How to Descale a Nespresso Vertuo

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Even if you clean your coffee machine regularly, the mineral deposits in the water will result in the build-up of limescale on the internal components.

This can impact the taste and temperature of your coffee and can also impact its useful life.

Below, we cover the basic steps for descaling your Nespresso Vertuo coffee machine.

How to know if your Nespresso Vertuo needs descaling

Your Nespresso Vertuo coffee machine will let you know when it’s ready for you to run a descaling process.

Here’s how:

  • The descaling alert appears (the light will become green and red). 
  • The machine may restrict your ability to make coffee.

How to descale a Nespresso Vertuo

Step 1: Turn on your Nespresso Vertuo

Step 2: Eject the used capsule by opening and closing the machine head

Step 3: Turn the machine off

Step 4: Empty the cup support and used capsule container

Step 5: Fill the water tank with one unit of Nespresso descaling liquid and at least half a litre of water

Step 6: Push the button and the lever down at the same time for 3 seconds. An orange steady light should appear.

Step 7: Press and release the lever to enter descaling mode

Step 8: Place a cup under the coffee spout (minimum 0.8 litres)

Step 9: Press and release the button once to begin the descaling process. An orange light should flash throughout the process

Step 10: When the descaling process is complete, press and release the button once more to run a rinsing cycle.

Step 11: Press and hold the button and lever at the same time for 3 seconds to exit the descaling mode. 

Here’s a video that walks you through the process:

Why do you need to descale your Nespresso Vertuo?

You need to descale your Nespresso machine because, over time, the mineral deposits in your water will result in limescale.

This limescale can clog up the working parts of your machine, reducing its efficiency and making it more likely that it will break down.

Limescale build-up can also impact the taste of your coffee if you let it build up for long enough.

Limescale on the heating elements can prevent your coffee machine from heating water to the optimum temperature for brewing. This means the water may not be hot enough to extract the full flavour of your beans.

You may even end up with the limescale deposits in your cup. 

What does descaling a coffee machine do?

Descaling is the process of removing this mineral buildup that accumulates inside your coffee machine over time.

Coffee machine descaling solutions are generally acidic compounds (e.g. hydrochloric acid).

These acids break down the calcium carbonate and magnesium carbonate that is present in the limescale.

By breaking down the material build-up, the descaling solution extends the life of the coffee machine and keeps your coffee tasting good.

Can you descale a coffee machine with vinegar?

Many people use vinegar as an effective and inexpensive way to descale a coffee machine.

This method involves mixing one part white vinegar to one part water and running it through a brewing (or descaling) cycle.

Afterwards, run the machine through another full cycle with plain water until there’s no more vinegar taste.

However, many coffee manufacturers recommend against using vinegar.

For example, Delonghi advises against it because “vinegar contains large amounts of acetic acid which is an aggressive chemical substance that can be corrosive.”

While acetic acid itself doesn’t appear to be a huge issue (it is sometimes used in descaling solutions), it is the concentrated amount found in vinegar that may cause it to be corrosive.

In fact, Vinegar works as a descaler precisely because it contains acetic acid.

When the acetic acid comes into contact with calcium deposits, or scale build-up, it forms something called acetate salts which causes them to break down.

It’s best to err on the side of caution and check with the manufacturer to be sure that vinegar won’t damage your Nespresso machine.

Can you descale a coffee machine with citric acid?

Citric acid is a natural, non-toxic descaler.

Some people use citric acid to descale their coffee machine by mixing 1 part citric acid with 250 parts water.

However, be sure to always check the instruction manual for your specific coffee machine to ensure citric acid won’t damage it.

Can you descale a coffee machine with lemon juice?

Lemon juice is another DIY method for descaling a coffee machine. A mixture of equal parts water and lemon juice is generally recommended.

It’s an effective natural method that allows you to avoid using harsher cleaning products.

Lemon juice contains citric acid, which works to dissolve the calcium deposits in your coffee maker.

Again, be sure to always check with the manufacturer of your specific coffee machine to ensure lemon juice won’t damage it.