How to descale your Nespresso machine

For years, I have repaired and maintained numerous Nespresso machines, often facing the problem of limescale build-up. This issue not only causes water leaks and decreases the machine’s performance but also negatively affects the taste of the coffee. Many users are unaware that timely descaling can prevent these problems and enhance the coffee experience.

In this article, I will share a simple and effective method to descale your Nespresso machine. Additionally, I will guide you step by step so you can keep your machine in optimal condition and always enjoy excellent quality coffee.

How often should I descale my Nespresso?

Descaling your Nespresso anytime is possible, as the machine allows you to start the descaling process as necessary. However, you also have the option to wait until the coffee maker itself indicates the need for descaling through a specific light code.

To descale a Nespresso machine, it is crucial to consider several factors:

  1. Usage frequency: The more the Nespresso is used, the greater the accumulation of sediment and minerals in the system. Even if the machine is used infrequently, descaling is still necessary. Although maintenance is less frequent in these cases, it should not be neglected, as it helps to prolong the machine’s lifespan.
  2. Hardness of the water used:
    • With hard water, Nespresso advises to descale the coffee maker every 300 coffees.
    • If the water is normally hard, descaling should be done after making between 500 and 600 coffees.
    • For coffee makers that use filtered water, it is recommended to descale after approximately 1200 coffees.

In the Nespresso instruction manuals, 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 machines have a control system that counts the amount of coffee prepared. When it is time to descaling, the machine emits an alert through a luminous warning.

However, besides this warning, it is important to consider other factors to determine the optimum time for descaling. These include the frequency of use of the coffee maker, the hardness of the water used, and the taste of the coffee. It is not always necessary to wait for the coffee maker’s warning light to perform a decalcification, especially if changes in the performance or taste of the coffee are detected.

➡️ I recommend this article: Differences between Nespresso Vertuo and Original.

What product is needed to descale a Nespresso?

To descale any coffee maker, you do NOT need a specific descaling product, despite what the brands usually say. Nespresso offers its descaling kits that guarantee proper system maintenance, but you can also purchase universal descalers or use white vinegar.

➡️ However, if your coffee machine is under warranty, it is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using the recommended descaling product, as the process may vary depending on the brand and type of product.

How to descale a Nespresso coffee machine step by step

Descaling your Nespresso coffee machine is simple if you follow these steps carefully. Below, we guide you through each step in detail to ensure that your Nespresso machine works optimally:

  • Preparation of the Nespresso machine: Start by removing all the coffee pods, whether you have any in the brewing unit or the used pod container.
  • Preparation of the work area: Place a container with a minimum capacity of 700 ml under the coffee spout to collect the water during the descaling process. Also, place a clean cloth nearby to catch any splashes.
  • Preparation of the descaling solution: Fill the tank of the coffee maker with half a liter of water and add the descaling liquid following the manufacturer’s instructions. Mix half water and half vinegar if you use white vinegar as a natural alternative.
  • Activation of the descaling mode: Turn on your Nespresso machine and activate the descaling mode by pressing and holding the lungo and espresso buttons for 5 seconds.
  • Start the descaling process: Once in descaling mode, start the cycle by pressing the lungo button. The descaling solution will circulate through the machine and be collected in the prepared container. This process continues until the reservoir is empty.
  • Second descaling cycle: When the Nespresso stops, and the reservoir is empty, perform a second cycle by filling the reservoir with the water already used and pressing the Lungo coffee button again without placing a capsule.
  • A final rinse of the Nespresso: After the second cycle, clean the reservoir well and fill it with fresh, clean water. Perform a rinse by pressing the lungo button.
  • Deactivation of the descaling mode: Finally, deactivate the descaling mode by pressing the lungo and espresso buttons again for 5 seconds or according to the specific procedure of your Nespresso coffee machine model.

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

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

Frequently Asked Questions:

How often should I descale my Nespresso?

The frequency of descaling depends on the hardness of the water and the use of the machine. Generally, it is recommended every 300 cups with hard water, 500-600 cups with water of normal hardness, and up to 1200 cups with filtered water.

How do I know when I need to descale my Nespresso?

Nespresso machines have a warning light system that indicates when descaling is necessary. However, it is also important to pay attention to changes in performance or the taste of the coffee.

What products should I use for descaling?

Nespresso recommends using official descaling products, but if your coffee maker is no longer under warranty, you can use natural alternatives such as white vinegar, citric acid, or baking soda.

How does descaling affect the quality of the coffee?

Regular descaling significantly improves the taste of coffee by removing the build-up of scale, which can interfere with the coffee maker’s performance and the drink’s quality.

Is it difficult to descale a Nespresso?

No, descaling a Nespresso is not difficult. The process begins by activating the descaling mode on the coffee maker, which is done by pressing two specific buttons (usually the lungo and espresso coffee buttons) for 5 seconds. Then press the Lungo coffee button, and the descaling will begin.

What happens if I don’t regularly descale my Nespresso?

Failing to descale the coffee maker can lead to problems such as water leaks and poor performance, reducing the machine’s efficiency and affecting the coffee’s quality.

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Written by Pablo Barrantes Nevado
I am Pablo Barrantes, a coffee lover. I decided to start this website to solve all the doubts that arise every day when preparing our favorite drink: coffee. I am an industrial engineer by profession, but I have worked in coffee shops for many years, where I have learned all the secrets about coffee machines and coffee. My passion for coffee has led me to investigate and study beyond the obvious, and thanks to this, I can offer solutions and give news about coffee and coffee makers. I hope you enjoy reading as much as I research, document and write here.

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