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How to Descale a Home Coffee Machine

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How to descale a coffee machine? One effective method is to use a mixture of white distilled vinegar and water. First, remove any filters or grounds from the coffee maker and fill the reservoir to the maximum level with a mixture of equal parts water and vinegar. Then, run a cleaning cycle or brew cycle. Afterwards, discard the vinegar solution, and run 2-3 more brew cycles using fresh water to thoroughly rinse the coffee maker.

We all love our morning coffee out of a coffee maker – fresh and flavoursome. But after regular usage, natural minerals start building up in the coffee maker. 

These natural minerals are your coffee’s worst enemy. They affect your coffee’s taste and brewing time and drastically impact the performance of home coffee machines

That’s why you must regularly descale your coffee maker to improve the coffee extraction process and enjoy fresh coffee every morning! Otherwise, your espresso machine can run into problems and can even break down permanently. 

Cleaning Vs Descaling A Coffee Maker: What’s The Difference?

If you want to get the perfect brew of coffee every time you turn on your coffee maker, then you need to clean your home coffee machine daily and periodically descale it. You thought cleaning are descaling a coffee machine were the same thing, right? Well, there is a slight difference between both them. 

Daily cleaning involves washing coffee splashes, oil, and other residues. You can easily remove these harmful chemicals and residues with a quick rinse. 

Like other home appliances, espresso machines need periodic descaling to avoid limescale build-up. In case you don’t know. Limescale is residues of calcium, magnesium, and other minerals that build in your coffee maker through the water you use. 

You can descale your coffee maker with a DIY vinegar solution (which we will discuss ahead, too) or use a special descaling product. 

How To Descale A Coffee Maker With Vinegar?

A vinegar solution is the most convenient way to descale a coffee maker. A homemade vinegar solution ensures that the machine keeps performing at its best. 

Vinegar has slightly acidic properties that help break down mineral build-up in your coffee maker. This is also a great option, especially when you don’t have a specialised coffee machine descaling agent. 

The process is easy to follow. You must remove the filters, grounds, or any other removable part. Next, fill the reservoir with half water and half white distilled vinegar solution. After filling up the reservoir, you need to run a brewing cycle a couple of times with fresh water. Remove the carafe and wash that in hot soapy water along with the brew basket.  

How to Descale a Coffee Machine With A Chemical Descaler

There are tons of chemical descalers available these days. These specialised cleaning agents have the exact descaling process as a vinegar solution. You need to replace the vinegar solution with a descaling agent and follow the instructions on the packet. Secondly, ensure that the chemical descalers you purchase work with your coffee maker and have 100% organic ingredients. 

The only difference between vinegar and specialised descalers is that cleaning agents are much more effective than vinegar solutions because they are made with a special cleaning formula. 

Which Method is Better?

Both chemical descalers and homemade solutions have pros and cons, but the process remains the same regardless of your choice. Vinegar works great because it’s easily available and more affordable than cleaning agents. 

However, if you use vinegar, you can encounter problems with the manufacturer when contacting them for a warranty claim. 

On the other hand, a chemical descaler is cheaper than vinegar but is specifically formulated for descaling a coffee machine for home. These cleaning agents keep your coffee maker running smoothly, but it’s important to check if the cleaning agent will work with your coffee machine or not.

How Often Should You Descale A Coffee Machine?

The answer to this question depends on the hardness of the water you use in your coffee maker and how often you use your coffee maker.

We recommend descaling your coffee maker once a month if you brew coffee daily. Here are a few signals you can look out for to determine if your coffee maker needs descaling or not: 

  • The cleaning signal light comes on, an option unavailable in all coffee machines.
  • The brew time is taking longer than usual.
  • The machine makes weird noises when the coffee is brewing.
  • You can see white residue on the coffee maker.
  • The coffee flavour needs to taste fresh and smooth.

Homemade Descaling Solutions

You may not know this, but you are unaware of countless cleaning agents in your kitchen. Here are a few quick home-descaling remedies for descaling your coffee maker easily. 

Natural Homemade Descaling Solution: Vinegar

As we mentioned earlier, vinegar is one of the best natural descalers in your kitchen. Vinegar is very acidic that combats the limescale of your coffee appliance after regular brewing. Mix vinegar with warm water in a 1:1 ratio and run the brew cycle several times for cleaning. 

DIY Descaling Solution: Citric Acid

Vinegar is a great cleaning agent but leaves a nauseating scent for hours after cleaning. If you can’t bear that smell like us, we suggest you try citric acid as your cleaning agent. Citric acid is an excellent limescale build-up remover and doesn’t leave any unwanted smell after cleaning. 

Homemade Remedy to Descale Coffee Pot: Baking Soda

Baking soda is a multipurpose cleaning agent. It helps clean both the interior and exterior of your coffee maker. It can clean anything in your coffee maker, from the water reservoir and steam wand to the pod holder and tank. 

All-Natural Cleaning Solution: Lemon Juice

Instead of choosing expensive cleaning agents for your coffee maker, we suggest you try lemon juice. Lemon juice is easily accessible and doesn’t leave an unbearable smell like vinegar solution after cleaning. 


If you brew coffee regularly, you must descale your coffee maker for maximum efficiency. There are cleaning agents available for that, or instead, you can try a homemade solution such as white distilled vinegar and hot water. 

Both have pros and cons, so you must choose these methods cautiously, so your coffee maker doesn’t encounter technical problems.

If you’re interested in purchasing a home coffee machine in Australia, you can browse our selection online or visit our store in Adelaide. We’re located at 18 Croydon Rd, Keswick, SA 5035.

If you have any additional questions about our home coffee machines, please get in touch with us by phone at (08) 8297 5799 or by email at

About The Author

Picture of Anthony Maione
Anthony Maione

Anthony is a coffee machine sales and repairs specialist living in Adelaide, South Australia. He has spent the last 14 years staying at the forefront of the coffee machine industry. He has sold hundreds of home and office coffee machines throughout all of South Australia and has also repaired countless machines.

Occupation: General Manager, Coffee Complex
Lives in: Adelaide, South Australia

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