How to Clean a Nespresso Machine in 5 (Easy!) Steps

Having a Nespresso machine is basically like having a top-notch barista at your beck and call. But, like any other appliance, some maintenance—namely, regular cleaning—is necessary to ensure it functions at its best. So if you haven’t been cleaning your coffee maker, it’s high time you start. Follow our guide to learn how to clean a Nespresso machine the right way (something you should be doing once a month!), and it will continue to serve you fresh-tasting coffee for years to come.

How to Clean a Nespresso Machine

Although a Nespresso machine is an incredibly convenient kitchen appliance, we’re sorry to say that it’s not self-cleaning. Alas, the residue left behind by past brews will build up over time, and if they aren’t washed away with regular cleaning, your beloved coffee machine will start producing subpar cups of joe—or worse, it will stop producing anything at all. Good news: Cleaning a Nespresso machine is a piece of cake (read: no elbow grease required).

What you’ll need 

  • Dish soap
  • A container that can hold 32 ounces of water (and fits under the machine head)

How to do it 

Step 1: Rinse and clean the water tank. To begin, remove the water tank and empty it into the sink. Hand wash the tank with a mild dish detergent and give it a thorough rinse before refilling the tank with fresh drinking water. Lock the full, clean tank back in place.

Step 2: Clean the capsule container. If evidence of yesterday’s coffee is still hanging out in the machine, lift the top of the appliance and eject the used Nespresso capsule. Next, remove the capsule container and hand wash it using dish detergent and water; when it’s squeaky clean, put it back in place.

Step 3: Wash the drip tray. You know the drill—just remove the drip tray, wash it with soap and warm water, and return it to its proper position.

Step 4: Heat up the machine. The light will go from blinking to steady when it’s done.

Step 5: Run the cleaning process. Once the light on the machine is steady white, place a container that’s large enough to hold 1 liter of water on the cup tray. Then, press the button on the machine three times in rapid succession (i.e., within 2 seconds) and the cleaning process will start. Water should start coming out of the coffee outlet within 2 minutes, and the whole rinse will be done in roughly 7 minutes.

How to Descale a Nespresso Machine 

Coffee residue isn’t the only thing slowing down your Nespresso machine and messing with the flavor of your beverage—the minerals in plain ol’ water can cause limescale buildup that will ultimately affect your appliance’s performance. To avoid this, it’s important to descale the machine roughly every three months. This process is somewhat similar to the cleaning method described above, except that it involves using the Nespresso descaling liquid—a chemical solution that’s designed to dissolve stubborn mineral deposits. Ready to start? Just follow these steps to descale your machine and it will be good as new.

Step 1: Empty the drip tray and capsule container. Give ‘em a quick wash before putting them back in place.

Step 2: Empty the water tank. Dump out any water that’s in the tank and fill it with one unit of Nespresso descaling liquid and 17 ounces (.5 L) of water. Return the tank to the machine.

Step 3: Heat up the machine. Close and lock the machine to turn it on and start heating it up. The light will stop blinking when the machine is ready for action.

Step 4: Enter descaling mode. This is where it gets a little complicated, so read closely, friends: First, open the machine head to eject the capsule. Close the machine head back up again and move the lever to the right so that it’s in the unlocked position. Next, press and hold the button until the steady light first disappears and then starts blinking orange.

Step 5: Start descaling. Once the light starts is orange and blinking quickly, you have 45 seconds to start descaling. To do this, simply place a large enough (at least 1 liter) container under the coffee outlet and turn the lever to the left to lock the machine—descaling will start automatically.

Step 5: Rinse the removable parts. You’ll know the descaling process is done when the light is no longer blinking orange. Now it’s time to rinse: Start by removing the water tank, capsule container and drip tray. Rinse them well (or hand wash them to be extra thorough) and return them to the machine.

Step 6: Rinse the machine. Fill the tank with fresh drinking water, dump the contents of the container you used for descaling and return it to the cup tray. Press the button once and the rinsing cycle will begin.

Step 7: Get the machine ready for use. Congrats—the descaling process is done! Now all you have to do is refill the water tank and your Nespresso machine will be ready to make you a fresh cup of coffee.

Watered Down, Single-Serve Coffee Is a Thing of the Past, Thanks to the Nespresso VertuoPlus

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Freelance PureWow Editor

Emma Singer is a freelance contributing editor and writer at PureWow who has over 7 years of professional proofreading, copyediting and writing experience. At PureWow, she covers...