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How to Descale a Coffee Machine

Updated February 21, 2017

Hard minerals do not enhance the flavour of freshly brewed coffee. If your coffee machine has developed a mineral build-up, it is time to descale the coffee machine. Descaling removes minerals from both the coffee pot and the internal portions of the coffee machine. Not only does this improve the flavour of the coffee, it also helps the coffee machine run more smoothly and heat water to the correct temperature. Descale the coffee machine approximately every six months, or every three months if your water is especially hard.

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  1. Read the owner's manual that came with your coffee machine and look for directions on descaling the machine. Some machines can be damaged by white vinegar, in which case you should follow the instructions in the owner's manual instead.

  2. Wait until your coffee machine has cooled after its previous use. There should be no coffee grounds in the machine and the pot should be cleaned from its previous use.

  3. Fill the coffee pot one quarter full with distilled white vinegar and then add water so that the pot is half full. Pour this mixture into the reservoir of the coffee machine and place the pot in the machine.

  4. Turn the coffee machine on and allow it to run a cycle. Dump out the water and vinegar mixture.

  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 two more times.

  6. Wait while the coffee maker cools. During this time, wash the coffee pot with soap and water.

  7. Fill the coffee pot halfway with plain water. Pour this into the reservoir of the coffee machine.

  8. Turn the coffee machine on and run the plain water through. Dump out the water when the cycle is done.

  9. Repeat steps 7 and 8 three more times. If you still smell vinegar in the coffee pot, repeat the process a few more times.

  10. Tip

    Citric acid descaling solutions are an alternative to the mixture of white vinegar and water. Help prevent mineral build-up in your coffee maker by using filtered water instead of tap water when brewing coffee.


    Give the descaling instructions that came with your coffee maker priority. White vinegar can cause irreparable damage to some types of coffee makers.

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Things You'll Need

  • White vinegar

About the Author

Kristen May
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