Coffee Facts

How often to descale espresso machine?

by Lucia Liang on Sep 07, 2023

How often to descale espresso machine?

If you're an espresso lover, you'll understand the importance of maintaining your espresso machine, and regularly descaling your espresso machine is an important part of routine maintenance. In this article, we'll highlight the importance of removing limescale from your espresso machine, gain insight into how often you should perform this maintenance task, and guide you through the process of descaling your espresso machine to keep your machine in top condition.


What is descaling, and Why is it necessary?

Whether it's hard water or soft water, minerals in the water, such as calcium and magnesium, can build up in your espresso machine over time, and scale is created when mineral deposits build up in the water. These scale can clog your espresso machine and affect its performance. If not removed, they can clog the machine, affect water flow, temperature, and ultimately lead to poor coffee and potential machine damage.

Descaling removes residues that affect the taste of your coffee.A clean espresso machine ensures optimal extraction, allowing you to enjoy a full range of flavors and aromas in every cup of coffee. Scale can affect the heating element of the machine, reducing its efficiency. Regular descaling ensures consistent temperature control, enabling proper brewing and preventing potential damage to the internal components of the machine.


How often should you descale your espresso machine?

In general, it is recommended to descale the espresso machine every 3-6 months. How often you need to descale your espresso machine depends on two key factors: how often you use the machine and the hardness of the water.

The hardness of water significantly affects the rate at which scale deposits form. Hard water contains more minerals and requires more frequent descaling. If you use hard water, you should descale your espresso machine more often than you use soft water, and you should descale your espresso machine every 2 to 3 months. If you use soft water, you should descale every 3 to 4 months.

How often you use your espresso machine also affects how often you need to descale. Every time you brew an espresso and heat the water, the minerals in the water settle out. Heavy daily use increases mineral buildup and therefore requires more frequent descaling. Conversely, if you use the machine less frequently, you can reduce the frequency of descaling.

It varies depending on the above factors. It's best to take your water hardness, machine usage, and manufacturer's recommendations into account to determine the best descaling frequency for your espresso machine.

Some espresso machines equipped with descaling reminders, like Wirsh espresso machine. When the descaling warning is shown which means that the coffee machine needs to be performed descaling.


What do you need for descaling?

You can choose one of the following three descaling solutions to clean your machine according to your needs:

  • Citric Acid
  • Vinegar
  • Commercial Descalers


Descaling steps for an espresso machine

  1. Before descaling, please check the machine's user manual. The user manual provides a variety of relevant measures and instructions on the best way to clean the machine.
  2. Make sure the machine is turned off and unplugged, and wait for the coffee machine to cool completely before cleaning.
  3. Get rid of coffee residue inside, then you can clean it with descaler.
  4. Fill the water tank with water anddescaler to the MAX level. Mix the descaler with water in proper proportions (the ratio of water to the descaler is usually 4:1). Please refer to the descaling instructions on the descaler package for details.
  5. Turn on the machine, allowing the descalerto run through the machine as per the manufacturer's instructions. Then turn off the appliance and leave the descaler in the machine for 5 minutes. 

At this stage, it descales the machine and all its outlets (assembly head, steam wand and hot water outlet). If scale buildup is severe, repeat the process until the water is clear.

  1. Once the descaling cycle is complete, fill thewater at maximum level and run a few cycles to remove any remaining descale Make sure all components are thoroughly rinsed to prevent any residual taste or residue.
  2. Clean all removable parts such as water tank, portafilter, steam wand. Finally, reassemble the machine to make sure everything is in its proper place.


Descaling is an important maintenance task that can keep your espresso machine efficient, improve the taste of your coffee, and extend the service life of your espresso machine. With proper maintenance, your espresso machine will continue to deliver pleasant and aromatic coffee for years to come.


Works Cited

Rafat Saleheen. “How To Descale An Espresso Machine Like An Expert” Coffee-AtoZ, March 11, 2023, Accessed 04 August 2023.

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