Descaling the coffee machine: tablets, cleaners, citric acid

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Scale builds up on the cof­fee machine’s main com­po­nent, the heater, and it takes longer for the appli­ance to heat the water. This arti­cle details the process of clean­ing the appli­ance and lists effec­tive meth­ods for remov­ing this scale, as well as cof­fee oils. If you ignore this require­ment, the cof­fee machine will over­heat and fail.

How can I tell if my device needs cleaning?

The appear­ance of scale is the main sign that it is time to clean the appli­ance. Its par­ti­cles can get into the drink and spoil its taste. Drink­ing cof­fee from a dirty appli­ance is quite dan­ger­ous, as par­ti­cles of cof­fee beans, cof­fee oil and milk residues are a “great” breed­ing ground for harm­ful organ­isms. If you notice sed­i­ment in the cup, then this is a sign that clean­ing can no longer be post­poned!

This is how a scale-con­t­a­m­i­nat­ed heater looks like:

Scale on the heating element of the coffee machine

Mod­ern mod­els are equipped with a use­ful com­po­nent — a sen­sor that shows the lev­el of con­t­a­m­i­na­tion of the cof­fee machine. If the indi­ca­tor turns red, then it’s time to dis­as­sem­ble the device and car­ry out a com­plete clean­ing, which you can do your­self.

Ways number 1 — cleaning with tablets for a coffee machine

There are 2 types of tablets that can be used when clean­ing the cof­fee machine.

For decalcification

They are used in the event that it is nec­es­sary to clean it from plaque, which clogs the inter­nal water chan­nels of the appa­ra­tus, pre­vent­ing the free cir­cu­la­tion of liq­uid and the destruc­tion of plas­tic and rub­ber struc­tur­al ele­ments. The com­po­si­tion of such prod­ucts, as a rule, includes the fol­low­ing com­po­nents — male­ic and sul­fam­ic acids, bak­ing soda and a cor­ro­sion inhibitor.

On the pack­ages of such tablets, you can see the inscrip­tion “For decal­ci­fi­ca­tion” or the fol­low­ing inter­pre­ta­tions of it:

  • CALC
  • Descal­ing
  • decal­ci­fi­er
  • Descal­ing

Tablets for decalcification

When choos­ing a tablet, you need to focus on the brand of the cof­fee machine. For exam­ple, if you have a Bosch cof­fee machine, you must also use Bosch tablets.

Regard­less of the brand of tablets, the instruc­tions for use are as fol­lows:

  • Dis­solve the tablet in clean water.
  • Fill the con­tain­er for the cof­fee machine with the result­ing solu­tion to the max­i­mum mark.

If the cof­fee machine has a spe­cial com­part­ment for ground cof­fee, it is sug­gest­ed to place the tablet in it, com­plete­ly fill­ing the tank with clean water.

  • Select the func­tion to brew plain ground black cof­fee.
  • When the glass is half full, turn off the device for 15 min­utes.
  • Turn on the machine and wait until the machine dis­pens­es the remain­ing half por­tion.
  • Clean the brew­ing unit.
  • Car­ry out the brew­ing cycle twice with­out using a tablet.

So, scale from the heater will be removed:

Water heater scaled and cleaned

cleaning tablets

They are used when you are clean­ing from cof­fee and essen­tial oils. Their pack­ag­ing is marked with the inscrip­tion “Cleans­ing” or the fol­low­ing options:

Tablets work in the same way: they are placed in a tank and filled with hot water, after which the drain pro­ce­dure is repeat­ed sev­er­al times.

In the fol­low­ing video, you can clear­ly see how KRUPS art.055 clean­ing tablets are used:

Method number 2 — the use of special cleaning products

We are talk­ing about chem­i­cals declared by the man­u­fac­tur­er and uni­ver­sal means. For exam­ple, prod­ucts of the brands Swirl, Top House, Top­perr, Delonghi.

Descaler for coffee machines

Cleaning modern coffee machines

Let’s start with “smart” appli­ances that have a brewed cof­fee counter and a mul­ti­func­tion dis­play. To clean these machines, fol­low these steps:

  1. We pre­pare the clean­ing solu­tion accord­ing to the instruc­tions.
  2. Pour the prod­uct into the liq­uid con­tain­er.
  3. We dis­man­tle the con­tain­er intend­ed for col­lect­ing waste and com­plete­ly clean it.
  4. Select auto­mat­ic clean­ing on the dis­play.
  5. The rest of the steps will be tak­en care of by the device.

Dur­ing clean­ing, you need to fol­low the instruc­tions that will appear on the screen. Usu­al­ly the device asks to add liq­uid, re-clean cer­tain com­po­nents.

Cleaning simple appliances

Do you have a stan­dard machine that does not have auto­mat­ic clean­ing? Then the fol­low­ing guide will help you.

  1. Exam­ine the pack­ag­ing of the solu­tion pur­chased for clean­ing. It is nec­es­sary to pre­pare the prod­uct exact­ly accord­ing to the instruc­tions.
  2. Pour the required amount of solu­tion into the water con­tain­er.
  3. Remove cof­fee residues from the fil­ter and con­tain­er.
  4. Start the machine and imme­di­ate­ly open the tap. Make sure that about 150 ml of liq­uid comes out of the tap. You need to repeat this pro­ce­dure 4–5 times every 5 min­utes, drain 100 ml of the solu­tion.
  5. When the solu­tion runs out, the tank must be rinsed sev­er­al times, and then pour cold water into it.
  6. Repeat the fourth step. The final stage includes wash­ing the work­ing unit of the cof­fee machine.

If your machine is equipped with a sprayer, then you need to pour cof­fee into the device and start the prepa­ra­tion func­tion. The clean­ing solu­tion must remain inside the con­tain­er. After pour­ing out the result­ing drink (DO NOT DRINK!), repeat the pro­ce­dure until the clean­er is com­plete­ly fin­ished. In the case of a carob-type machine or in the pres­ence of a pul­ver, cof­fee can not be filled up.

Method number 3 — citric acid for cleaning

If you pre­fer folk reme­dies, then lemon juice will be an alter­na­tive to chem­i­cals. The pro­ce­dure fol­lows a dif­fer­ent pat­tern, but the prin­ci­ple remains the same. You need to rinse all remov­able parts and thor­ough­ly clean the work­ing unit from cof­fee waste.

Now let’s move on to the solu­tion.: 6–8 table­spoons of cit­ric acid per 1 liter of water. You can replace the acid with vine­gar. In this case, it must be dilut­ed with water in a ratio of 1:2.

Pour this prod­uct into a water con­tain­er and leave it for 2–3 hours. After this time, you need to start cook­ing. Repeat the pro­ce­dure until all the solu­tion in the tank is fin­ished. Has the scum gone? Then rinse the con­tain­er sev­er­al times until the cit­ric acid is com­plete­ly removed.

When clean­ing the cof­fee machine, it is bet­ter to opt for spe­cial­ized prod­ucts, since, accord­ing to man­u­fac­tur­ers, cit­ric acid cor­rodes the gas­kets of the device.

Cleaning coffee machine parts

As soon as the inter­nal clean­ing is done, rinse the exter­nal ele­ments of the device:

  • Hold­er. A brown coat­ing often forms at its bot­tom, so the unit needs to be cleaned. To do this, you must first pull out the horn and open it using a screw­driv­er. The hold­er is cleaned under run­ning water using a sponge and deter­gent.
  • brew­er. It must be removed from old ground cof­fee residues using a sponge and warm water.
  • cap­puc­ci­na­tore. Clean­ing is as fol­lows — you must press the release but­ton for the hot water flow. At the same time, milk residues will stand out along with water. If the mod­el allows it, the cap­puc­ci­na­tore should be removed and rinsed under water.

How to regularly clean?

In order not to wait until signs of scale appear, you can clean the cof­fee machine as a pre­ven­tive mea­sure, and based on how you use the device — if you almost always pre­pare black cof­fee, then clean­ing can be done every 200 cups, if you pre­pare cof­fee with milk — every 100 cups or more.

Video: Decalcification of the coffee machine

Instruc­tions for descal­ing the cof­fee machine using descal­ing prod­ucts are pre­sent­ed in the video:

Clean­ing the cof­fee machine is easy, the main thing is not to rush to pre­pare the drink. Take the time to clean the con­tain­er from the solu­tion or cit­ric acid, as the rem­nants of the funds can not only spoil the taste of cof­fee, but also dam­age your health.


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