Not sure how to descale your Nespresso machine? In this blog post, we’ll provide you with tips on how to descale your machine, particularly descaling Nespresso with vinegar.
Nespresso machines are an excellent way to make espresso at home, but how do you clean them? If your Nespresso machine is not descaled regularly, it will start to produce unpleasant-tasting coffee. Not only that, but if the scale buildup on the heating element gets too high, it can result in your machine overheating and breaking down.
What Is Descaling?
Descaling involves removing the scale buildup on the heating element of your coffee machine. It also prevents any new scale from forming, so you can continue to enjoy great-tasting coffee for years to come. Descaling is required when there is a lot of scale buildup on the heating element of your machine because it affects how efficiently your Nespresso machine works.
Why Descale Your Nespresso Machine?
So, why is it important to descale your Nespresso machine?
It’s important to do so because the scale buildup on the heating element can affect how efficiently your coffee machine works. Further, it may get to a point where it will start to produce bad-tasting coffee, which is not something anyone wants.
If you aren’t using filtered water, there’s likely calcium in your water that will cause a lot of scale buildup on the internal and external parts of your machine. For this reason, you need to descale your Nespresso machine regularly.
Descaling safely and effectively removes:
- Water scale buildup
- Other non-soluble deposits
Descaling Your Nespresso Machine: What You Need
Choose 1 of these 3 cleaners to put through your Nespresso machine:
Note: Before you decide on what to use, please check your owner’s manual to see if there are any restrictions or if they recommend another method.
Pros and Cons. What you use to descale your Nespresso machine is entirely up to you. However, here are some pros and cons for each option.
- White Vinegar. Plain distilled white vinegar can be used for descaling. If you decide to choose descaling Nespresso with vinegar, some say that the vinegar descaling work best at a ratio of 25% vinegar to 75% water. Some users and manufacturers recommend up to 50%.
- Pros. It’s cheap.
- Cons. Some say it isn’t that effective.
- Citric Acid. Citric acid is found naturally in citrus fruits like limes and lemons. However, it is also sold in a dry powdered form in markets and grocery stores, and is often called “sour salt” due to its physical resemblance to table salt. It is often used in culinary applications, as an alternative to lemon juice or vinegar, where a pure acid is needed. This is why it is used as a descaler for coffee machines. A popular citric acid descaler recipe has a citric acid descaling ratio of one quart of water to two tablespoons of citric acid.
- Pros. Inexpensive and easy to use.
- Cons. It can create a different kind of build-up within your coffee machine over the longer term.
- Commercial Descaling Product. A commercial descaling product comes with its own directions. If you decide to choose this method, make sure that it will work for your espresso machine and that it says that it is 100% natural.
- Pros. Commercial descaling products, such as the Nespresso Descaling Kit, are specifically made to descale your Nespresso machine.
- Cons. Some commercial descaling products can be quite expensive.
Descaling Nespresso with Vinegar: A Step-by-Step Guide
If you decide to go with the vinegar method but aren’t sure how to do it, don’t here! Below, we provide you with a step-by-step outline for descaling Nespresso with vinegar.
- Prepare your coffee machine. Remove the filter and any coffee grounds. Empty the carafe of any residual coffee grounds. Pour out any remaining water from a previous brew. Throw away the used filter if you haven’t done so already.
- Rinse out the basket. Quickly rinse out the basket with warm water. Doing this ensures that there aren’t any coffee grounds stuck inside of it. If there are coffee grounds that are stuck, wash with soap and then rinse with water. Then, place the basket back in the coffee maker when all of the grounds have been removed.
- Create your vinegar solution. Mix a solution of 1-part distilled white vinegar and 1-part warm water. If your machine call for less vinegar, use whatever amount is recommended. Pour this mixture directly into your coffee carafe. Make enough solution to fill the water reservoir.
Note: Use 1-part vinegar to 2 parts water unless otherwise instructed. However, some coffee machines recommend a lower dose of vinegar in the cleaning solution. You can find out the recommended amount of vinegar for your coffee machine by reading the user’s manual or doing a quick search online. Usually, you can use 1/3 of the vinegar you normally would if your machine calls for less.
- Run a half brew cycle. Press the brew button once the vinegar solution is in the carafe. Watch the coffee maker as it brews to avoid it completing the cycle. Turn off the coffee maker halfway through the brew cycle.
Note: You can use the clean cycle instead of brewing if you have this option on your coffee maker. An automated clean cycle usually starts and stops, allowing different parts of the machine to soak in the solution.
- Let your coffee maker sit for one hour. This allows time for the vinegar solution to tackle any mineral and mold buildup. If you don’t have an hour, it’s okay to let it sit for 30 minutes.
- Finish the brewing cycle. Turn on the brew function again after one hour. Let the rest of the solution brew through the coffee maker. You may see white or brown bits in the water – this is normal and means the vinegar solution is doing its job.
- Rinse your coffee maker. After the coffee maker has finished the complete brewing process, pour the solution down the sink drain. It’s okay if there are still remnants of the solution left in the coffee maker.
Make sure to rinse the carafe thoroughly. Use warm water and soap to clean out the carafe. You can also use a sponge to scrub or you can swish the water and soap around. Pour out the soapy water and rinse with only water to remove soap bubbles when you are finished cleaning.
- Pour fresh water into the carafe. After you’ve rinsed it, pour fresh water into the carafe. Do not mix vinegar with the fresh water. Use the maximum amount of water the coffee maker can brew.
- Run the brew cycle three times. Press the brew button to run a cycle with just water. Allow the entire brew cycle to run. Then, repeat the brew cycle two more times. The water needs to be poured out after each cycle and then refilled. Let your coffee maker cool down for three to five minutes between the cycles. Consider doing 1 to 2 more brew cycles with warm water if you can still smell vinegar.
- Wash the outside of your Nespresso coffee maker with soap and water. Pour out the water after the last brew cycle. Then, remove the carafe and basket from your coffee maker. Clean the whole surface of your coffee maker with a small amount of liquid soap and a microfiber cloth. Rinse everything with clean water when you are done cleaning. Make sure that you clean off all of the coffee stains that may have accumulated over time.
- Clean the outside of the coffee maker with a vinegar spray. If you don’t want to wash the outside of your coffee maker with soap and water, you can also use a vinegar spray. First, fill any spray bottle with white vinegar. Do not dilute the vinegar. Then, spray some of the vinegar onto a cotton cloth. Wipe down the surface of the coffee maker. Use more vinegar if necessary. Finish by rinsing with water.
- Wash the coffee pot and basket. You can hand wash the coffee pot and basket or put them into the dishwasher. To wash by hand, pour some dishwashing soap onto a sponge or rag. Scrub the entirety of the pot and basket. Then, rinse with water. If you’re using the dishwasher, select the gentle cycle for the pot and basket.
- Reassemble your coffee maker. Check to make sure there aren’t any remnants of mold or mineral buildup left. Replace the carafe and basket when you are done cleaning. You are now ready to brew a fresh cup of coffee!
The Bottom Line
Descaling Nespresso with vinegar doesn’t have to be difficult! With the steps outlined above, you can descale your coffee machine, ensure its cleanliness and efficiency, and continue to enjoy good-tasting coffee for years to come.