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A Step-By-Step Guide: How to Descale Your Coffee Machine

29 May 2020
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If your espresso machine is serving a pot of weak, off-tasting, tepid coffee and takes a longer-than-usual time to brew, chances are the machine may be lodged with limescale buildup. It’s now time to give your machine the descaling routine and attention it needs.

How does one descale an espresso machine? Follow this step-by-step guide to ensure that the many pipes and small jets in your machine are sparkling clean.

Prefer a quick video guide? Here’s a great place to start:

Tip: We recommend descaling your espresso machine at least once a month to ensure your morning brew is packed with a punch each day.

Learn more about why descaling your coffee machine is important here.

1. Get a descaling agent

While DIY or homemade descaling agents may work, the best (and guaranteed) option would be a commercial descaling solution made specifically for coffee machines. Featuring the De’Longhi EcoDecalk Mini. Photo from De’Longhi

Some use vinegar, others use citric acid, and there are people who use lemon juice as a descaling agent — any all-natural descaling agents work (albeit with varying degrees of effectiveness, and note that some may be more corrosive to your machine than others).

The best, though, is a commercial descaling solution. The De’Longhi EcoDecalk Mini (SGD16.90 / RM35) is a natural descaler that works well for all coffee machines, from the smaller home varieties to fully automatic coffee machines.

Made of ingredients from vegetable origins, the De’Longhi EcoDecalk Mini is 100% natural. It descales your coffee machine to ensure your morning brew is packed with a punch each morning. The descaler also helps to extend the lifespan of your coffee machine by reducing the possibilities of premature breakdown from limescale build-up.

Other highlights of the descaler are its sanitising and anti-bacterial qualities, biodegradable technology, and non-corrosiveness so you wouldn’t have to worry about storing the descaler for a long period of time.

Shop the De’Longhi EcoDecalk Mini here.

2. Descale your coffee machine

Check the user manual for any specific instructions on descaling your coffee machine. Featuring the PrimaDonna Elite Experience. Photo from De’Longhi

Time to descale your coffee machine and get the pesky limescale out!

First thing’s first — check whether your coffee machine is programmed with an automatic cleaning and descaling cycle. If it does, you get to do a little happy dance. If it doesn’t, well, it just means you’ll have to do it manually. We advise referring to the user manual for any specific instructions on descaling your coffee machine. (Read on for a general descaling process for most coffee machines.)

Dissolve the De’Longhi EcoDecalk Mini into the reservoir of your coffee machine. It runs through the boiler and the machine. You’d want to run it through your steam wand too. Close the steam knob and turn off the machine. We recommend letting the descaler sit for 15 to 20 minutes to allow it to run through all of the little pipes in your machine and clean away the gunk and other bits and pieces.

Next, run about half of your reservoir out of the steam wand before turning off the machine for another 15 to 20 minutes. The last step is to flush the remaining water in the reservoir out of the steam wand.

3. Rinse and rinse again

While some people complete one cycle of rinsing, we recommend two cycles to ensure your descaling solution has been flushed out of your machine. Photo from David Charles Schuett

Particles from your descaling products may be lodged within the pipes in your coffee machine, so it’s important to flush it with water after descaling your coffee machine to remove any residue left behind. Fill up your reservoir with water this time and do the above steps all over again.

While some people complete one cycle of rinsing, we recommend two cycles to ensure your descaling solution has been flushed out of your machine.

Our personal rule of thumb to measure if the cleaning is done is to take a big whiff of the water that comes out of the machine. Once the water is clear and smells like, well, water, your coffee machine is good to go.

4. Make an espresso

After the descaling routine’s done, reward yourself with a cup of fresh espresso from a sparkling clean machine. Photo from De’Longhi

Now that descaling’s done — what’s next?

It’s time to reward yourself with an espresso. Get your coffee machine to brew you a fresh cup of coffee. Nothing tastes better than a shot of espresso out of a clean coffee machine.