How to Clean a Nespresso Machine

There are two common stops to clean a Nespresso machine:

  • Use a powder cleaner or cleaning capsules to regularly remove coffee residue — do this every 20-100 brews, or so.
  • Use a descaler occasionally to remove mineral buildup — do this about once a year.

Note that cleaning a Nespresso machine and descaling a Nespresso machine are two different, but related, things.

What’s the difference between descaling and cleaning? Generally speaking, a descaler will deep clean the mineral buildup (such as magnesium and calcium) throughout your entire machine that comes from water — hard water leaves more mineral buildup. Cleaners tend to “just” clean natural oil buildup and coffee residue. Both cleaning and descaling are important for the maintenance of your machine and the flavor of your coffee.

For a more thorough explanation of the difference between cleaning and descaling, see this source.

Here are two common approaches to cleaning your machine:

  • Use a powder that you add to the water bin
  • Use cleaning capsules

Using a powder-based cleaner

BrewRite coffee maker cleanerBrewRite is a common powder-based cleaner. This is not a descaler, though it will eliminate more mineral deposits throughout your machine than the capsules. The mixing ratio of this product is 1 tablespoon for 4 cups of water. Follow the ratio because if you add too much powder, it may cause foaming and clogging issues.

  • Mix cleaner in water and ensure it’s all completely dissolved;
  • Add water/cleaner solution to your Nespresso water bin;
  • Brew water mix until entire bin is empty (don’t drink this stuff — pour down drain when brewing is completed);
  • Then re-fill your water bin (I usually rinse it out first then fill with water);
  • Brew the entire water bin again and dispose of brewed water mixture again;
  • Do that again;
  • Do that again — Brew a total of three water bins of just water, or more until the water turns very clear;
  • You’re ready to make a Nespresso lungo now!

Some people use this cleaner monthly, some use it annually. You’ll know what is right for you through repeated cleanings. The first time you use this, you’ll likely have very brown water on the first pass. If after one month you use this product again, you may find the first pass is not nearly as brown. The key is to remember to clean your machine regularly, and descale it about once a year.

Using cleaning capsules

Gourmesso Nespresso Machine CleanerGourmesso Nespresso machine capsules, back of box

Gourmesso makes Nespresso-compatible cleaning capsules that are pretty darn simple to use. But keep in mind that it’s only cleaning the area between the capsule and out through the spout.

  • Put cleaning capsule in Nespresso machine as you would a coffee capsule;
  • Press button for lungo (don’t drink — dispose of brewed mixture);
  • Press button for lungo again, dispose again;
  • Open lever to remove capsule from brewing area;
  • Close lever and brew two more lungos to rinse out machine, or more if that makes you more comfortable.
  • You’re ready to make a Nespresso lungo now!

Be sure to remove the plastic Gourmesso capsule from your used capsule bin before you dump them into your Nespresso pod recycle bag! The Gourmesso capsule is plastic with an aluminium cover, which can easily be removed so that you can recycle both parts.Recycle Gourmesso capsule's plastic and aluminum

This product typically comes 10 in a pack and the packaging encourages regular use. I’m not sure this is warranted, but you’ll know after you use the product several times. After I used the product the first time, I _think_ I may have tasted a slight improvement in my lungo, but it was difficult to notice. Mentally, it makes me feel like my coffee is that much closer to Nespresso perfect!

This video shows the first of 2 capsule brews:


Nespresso Descaler
Amazon carries a number of descalers; all work essentially the same way. Nespresso makes its own powder-based descaler that of course is recommended by Nespresso for both classic and VertuoLine machines. De’Longhi makes an eco-friendly version just for espresso machines.

Whichever you choose, you’ll probably find that you only need to descale about once a year, especially if you’re using a product like BrewRite for regular cleanings.


Why should I clean my Nespresso machine?

Given that Nespresso machines use capsules, very little of the actual coffee comes in contact with your machine. So, asking yourself whether or not you need to clean your machine is a good question!

The answer is:

  • You should clean your machine to clear out small coffee particles that move between the pod and the spout. You may notice a slightly better taste to your coffee after you do this.
  • You should descale your machine simply because most of any cup of coffee is water. Water is what contains the minerals that naturally build up in your machine over time. If you do not remove these minerals, your machine suffers. The water flow can be reduced and the temperature gauge may not read accurately.







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