Regularly descaling your Nespresso machine is crucial to extend its life and to ensure it keeps producing high-quality and tasty coffee.
In this guide, we’ll take you through the step-by-step process you need to follow to descale your Nespresso® VertuoPlus Machine
The process should be undertaken a minimum of once every 3 months to avoid long-term damage to your machine or when the orange descaling light comes on.
Note: There are many makes, models, and brands of coffee machines on the market. This guide is intended only for the Nespresso Vertuo Plus. If you have a different machine, please check out our other guides HERE.
Why Listen To Us? Well, because we KNOW coffee! In fact, we make our own coffee, coffee machine cleaners, and reusable capsules which we've sold to over 41 countries. Our team ouf experts include Tristan (an engineer), Claire (a food writer) and Richy (a barista). So, whether you're looking for a recipe or repair guide, we've got you covered 💚
Table of Contents
TLDR: How To Descale Your VertuoPlus
To descale the VertuoPlus machine, turn the machine off then press and hold the on button for 3 seconds to enter the special function menu. Fill the water tank with descaling solution then run the descaling process by pressing the release lever once and then pressing the button to start the operation. Once complete, perform a freshwater rinse and you’re done!
Keep reading for the full step by step guide..
Eco-FriendlyTip: Nespresso offers their propriety descaling kit, which you can purchase from any Nespresso machine retailer. We think this is a little expensive and prohibits people from descaling their machines as often as they need. That’s why we created our own Eco-Friendly Descaler here on Amazon that gives you 4 doses for the same price as two Nespresso sachets!
What Is ‘Descaling’
All coffee machines build up deposits of calcium and lime over time. These come from tiny amounts of mineral salts that are naturally found in our water supplies. They’re completely harmless, and in fact, we need them to stay healthy, but they will build up in hot water appliances over time.
“Descaling” is the act of stripping these mineral deposits from your machine’s internal surfaces. To keep your Nespresso functioning properly, you should remove these buildups by descaling regularly.
How Often Should You Descale Your Nespresso Machine?
Nespresso recommends that you descale your machine every three months or 300 coffees – whichever comes first.
That means if you use your machine often you may need to descale more frequently. Some examples descaling frequencies are shown in the table below.
|Number of coffees per day||Recommended descaling frequency|
|1-2||Every 3 months|
|3-4||Every 3 months|
|5-8||Every 2 months|
The frequency of descaling also largely depends on what is known as your ‘water hardness’ – which essentially means how much mineral salts are present in your town or city’s water supply. Areas with high water hardness will require you to descale your machine more often, and areas with low water hardness can reduce the amount of maintenance required.
The VertuoPlus Descaling Warning Light
Some models of Nespresso machines (including the VertuoPlus) have a warning light that alerts you that the machine needs to be descaled.
The descaling warning light for the VertuoPlus will show as a red and green light that is constantly illuminated. If you get this warning, you’ll be able to operate the machine a few more times before being forced to descale.
How Long Will Descaling Take?
The entire process of descaling your Nespresso VertuoPlus should take between 20 and 30 minutes.
What You Need:
To descale your NespressoPlus machine, you’ll need a descaling solution kit. A two-pack kit that works for all machines costs about $20 from the Nespresso website.
Recommendation: we prefer this Eco Descaler as you get 4 doses for the same price and the bottle can be recycled, unlike the Nespresso sachets!
You can also our list of most recommended coffee machine descaling products reviewed here!
What you’ll need:
- Descaling Solution
- Clean water
- A 1L (36oz) empty jug or container that fits under your machine’s spout.
How To Descale Your VertoPlus Machine (Step-By-Step Guide)
Step 1: Exterior clean
Step 2: Descaling Solution Rinse
Step 3: Fresh Water Rinse
The next step is to rinse out any remaining descaling solution from the machine. While this is perfectly food-safe, it will leave the coffee tasting bitter and undrinkable.
Download: Get a copy of our descaling cheatsheet below.
Deep Cleaning Your Nespresso VertuoPlus:
It’s hard to get in the habit of rinsing your Nespresso machine after every use. Unfortunately, because of this, coffee sediment can build up in the spout of the machine over time and can even block the whole system.
To clean the coffee buildup inside the spout try straightening out a paper clip, pipe cleaner, or q-tip and scrape up around within the spout. Once done close the lever in rinse through a couple of times to wash out any particles that have become dislodged.
Coffee grinds can also get built up in the injection nozzle used to pop open the foil lid of the coffee capsules. This can result in a blocked or stifled flow as the water has trouble passing through the pods.
Frequently Asked Questions About Descaling The VertuoPlus:
Q. Why is there foam coming out from the coffee machine?
When you perform this task, you may find foam coming out from the brewer due to the cleaning action of the descaling solution. Don’t panic. It is the aftereffect of the reaction between the descaling solution and mineral deposit.
Most descaling solutions use a concentrated food-safe acid as the active ingredient. In the case of the Eco Descaler we use, this is citric acid – so any foam or residue from the descaler is perfectly harmless in diluted quantities.
Q. Can you use vinegar instead of descaling solution?
Scientifically speaking, cleaning your Nespresso machine with vinegar is almost exactly the same as with a commercial descaler solution.
Unfortunately, however, vinegar tends to peel off the scale build-up in flakes which could clog your machine causing irreparable damage. We’ve heard numerous cases of people having to throw out their coffee machines because of this. We’d recommend sticking with a commercial descaling product.
Q. What is a descaling solution made of?
Descaling solution is generally an acidic chemical that is capable of dissolving mineral salts such as oxides and carbonates. Notable descaling agents include acetic acid, citric acid, and lactic acid. These are all food-safe chemicals, however citric and acetic acid do impart a more noticeable taste to the machine, thus lactic acid is typically preferred.
Q. Can you make your own descaling solution?
You can make your own descaling solution using vinegar or citric acid, though we’d recommend using a commercial descaling product in a concentration that is proven not to damage your machine.
Q. Can I use any descaler in my Vertuo Machine?
Yes, in fact, you can use all descaling products in any brand of coffee machine. Just make sure to read the machine’s specific descaling instructions to make sure you use the correct amount of product.
Q. What happens if you don’t descale your coffee machine?
Scale builds up inside the pipes restricting the flow of water. If this happens inside the heating element it prevents water from reaching its optimal brewing temperature. When this happens it’s impossible to extract the full flavor from the coffee pods and the flavor will become weak. Severe scale buildup can clog water flow completely, causing a machine to stop working.
Q. Is the descaling solution toxic?
Our favorite Eco Descaler descaling powder is completely non-tox and eco-friendly. It’s made from citric acid which is food safe in moderate doses. Other descaling solutions may use caustic chemicals such as sodium hydroxide which is highly toxic, so please check the label if unsure.
Q. Can you descale with baking soda?
We don’t recommend using baking soda to descale your coffee machine.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our comprehensive descaling guide for the Nespresso VertuoPlus machine.
In summary, descaling takes around 25 minutes and consists of a descaling run and a rinse run. You’ll need a jug, some clean water, and some descaling product.
You can use any brand of descaling product in your Vertuo Plus, as long as you dilute it with the correct amount of water to the manufacturer’s instructions.
We recommend using our Green Pods Eco Descaler. It comes with 4 sachets (1 year’s supply) which are perfectly portioned. It’s environmentally friendly, and it’s also more cost-effective than the name-brand Nespresso Descaler.
- ✔️ ENJOY BETTER TASTING COFFEE: Infrequent descaling is the #1 reason your coffee is tasting bad. Descale and you’ll taste the difference.
- ✔️ SAFE FOR YOU AND YOUR MACHINE: Our Eco Descaler is safe for all machine parts. It leaves no harmful residues and does not cause corrosion within the coffee machine.
- ✔️ WORKS ON ALL COFFEE MACHINES: Designed and tested on all leading coffee machines including Nespresso, Keurig, Dolce Gusto, Caffitaly, Breville, Delonghi, and more.
Let us know if the comments section below if you have any questions or tips & tricks you’ve figured out while maintaining your prized Nespresso machine.