It’s really important to stay on top of this for those reasons, so I’ve created a guide to help you out.
You’re about to find out exactly what to do to keep your Nespresso machine in good shape, and how often to do it.
We’ll be going through the following key points in this article:
So let us begin!
- You should clean most of your Nespresso machine every couple of days
- Descaling should be carried out every 6 months to 1 year most of the time
- You can make your own descaling solution to save money
- The descaling process varies from model to model
- Good descaling and cleaning means better coffee and longer machine life
Kit List for Cleaning & Descaling
You don’t need a lot of equipment to clean or descale your Nespresso machine but there are a couple of essentials. Make sure you have these things before you get started:
- A soft cloth or sponge: I recommend wiping down your coffee machine every now and then (more on that in the coming sections) and you can use either of these things to do that.
- Washing up liquid: A touch of this with some warm water applied to your soft cloth or sponge is going to be the perfect combination for keeping your coffee machine clean.
- A tea towel or kitchen roll: You’ll want to make sure you dry your Nespresso machine when you’re done with cleaning it. This will prevent limescale building back up and forcing you to go through the descaling process all over again.
- A Nespresso machine descaling kit*: This is essential for the descaling part. I’ll explain more about the kit and how to use it when we get to that section but make sure you order one of these online first.
It’s also possible to make your own descaling solution if you want to save some money. And this has very accurate results too, in my experience. There are a few ways you can do this:
- Using a third party descaler: You can buy concentrated descaling solution from a number of brands that will be more affordable than the official Nespresso offering. You’ll have to mix these with water, but they’ll come with instructions.
- Using citric acid: Hardware stores, health stores etc. will sell citric acid. You can combine one part of this with 20 parts of water to form a descaling solution.
- Using vinegar: Another acid solution you can make up is white vinegar with water. I’d recommend going for about half and half if you go down this route.
- Using lemon juice: It’s also good to go half and half if you combine lemon juice with water to use as your descaling solution.
All of these generally do a pretty good job of descaling.
How to Clean Your Nespresso Machine Between Uses
Before we get into the descaling side of things, I’d recommend actually washing some parts of your Nespresso machine every day (if you use it every day).
Let’s take a look at the different parts of every Nespresso coffee machine and how to look after each of them.
1. The Water Tank and Lid
You should clean the water tank of your Nespresso machine every day or two and its lid, depending on usage. Just unhook the tank as you would normally do to fill up the water, then wipe it down alongside the lid with warm soapy water and rinse and both parts.
2. The Drip Tray
How often you clean your drip tray isn’t going to affect the taste of your coffee or the lifespan of your machine. But stale coffee can smell pretty bad after a while, so make sure to wash it with warm, soapy water and rinse it every week at most.
3. The Capsule Holder
I recommend detaching the capsule holder and cleaning it with warm, soapy water before rinsing it well every couple of days. Coffee residue can get attached to it quite quickly and this could lead to stale tasting coffee.
4. The Outside Surfaces
Run a wet cloth over the outside of your coffee machine every few days to remove dust or any other dirt that it might have picked up inside your kitchen.
5. Should I Use the Nespresso Cleaning Pod?
Nespresso doesn’t offer an official cleaning pod but you can get one from a third party. The way you use it is the same as the way you’d use a regular coffee pod. Just insert the pod into the capsule holder and run through a standard cycle into an empty mug.
This will release cleaning chemicals and will clean out some of the inside of the machine but not all of it. Don’t worry about any residue though, as the cleaning agent just dissolves.
Personally, I don’t think it’s strictly necessary to use one of these if you clean the individual parts in the ways I discussed above. But if you do use your Nespresso machine a lot, it might be worth running through one of those cleaning pods from time to time.
Does Your Nespresso Machine Need Descaling?
How often you need to descale your Nespresso machine depends on a few factors. But in general, the guidelines from Nespresso are to career out the process every 3-12 months. Pretty vague, right? There are a few factors that determine where in that bracket to aim for.
Of course, you’re going to need to descale your Nespresso machine more often if you use it a lot. Heavy users are going to want to do it closer to the bottom end of that time bracket.
But it also depends on the quality of the water you use with it. Hard, chalky water is going to force you to descale your Nespresso machine more often.
Whereas softer water should be a little more forgiving. You might only need to clean your Nespresso machine every 12 months or more if you have this type of water in your area.
Some people prefer to filter their water before they put it in their Nespresso machine for this reason, particularly if they live in a hard water area. This isn’t strictly necessary, but it can make your Nespresso machine easier to maintain. It can also improve the taste of your coffee.
What to Look Out For
Some Nespresso machines have sensors inside that can work out how much limescale is inside the machine.
For example, the button on the Nespresso Lattissima machine will go orange if it thinks it needs to descale. On the VertuoPlus machine, that light will be half orange, half green.
Other Nespresso machines require users to keep an eye out for themselves.
Even if you do have a Nespresso machine with limescale detection, I still recommend taking a look inside every six months or so as the sensors aren’t always 100% reliable.
How to Descale Your Nespresso Machine
As mentioned, you should descale your Nespresso coffee machine every 3-12 months. But how do you actually do that?
Here are the steps you need to take to get prepared for any of the Nespresso coffee machines.
1. Prepare your descaling solution
Are you going to opt for the Nescafe descaling kit or would you prefer one of the other solutions I mentioned? If you’re not sure, take a look back at the other options earlier on in this article and then prepare your solution of choice.
2. Fill the Water Tank
Fill the (preferably clean) water tank with around one liter of water. Then, add in the descaling solution and give it a quick mix around.
3. Load Up a Container
You’ll need to put a container under the outlet to catch all the excess water. The minimum size you’ll need for this will be one liter so that you can catch all the water you just poured into the water tanks.
But some machines, like the Vertuo Creatista, require a two liter container to catch all the water.
You can also remove the drip tray if you need a little extra room to fit your container, as it’s not important to keep this on during the descaling process.
After this, the descaling process varies depending on which model you have. So let’s take a look at how to do it for the current Nespresso machine model lineup…
Nespresso Evoluo Vertuo, Vertuo Next and VertuoPlus
Here are the steps for the Nespresso Evoluo, Vertuo, Vertuo Next and VertuoPlus:
1. Put the machine into descaling mode: Hold the button for at least 7 seconds and it will start blinking quickly. Then, turn the lever to the left to lock the machine and press the button to confirm descaling mode.
2. Run the cycle: Press the main button to run the cycle as normal. Then just wait for it to be fully completed.
3. Exit descaling mode: Hold the button down for another 7 seconds so that you can go back to making coffee once more.
It’s a little more complicated to descale this Nespresso machine. You’ll need to carry out these steps this time:
1. Remove and connect the descaling pipe: Take the descaling pipe off of the back of the machine and plug it into the steam connector on the right hand side.
2. Fill up the tank: You should notice that the descaling button will begin to blink orange. This means it’s time to fill the water tank to two thirds full with the descaling solution you created earlier.
3. Run the cycle: Press the espresso button and sit back and wait for the cycle to be completed.
4. Put the descaling pipe back: Disconnect the descaling pipe from the steam connector and plug it back into its original position.
If I haven’t covered how to put your specific Nespresso machine into descaling mode then you should be able to look it up in the manual or with a quick search online.
Nespresso Vertuo Creatista
This one’s a little different once again! Here’s what to do…
1. Lock and fill the device: Turn the lever to the lock position and fill the water tank to the descale line with your descale solution.
2. Start the descaling process: Hold down the steam button and milk temperature buttons at the same time for 5 seconds. Then, press the steam button to start the cycle.
3. Refill the tank with water: Fill up the water tank to the descale line one more time.
4. Run the cycle again: Press the steam button to repeat the process to rinse it through.
Top Tips for Using and Maintaining Your Nespresso Machine
Cleaning and descaling your Nespresso machine are crucial, but there are a couple of other important things to do as well! Check out these tips, and you might find that the taste of your Nespresso coffee improves and that its lifespan increases.
- Change the water regularly: If you’re filling up the tank and emptying it by using it over a few days, that’s no good! It can cause limescale buildup and the stale water won’t taste good. Make sure to change the water every single day.
- Keep it dry: Every time you clean any part of the Nespresso machine, or if you ever accidentally get water on it e.g. through a leak, dry it. If you allow the Nespresso machine to dry on its own, this could also cause more limescale buildup.
- Eject the pod after using it: It’s tempting to forget about the Nespresso capsule until the next time you come to use it. But this could cause a stale coffee aroma to build up inside the machine, so it’s better to eject it every time you use it.
- Rinse the machine: It’s worth running through an empty coffee producing cycle every day to clear out any stale water or coffee residue. Some people recommend doing this every time you use the machine, but I don’t think that’s strictly necessary.
Cleaning a Nespresso Machine FAQ
Make sure to consider the following pieces of information when you’re cleaning and descaling your coffee machine as well.
What should I do with my old Nespresso capsules?
Nespresso offers a free recycling service for its capsules. I’d encourage everyone who uses the capsules to take advantage of this, as it’s not inconvenient and it is super environmentally friendly.
How do I descale my Nespresso machine naturally?
If you want to avoid using cleaning chemicals then the best options to go for are the lemon juice or vinegar methods I listed above. Just mix one part water with one part lemon juice or white vinegar and you’ll have a very effective descaling solution.
Wrapping Up on Cleaning and Descaling a Nespresso Machine
Cleaning your Nespresso machine is a pretty similar process across the whole product range, but things get a bit more complicated when it comes to descaling.
Nonetheless, I hope you feel that you’ve got all the information you need to take good care of your Nespresso machine now. Stay on top of all this and you should find that your coffee tastes great for many years.
If you have an older Nespresso machine and are thinking about upgrading (or if you’re new to them altogether), check out this article. It’ll show you all the best Nespresso machines available at the moment.