How to Clean & Descale A Nespresso Machine

Calling all Nespresso lovers! When was the last time you cleaned your Nespresso machine?

Like most of us, I bet it’s been a minute since you actually took the time to clean up your coffee maker. Maybe you’ve never cleaned it! Perhaps you think it’s too hard or that you don’t need to.

Think again! Cleaning your coffee maker whether it’s a Nespresso machine (like the Nespresso VertuoPlus that I own) or a regular drip coffee maker (like an OXO 8 Cup Coffee Maker) is vitally important.

A dirty coffee maker can change the taste of your coffee and even make your coffee maker not run properly! Don’t let that happen to you! The last thing you want is a broken coffee maker or a gross cup of coffee.

Today we’re going to share some simple steps for how to clean your Nespresso machine as well as how to descale it! Let’s get started.

How To Clean a Nespresso Machine

How to Clean & Descale A Nespresso Machine

This post includes affiliate links.

Let’s start by daily cleaning, shall we? These are things you should be doing on a regular basis.

1. Clean The Drip Tray

Cleaning the drip trip is something you should do on a regularly basis. Your Nespresso machine is pretty accurate with its distribution of coffee, removing and wiping the drip tray is a good habit to get in.

The best way to do this is to just use some dish soap and a clean cloth or sponge.

nespresso drip tray

Cleaning the tray will prevent mold from growing and keep things like the bottom of your coffee cup fresh and clean!

2. Wash the Water Tank

If you’re like me, you fill up your water tank all the way full and use it until it’s empty. When it gets fully emptied and you need fresh water, it’s a good idea to take a minute to wash the water tank!

Similar to the drip tray, use warm or hot water, dish soap and a cloth or sponge to wipe out the inside and lid of your tank.

3. Empty and Clean Capsule Container

empty cartidge

The container where the capsules go can get a bit dirty and grimy. Be sure to remove the container often, empty out all of the used capsules into a Nespresso recycle bag and rinse it with warm water and soap.

4. Wipe down the Capsule Head

Open up your Nespresso machine and use a damp cloth to wipe down the capsule head.

5. Wipe Down the Machine

Like wiping down the capsule head, using a clean damp cloth, wipe down the outside of the entire machine. You can also use a gentle cleaner if you’d like.

6. Run The Cleaning Cycle

You should have run the cleaning cycle prior to the first time you use your Nespresso machine. If you didn’t or if it’s been a while since you ran the cleaning cycle, here’s a refresher.

murky water coming from nespresso machine

Ensure there is a clean and full water tank and the cup support is removed. Place a large container that can hold minimum of 4 cups of water.

Open the machine head to remove the used capsule if you haven’t yet already done so. Close the head.

If you have a Veruoline machine: Start the machine’s cleaning cycle. Do this by pushing the start button 3 times quickly (within 2 seconds) and wait for the cycle to start. An orange light will begin to flash and the cleaning process will start! It will take about 5 minutes to fully run.

If you have an Original machine: Run 4 “lungo” brew cycles of water. You’ll likely see a brown tinted water come out of your machine. Once it’s done, discard the water and you’re good to go!

How To Descale a Nespresso Machine

How often you need to descale your machine depends on a variety of factors:

  • How often you use your machine
  • If you use hard water or filtered water
  • How often you give your machine a regular cleaning

Descaling should be done roughly every 3 months or every 300 brews. It’s kind of like a car. You give your car regular oil changes to keep things running smoothly, you should also do the same for your coffeemaker!

Mineral build up can occur over time, affecting things like the water flow and the temperature of the drink. Like a car, it can affect how your machine performs.

Every Nespresso model has slightly different instructions for the descaling process. To ensure you’re doing it properly and for detailed instructions, check out the your exact machine’s manual.

The Nespresso website has detailed step by step instructions as well as videos for all of their machines. Check that out if you have a different machine or have other questions!

If you have a Nespresso VertuoPlus machine like me, here’s how to descale it.

1. Eject Any Capsules

Open up your machine and allow any used capsules to be ejected out of the holder.

2. Turn the Machine Off

Close the machine and turn it off. Do this by pushing the lever down and holding it for 3 seconds. Also remove the cup holder and put a basin to catch the water.

bucket in front of nespresso machine

3. Add the Descaling Agent

Remove the water reservoir of your machine and empty it. Then add your descaling product and the recommended amount of water needed based on the type of descaling agent you’re using. Nespresso has their own descaling kit but you can also get any type or regular commercial descaler.

4. Run the Descaling Cycle

orange light on nespresso machine

To fun the descaling mode, push the start button and the lever down at the same time, holding for 3 seconds. When you see an orange steady light you know you’ve entered the special functions menu. (Blinking light indicates cleaning mode.)

Push the lever down one time to choose descaling and push the start button. The orange light will begin to blink for the entire process.

5. Run a Cycle of Just Water

When step one is done, empty and re-fill the water chamber with fresh water and push the brew cycle button to run a cycle of just fresh water to clear the cycle.v You may want to run a few full cycles of clean water through for good measure but Nespresso recommends just the one.

6. Exit the Descaling Process

To exit the descaling process, do the same thing you did to start! Push the button and lever down at the same time and hold for 3 seconds.

Let it dry for about 10 minutes and then you’re ready to go!

And that’s it!


How Often to Descale?

Descaling your Nespresso machine should be done on a regular basis – every 3 months or 300 brews, whichever comes first. Depending on the hardness of your local tap water and how often you use it will affect if you need to descale earlier than that. For best results, don’t go much longer than every 3 months.

Can You Use Vinegar?

One super common question is if you can use white vinegar, lemon juice or a vinegar solution to clean your Nespresso coffee machine. 

If you’re looking for a more general guide on how to clean your coffee carafe – check out our full cleaning guide here!. While you may see some blog posts that say you can, I highly recommend not doing that. Nespresso also says to not do that.

The last thing you want is to have a negative impact from the vinegar and ruin your coffee maker. Do yourself a favor and use a proper descaling kit to descale your Nespresso.

About bit of cream

Rishi and Jen are the creators behind Bit of Cream. They start each morning with a cup of coffee and are on the hunt to make that simple cup of caffeine better and brighter. Feel free to send them a message or follow along on Instagram!

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