Useful Tips

How to clean your coffee machine from scale


Tap water often has an unpleasant taste and smell of chlorine. In addition, a high degree of hardness causes corrosion of household appliances. In order to get the most out of the benefits that the coffee machine gives you, you need to clean it regularly and carry out preventive maintenance.

Taking care of the kitchen equipment will reduce the risk of damage during use. Regular cleaning will increase the service life. On coffee machines, as well as on teapots, thermoses, scale appears, which is caused by the hardness of the water. It affects the quality of brewed coffee.

Most machines have removable items that can be washed by hand or in the dishwasher. Manufacturers also offer various cleaning products that have bactericidal and antifungal properties.

The specificity (concentration of ingredients) of tablets, liquids, powders varies among themselves, and certain models of equipment are configured to use a specific tool. However, if you didn’t have the original packaging at hand, cleaning the coffee machine from limescale with citric acid also works efficiently and at the same time will not damage the parts of the machine.

Why exactly citric acid

Citric acid in the form of colorless, transparent crystals or a white crystalline powder with an acidic taste can be found in any grocery store. It is a natural product that is harmless to humans and the environment, which copes well with the effects of hard water. It dissolves perfectly by heating at temperatures above 74 degrees Celsius and perfectly removes scale from the coffee machine:

3 CaCO3 + 2 C6H8O7 - Ca3 (C6H5O7) 2 + 3 H2O + 3 CO2

The interaction of citric acid (C6H8O7) with calcined compounds (CaCO3) yields sodium citrate (Ca3 (C6H5O7)), which dissolves in water.

The advantages of using citric acid to remove scale in a coffee machine are:

  • friendly nature - does not cause environmental pollution, does not contain toxins,
  • mild effect - does not harm human health through direct contact, does not emit toxic fumes,
  • powerful cleaning process - even a small amount of powder can clean old formations.

Why remove limescale from a coffee machine

The accumulation of calcined formations over a long period leads to a decrease in water flow, equipment capacity, and problems with heating. This means that the volume of fluid from the machine gradually decreases, and the temperature decreases.

With increasing layers of stone, the flow of fluid from the pump also decreases, so the machine will work louder than usual.

The main reasons for descaling in a coffee machine with citric acid are:

  • extends the service life
  • guarantees maximum efficiency (amount of brewed coffee),
  • provides optimum temperature, perfect taste of the drink,
  • minimizes noise produced during brewing,
  • eliminates the cost of repairing damage associated with the formation of scale.

Due to the scaling on the walls of the coffee machine, the liquid does not heat up enough, therefore, the temperature of the drink is lower than usual. In addition, scale can be washed out of the tank, which can lead to white flakes in the hot drink. These particles have a high concentration of minerals that can affect the taste of coffee.

Care and Prevention

It is always easier to prevent a problem than to solve it later. Proper handling of the coffee machine will save you from premature breakdown and expensive repairs.

Follow these guidelines:

  • First of all, carefully read the instructions from the product, if you have not already done so. The manufacturer describes in detail the operating and maintenance conditions for the device.
  • Use well filtered water. Better yet, bottled.
  • Keep the coffee machine clean. Periodically wipe the case with a damp and then dry cloth. Keep the spout from which coffee flows clean.
  • Regularly clean the main components of the machine, remove scale, residual butter, milk, coffee grounds. For these purposes, use special tools from the manufacturer of the equipment or offered on the household chemicals market.
  • Enter the hardness of the water used in the coffee machine menu. The system will notify you of the need to clean the product from scale.
  • The cappuccino machine should be regularly flushed, remove milk deposits from it. It is recommended to wash it immediately after preparing milk drinks.

How often to descale

To know when and how to clean a coffee machine from limescale with citric acid, several factors should be considered. The frequency between descaling cycles depends on two main points:

  1. The level of calcium and magnesium salts present in the water (depending on the area where you live).
  2. The number of cups of coffee made.

Most modern coffee machines are equipped with indicators that indicate the time of descaling. In this case, you just need to carry out the cleaning procedure.

If the equipment does not have such a function, calcined formations should be removed at least once every two months or after 200-300 cups of brewed beverage, regardless of whether brewing water or frothed milk is used.

How to understand that a machine needs cleaning

Specialists in the repair and maintenance of coffee machines recommend taking into account the degree of water hardness. So, at normal rates it will be enough to carry out this procedure once a month, but if the water is soft - once a quarter. If the water used is hard, then clean the device more often, as necessary.

Many models of home coffee machines are equipped with a special indicator, which signals that it is time to clean. However, do not rely on him too much. The device does not take into account the hardness of the water, if you have not informed him about it. Use the special test that usually comes with the device. Enter the data on water hardness in the coffee machine. Now it will more accurately indicate the need for cleaning.

What to do for those whose device does not have a similar function? In this case, pollution can be judged by the following signs:

  • coffee has an unpleasant aftertaste, a slight bitterness,
  • sediment remains at the bottom of the cup,
  • the appliance starts to work louder, extraneous sounds may appear, crackles,
  • increases the time to prepare one serving of the drink,
  • coffee is poured into a mug in a thin, slow stream.

How to choose a cleaner

It’s best to buy a special cleaner for a specific brand of appliance. Such branded products are available for coffee machines Saeco, DeLonghi, Bosch, Krups and others. They usually cost a lot, but give the best result. In principle, these cleaners are completely interchangeable, so you can choose and buy the cheapest option.

You can also use universal means for cleaning coffee machines.

For decalcification, i.e., descaling from metal elements, use:

  • cleansing tablets
  • liquid solutions
  • citric acid.

Liquid descaling

You can clean the coffee brewing machine yourself.
First, carefully read the instructions from him. If you lost it, try to find and download on the Internet. Typically, the manufacturer indicates in detail how to properly clean the device. You just have to follow its instructions.

In this article, we present the most versatile ways to clean coffee machines. However, for specific models, they may vary.

The liquid purification technology is as follows:

1. Remove coffee residues from the filter and container.

2. Prepare the cleaning solution according to the instructions and fill it in a water tank to the max mark.

3. Turn on the coffee machine and open the tap, drain about 150 ml of liquid. Then, every 5 minutes, drain the solution in small portions.

5. If the appliance does not have a spray gun, then at the end of the procedure, when the cleaning solution has not yet ended, fill in coffee and start the program for preparing the drink. When coffee is ready, continue draining the cleaner. The drink, of course, needs to be poured.

For horn-type appliances or with a remote control, it is possible to execute a program without adding coffee.

4. After the cleaning fluid has finished, remove the tank, rinse under the tap and pour clean, cold water into it. Now repeat step 3.

5. Rinse the brewing unit with water.

Tablets cleansing the coffee machine

These tablets are marked "For decalcification" and are designed to cleanse internal elements from plaque. It is advisable to use a product of the same company as the coffee machine.

Be sure to completely dissolve the tablet in clean water. Pour the resulting liquid into the tank of the coffee machine. Turn on the coffee brewing mode. Turn off the machine as soon as half a glass is full. After 15 minutes, start the device, the rest of the portion will merge into a glass. Clean the brewing unit. Run the cooking program twice, but without a pill or coffee.

Cleaning the coffee machine with citric acid

Nevertheless, we recommend using special means: it is more reliable and safer. However, if you decide to use the folk method, then here is the instruction.

The cleaning process will take no more than 30 minutes and will consist of 3 stages: descaling and two rinsing cycles.
So, proceed to descaling:

  1. Make sure that no coffee or used capsules are left in the machine.
  2. Remove the water tank and rinse it well.
  3. Pour 1 liter of water into a container, add 30 g of citric acid.
  4. Wait for the pellets to completely dissolve, then reinstall the compartment.
  5. For a device with a self-cleaning function, it will be enough to run this program and wait for it to finish. If the coffee machine is a simple model, then we use the manual cleaning method. But first, wait 15 minutes - this time is enough for the substance to work actively. Start the coffee brewing program. Repeat this until all fluid from the reservoir has been consumed.
  6. Unplug the appliance, remove the flushing container.
  7. When the descaling procedure is completed, the first rinse step begins. Pour clean water into the tank to the maximum mark. Replace the compartment and turn on the brewing mode.
  8. For the second rinse, remove the container, rinse and pour water again. Return it to the car. Start the coffee program until the tank is completely empty.

Self cleaning function

Some machines have an automatic cleaning program. In this case, the descaling procedure is much simpler.

What should be done:

  1. Remove coffee from the machine.
  2. Prepare the cleaning solution according to the instructions and fill it into the fluid compartment.
  3. Select an auto-cleaning program and that’s all - just wait until the entire procedure is complete. The smart machine itself will perform all the necessary actions.

The reasons for the appearance of scale

The reason for limescale is poorly soluble in water salts of hardness CaCO3 and MgCO3 (salts of rare-earth metals of calcium and magnesium). These compounds are formed by heating the bicarbonates Ca (HCO3) 2 and Mg (HCO3) 2, which are part of natural water and decompose at temperatures above +40 ºС.

Ca (HCO3) 2 = CaCO3 + H2O + CO2,

Mg (HCO3) 2 = MgCO3 + H2O + CO2.

If you install an ion-exchange filter or a device magnetizing water on the incoming water pipe, you can significantly reduce the deposition of hardness salts on the heaters and extend the life of not only the coffee machine, but also the boiler, kettle, washing machine and dishwasher.

Signs of a clogged coffee maker

When using water containing hardness salts, scale will inevitably form in the coffee maker. Both simple drip and capsule or carob coffee makers are susceptible to clogging.

The more bends and the smaller the diameter of the tubes for the passage of water in the coffee machine, the greater the likelihood of scale formation. Particles of limescale clog the water channels.

Not all coffee makers are equipped with a built-in indicator (counter for the number of brewed cups of coffee), so you need to be able to recognize signs of limescale inside the machine:

  • it takes longer to prepare one serving of the drink than before,
  • when the tube and outlet are clogged, the trickle of the finished coffee becomes thin, which is why the cup takes longer,
  • the taste of the drink has worsened
  • there was an odor
  • a working device began to make unusual sounds,
  • a light gray precipitate is visible in the cup,
  • increased electricity consumption while the coffee maker is running.

According to repair specialists, capsule and carob coffee makers of the boiler are most prone to clogging the heater and clogging the tubes. In devices with a thermoblock, water does not stagnate, and the process of scale formation is slower.

If limescale has appeared, you need to get rid of it, and cleaning the coffee maker from scale is possible at home.

In very advanced cases, the coffee maker will have to be disassembled

Professional and popular coffee maker cleaners

Manufacturers of coffee machines have long created a separate source of income for themselves: they make and sell products for descaling devices. The latest generation models have a function of auto-cleaning with the indispensable use of proprietary products. After making 200-300 cups of coffee, the smart machine signals that it is time to start cleaning. Professional products are available in the form of tablets, powders and liquids.

Each manufacturer of coffee machines claims that you can use exclusively proprietary tools. This is nothing more than a marketing ploy. If you read the composition on the label, it becomes clear that the main component is citric acid. Is it worth it to spend considerable money (from 1000 to 1200 rubles) on the purchase of a branded product when a bag of citric acid costs several times cheaper and is sold at any grocery store?

The use of edible citric acid for cleaning the coffee machine from scale has several advantages:

  • citric acid does not cause environmental pollution, does not emit toxins,
  • the process of dissolution of calcareous formations occurs gently, without the release of hazardous chemicals harmful to health,
  • to dissolve even old formations, a small amount of acid in the form of a crystalline powder (30 g per 1 liter of water) is needed.

Different types of scale descaling instructions

The method of descaling the coffee maker depends on the design of the device. It is convenient to wash machines with a removable filter and a brewing unit under a tap in running water. If you regularly rinse the device after making coffee, thorough cleaning with citric acid or purchased tablets can be done no more than 1 time per month.

Models with a built-in unit often have the function of auto-cleaning (decalcification), and if it is not provided, then the scale is removed independently, using a cleaning solution.

Most modern products are based on citric acid.

Descale drip coffee maker

  1. Wash the filter with warm water and a soft brush (an unnecessary toothbrush) and return it to its place.
  2. Prepare a working fluid from citric acid: dissolve 30 g of crystalline powder in 4 cups of warm water.
  3. Pour the solution into the water tank. Add cold water to the tank to the Max mark.
  4. Turn on the coffee maker for 5-10 minutes. After 30 minutes, repeat the procedure and wait until the entire solution passes into the receiving flask.
  5. If there are still traces of scale on the filter, immerse it in a hot solution prepared in this way and hold for an hour.
  6. Rinse the filter well and replace.
  7. Pour clean water through the coffee machine several times so that the acid comes out completely.

Citric acid is allowed to be replaced with vinegar. To do this, use white table vinegar with a strength of 9%, dissolved in water in a ratio of 1: 2.

If the glass vessel for collecting the finished coffee is cloudy, you need to fill it with a warm solution and rinse thoroughly after 30 minutes with water.

How to clean the coffee maker from scale at home

  1. Special descaling agents. Today, in many stores, supermarkets and online stores, you can find a wide selection of special descaling agents in the form of tablets, briquettes, liquid and powder products, and it is recommended to use universal products for use under each brand of coffee machine (for example, Durgol, Antinakipin ), or special from the manufacturer, for example for Saeco coffee makers (as well as Philips, Gaggia) - Saeco descaler, for Bosch coffee makers - descaler from Bosch itself, etc.
  2. Table vinegar 9%. Ordinary table vinegar is widely known as an effective anti-scale remedy in coffee makers and other household appliances, while in almost every house.
  3. Lemon acid. The most popular and effective anti-scale remedy among folk remedies in coffee makers and other household appliances.

На заметку: многие производители кофеварок (капельных, рожковых) рекомендуют использовать для удаления накипи только специальные чистящие средства от этих же производителей или универсальные, так как они специально разработаны под определенные модели кофеварок, хорошо справляются с поставленной задачей и не наносят вред внутренним элементам в кофеварке даже при регулярной очистке.

Чистка от накипи рожковой, чалдовой и капсульной кофеварки

The principle of operation of coffee makers of these types is almost the same, the only difference is in the design of the receiving device for coffee powder. Therefore, the descaling methods are the same:

  1. Unplug the coffee maker.
  2. Remove the used coffee from the horn (holder).
  3. Wash the removable tank under running water and fill it with a solution of the product prepared according to the manufacturer's instructions, or a solution of citric acid (according to the recipe described above). Let the working solution work for 15–20 minutes.
  4. Empty the container to discharge the cake.
  5. Pour water from the drip tray.
  6. Turn on the coffee machine.
  7. Release about half of the heated solution through the nozzle of the cappuccino machine, turning on the steam supply mode.
  8. Pass the remaining solution through an empty horn (capsule holder) in the coffee preparation mode.

After removing the limescale, they start washing the inside of the coffee maker, the process consists of two cycles.

Rinse cycle of the loading block and heater:

  • fill the tank with clean water (up to the Max mark),
  • start a coffee preparation program,
  • Collect wash water in an unnecessary container.

Cappuccino rinse cycle:

  • refill the tank with clean water (up to the Max mark),
  • Select and start the steam generation program. Collect flushing water from the cappuccino nozzle in a substituted container.

Auto Cleaning

In modern coffee machines and coffee makers of the latest generation, the “automatic descaling” mode (decalcification) is provided. After completing the first 6 points of the above algorithm for manual mode, you need to enable the "Auto Clean" function. A smart machine will do it all by itself. It remains only to top up the cleaning solution or water, following the instructions that appear on the device’s LCD display.

  • if the house does not have filters for water treatment based on ion-exchange resins, use only bottled water with a salt content of 75 to 250 g / l for brewing coffee,
  • do not mix solutions of branded products with citric or acetic acid,
  • in order to clean the coffee maker from scale, it is forbidden to use abrasive products,
  • a few servings of coffee brewed immediately after cleaning have to be poured out: you can’t drink them.


  1. Turn off the coffee machine.
  2. Take out the water tank, rinse it, fill it with 3-4 teaspoons of citric acid. The amount of liquid is indicated in the instructions, it should be at room temperature.
  3. Wait for the acid to dissolve.
  4. Put the container in the machine.

Further steps depend on the model of the coffee machine. If she has automatic descaling, just configure the program and wait for it to complete. If there is no such program, follow this way:

  1. Wait about 15 minutes for citric acid to take effect.
  2. Turn on the coffee brewing mode; do this until the container is empty.
  3. Turn off the machine, remove the water tank, rinse it.

Preparing the coffee machine for descaling

Before starting the descaling process from the coffee machine, it should be thoroughly cleaned of coffee (strainer, filters, all visible contaminated items) using ordinary water and a clean sponge for washing dishes. All removable items and accessories are washed under running water from the tap, but the coffee machine itself should not be washed with water (it may cause damage to the machine).

Important: when washing the coffee pot and other elements of the coffee maker, do not use soap, as it can bind the oils that remain after making the coffee, which then will not be easy to wash and will negatively affect the taste of the prepared coffee in the future.

We use a special descaler in the coffee maker

Special descaling chemicals are the best and recommended method for descaling by coffee makers, which have virtually no contraindications and disadvantages (the main disadvantage is their cost).

Let us consider separately how to descale a carob and drip type coffee makers that have automatic self-cleaning and which do not have such a function.

Second rinse cycle

  1. Rinse the machine's reservoir, fill it with clean water and put it back in place.
  2. Press coffee brewing mode.

The procedure for descaling with citric acid is completed.

Acquiring a coffee machine is half the battle. Professional equipment will reliably perform functions, but other factors affect its operation. In addition to delicious cocoa beans, good milk, the quality of the water used is of importance. To always drink delicious coffee, you should periodically clean the coffee machine of the remnants of mineral compounds. You can do this with such a simple ingredient as citric acid, which is always found in the house.

Cleaning the coffee machine with the automatic descaling function

  1. A cleaning agent and 1 liter of warm water are poured into a special water tank.
  2. We turn on the coffee maker and pass hot water in a volume equal to 2-3 cups of coffee through a hot water pipe, and then close the hot water tap.
  3. We set the coffee preparation mode and wait until the mixture of water and descaler passes through the entire mechanism of the coffee maker. We wait until a volume of water equal to 2-3 cups of coffee is collected in the coffee pot.
  4. We turn on automatic descaling in the coffee makers and wait until it ends (in each model of coffee makers, the process takes a different time and starts differently, so we carefully read the section “Cleaning the lime” in the operating instructions for your coffee maker and perform all the steps exactly as there indicated).
  5. At the end of the automatic decalcification process (descaling), turn off the coffee maker and thoroughly rinse all removable elements and the water tank with plain clean water.
  6. Pour ordinary clean water into the water tank and run one cycle of brewing coffee (full coffee pot) in the empty (without coffee).

How to clean the coffee maker with descaler if it does not have an automatic cleaning function?

  1. Pour the purchased descaler and one liter of clean water into the water tank.
  2. We turn on the coffee maker and pass water through a tube for hot water in the amount of 2-3 cups of water.
  3. Turn off the coffee maker and wait 5-10 minutes for the aqueous solution of the detergent to react with scale inside the pipes and in the tank in which the water is heated, after which we repeat steps 2 and 3 several times, after which we close the hot water supply tap.
  4. We turn on the coffee maker and set the coffee preparation mode (we don’t fall asleep coffee) and wait until all the water with the cleaning agent passes into the coffee pot.
  5. In conclusion, we repeat the whole process of descaling, only add clean water to the water tank without descaling.

How to clean the coffee maker from limescale with citric acid?

Advantages: cheap and effective descaler, after which there is no unpleasant odor, as well as possible residues of “chemistry”, as after some special descalers.

Disadvantages: not found.

To clean the coffee maker with citric acid from scale at home, you will need to perform just a few steps:

  1. In 1 liter of clean water at room temperature, mix 3-4 teaspoons of citric acid with a slide (20-30 grams), and then pour this cleaning solution into a water tank in a coffee maker.
  2. If the coffee maker has an automatic cleaning start button, press it, if not, just turn the coffee maker into coffee preparation mode and wait until the entire solution of water and citric acid passes from the water tank to the coffee pot.
  3. At the end of the cleaning process, turn off the coffee maker and rinse the water container and other removable elements under running water.
  4. We collect clean water in a water container and turn on the coffee machine in the coffee preparation mode, wait until the water rinses the entire device from the inside and collects in the coffee pot. We repeat this procedure another 1-2 times to completely rinse the coffee maker from the remnants of citric acid and washed scale.

How to clear the coffee maker of a scum of vinegar?

Advantages: an effective tool that will help to quickly get rid of scale even in the most advanced cases (if for a long time the coffee machine was not cleaned of scale and lime scale inside).

Disadvantages: unpleasant odor during cleaning, it is necessary to rinse the coffee maker well after descaling, so that there are no signs of using acetic acid.

Vinegar is used both for preventative descaling and in more serious cases when a large layer of limescale has formed in the coffee maker. To descale using vinegar in a coffee machine, do the following:

  1. We prepare a solution of vinegar for cleaning, mixing ordinary 9% table vinegar with water in a ratio of 1: 3 (for example, 1 cup of vinegar to 3 cups of water) or 1: 1, depending on the degree of contamination of the coffee machine on the fly.
  2. Pour the vinegar solution into the water tank in the coffee machine and turn on the automatic cleaning mode (if there is one in your model of coffee machine), if there is no such mode, turn on the coffee preparation mode and after half of the coffee pot of water with vinegar is typed, turn off the coffee machine by 10- 15 minutes, then turn it back on and complete the process (until the solution in the water tank runs out).
  3. Upon completion of cleaning, thoroughly rinse with a plain water coffee pot, water tank and other removable accessories in the coffee maker.
  4. Pour clean water into the water tank and turn on the coffee preparation mode (we don’t add coffee and vinegar) and wait until all the water passes into the coffee pot. We repeat the procedure 2-3 times to completely clean the coffee maker from the remains of vinegar and cleaned scale.

In conclusion to the article, it can be noted that knowing how to clean the coffee maker from scale at home using improvised means and special cleaning products from scale and plaque, you can significantly extend the life of this device and enjoy quality coffee daily. He leaves his tips and reviews on how to clean the coffee machine from scale in the comments to the article and share it on social networks if it was useful to you.

Hello! I am Inna - the author of articles on this blog. An enterprising housewife with experience in a cleaning company for more than 4 years. I will be happy to answer all questions on the topic of articles in the comments! Always ready to share your useful tips!

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