After years of having the best coffee maker at your disposal, you suddenly realize that you are no longer making the best-tasting coffee and espresso. What could be the reason? A common reason is calcium deposits and limescale buildup from hard water and tap water.
To keep making coffee and espresso that tastes top-notch, you need to clean the mineral buildup occasionally from the internal parts of your coffee maker. And for that, you need the best espresso machine descaler.
In this article, I will review the top 5 descaling solutions as well as descaling powder for coffee machines. Let’s begin!
|Product||Type||Uses per bottle||Universality||Item Weight (Per bottle)||Price|
|Impresa Universal||Liquid Solution||2||Yes||8 ounces||Check Price|
|Essential Values||Liquid Solution||2||Yes||8 ounces||Check Price|
|Durgol Swiss||Liquid Solution||1||Yes||4.2 fluid ounces||Check Price|
|De’LonghiEcoDecalkNatural||Liquid Solution||5||No||16.09 ounces||Check Price|
|UrnexCafiza||Powder||Not specific, use as much as required||Yes||1000 milliliters||Check Price|
5 Best Espresso Machine Descaler List
To keep brewing coffee that smells good, you need a good espresso descaler for your coffee machine. Here’s a review of the top 5 –
1. Impresa Universal Descaling Solution
First, we have a best-seller descaling agent that is loved by many because of its effectiveness and value. It is gentle yet effective enough to clean out your espresso machine easily. This can be a hard balance to get, as gentleness is often associated with less efficacy.
But be assured, it will clean your coffee machine just fine. It is highly effective at cleaning any mineral buildup caused by hard water. Another great feature is the customer-made universal formula. It is suitable for use on any single-use coffee and espresso machine, no matter the brand it is from.
Apart from that, you can use these descaling solutions on any type as well as part of a coffee brewing machine – automatic, manual, coffee pots, water tank, brew chamber, etc. It is a versatile product that will not damage anything due to its gentleness.
A complaint it has is that it may leave a foul taste inside the coffee maker. To combat that, simply run several rinse cycles to clean the descaling agent completely before you use the machine to make a cup of espresso. All in all, it is hands down one of the best espresso machine descalers out there.
- Superior efficacy at a well-valued price point
- A universal descaling solution for all coffee makers & espresso machines
- Extends the lifespan of a coffee machine by keeping it clean of buildup
- Easy to use and leaves no smell
- May need more descaling solution than suggested in the user manual
- Leaves a strange taste that requires thorough washing
If you want an affordable cleaning solution and limescale remover for your espresso machine, this is exactly what you need. Just rinse the coffee maker for longer after use, and you’re good to go.
|Dimensions||9.61 x 6.65 x 1.93 inches|
|Item Volume||8 Fluid Ounces|
|Unit Count||16 Fl Oz|
2. Essential Values Descaling Solution
Looking for more descaling solutions you could try? We have another universal descaling solution at number 2. This espresso descaler by essential values is another popular item because of its effectiveness and value.
When you use a coffee maker for too long without cleaning, residual oil from the coffee beans and mineral and limescale deposits from the water result in buildups inside the espresso machine. You may think that it doesn’t matter much, but it actually alters the taste of your espresso or coffee.
Using an espresso descaler prevents these buildups from interfering with the taste of your espresso, which is something this particular product is amazing at. It removes the buildup left behind and cleanses your coffee maker at the same time.
The product is also very effective at what it does – it descales espresso machines really well. Several users who have tried this descaling solution had attested to that.
People have a common complaint about espresso machine descalers: they leave a foul smell inside the coffee maker for a few cycles after the descaling process. This product stands out for not doing that. So, you can enjoy your coffee to its fullest potential because the only smell you’ll get is of the espresso.
- Universal, multipurpose formula compatible with many machines
- Maximizes the taste of coffee and expresso by keeping the machine clean
- 2-in-1 cleaning and descaling solution both cleanses and descales
- Affordable yet very effective
- Instructions are not very clear
Here is a universal descaling solution that will not leave any strange smell or taste after you are done using it. As a cherry on top, it cleanses and descales together. It is a must-have for busy people.
|Dimensions||6.97 x 4.33 x 1.93 inches|
|Item Volume||16 Fluid Ounces|
3. Durgol Swiss Descaler for All Brands of Espresso Machines
You can make natural descaling solutions (more on this later) at home for your espresso machines, but they may not always be the best choice for your beloved coffee maker.
If you are apprehensive about that, this powerful descaling solution will remove all your worries, just like all the limestone and calcium buildups inside your espresso machine.
Thicker buildups of calcium and limescale are not the easiest to get rid of, particularly with natural descaling agents. More alarmingly, citric acid, a common descaling product, may form a layer of calcium citrate on limescale by chemical reactions.
On the other hand, if you use too much vinegar, then your expresso machine may get brittle or damaged. And both of these products will not remove 100% of the buildups.
Durgol’sespresso descaler, on the other hand, will remove all of the buildups due to its powerful performance. It is also gentle on the espresso machine itself, so no parts will be damaged.
Another feature that stood out to me is that the bottles of this descaling solution are 100% recyclable. This is definitely a pro because plastic consumption is increasing every day, and we should do everything we can to help the climate.
- Industrial grade performance; will clean up all hard water build-ups easily
- Doesn’t leave behind the same problems natural descaling solutions do
- Zero odor or aftertaste left behind – making the espresso delicious
- Environmentally safe and recyclable – good for the planet
- Instructions are vague
Fast descaling without damaging expresso machines is a combination not many brands can perfect – Durgol managed to do just that.
|Dimensions||4 x 1 x 6 inches|
|Specific Uses For Product||Coffee|
|Item Volume||8.4 Fluid Ounces|
4. De’LonghiEcoDecalkNatural Espresso Machine Descaler
Many people are wary of chemical espresso machine descalers because overusing chemicals may lead to damage to the interior of coffee machines. De’LonghiEcoDecalk is the perfect solution for them, as it is made of all-natural ingredients – down to the bottle!
This product is made with 100% lactic acid, a stronger natural acid than citric acid. Lactic acid is up to three times faster and more effective than traditional descalers for coffee machines.
While the price of this product may seem too much compared to other descalers, consider that you get 5 uses per bottle. This is more than twice what you usually get from other similar products. So, this product actually provides great value for the money.
One thing you should make a note of is that all espresso machines require different ratios of descalers. So check the user manual to know how much you should be using. With the optimal mixture, this powerful descaler will clean your coffee maker in no time.
- All natural and powerful lactic acid cleans and protects coffee makers
- Eco-friendly product with a recycled plastic bottle and natural solution
- Very fast acting – which saves time
- 5 applications per bottle, providing superb value
- Might be a bit too expensive for frequent coffee drinkers
Natural and eco-friendly – if you are looking for all-natural ingredients, this lactic acid descaler will be the perfect match for your coffee maker.
|Dimensions||3.11 x 3.11 x 7.48 inches|
5. UrnexCafizaEspresso Machine Cleaning Powder
Last but not the least, we have the only descaling powder in our top 5, and it is by Urnex. This descaling powder is made to clean all coffee residue, coffee oils, and other types of gunk. It is a non-acidic powder meant for cleaning out the buildup caused by regular coffee making.
This is a product cafes use for their espresso machines because of its powerful cleaning. As you may have guessed, an industrial coffee machine gets crazy buildups that no ordinary cleaner can get off. This product magically gets everything off – no matter how bad it is.
It is very versatile, too. You can use this on any part of the machine – valves, brew heads, lines, steam wands, grounds spoon, and everything else! In fact, it works on other items, too, such as coven trays, utensils, grill brushes – basically anything with a buildup on it.
A little goes a long way with this product. Because it is a powder, you can easily control the amount you need. One bottle will easily last anywhere between 1-2 years, based on how often you clean the machine. Try it once, and you will understand why it is so great!
- Powerful non-acidic descaling powder, perfect for espresso buildups
- Suitable for industrial grade, business use – formulated for professional use
- Very easy to control the dose thanks to its powder form
- Versatile – can be used equipment other than an espresso machine
- Long lasting – will cover your cleaning & maintenance for over a year
- No significant cons found
Cafiza is great at cleaning off any gunk and residue made by professional coffee-making – no matter how stubborn it might be. Its versatility of use and long-lasting nature make this a winner in my book.
|Dimensions||2 x 2 x 7 inches|
|Specific Uses For Product||Coffee|
|Item Volume||1000 Milliliters|
|Unit Count||20.0 Ounce|
The Ultimate Buying Guide
Before you buy a descaler for your espresso machine, you should keep a few things in mind. Here are the considerations you should make when shopping for a descaler –
Type of Descaler
You can find descalers in three different forms –
1. Descaling Powder
These are typically the least expensive kind out of the three, which makes them popular. Using powder descalers can be a bit tricky, as you need to measure the amount you need and mix it before using it. Powders last the longest, making them very cost-efficient.
If you get descaling powder, remember to mix them thoroughly before use. Otherwise, you may get blockages in your machine, particularly in narrow areas.
2. Descaling Tablet
If you are looking for ease of use, this is the one you should go for. No mixing or measuring is required with these, just pop one inside your machine and let it do the magic.
3. Descaling Solution
Solutions come in bottles. To use them, you have to empty a certain portion of the bottle in your espresso machine and then run one or more cycles with water. As it is a solution, you do not have to mix anything, which makes usage easy. You do, however, have to measure the amount your pour.
Liquid descalers are the most popular of the three. They are very effective at properly cleaning tough buildups, too. The downside is that these tend to be more expensive comparatively. So, if you need powerful performance, you should get them.
Not all descalers are compatible with all espresso machines. You can find universal descalers that work with most machines. Also, for some descalers, you can check the model of your espresso machine for compatibility. Additionally, you can see what the manufacturer recommends and get that.
Chemical or Natural
You can use ready-made store-bought descalers, or you can mix up a natural descaler by yourself at home. There are pros and cons to both of them, so choose wisely.
Store-bought products are convenient and easy to use. They also tend to be more powerful and gentler than espresso machines. Homemade alternatives are by far the least expensive, but they may leave weight films, smells, or tastes in your espresso machine.
To get the best of both worlds, you can also use both by interchanging them.
You should also consider the ingredients of the descaler you are considering. Certain ingredients work better on a certain types of buildups. For example, for mineral buildups, acid-based descalers work the best.
But acid can also be damaging if not used properly, so look for nonacid products if you are trying to remove coffee buildups.
The type of water you use may indicate the kind of buildup you have. If you use soft or filtered water, you may get only coffee buildups. On the other hand, if you use tap water, it may cause mineral buildups.
Beware of descaling agents that have a strong scent to them. Smelling coffee is one of the best ways to enjoy it. Strong descalers will leave a smell inside your espresso machine for quite a few cycles after cleaning, altering the smell of your beverage. You should stick to odorless products instead.
How to Make Homemade Descaling Solution?
Espresso machine descalers can also be made with things lying around your home. If you would rather try your hand making a homemade solution instead, here are a few things you can try:
This is the most common homemade descaling solution for coffee makers. Simply mix 1/3 cup of white vinegar and 2/3 cup of water. You can do this in one bottle for easy mixing. Let the solution sit in the espresso maker. Then, rinse it off. Beware, though, this may leave a foul smell, so you must clean it properly.
Apart from vinegar, citric acid is another popular descaling ingredient, particularly because it does not smell. It also ensures fresh-tasting coffee after you put your favorite beans through a brew cycle right after cleaning.
To use this, get a gallon of water and mix 1 TB spoon of citric acid pellets in it. Pour this mixture into the water tank of your coffee machine and let it sit after running one cycle. Citric acid is milder compared to vinegar. So, you may need to run several cycles.
After you are done, run a new cycle of freshwater to clean all the leftover dirt and solution.
This is a natural descaling agent you could try. It is cheap, time-efficient, and leaves a nice smell. To make a descaling solution with lemon, mix equal parts lemon juice with water. Let it sit in the water tank. Then, rinse it thoroughly multiple times.
Remember, this will leave a strong sour taste in your coffee maker, so make sure to wash it thoroughly.
This is another natural product that comes in powder form. It will clean the machine’s water tank and the exterior – including the water filter, water reservoir, coffee pod holder, filter basket, etc.
To use it, mix ¼ cup of baking soda with a cup of lukewarm water until all of the powder is dissolved fully. Then, use this water to run a cycle just as you would for making coffee. This will clean the espresso machine. Scrub the exterior with a gentle brush and the solution to clean it.
Remember to run another cycle of water before you start brewing coffees.
Tips to Prevent Scaling in Coffee Machines
- Make sure your espresso machine is descaler compatible
- Use filtered water or bottled water (make sure it is distilled)
- Check the water hardness of your tap water if you decide to use it,it should be between 35 to 85 parts per million (ppm)
- Use a water filtration system if possible
- Descale the machine once every 1-2 months; you can use descaling solutions, descaling powder, or even natural descaler
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. If you do not descale your machine, then coffee pod oils, limescale, and calcium will keep building up inside. They will change the smell and taste of your coffee.
Over time, not descaling has also resulted in espresso machines breaking down because the heating element & water passage get clogged.
If you have hard water, you should be descaling the coffee maker once every month. And if that is not the case, coffee makers should be descaled once every few months. There are also telltale signs of when you should get it clean, such as foul-smelling or tasting coffee.
If the buildup type you have is made of hand water, then acidic descalers should be used. And if the buildups are made from regular coffee makers, such as from milk and oils, then you should use non-acidic descalers.
Use a water filter for the machine. Clean and descale it every 2-3 months, and you will get amazing coffee every time.
By now, you understand the importance of regularly maintaining and cleaning espresso machines. Here’s a refresher – it will keep your coffee smelling and tasting great and keep the machine in great shape. To properly clean and maintain it, you need the best espresso machine descaler.
All of the products I have reviewed today perform spectacularly for the job. Go through the buying guide and reviews to find the one ideal for your own machine. But if you ask me, I would pick Impresa for mineral buildups and Cafiza for coffee buildups.
May you always get the best cup of joe from your coffee machine!