’s taste.

In this article, I will show you how to descale your Nespresso efficiently so that you can keep it in good condition and always enjoy delicious coffee.

How often should I descale my Nespresso?

It is important to consider several factors to descale a Nespresso coffee machine. The first is the frequency of use, since the more it is used, the greater the accumulation of sediment and minerals throughout the system.

Note: this does not mean it should not be descaled if the coffee maker is used infrequently. In this case, it will be possible to enjoy the coffee maker for a longer period of time before the machine requires maintenance.

Another factor to take into account is the hardness of the water:

  • You should descale your coffee maker every 300 cups if you use hard water.
  • You can make between 500 and 600 coffees if the water has a normal hardness.
  • In the case of filtered water, you can make up to 1000 drinks before needing to descale.

In the manuals of Nespresso coffee machines, you can see how the hardness of the water affects the frequency of descaling, as shown in this image:

Excerpt from the user's manual of a Nespresso Citiz
Excerpt from the user’s manual of a Nespresso Citiz

Nespresso coffee machines are equipped with a control card that can count the amount of coffee prepared, and when descaling is necessary, it issues an alert by means of a warning light.

➡️ To understand how the warning system works and when descaling is recommended, it is essential to read the specific instructions for each Nespresso machine.

In addition to the descaling warning, you should consider the frequency of use, the hardness of the water used, and the taste of the coffee to determine the right time to descale the machine. It is not always necessary to wait for the alert from the coffee machine to proceed with a descaling.

What product is needed to descale a Nespresso?

To descale a coffee machine, you need a specific descaling product. Nespresso offers its own descaling kits that ensure proper maintenance of the system, but you can also purchase universal descalers.

➡️ It is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using the descaling product, as the process may vary depending on the brand and type of product.

Natural alternatives to specific descaling products, such as white vinegar, citric acid, and baking soda, can clean limescale deposits in Nespresso coffee machines.

➡️ Carefully follow the instructions for each method and rinse the coffee maker thoroughly after cleaning to avoid leaving residues in the machine.

How to descale a Nespresso coffee machine step by step

The process of descaling a Nespresso coffee machine is easy, as long as all the necessary steps are carefully followed. Below, we explain in detail each of these steps to decalcify your coffee machine:

  1. Remove the capsules from the machine, including the used capsule container.
  2. Use a container (min 700 ml) under the coffee spout to collect the water the coffee machine expels.
  3. Fill the tank with half a liter of water and add the descaling liquid.
  4. Turn on the coffee maker and place it in descaling mode. This is activated by pressing and holding the Lungo and espresso buttons for 5 seconds.
  5. Once the brewer is in descaling mode, start the cycle by pressing the Lungo coffee button. The mixture will begin circulating through the brewer and flow into the container you placed in the coffee spout. The machine will not stop until the reservoir is completely empty.
  6. When the coffee maker stops because the reservoir is empty, run another descaling cycle by refilling the reservoir with the water the machine has expelled. To do this, press the Lungo coffee button without inserting a coffee capsule.
  7. After the second descaling cycle, thoroughly clean the water tank and fill it with fresh water. Press the Lungo button to rinse the coffee machine.
  8. To deactivate the decalcification mode of your Nespresso coffee machine, press both the Lungo and Espresso buttons again for 5 seconds (or the ones you pressed to put it in decalcification mode, depending on the model you have).

It is important to note that each model of Nespresso coffee machine may have a different method for descaling. 👇Here is an example video for two-button Nespresso:

Written by Pablo Barrantes
I'm Pablo Barrantes, an industrial engineer, and a proud dad to an 8-year-old princess. I'm also a coffee enthusiast who's truly passionate about all things coffee and coffee makers. My enthusiasm has driven me to uncover the hidden secrets of the coffee world, and I'm committed to sharing this knowledge with everyone through my educational blog. In this blog, you'll find valuable and practical information to enhance your coffee experience. What brings me the most joy is knowing that the tips and solutions you discover here will make your coffee moments even more delightful. When I can help you troubleshoot coffee machine issues, and you can savor your coffee without a hitch, it brings a smile to my face.

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