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How to Clean a Nespresso Machine Without Ruining It

Knowing how to clean a Nespresso machine is an art form (and one you can totally learn, by the way.) It’s actually vital to learn how to properly clean your Nespresso coffee machine so you can maintain the quality of your brew. Nespresso machines are also pricey, and learning how to clean the machine the right way can help prevent you from ruining it accidentally.

This guide will run you through the materials and steps required for proper cleaning and descaling your Nespresso, so it becomes second nature.


Materials Needed

  • Damp cloth.
  • Liquid detergent or soap.
  • Cleaning capsule.
  • Empty container (approx. 32 oz).
  • Drying cloth.
  • Descaling solution or white vinegar.


How to clean your Nespresso machine

Nespresso Vertuo Next Coffee and Espresso Maker by De'Longhi, White

Step 1: Clean out the drip tray

When cleaning your Nespresso coffee maker, the drip tray is one of the most important yet overlooked components that requires a thorough clean. This is because it is often wrongly assumed the drip tray does not interfere with the taste of your coffee.

While this is true to an extent, the build-up of bacteria from coffee residue over time can start making its way to your cup and even your coffee if neglected.

Fortunately, the Nespresso drip tray is quite easy to wash with dish soap and a clean cloth. In addition, it can typically be detached from the machine. This means you can simply apply your choice of detergents and rinse the drip tray in the sink under some warm water.

Ensure you do this daily or every time you use the machine as it will prevent bacteria growth and molding in the long term.


Step 2: Disinfect the water tank

Another highly overlooked component of the Nespresso machine that people often neglect is the water reservoir. Understandably, the container is only ever filled with water anyway, so it makes sense that people would not think to clean it periodically.

While it won’t need to be cleaned as often as the drip tray, the water tank should be cleaned regularly. This water will ultimately end up in your cup of coffee.

To disinfect your water tank, remove it from the machine and remove the lid. Then, use mild liquid detergent or gentle soap to scrub the interior and exterior of the container and rinse under some warm water.

You could also opt to clean the water tank using your dishwasher. However, to maximize its lifespan, you should avoid submerging it in a cleaning solution.


Step 3: Clean the capsule container

Due to its role in your machine, the capsule container rather quickly becomes dirty with coffee residue. This is because the used capsules are never completely drained of their ground coffee content, resulting in bits of damp coffee falling through the vents of the aluminum top.

Of course, you’ll need to empty any remaining used capsules from the container before commencing cleaning. We recommend recycling your used capsules.

To clean the capsule container, apply some gentle soap and scrub thoroughly, making sure to get the interior corners. Then, run some warm water inside and out. You will also want to clean the capsule detector lens inside the machine while you’re at it.

Use a soft dry cloth to wipe down the lens to clear any stains that could compromise its vision. No water or soap is required for this task.


Step 4: Wipe down the machine

Once all the individual and removable components are cleaned and dried, you will need to start cleaning the exterior surface of the Nespresso machine. Then, using a clean damp cloth and dish soap, you can begin wiping down the coffee dispenser, that is, the place from which the coffee stream comes into your cup.

Ensure you also wipe the inside of the capsule holder, the brew head, and the outer and inner walls of the Nespresso.


Step 5: Run a cleaning cycle

Many users of Nespresso machines don’t realize that the brand offers its own cleaning solution. Simply purchase the compatible cleaning capsule and insert it into your Nespresso capsule container.

Before pressing any buttons, place an empty 32-ounce or larger container under the coffee outlet to collect the discharge.

To commence the cleaning cycle, press the start button three times in quick succession. This will initiate the cleaning cycle. Then, wait while the machine cleans itself from within. Usually, this process will take roughly five minutes as three cycles of water are run through the machine.


How to descale your Nespresso machine

Nespresso Lattissima One Coffee and Espresso Maker by De'Longhi, Porcelain White

Step 1: Prepare the machine

Descaling your Nespresso coffee machine is a different ball game with a learning curve involved. Firstly, you will need to prepare the device for descaling by first turning it off for safety purposes. You will be turning it back on soon. This will ensure no electrical hazards as you tidy up the machine before descaling.

To adequately prepare the machine, you must empty the capsule container of all used capsules and the drip tray. Once complete, re-attach these components back to the machine as they are vital for the descaling process to commence. At this point, you can now turn your Nespresso machine back on as it is ready to begin.


Step 2: Initiate descaling mode

Putting your machine into descaling mode turns it into a self-cleaning appliance. To enter descaling mode, you must simultaneously hold down the Espresso and Lungo buttons for three seconds. The mug buttons denote these.

After that, the lights will start to flash, and you should hear a beep to indicate that the Nespresso machine has entered descaling mode.

Depending on your Nespresso model, the steps to entering descaling mode differ slightly, though they all follow a similar convention. The above method works fine for most Nespresso coffee makers, including the Nespresso Pixie, Inissia, and Citiz models.

For the VertuoLine models, there is a single button on the machine which needs to be held down for about seven seconds. Furthermore, the Nespresso Prodigio requires you to hold down three different buttons simultaneously for three to six seconds to enter descale mode.

Regardless of the model, descale mode is by flashing lights and a beep sound as a general rule of thumb.


Step 3: Prepare your descaling solution

There are essentially two ways to go about preparing your descaling solution. The more common and conventional way is to purchase Nespresso’s descaling solution from the Nespresso website simply. Your Nespresso machine often comes with a descaling kit as part of the bundle, so look at the box inclusions first before purchasing a new bottle.

The other method for preparing your descaling solution is to make a homemade version yourself. You can do this by combining citric acid such as lemon juice with water or using a combination of white vinegar and water. For homemade solutions, you should double-check the instruction manual of your specific Nespresso model to ensure it is safe to apply to your machine.


Step 4: Fill tank with descaling solution

Once your descale solution is prepared, pour it into the water tank and add half a liter of water after. You will want to ensure you’ve thoroughly cleaned your water tank before doing this, as bacteria can negate the effects of your solution. If you use Nespresso’s descaling solution, pour the entire container into the water reservoir.

Next, you will need to prepare an empty container large enough to receive all the water from the reservoir during the descaling cycle.

Naturally, the required size of the container will vary based on your Nespresso model and the size of its water tank. Typically, you will need a container that can hold about 32 ounces of water, which should have compact dimensions to fit underneath the coffee outlet.


Step 5: Commence the descaling process

If you’ve completed all the steps up until now, your machine should look as follows. There should be an empty container underneath the coffee outlet, a water tank filled to the top with descaling solution, and flashing brew button lights indicating the correct mode. If all that is in order, press one of the flashing brew buttons to begin the descaling process.

The machine will run the solution through the inner pipes and machinery at this stage. Eventually, it’ll come from the dispenser and into your prepared empty container. Usually, this process will take around 15 minutes to complete. You will know when it is finished as the dispenser will stop dispensing water.

At that point, the water tank should be empty, and your prepared container should be full.


Step 6: Run a rinsing cycle

To ensure that your machine is ready to start brewing coffee again, you need to run through a rinsing cycle to cleanse the interior of your descaling formula. First, remove the water tank and wash the inside with clean water and dish detergent. It would be best if you also did the same for the empty container that has collected your solution.

Next, fill the tank with fresh water, close the lid, and re-position it back to the Nespresso machine. Finally, rerun the descaling process by repeating step 5. This will run clean water through your machine to rinse out any unwanted chemicals lurking on the inside.

Important to note, that if you used white vinegar or citric acid instead of Nespresso’s descaling solution, you should rinse the machine multiple times before brewing your next cup of coffee (1).


Step 7: Rinse all machine components

Now that your machine is cleaned from the inside, you need to clean up all the components involved in the descaling process. This means removing the water tank, cup support, and drip tray and cleaning them under the sink with warm water.

You can use a clean cloth to dry them up or leave them out to air dry naturally. Ensure that all components are thoroughly dried before reassembling your machine, as this will ensure there are no safety hazards in preparing your next fresh cup of coffee.


Step 8: Exit descaling mode

Finally, you can exit descaling mode for a job well done. To do this, press the two brew buttons simultaneously for three seconds. Of course, this will differ slightly depending on the model, but the key thing to remember is that entering and exiting the descaling mode will typically incorporate the same method.


How to clean Nespresso machine FAQ

Nespresso Inissia Espresso Maker with Aeroccino Milk Frother by De'Longhi, Black

How do you run a clean cycle on a Nespresso machine?

To run a clean cycle on a Nespresso machine, insert a cleaning capsule into the pod compartment and close the maintenance module. Next, press the start button three times in quick succession within two seconds and allow the cycle to commence.


Do you need to clean a Nespresso machine?

Regular cleaning of your Nespresso machine ensures the best results with your daily coffees. Furthermore, your own health and safety need to clean up the bacteria and prevent germs from spreading across your machine and compromising your coffee.


Can I use vinegar and water to descale my Nespresso machine?

You can use the brand’s allocated descaling solution to descale a Nespresso machine or opt for a homemade solution. White vinegar and water are commonly used solutions in the community. You can also opt for citric acid and water combinations too.


Related: How to Reset Your Nespresso Machine


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