DIY Instructions for Cleaning and De-scaling Your Nespresso® Machine

Drinking delicious Café Liegeois espresso made in your Nespresso® machine is way more fun than cleaning the coffee maker, of course. However, periodic deep cleaning and de-scaling of your machine will keep the Nespresso®machine working efficiently and the coffee tasting its best.

Café Liégeois Coffee Capsules Compatibles with Nespresso MachinesEvery time you make espresso in your machine, the hot water leaves a calcium carbonate deposit behind called scale or lime scale. Over time this build up will begin to slow your Nespresso’s brew time and take away from the flavor of the espresso. Nespresso offers a cleaning kit for $15 that will allow for (2) deep cleaning sessions. If you are busy and do not mind the cost, this is a great alternative for your bi-annual de-scaling.  We at Café Liegeois are all about keeping our coffee budget in check without losing any of the quality we enjoy. To that end, we have two effective home recipes for cleaning our Nespresso machines.

In order to remove lime scale it is necessary to use some sort of acid. Do not be scared! Acid is present in food-safe solutions. We recommend using vinegar or citric acid. Citric acid may be found at health food stores, but lemon juice that is strained of pulp (think of the yellow plastic lemon-shaped container) will work as well. White vinegar works too but consider the smell and extra rinse cycles before you go this route.

Making and Using Your Homemade Descaling Cleaner

If you use citric acid you will need an acid-to-water ratio of about one part acid to 20 parts water. For vinegar and/or lemon juice, the mixture is a 50/50 ratio. Pour either solution into the water reservoir of your machine. Choose the largest volume brew cycle and press start. If your machine will not brew without a pod in place, simply use an old, used pod. IMPORTANT: If you used citric acid or lemon juice you will need to run 2 water-only cycles to rinse the machine out. If you used vinegar, 4-5 water-only cycles will be necessary to thoroughly remove the smell and taste.


Preventing Future Lime scale Problems

Prevention is the best medicine! If you perform this sort of deep cleaning every couple of months you will be way ahead of the pesky scale buildup. The idea is to clean your machine before the scale begins to affect brewing and coffee flavor.

When Not to Use Homemade Solutions

Before using a homemade descaling cleaner on your coffeemaker, check the machine’s manual for cleaning instructions, or call the manufacturer. If your coffeemaker has a built-in descaling process, it’s likely the manufacturer wants you to use a specific, brand-name powder, tablet or cartridge. Do not risk damage to internal parts or voiding your warranty; research first. Generally speaking, if there is NO mention in your product manual of a specific cleaner to be used, it is safe to use your DIY solution.  And that’s all there is to it! Happy coffee drinking from your friends at Café Liegeois!

Comment on this post (7 comments)

  • Lynn Maas says...

    Wish you made pod capsules for the Nespresso Virotine.

    March 29, 2017

  • Wokkawokka says...

    SIDE NOTE: I use about 1-2 cups of vinegar and 1-2 cups of water. I run half of the liquid through the machine and then don’t flush the rest through until after about 15 minutes.
    You want the vinegar to sit and soak in the tube system to loosen up the calcium for a bit. (Same exact thing when cleaning coffee makers) In my experience, about 3 flushes of water will suffice and does the job good.

    February 19, 2017

  • Wokkawokka says...

    Nespresso machines all have descaling modes. Check your machine model and or your manual that came with the machine to see what buttons you have to press.

    On my Nespresso Citiz, you have to hold both the large cup and espresso shot button down (same time) for 3 seconds and it goes into descaling mode. Or if you hold the large cup button down for around 4 seconds, it runs hot water through the machine non stop. You DON’T need a pod/capsule in the machine to do this.

    February 19, 2017

  • Paolo Bazzoffi says...

    I apologize for my “Italian” English !
    I was a little bit confused when reading the suggestion provided for by Thibauld Quirion about Making Homemade Descaling Cleaner. He wrote: “f you use citric acid you will need an acid-to-water ratio of about one part acid to 20 parts water”. Does it mean 10 grams of anhydrous citric acid dissolved in 200 grams of deionized water? Can anybody help me?
    Thank you

    January 24, 2017

  • Marilyn says...

    Good morning
    I was descaling my nespresso machine. However the lights now keep flashing. Now, everytime I try to make espresso the machine keeps descaling.

    August 02, 2016

  • Mary Christi says...

    Thanks! Very informative! I really like using a cheaper home remedy for descaling.

    July 12, 2016

  • caffenibes says...

    This is a nice post.It has a good tips here. Thank you for sharing

    February 18, 2016

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