Cleaning and descaling your Nespresso® machine

Cleaning and descaling your Nespresso® machine

Why should you clean your Nespresso machine?

If you own a Nespresso® machine and you want to get the longest possible service out of it, you absolutely must make sure that you regularly descale it. Indeed, as our colleague Anne-So never tires of telling us: “Limescale is a coffee machine’s worst enemy!” And the same goes for capsule-based machines.

But why does limescale appear in the first place? The offending substance is actually present in the tap water that we use for our coffee. As the water is heated, the limescale gradually separates from the water and deposits form on your machine’s pipes. This build-up reduces the extraction pressure produced by the machine and can cause premature wear on the pump. This is why it’s important to regularly descale your machine – roughly every 2-3 months, depending on the hardness of your local tap water.

What you need…

In order to correctly descale your machine, you will need to get your hands on certain specific products:

  • a descaler, to remove the limescale from the pipes
  • clean water, used for rinsing
  • a cleaning capsule, to clean the brewing unit

You can either opt for a full kit that provides the cleaning capsule and descaler, or simply purchase a dedicated descaler for Nespresso® machines or a universal descaler (for all other brands of machines). The choice of cleaning options for your machine is quite wide so there is no excuse!

Descaling your capsule machine with white vinegar: good idea or terrible mistake?

From personal experience, having dealt with plenty of different machines, we do not advise you to descale your Nespresso machine (whether it be an Inissia, Citiz or Essenza model) with white vinegar. The reason for this is very simple: white vinegar contains acetic acid, which over time can attack the pipes contained within your machine’s internal mechanisms and potentially cause leaks.


Before starting, please bear in mind that it takes around 30 minutes to correctly descale your Delonghi or Krups Nespresso® capsule machine.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to descaling your machine:

  • Empty the machine of all capsules and water. Fill the water tank with a mixture of one part descaling product to three parts water.
  • Turn on your Nespresso machine and press down both buttons (small cup and big cup) for around three seconds.
  • Press and hold the “big cup” button and let the entire contents of the water tank pour out into a container measuring roughly 1 litre. Repeat the operation for a second time.
  • Rinse the water tank with clean water, then put your machine through two more full cycles of clean water by refilling the tank and holding down the “big cup” button on your coffee machine each time.
  • Lastly, press down both buttons on your capsule machine in order to exit the descaling setting.
Solute Cleaning capsules for Nespresso

Solute cleaning capsules

Capsules Nettoyantes - Caffenu

Cleaning Capsules – Caffenu


Once the descaling is complete, you will also need to clean the brewing unit. Why? Because after every extraction, oils and particles of coffee get left behind and stick to the group head. This risks adversely affecting the taste of your coffee.

The cleaning capsule contains a detergent agent that, on contact with water, is transformed into an active mousse. This mousse spreads throughout your Nespresso® capsule machine’s group head, giving it a deep clean, killing bacteria and dislodging any particles that have become encrusted on the machine.

We strongly encourage you to clean your machine, just like this, every 2-3 weeks.

With all this in mind, there’s absolutely no excuse not to clean up your act – and your precious Nespresso® capsule machine! to ensure that it continues serving a richly fragrant coffee every day for many years to come! Find all our cleaning products for your coffee machine on!

And once your machine is sparkling, how about treating yourself to some coffee?!

About the author


Addicted to coffee capsule machines and coffee capsules, she will divulge all the secrets about these technological treasures.


  • Coffee Love says:

    Thanks for guiding about cleaning Nespresso

  • BN says:

    Hi. I cannot get into the descaling mode on my Pixie machine after holding 2 buttons simultaneously for 3 secs. Machine just turns off. What did I do wrong ?
    Failing that, I simply ran thro several “lungo” cycles of descaling solution (50/50 vinegar water). Then rinsed machine, again with several lungo cycles, to remove vinegar smell. Is this an acceptable way to descale machine ?
    Please help. Thank you.

    • Gail says:

      Vinegar is not recommended for cleaning machines as it can attack the pipes contained within your machine’s internal mechanisms.
      In the Nespresso Pixie manual, you will find they advise using a descaling product made for the machine. You can find the instructions manual here
      All the best!

  • Dolly.Boris says:

    Positive thinking leads to positive life, and negative thinking leads to negative life

  • Lizbeth says:

    I did not even know about descaling my machine until I started googling on why it is not working. So, it’s been far too long, to say the least. The milk is no longer coming out, just steam. Is this something that happens when a machine needs to be descaled?

    • Catherine says:

      Dear Lizbeth, could you please tell me more about your coffee machine? Which one it is? Thank you for the information, it will help us to give you the best answer possible ;-)

  • Liz Richardson says:

    I ran my Virtuoline with descaler ONLY twice! Then ran it with cold water twice. Will it ruin my machine?

    • Catherine says:

      Hello Liz, the only thing we recommend you not to do is descaling with white vinegar. You can run with cold water after using a descaler it cleans the system. Have a nice day!

  • ANDREW says:

    I tried to descale my vertuo plus machine before the descaling light came on. I’m doing everything in the correct order but the orange flashing light turns red once I start the actual descaling process then the light turns orange again. What am I doing wrong?

  • Elic says:

    I have a nespresso creatista machine and it requires descaling. I was wondering if you have any idea for natural substances to use for cleaning. I wanted to order the kit from nespresso but seeing the list of warnings makes me prefer a natural solution.

  • Rosemary says:

    My Krupa Citiz machine is leaking from the capsule compartment. I’ve descaled, and followed other instructions from Nespresso to run hot water through without capsules and clean the interior area where the capsule is punctured. Nothing has helped. I’m having to empty the trays after every use, which is not right. Can you help.

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