The Definitive Guide to Coffee Machine Descaler

For some of the coffee maker owners, descaling comes to be a nightmare. On the other hand, some smart DIYer would love to do that without taking any stress. So, what's the secret for a stress-free, but complete descaling process anyway? Could it be done either? 

Well, not literally. But there are ways through which you can make the process of descaling as easy as regular cleaning by using the best Coffee Machine Descalers.

But for that, you've to have a firm idea on what descaling is, how many types of descalers are there, how frequently you've to do that, and most importantly, how to do that? We've gathered all of these answers together in this post. Take a cup of coffee, sit back and go through the whole post.

Coffee Machine Cleaner and descaler guides

What Is Coffee Machine Descaler?

Before understanding the sole definition of descaler, let's understand what is descaling? Descaling is an advanced cleaning and re-purifying method for coffee maker machines.

It involved removing grimes, lime scales, mineral build-ups, bad smell, milk, etc from the reservoir and other parts of the machine. And the product that is mixed up with water to continue the process is called a descaler or descaler agent.

They are available in several forms, and they can also be produced from household natural materials. We would take you through a detailed discussion on different types of descalers below-

Types of Coffee Machine Descalers

Although all of the descalers does the same job of removing odd materials from the coffee machine. But that being said, there are quite some differences in them. And that's based on two viewpoints-

  • Based on whether it’s homemade descalers or commercial descalers.
  • Based on the physical structure of the descaler.

#Based On The Physical Structure Of The Descaler

To put your machine through a descaling process, you need descalers for sure. But you can source them in two major ways. One is to use household products and go through a DIY process of descaling.

And the second option is to pick up a commercial descales and go through the step-by-step process of descaling. However, in that sense, there are three sorts of descalers-

1.Citric Acid

Citric acid is sourced from citrus foods, and lemons and limes are the two best mentionable sources. However, for descaling with citric acid, you need to get dry citric acid powder from store. It's also called sour salt, as it quite looks like the table salt. Descaling with citric acid used its property of being effective in culinary applications. 

Quite often, it's mixed up with lemon juice or vinegar to improve its effectiveness. On usual, you need to mix it up with water at a ratio of 4:1. For one medium sized single cup coffee machine unit, 2 tablespoons of citric acid would do fine. 

2.White Vinegar

Vinegar with a mixing up of lemon juice is also a best descaling agent. If you are supposed to regular cleaning, this solution would take off the grime and mineral build ups. But this won't be strong enough to take out the hard water stain buildup anyway.

3.Commercial Descaling Products 

The best and the quickest solution to any descaling issue is to use a good commercially produced descaler agent. They are available in three forms- tablets, powders, and solutions.

But before going up with any random descaling solution, you need to match it with your brand. It's best if you can use the descaling solution or tablet from the same brand that your coffee maker machine is off.

How Does Coffee Machines Descaler Work?

There are certain parts and portions of an automatic or semi-automatic coffee machine that are hard to reach by hand. That's the case where the essence of a coffee machine descaler comes up.

The structure and components of a commercial coffee machine descaler are meant to be effective against those buildups and stains. There are mineral build-ups, chemical build ups, lime build ups, calcium buildups, hard water stains, etc that the descaler machine deals with. 

That being said, not all of the descalers are able to eradicate all sort of dirt inside any coffee maker machine. Each of the descalers has some sort of strong zones, in which they are strong.

So, when you're selecting one right descaler for you, make sure that it's able to fight the specks of dirt that take place inside your coffee machine particularly. In the next section, we’ve got a step by step guide on how to descale a coffee maker machine with a commercially available descaler. Keep going-

How to Descale Your Coffee Machine Step by Step?

As per the importance of the content is concerned, you can call this segment the heart of today's post. Because we will take you through the step by step guide on how to descale your coffee maker machine with a commercially available descaler solution. 

On a side note, the steps of descaling with the household kitchen products are quite similar. All you have to do is to prepare the solution after you step into the actions. However, let’s go through the steps of descaling coffee makers-

Step 1: Chose The Right Descaler Product

Although we have said this several times before. But be wise while you are selecting the right descaler product. If it’s the white vinegar, lemon juice or any natural product, you are just fine to proceed to the next step.

But in case you are going to work with a commercially produced one, you should double-check whether it's perfect for your machine or not. In case you have descaler available from the same brand of yours, go with that one.

In case your brand doesn't produce any descaling solutions, you might choose the universally compatible models. But don't dare to pick a product that's not meant to be compatible with your coffee maker machine. 

Step 2: Mix Up The Descaling Product

At this stage, you need to prepare the descaling solution. We mean, you have to mix the descaling agent with water, as the condensed version of the agent won't work on the whole coffee maker reservoir.

If it's vinegar or any other kind of homemade solution, you might need to mix it up with water at the proper ratio. In the case of citric acid, you need to be ultra careful about the mix. 

In case it's the commercial descaler, there would be specific instruction to mix this solution. In most of the cases, they suggest to mix 2oz of descaling solution to water and proceed to the next step. 

Step 3: Go For Rinsing The Machine

Now, this part is quite complicated and it would take a full-on knowledge on how the descaling rinsing process works in a coffee maker machine. First, fill up the reservoir of the machine with the cleaning solution that you've prepared.

Let the descaling mode go on, and work on itself for the descaling preparation. You will see the descaling solution go through the boiler and the entire machine afterward. In case it's possible with your machine, run the descaling solution through the steam wand as well. 

Just treat this descaling solution as the cleaning medicine for your machine, and treat it as it's supposed to be treated. As soon as it completed the whole run through the maker, it will take the gunk, dirt and build ups with it. 

Also, it will loosen up the stains and other grimes around each corner of the machine. In case you have a supply of hard water in the area you live in, you might consider running this whole process twice. It will make a better impact on hard water stains. 

Step 4: Rinse Up

This fourth step is about rinsing up the whole machine. To do that, take out the cleaning solution, and fill up the container with plain water. It would be better if the water is slightly warmed up.

Now, run the descaling process over again and pay attention to detail that you did for the previous step. This will help to take out the loosen up specks of dirt completely.

Another benefit of rising up is, it will take out the acidic particles that were present in the descaling solution. Once they all are flushed out, it will make sure that there is no smell or odor left that were there due to the descaling process. 

Step 5: Check and Double Check

So far, it was about cleaning the gunk materials inside the coffee maker. Now, as you are done with step 4, there should be no smell of descaler or vinegar left. If we talk about the taste, there should not be any test as well.

To make that sure, take a few sniffs. What we mean is, fill up the coffee maker with plain water and taste the taste and smell of the water. If you find any sort of footprints left by the descaling solutions, you should start over from step 4 again.

Once the water is completely clean and smell-free, you are done with the descaling process and ready to go again for those coffee shots.

Why Descaling Is Important With The Right Descaler?

By now, we are aware that, coffee machine descaler have the ability to uproot the buildups and stains in a coffee machine. By removing those dirt and similar materials, the coffee machines descaler serves the machine with these few benefits-

It Removes Lime Scale

Limescale is a hard and white substance that takes place inside your coffee machine. This is made of calcium carbonate mainly, which is deposited by water. 

You might have seen that in pipes. Without proper descaling, this will eventually shrink the path of the coffee(water), which will lower the performance of the machine. 

It Ensures Unifrom Temperature

The reservoir tank is likely to collect water stains and limes over regular use. This kind of build up on the bottom surface of the reservoir affects its heat transfer. 

Therefore, there will be uneven heat and temperature, which will ruin the coffee taste at all. Therefore, descaling rescues from this issue by cleaning this build up right away. 

It Removes the Mineral Buildup and Other Gunks

Apart from the limescale and hard water stain, there are some other sorts of mineral build ups and gunk production inside the coffee machine. They take place on the corners and edges of the reservoir, and eventually, they pollute the coffee. With a proper descaling, it all goes away and get flushed outside. 

It Enhances The Lifetime of Coffee Maker Itself

All of the aforementioned benefits does a blessing job on the coffee machine itself. And that's by enhancing the lifetime of the machine. If you've been planning to get the most out of your coffee maker for now and the years to come, you have to include the task of descaling into your routine.

How Often Should Descale A Machine?

This is quite an important question that we've seen users to ask on a regular basis. In case you've got the right descaler solution in hand, here is the answer for you-

Descaling Frequency for Regular Home Use

This is the first scenario, where we've taken the home uses in consideration. As a matter of fact, the coffee machine that you have in your kitchen might have to produce 4-10 shots of coffee each day. 

If that's the ideal production rate, then descaling the machine is essential in every 2 months. In case you've got an espresso machine, the cleaning should be even more frequently. We would go for one clean in a month. 

Descaling Frequency for Regular Office Use

The next type of machine is those which serves people at the office. These machines have to be quite high productive compared to the home ones. Therefore, they have to produce 15-30 cups of coffee each day.

But based on the number of people at the office, this number might raise. However, if the coffee servings per day are under 30, you might consider cleaning and descaling it once in a month. For usual uses, this should be okay. 

Descaling Frequency for Coffee Shop/Baristas

Alright, so we've got the busiest kind of coffee maker machines right here. These coffees serve people of a coffee shop, and as a user, you can't help getting at least 70-100 cups of coffee out of it. In some busy coffee shops, they have alternative or backup coffee machines.

In the case of extreme workloads, they assign those machines anyway. But the production rate of each machine stays within a number of 80 servings per day. However, if you have got one such thing into your account, you should descale it up once in every week. And if possible, use machines with an alternative routine. 

Note: Being all that said, there is a rule of thumb to understand whether your machine needs to be descaled or not. Just check whether your machine has an immovable part that the hot water is being pressurized through.

In case you get a Yes as an answer, this is the signal. You should clean up and descale your machine on an immediate basis.

Liquid Descaler Vs Tablets vs Powders: Which One To Choose?
Liquid Descaler Vs Tablets vs Powders

This is another question that we think should be answered anyway. Because in the market, there are tablets, there are powders and then, there are liquid descaler solutions. So, which one of these three you should go for?

For many of the models in the market, the answer is- any of these three. Because models from good brands don’t really have any difference in descaling with different forms of descalers. However, the best way to check out the compatibility of your machine, you should go through the user's manual.

In every coffee maker manual, you will have specific preferences of descaler type. For some leading brands, they gave their own descalers, which are provided with the machine itself.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Is descaling essential for non-commercial coffee makers?

Not as frequently as the commercial ones do. But still, you have to make it a routine work in case of a household, non-commercial coffee machines as well.

2. What’s the difference vs descaling and cleaning?

The difference is quite notable. In fact, cleaning involves removing materials and dirt that only dissolves into the water. But descaling is a chemical approach to take out all the unwanted substances from a coffee machine.

3.  How much does coffee maker descaling cost?

In case you’re doing it through commercially available descaling agents, all it would cost is the price of that agent.

4. What if I smell bad smells even after descaling?

You should have to rinse the coffee maker with war water over again, in case that happens.

Final Verdict

It seems that you've made your way to the very bottom. Pat your back, my friend. You've just become a descaling expert. All you have to do is to implement that you have just learned about coffee machine descaler and made your experience with your coffee maker out of the world.

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