How to Clean a Nespresso Machine + Descaling Without a Kit

Learn how to clean a Nespresso machine, including a Nespresso Vertuo machine. Plus, instructions for descaling with or without a Nespresso descaling kit.

Whether you're a seasoned coffee enthusiast with the latest Vertuo model, or a Nespresso newbie, you know there's nothing like that first sip in the morning. 

But here's the thing — like any appliance, your Nespresso machine needs a little TLC to keep producing that perfect cup of joe. 

In this article, we explain in detail how to clean a Nespresso machine. This includes instructions on descaling with or without a Nespresso descaling kit. Let's dive in!

What you’ll need

  • Warm water
  • Mild dish soap
  • Non-abrasive sponge or cloth
  • Descaling solution (white vinegar, citric acid, or Nespresso descaling kit)
  • Clean, dry towel


How to clean a Nespresso machine

First clean the drip tray and capsule container on the Nespresso machine with soapy water. Next, wipe the coffee outlet and capsule compartment with a damp cloth. Rinse the water tank with warm water and clean the exterior. Then descale and reassemble the machine. Lastly, flush by running a water-only brewing cycle. 

Step 1: Unplug your Nespresso machine

Before starting, ensure the machine is turned off and unplugged to prevent any accidents. Remove any capsules that might still be in the machine and empty the drip tray and the capsule container.

Step 2: Soak the drip tray and capsule container

Detach the drip tray and capsule container from the Nespresso machine and inspect them for any visible stains or residues. Next, fill up your sink or a large bowl with warm water. Add a few squirts of dish soap, and give it a little swish to get those soap bubbles going. 

Now, submerge the drip tray and capsule container in the soapy water. Let them soak for a few minutes to loosen up the gunk. 

After soaking, use a non-abrasive sponge or cloth to scrub off the stains or dried-on coffee. Pay special attention to any corners or crevices — that's where gunk likes to hide. Rinse both parts well under running water and ensure there's no soap residue left, as it could affect the taste of your coffee.

Finally, shake off the excess water from these parts and allow them to air dry. If you're short on time, you can also pat them dry with a clean towel, but ensure they're completely dry before reassembling them into the machine.

Step 3: Wipe down the coffee outlet and capsule compartment

Use a damp cloth to wipe the coffee outlet and the capsule compartment. Make sure to clean off any coffee residue that might have accumulated there. Use a small cleaning brush to reach the crevices.

Step 4: Rinse the water tank

Detach the water tank from the machine. Rinse it out with warm water. If it's particularly dirty, you can also use a little dish soap. Then rinse thoroughly to ensure no soap residue is left.

Step 5: Clean the machine's exterior

Use a damp cloth to wipe the exterior of the machine. If needed, you can use a little mild dish soap but make sure to rinse well and dry as always.

Step 6: Descale 

Descaling is a crucial part of maintaining your Nespresso machine. Add your descaling solution to 500ml of water and pour it into your water tank. Then, select the descaling mode on your machine. 

We'll go over descaling in more detail in the next section.

Step 7: Reassemble the machine

Once all parts are clean and dry (and you’ve successfully descaled), reassemble the machine. Make sure all components are correctly fitted in their respective places.

Step 8: Run a water-only brewing cycle

Once you have put the machine back together, run a brewing cycle using only water and no capsule. This will flush the machine and make sure it's ready to brew coffee.

Descaling your machine with a Nespresso descaling kit

You can descale your machine with a Nespresso descaling kit or with a homemade solution. Here’s how to do it with a kit. 

Remove capsules and empty drip tray

Remove any capsules and empty the drip tray, then place a container that can hold at least 32 oz (1 liter) under the coffee outlet.

Add descaling solution and water

Next, add your descaling solution, plus at least 18 ounces (about 500ml) of water into the tank of your Nespresso machine. 

Start descaling mode

Enter descaling mode by pressing and holding the button for at least 7 seconds. You will notice the button blinking rapidly. 

Press the button again to confirm that you want to enter descaling mode. The descaling solution will run through the machine and out into the container you placed under the coffee outlet.

Rinse with fresh water

Once the descaling solution has run through, refill the water tank with fresh water and run the process again to rinse the machine.

Once you've rinsed the machine, you can exit the descaling mode by pressing the same button you pressed to enter descaling mode.

Rinse drip tray and capsule container

Finally, empty and rinse the drip tray and used capsule container. Your Nespresso machine is now descaled and ready to use again.

Descaling your Nespresso machine naturally

If you don’t want to use a Nespresso descaling solution, you can make your own with natural ingredients. Make a natural descaling solution by mixing either 1 tablespoon citric acid and 18 ounces water, or 6 ounces white vinegar and 12 ounces water. 

  • Empty the drip tray and capsule container.
  • Fill the water tank with 18 ounces (about 500ml) of water.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of citric acid to the water in the tank. Stir until the citric acid is fully dissolved. 
  • Alternative to citric acid: Combine 6 ounces white vinegar and 12 ounces water. 
  • Turn on your Nespresso machine and let it heat up.
  • Activate descaling mode and run a brewing cycle without a capsule. 
  • Repeat the brewing cycle until the water tank is empty. 
  • Fill the tank with fresh water and run the brewing cycle at least twice to fully rinse. 
  • Turn off descaling mode. 

Learn more: While we've covered the ins and outs of keeping your Nespresso machine clean, don't forget about the rest of your kitchen. Read our comprehensive kitchen cleaning checklist: daily, weekly, and monthly for in-depth instructions and a deep clean checklist. 

Keep your Nespresso machine in top shape 

Cleaning and maintaining your Nespresso machine is essential to extend its life and ensure the quality of the coffee you brew. 

A pro tip to note is to always use fresh, filtered water in your Nespresso machine. Not only will it improve the taste of your coffee, but it can also help reduce the buildup of limescale, making your machine easier to maintain in the long run. 

Need help keeping on top of your other house cleaning tasks? 

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