An espresso machine is a delicate appliance that creates intense, bold-tasting coffees at a touch of a button. These appliances are generally expensive, which is why coffee aficionados take time to clean and descale their machine's pipes.
Different types of espresso machines have different care requirements. A heat exchanger espresso machine works slightly differently from a super automatic espresso machine or a dual boiler model. Some brands may even have an automatic descaling cycle as well as official descaling solutions to remove the hard water stains and harmful bacteria from your machine.
What You'll Need
Regardless of the type of machine you have at home, it is important for your espresso machine to undergo the descaling process once every few months to keep the coffee machine in tip top condition. You'll need an acidic cleaner such as white vinegar or citric acid to help remove the grime, but many brands have descaling solutions available on the market as well.
- White vinegar OR
- Citric acid OR
- Commercial descaling solution
- Microfiber cloth
- Catch basin
How to Descale Espresso Machine: A Step-by-Step Guide
Step 1: Choose Your Descaling Solution
Vinegar is a safe option, but may leave an off-putting smell in your machine's water tank that requires multiple rinses to remove. However, it is a food-safe and mild option that won't damage the internal components of your espresso machine, especially for sensitive espresso machines.
Citric acid is another food-safe option to descale your espresso machine, but it may be too strong when improperly mixed. It also does not have a smell, making it difficult to know whether you've rinsed out the descaling solution or not.
Commercial descaling solution would be your top pick as these are specially formulated to descale your espresso machines without damaging the internal parts, but they may be difficult to find depending on your area, and the brand of your espresso machine.
Step 2: Apply Your Descaling Solution
Apply your preferred descaling solution into your espresso machine. Place vinegar and water in the water reservoir using a 1:4 ratio, or fill the water reservoir and add 1 teaspoon of citric acid. For the commercial descaling solution, follow the directions on the package of the product.
Step 3: Descale Your Espresso Machine
Descale your espresso machine with vinegar, citric acid, or a commercial cleaner by running a brew cycle. As the solution runs through the machine's pipes, it removes gunk and built up scale from your machine.
Run the solution through the steam wand, the hot water dispenser or hot water valve, and the brew group lever with a low brewing temperature to avoid burning yourself. Use a catch basin to collect the hot water and cleaning solution coming from your machine during the cleaning process. Drain the solution away and get your machine ready for the rinse cycle.
Step 4: Rinse Your Espresso Machine
After descaling your home espresso machine, fill up the water reservoir with filtered water to fully rinse the coffee machine. Allow the clean water to run through the machine to remove any remaining descaling solution.
Similarly, run the water through the hot water valve, steam wand, brew group lever, and any other valve of your espresso maker. This will clear any vinegar, citric acid, or cleaner residue. You may need to rinse 2-3 times to completely remove the remaining water and cleaning solution. Use fresh water when rinsing your coffee maker.
Step 5: Test the Water
Test the water before you use your machine for any smells or acidity. A descaled machine should be able to brew a bolder cup of coffee, as well as heat milk effectively since the hot water wand and steam wand have been declogged. You can now use your espresso machine to whip up lattes and cappuccinos!
As Easy as Coffee
Cleaning your espresso machine can be a time-consuming task, but it keeps your machine durable, long-lasting, and clean! For all your cleaning needs, choose Luce Home as your trusted partner to upkeep your space. Our expert cleaners know how to deep clean every inch of your home so you can enjoy a fresh brew every day!
Check out our blog for more related kitchen appliance cleaning tips and tricks.