Descaling your Nespresso Vertuoline machine is a very important process and something you should do once every 3-6 months in order to keep your espresso machine running smoothly, brewing great tasting coffee.
If you live in an area with hard water and you don’t have a water softener at home, then it is especially important that you descale your Nespresso Vertuoline.
Another time to descale would be if you start using the machine again after a long time. Any water that may have been left in the machine would have evaporated and left a deposit of limescale which will make your coffee taste less good.
Vertuoline machines also have descaling alerts where the light will blink 3 times and then become steady – this is an indication that you must descale.
So how do you descale a Nespresso Vertuoline? It’s quite a simple process.
How to descale your Vertuoline(and clean it too)
It takes just a few simple steps to carry out this process.
Before you start, you need to unplug the machine and plug it in again.
Step 1: Remove any capsules
The first thing you want to do is open the lid and eject any used capsule from the pod bay. It’s okay if the capsule goes into the trash receptacle as you’re just going to empty that out right then and there.
Also make sure the knob is turned to “unlocked”
Step 2: Clean the drip tray and used capsules
As a good measure, remove the drip tray from the machine, open it up, and drain the water from it. You also want to throw out any used capsules in the capsule tank.
Step 3: Fill the water tank
Next, fill up the water tank with 500 ml of clean water and to that, add one packet of Nespresso descaling solution. If you’re part of the Nespresso club, you’ll receive the descaling solution. You can also purchase this online:
If you don’t wish to use the name brand solution, you can also use a natural descaler such as vinegar(not recommended) or citric acid(great idea).
Step 4: Turn on the machine and enter descaling mode
Lock the machine. Turn on the Nespresso Vertuoline by pushing the button on the top. Then unlock and close the machine.
As it pre-heats, the button will flash and eventually become solid. Once it is solid, press and hold the button for at least 7 seconds to enter descaling mode.
You now have 45 seconds to start the descaling process.
Lock the machine by turning the lever to the lock symbol, and unlock by turning it right. Then press and hold the button again for at least 7 seconds.
Place a large cup(capable of holding at least 20 ounces) under the nozzle and let the machine drain into the vessel.
Note: If the machine does not start draining, lock the machine and press the button once again to start the process.
Step 5: Rinse everything out
When the water has fully emptied, remove and thoroughly rinse out the water tank and drip tray. Then fill the tank again, this time more than halfway with water, place the tank into the machine, lock it, and press the button once more to rinse the water through the machine.
Once it is completed, the Vertuoline will automatically stop.
Step 6: Exit descaling mode
Finally, press and hold the button again for at least 7 seconds. It will stop flashing and become solid. This indicates that the descaling process is complete.
Step 7: Allow the machine to dry
This is quite straightforward. Let it sit for about 20 minutes and then you can start using it again.
Nespresso descaling with vinegar or citric acid
The Nespresso descaling solution is quite expensive – as are Keurig descaling solutions and indeed any other name brand solutions, so many people prefer using natural descalers instead.
You can certainly use citric acid or white vinegar instead of the commercial descaler and you’ll get similar results, provided you use the correct concentration of citric acid. With vinegar, it’s not that important since you’re using store-bought vinegar anyway.
For citric acid, you’ll probably need to get some citric acid crystals and dissolve them in water to make the solution. Generally speaking, for a mild but effective acid, dissolve one to two tablespoons of citric acid crystals in a gallon of water.
Personally, I prefer using citric acid because the smell is much fresher and less pungent than vinegar, and vinegar can sometimes react with the rubber seals inside your machine and cause them to degrade.
Descaling Nespresso with Vinegar
A Nespresso machine can be considered one of the best coffee makers out in the market. They are known for making really good in very little time. Nespresso descaling and cleaning is pretty simple.
You need to keep the drip tray tidy, change the water every day and discard the remains of your uses coffee pods or capsules. This is your routine cleaning.
But other than this, it is highly advisable to descale Nepresso machines. Over time, scale can build in up in the inner parts of the device. This leads to the development of harmful bacteria and other micro organisms, as well as damage to your machine.
Just routine cleaning will not clear this.
Descaling it every three months clears the limescale and helps all the mechanisms to work efficiently. It definitely enhances your coffee’s flavor too.
Is Vinegar good for Descaling
There are many different types of descaling solution available in the market. Vinegar ranks at the top of all artificially manufactured chemicals. It is a a household staple mostly used in salads as a dressing and in a wide variety of recipes. By vinegar here we mean white vinegar and no other variant.
White vinegar is 90-95% water and about 5-10% acetic acid. It has the highest percentage of acid, when compared with other vinegar types.
An alternative to white vinegar can be lemon juice but it can clog your machine. Lemon juice is citric acid. Vinegar, on the other hand, is comprised of acetic acid.
Citric acid is stronger than acetic and for descaling we need something having the strength of acetic acid.
How do you descale with vinegar(Descaling process)?
Descaling with vinegar removes all the scale and lime buildup. Hence descaling your Nepresso at least every 3 months is highly recommended.
Here is a step by step guide on the process of descaling your Nepresso coffee machine with vinegar.
- Switch the Nespresso machine off.
- Remove the water reservoir, lid, mug stand, the cup holder and all other removable parts of the machine.
- Wash these with warm water. You can use mild soap to rinse. Then keep them to dry.
- Clean the inner and the outer surface of the machine. You will be able to reach the inner surfaces as most of the parts must have been removed.
- Clean the area near pod holders and other specific areas where coffee and tea granules are often accumulated.
- You can fit all the removable parts back in the machine.
- Plug in the machine.
- Get some white vinegar ready
- Fill half of the water reservoir with vinegar.
- Fill the rest with water. Room temperature water works best.
- Check that no coffee pods or cups remain inserted in the coffee maker.
- Start the brew cycle.
- Empty the reservoir.
- Repeat 12th and 13th step at least twice.
- Discard all the mug contents after each brewing cycle.
- Rinse the machine using plain water in the reservoir and empty the reservoir till its last drop. This will remove vinegar residues.
- Brew your favorite fresh coffee again.
The process of descaling Nespresso Vertuoline machines is unnecessarily complicated, but if you have the machine, then you gotta do what you gotta do.
This is one reason why you may actually prefer just sticking to Originalline instead of Vertuoline.
If the instructions were a little complicated to follow along with, you can also refer to this video by Nespresso(not that it is any more helpful, it’s actually more confusing).
Last update on 2020-02-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API