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How to Descale a Home Espresso Machine

We recommend descaling your espresso machine every few months under normal usage, but you may have to perform this more frequently if your water has a high mineral content. Note: Please be sure to collect the used descaling solution in a container, as the citric acid in it can tarnish metallic components.

The following are recommended descaling instructions for general types of espresso machines. Please consult your machine user manual for specific instructions on descaling your particular machine.

Descaling a Single Boiler or Thermoblock Espresso Machine

  1. Dissolve the descaling agent into a full water reservoir.
  2. Pull the solution into your boiler by running about a cup of water out of your steam and/or hot water wand. Close the steam knob.
  3. Turn off the machine and let sit for 20 minutes. This is important to allow the descaling solution to work.
  4. After 20 minutes, run about 1/4 of the reservoir out of the steam wand, 1/4 out of the brew head.
  5. Turn off the machine and allow to rest for another 20 minutes.
  6. Flush the remaining water out of the steam wand and brew head, and finish by running a reservoir (or two) of clean water through the machine.

Descaling a Heat Exchange or Double Boiler Espresso Machine

  1. Dissolve the descaling agent into the water tank. Use 2 packages of descaler and at least a 3/4 full water tank.
  2. Let the machine heat to temperature.
  3. Once at temperature, run one cup of water through the hot water valve. The machine will pull the descaling solution in and then heat again.
  4. After the machine is back to temperature, pull another cup through the hot water spout and continue this procedure until you have pulled most of the solution from the tank into the machine.
  5. Run the last bit of water from the tank using the brew head. Note: On a double boiler, be sure to pull at least as much water through the brew head as the brew boiler holds.
  6. After all the water is in, turn off the machine and let it sit for at least 5 hours, overnight is best.
  7. After the machine has rested, rinse and fill the tank with fresh water and let it heat back up.
  8. Once it is at temperature, start flushing the descale solution from the machine one cup at a time, just like you did before. You will need to do this until the water is coming out clear (blue or green water coming out is normal -- this is caused by a chemical reaction of the minerals in your water and the citric acid of the descaler).
  9. Once the water coming out of the hot water spout is clear, you will need to flush the brew head. Run water out of it until it is clear and then your descale is complete.
  10. Note: You should rinse an entire tank or two of fresh water through the boilers.

Descaling a Superautomatic Espresso Machine

If your machine has an automatic descaling cycle, refer to the owner's manual for instructions. For machines without an automatic descaling cycle:

  1. Dissolve the descaling agent into a full reservoir.
  2. Pull the solution into your boiler by running about a cup of water out of your steam wand. Close the steam knob.
  3. Turn off the machine and let sit for 20 minutes. This is important to allow the descaling solution to work.
  4. After 20 minutes, run about 1/2 of the reservoir out of the steam wand.
  5. Turn off the machine and allow to rest for another 20 minutes.
  6. Flush the remaining water out of the steam wand and finish by running a reservoir of clean water through the machine.

Recommended Descaling Products

  • Dezcal Espresso Machine Descaler - This product is perfect for descaling single boiler, heat exchange and double boiler espresso machines. Use this product to descale your manual, semi-automatic or superautomatic espresso machine.
  • Durgol Swiss Espresso Decalcifier - Durgol is a liquid form descaler and works very well for descaling all types of home espresso machines.
  • CleanCaf Coffee Maker and Espresso Machine Cleaner and Descaler - This product is a blend of descaler and detergent. It is well suited for descaling a coffee maker and cleaning the brew basket and decanter. It can also be used to descale a home espresso machine.
  • Jura Decal Superautomatic Coffee Center Descaler - This is a tablet form descaler specialy formulated to be used in descaling Jura Impressa superautomatic coffee centers. Note: Using other descaling solutions will void your warranty.
  • DeLonghi Descaler - This is a liquid descaler, recommended by DeLonghi for use in their espresso machines. Note: Using other descaling solutions will void your warranty.
  • Saeco Decalcifier - Saeco brand liquid descaler is formulated for use in Saeco espresso machines.