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6 Simple Descale Nespresso Machine Steps


Brandon Pierce
June 30, 2022

Everyone loves the ease and convenience of a Nespresso coffee machine. So naturally, great equipment plays a vital role in providing a great coffee experience.

But with great equipment comes maintenance. Like any hardworking coffee dispensing unit, you will have to clean your Nespresso machine after some time of use periodically.

Old coffee elements, natural oil of ground coffee, or water elements can build over time, making your Nespresso coffee expectations fall short. Fortunately, the brand has integrated a descaling process, ensuring the machine runs properly.

So, are you looking for steps to descale Nespresso machine lines? 

All you need to do is find the instructions for your device, gather some clean water, and go through the descaling process periodically.

This article will cover what scale is, how it builds up, and what you can do about it for your specific Nespresso coffee maker.

What is Scale?

The word scale relates to mineral buildups and deposits left behind over time from hard water after the continued use of a coffee machine. These mineral deposits form layers that build upon themselves and clog the water line.

Using tap water to fill the water reservoir may scale your lines faster. For example, choose filtered fresh water over tap water every time you drink coffee to slow down scale buildup.

This buildup does not necessarily mean your water is not safe to drink, nor does it mean you should use distilled water for drinking coffee(please don't). Instead, you will need to clean out the scale through a process known as descaling. For the process of descaling, clean water works best, but you can choose distilled water for a deeper clean.

What is the Descaling Process?

All coffee machines, including models by Nespresso, have water lines subject to clogs from mineral deposits left behind as water cycles through. The descaling process maintains your water lines by forcing a diluted descaling liquid through the lines to break apart and clear away mineral deposits that stick on the edges. But before you start descaling your coffee machines, you'll need to understand your device better to clean it correctly.

Before You Start Descaling Your Nespresso Machine

Have two things handy before you descale your Nespresso machine: the owner's manual and the descaling liquid.

The manual will help you access the descaling modes between different models. The descaling solution or liquid is the chemical you use to descale the machine properly.

Note: Each model is different. Follow the manual's descaling instructions.

Fortunately, we've got a cheat sheet below for all Nespresso models with videos and downloads so you can quickly enter and exit descaling mode.

Nespresso Machines Descale Mode Cheat Sheet

Nespresso CitiZ

Nespresso Citiz Descale Instructions

To enter descaling mode for these models, press and hold the Espresso button and Lungo button simultaneously on the machine for 3 seconds or until both LEDs blink. 

Then, fill the water tank and add the descaling solution to the appropriate levels before you descale your device.

Here are the Descaling Instructions Nespresso recommends

Nespresso Creatista

Nespresso Creatista Descale Instructions

A message displaying "DESCALE NOW" will let you know once it is time to descale a Nespresso Creatista.

Begin by rotating the dial to MAINTENANCE and press the select button. Next, select the Descale mode from the on-screen prompts. Finally, don't forget to add fresh water and descaling solution to the water tank.

Here is the Creatista Descaling Guide directly from Nespresso

Nespresso Essenza

Nespresso Essenza Descale Instructions

You'll know it's time to descale your Nespresso Essenza when the orange descaling light blinks on the top of the machine.

Follow the standard descaling preparation steps by emptying the drip tray and adding the appropriate amount of descaling liquid as you fill the water tank. 

To begin descaling mode, press and hold the Espresso button, Lungo button, and Hot Water button simultaneously for about 5 seconds until they all blink together. This process should work with all Essenza model variations.

Here is the Essenza Descaling Guide Guide directly from Nespresso

Nespresso Expert

Nespresso Expert Descale Instructions

Turn the machine off and close the slider. Next, press the brewing button for 6 seconds.

Both dials will flash. Then, turn the recipe dial to ristretto and press the brewing button once to validate. 

Next, on the temperature dial, choose high-level "I" to confirm or lower it to "O" to cancel. Finally, press the brewing button, and the ristretto icon will blink to ensure you are in descaling mode.

Here is the Expert Manual with Descaling Instructions directly from Nespresso

Nespresso Innisia

Nespresso Inissia Descale Instructions

With the machine powered on, cleared of any capsules or liquid in the water tank and place a large container under the dispensing nozzle.

Fill the water tank halfway. Next, add the descaling solution to the water tank at the appropriate level.

 Then, simultaneously press and hold both cup buttons for 3 seconds until the cup lights blink quickly. Next, press and release the large cup button to begin descaling.

Here is the Inissia Descaling Guide directly from Nespresso

Nespresso KitchenAid

Nespresso KitchenAid Descale Instructions

Turn the machine on by pressing the "N" button. Next, enter the programming menu by rotating the dial in the left-most setting.

Hold the dial there until the light starts flashing. Then, turn the dial until the light is in the first correct position. Finally, press and release the "N" button to begin descaling.

Here is the Kitchenaid Descaling Guide directly from Nespresso

Nespresso Lattissima

Nespresso Lattissima Descale Instructions

You'll know it is time to descale when the cappuccino button shines orange. Turn the machine on, and empty everything.

Fill the water tank halfway with water and descaling solution. Remove the descaling pipe from its storage door and push it firmly onto the steam connector. 

The cappuccino button will begin to flash. Press and release the cappuccino button to start descaling.

Here is the Lattissima Descaling Guide directly from Nespresso

Nespresso Maestria

Nespresso Maestria Descale Instructions

With the machine powered off, set the Espresso dial to "4" and the Lungo dial to "1." Remove any capsule from the capsule holder.

Remove the cup shelf by turning it to the vertical position and pulling forward. Press and hold the espresso button while turning the machine on to enter the descaling mode for this machine.

 You'll know you have finished when the middle light turns orange. Fill the water tank with solution, place a container under the nozzle, and press the Lungo button to start descaling.

Here is the Maestria Descaling Guide directly from Nespresso

Nespresso Pixie

Nespresso Pixie Descale Instructions

Prepare for descaling mode by turning the machine on and waiting for the cup buttons to be ready.

Then, enter descaling mode by pressing and holding both the top buttons simultaneously. The cup lights will blink together.

Here is the Pixie Descaling Guide directly from Nespresso.

Nespresso Prodigio

Nespresso Prodigo Descale Instructions

If you've paired your machine with a Bluetooth device, Your device will notify you once it is time to describe your machine.

The maintenance light will be steady. Turn the machine on and wait for the cup buttons to become constant.

 Press all three cup buttons simultaneously for up to 6 seconds, or until the device beeps. Place a container under the nozzle and press any coffee button to begin descaling.

Here is the Prodigio Descaling Guide directly from Nespresso

Nespresso U

Nespresso U Descale Instructions

With the machine turned on, press and hold all three buttons on the device for three seconds or until the machine beeps.

Make sure you use clean water and place a receptacle under the nozzle.

Here is the U Descaling Guide directly from Nespresso

Nespresso Vertuo

Nespresso Vertuo

Nespresso Citiz Descale Instructions

The descaling alert notifies you with a green and red light.

Turn the machine on, eject any capsules from the capsule container, turn it off, press the button, and hold the lever down for 3 seconds. 

An orange light will indicate you are in the settings of the special functions. Press and release the lever once to enter descaling mode.

Here is the Vertuo Descaling Guide directly from Nespresso

Follow These 6 Descale Nespresso Machine Steps

Equipment: You can use any receptacle to catch the solution.

Material: You can use white vinegar, but Nespresso advises against it, instead recommending you use their descaling solution. Mix it with clean, warm water at the appropriate proportion as described by your machine's Youtube video or descaling guide. Distilled water is fine for this process.


Step 1 – Get your machine ready: Before you begin, remove the capsule, capsule container, and drip tray.

Step 2 – Fill your water reservoir with the appropriate amount of descaling liquid and water. Be careful while using descaling products. They use potent chemicals.

Step 3– Place a receptacle under the coffee spout area. Make sure to use one that can hold up to 1 liter of water.

Step 4 – Follow your specific machine's steps to enter descaling mode from the section above.

Step 5– Rinse and repeat: Reuse the solution after the flow cycle. Press the button again to start the descaling cycle. When this process ends, rinse out all of the tank's contents and exit descaling mode. Rerun it using distilled water without a solution. Refill it with distilled water to remove any leftovers in the machine, or you can also use filtered water. 

Don't skip this step, or you will notice a sharp decline in the flavor quality of the next few cups.

Step 6– Exit the descaling mode for your specific model. Let the machine dry for ten minutes. Take this time to wipe everything down with a damp cloth, and wash and rinse any removable parts, including the drip tray.


What materials do I need to descale my Nespresso machine?

You will need a container able to hold at least 1 liter of water, a descaling solution, and warm water. Nespresso recommends using their proprietary Nespresso descaling solution.

Where to buy Nespresso descaling kits?

You can buy Nespresso descaling kits on Amazon or at big box stores.

How often does descaling need to be done?

Descale your Nespresso machines every three months or 300 capsules.

How often should I clean the drip tray?

Any time there is an overflow, clean the drip tray or add it to your weekly maintenance routine.

How much time does it take to descale the Nespresso machine?

The preparation and active descaling time take around 3 minutes each cycle. Allow up to 45 minutes to clean your machine thoroughly.

What can I use if I don't have a Nespresso descaling solution?

You can purchase a generic cleaning solution designed for descaling. Do not use kitchen cleaners.

Final Thoughts

Descaling a Nespresso machine is not complicated if you follow the steps for your model correctly. In addition, the descaling process helps enhance your coffee drinking experience and improves your machine's lifespan.

Brandon Pierce

About the author

My name is Brandon and I love cold-brew coffee. If you're a fan of everything homebrew, then we'll get along just fine. I also enjoy riding my Onewheel around town, and going on adventures with my future wife! As an online work-from-home advocate, it's important that I stay connected to the world while being able to maintain a healthy work/life balance.

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