How to Clean a Nespresso

There’s nothing like a freshly brewed cup of coffee, but for those who fill their cups at home, this daily habit eventually creates a problem: how to clean a Nespresso. Any Nespresso machine put to good use needs to be cleared of the buildup that’ll form no matter how upscale the device is.

Slower flow, a change in temperature, or even a difference in taste may indicate it’s time to clean your Nespresso machine.

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For the unfamiliar, Nespresso’s single-cup capsules produce a strong brew and its sleek machinery makes any pajama-wearing domestic barista feel sophisticated as it does its job. Plenty of at-home coffee consumers who need a little more than instant grounds and drip coffee makers in their arsenal likely count a Nespresso machine as a cornerstone of their morning routine. (Or mid-morning, or evening—we don’t judge.)

The company suggests that its machines get a proper descale job every three months, or after 300 uses, whichever comes first. This recommendation is standard across its product catalog. A weekly rinsing with fresh water is also a wise idea if you want to go above and beyond to keep limescale and grime at bay.

“Regular cleaning and descaling is necessary to prevent [coffee grounds] from creating a coffee residue, and to keep the machine free of limescale that can form over time,” says Brian Mulay, a product specialist at Nespresso.

Descaling your Nespresso machine may be one of those chores that you put off for another morning, and then another morning…and then another, until you simply never do it. But if you want your machine to last and your cup to give you the coffee-shop experience you’re after, then getting into this habit should also be a priority. The best part? It only takes 20 minutes.

Nespresso offers two types of coffee machines. There’s the original, which serves up cappuccinos and espressos. And then there’s the Nespresso Vertuo, which is an espresso machine that just so happens to make coffee too; it’s a touchscreen-equipped device that doesn’t necessarily require a study abroad experience in Rome to get right. Both machines can be cleaned with the company’s descaler kit, which is sold as a two-pack to cover six months of care. (The company advises against any DIY solutions, like white vinegar and lemon juice, just so you know.) The descaler kit can be purchased directly on Nespresso’s site, or you can pick them up from retailers like Amazon.

Nespresso Descaling Kit 2 Pack

When it comes to actually using the kit on your Nespresso coffee machine, Mulay says that there are certain signs that point to a dirty machine.

“Some indications of a machine that needs a deep clean include a slower flow, a change in the taste of the coffee, and a decrease in temperature,” he says. It could also be that you’ve noticed hard water stains on the tank and calcium deposits around the machine. Since you always want your coffee tasting it’s best, you’ll want to descale your Nespresso machine with a quick cleaning cycle ASAP if you notice any of these changes pop up. Read on for our step-by-step guide on how to get the job done.

How do I descale my Nespresso coffee machine?

The first thing you’ll want to do is make sure the capsule container and drip tray don’t have remnants of coffees past. Once those are emptied of used capsules and runoff, place a damp cloth beneath the surface of the machine to catch any potential descaler spills. Warning: The descaler’s components can discolor countertops, and no one wants you to be discouraged from doing this process again. (For your safety, keep this solution away from your eyes too.)

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