Taking care of your pod or capsule coffee machine is essential to make sure drinking coffee is always a pleasure: in fact, the cleanliness of your machine also determines whether your coffee tastes good or not.
After drinking a cup of this much-loved beverage, you certainly don’t want it to leave an unpleasant taste in your mouth. Sometimes, it only takes a few steps to make sure your coffee is always at its best, so remember to follow these steps a few times a year.
There are several ways to clean coffee machines: some prefer using old methods, the so-called “grandmother’s tricks”. Others, instead, especially when it comes to limescale and similar problems, use specific decalcifying tablets for effective, long-lasting limescale protection.
As a general rule, it is good practice to carry out maintenance every 300 coffees or in any case, in principle, to proceed with descaling every three to four months.
Coffee machine cleaning and maintenance
The maintenance process includes some very common and simple steps: these operations are the same for all coffee machines for sale on the CapsuleHouse website, compatible with the best brands of compatible capsules and pods available on the market. In fact, for example, the Nespresso N10 machine and the Sonata machine, which is compatible with Fior Fiore Coop capsules (as well as all other models), have a removable drip catcher and used capsule compartment that allow you to easily clean your machine out every now and then, including many parts that are not accessible in other machines.
The main trick, which may seem trivial, is to turn off the coffee machine before attempting any cleaning and wait for it to cool down.
At this stage, you can proceed by removing the anti-limescale filter and the water tank and wash all the removable parts under running water, using a soft bristle brush.
You will need to remove any remaining coffee residue. You can then use a clean, dry cloth to dry all previously washed parts. Then proceed to clean the actual machine: avoid using harsh degreasers, but instead you can use some Marseille soap dissolved in lukewarm water.
With a damp cloth soaked in soapy water, you can wipe the entire outer surface of the machine to make it shine. Most of the work is done: now just wipe the outside dry and reassemble all parts.
How to descale the coffee machine
Unfortunately, limestone build-up is one of the disadvantages of pod and capsule machines: to solve the problem, we recommend using an excellent decalcifier that may have been supplied with the machine.
Moreover, the frequency of descaling also depends on water hardness, so it is best to first inquire about the type of water supplied to your home.
In any case, there are several ways to descale coffee machines, either using anti-limescale tablets or through natural methods. Let’s take a look at both of them.
Removing limescale with decalcifying tablets
A decalcifier in the form of tablets, such as OxyTab for sale on CapsuleHouse, allows you to take care of your coffee machine at a very low cost, if you would rather not use homemade solutions.
In this case, the procedure is pretty straightforward: dissolve a tablet directly in the tank in 500 ml of lukewarm water and stir to make sure the tablet dissolves completely. At this stage, turn on the machine and press the dispensing button, allowing the water to roughly fill two large cups. Repeat this operation every 10 minutes, filling another two large cups, until the water tank has been completely emptied.
Once this step is complete, detach the water tank, wash it thoroughly and fill it with water: then place it back in the machine and proceed with another 4-5 cycles with two-minute intervals between them, once again emptying all the water contained in the tank. This will help rinse and clean out all the internal circuits.
Removing limescale with homemade solutions
There are plenty of natural ways to remove limescale from coffee machines, which are preferable when, for example, you urgently need to descale your machine but you have no tablets at home or, for various reasons, when you do not wish to use just any tablets available on the market.
In fact, it is always best to check beforehand what kind of descaler can be used with each type of coffee machine. Generally, homemade solutions do not pose significant risks; but it is always best to check with your supplier first.
The most commonly used solutions are citric acid or vinegar.
Descaling with citric acid
A first method involves using citric acid as a descaler. You will need 180 grams of citric acid – sold in supermarkets, which you can then also use to remove limescale from your washing machine, dishwasher and iron – for each litre of water.
The procedure involves dissolving the citric acid in water and pouring the solution into the water tank of the coffee machine. You will have to operate the machine for 20 seconds, then turn it off and repeat this operation every 15 minutes, until all the solution contained in the tank has gone through.
As with decalcifying tablets, you must then rinse out the water tank, fill it again with water and continue dispensing until all the water has gone through. We suggest you make a couple of coffees with pods or capsules that have already been used in order to remove any citric acid residue.
Descaling with vinegar
Vinegar is certainly a great ally in the kitchen against dirt and limescale sediment. In fact, it is one of the recommended natural methods for descaling coffee machines.
You will need a litre of vinegar and a large enough container. Simply place the container underneath the coffee machine filters, i.e. in the place that is usually occupied by the cups when you make coffee. Now empty the water tank and fill it with half a litre of pure, undiluted vinegar: turn on the coffee machine and let the vinegar come out completely. Repeat this operation with the other half a litre of pure vinegar.
Then perform a last cycle with lukewarm water, better if distilled, which will rinse the circuits and remove any vinegar residue, thus making sure that your coffee doesn’t taste bad.
Using bicarbonate as a decalcifier, instead, is not appropriate, since it actually has no effect on limescale. So be careful not to use it since, instead of solving the problem, it will only make the coffee taste worse.
Preventing limescale from forming in coffee machines
As the saying goes, “prevention is better than cure”. Therefore, we should consider preventing the build-up of limestone rather than fighting it. Limescale deposits that build up over time are mainly due to water hardness and this may damage the machine, thereby affecting its operation. Not to mention the dispensing of coffee with an unpleasant flavour.
One of the methods used to prevent limescale is the use of substances that soften water to avoid limescale build-up in all machines equipped with a tank. The active substances present in these compounds do not alter the chemical and physical properties of water (the calcium and magnesium content, for example, useful for our body), but they help to keep the machine always efficient, thus ensuring perfect coffee-making.
The procedure is often quite simple and is similar to the one used with anti-limescale tablets: you will need to insert the content into the tank and fill it with distilled water, then operate the machine and make all the water go through until the tank is empty. Then continue doing another few cycles by adding more water and the coffee machine will function perfectly.
On CapsuleHouse you will find the so-called Softballs, anti-limescale spheres that help to prevent unpleasant limescale build-up. The procedure should be repeated approximately every 3 months.