How To Clean Your Nespresso Coffee Machine

One-cup coffee machines have taken over our lives. Their convenience and the ability to provide a fresh cup of coffee whenever you want makes it almost impossible not to love them. Those of you who prefer a strong cup might enjoy a Nespresso coffee capsule. Nespresso pods are similar to an espresso, which uses barcodes on the pods to ensure the correct amount of water is used. 


Just like any other piece of kitchen equipment, a Nespresso machine needs to be cleaned. Not cleaning your Nespresso can cause coffee residue and mineral build-up. This will negatively affect the taste of your coffee and can even cause the machine to function improperly. If you own a Nespresso, it's always beneficial to clean your machine to ensure that you get the best cup of coffee every time. 

The good news is that Nespresso machines are fairly straightforward to clean and require minimal effort from the consumer. Cleaning your Nespresso machine does not require any previous knowledge or skill, and it is a manageable maintenance project for all Nespresso owners. Each machine is a little different, but we will guide you through how to clean any Nespresso so you can keep having delicious coffee. And the best part? It's easier than you think!


Cleaning Nespresso's different parts

One key thing to remember is that there are different parts of the Nespresso that require cleaning. The first is the parts on the outside of the machine. This can include the water canister, the drip tray, the pod holder, and the machine exterior. Next is the inside mechanism of the machine. While you may think that this doesn't need to be done since there is only hot water going through, it is vital to clean the inside of the machine on a regular basis. 


Finally, your Nespresso machine will need to be descaled and cleaned regularly. This process breaks down limescale and mineral buildup. This is particularly important for homes with hard water. Over time, minerals build up and can cause bad taste and affect the longevity of your machine. It does not matter what order you clean the Nespresso machine. However, there is no need to run a cleaning cycle after descaling the machine.

What you will need to clean the Nespresso

Luckily, you only need a few items to clean your machine. To do a full machine clean, including the descaling and washing of the outside, you will need clean water, a wash cloth, a large bowl, and Nespresso descaling solution. The descaling solution can be purchased from a number of retail outlets and online, and is the only specialty item needed to descale and fully clean a Nespresso. 


How to clean the machine's exterior

Open the machine's head and remove the previously used Nespresso pod. Then, remove all detachable elements from the machine, including the water canister, drip tray, and capsule holder.

Discard any used pods. Wash each of these elements with warm, soapy water, rinse, and let dry before continuing with the machine.


Take a damp washcloth and wipe down the machine's exterior. Be sure to remove any splattered coffee or other stains.

How to clean the machine's interior

Fill your newly cleaned water tank with fresh water. Place the lid on the water tank and replace it in your Nespresso.

Do not replace the drip tray yet. Place a bowl under the Nespresso dispenser. This bowl should hold at least 1 liter of liquid, about 4 cups.


Open and close the Nespresso. Move to the locked position. Press the top button on the Nespresso and wait for the indicator light to stop blinking and glow consistently light green. To start the cleaning cycle on most machines, press the top button three times in rapid succession. The green light will now turn orange while your Nespresso completes a basic cleaning cycle. It can take up to two minutes to see water flowing into the bowl, and the whole process will take about five minutes from start to finish. This can vary. Refer to your specific model's manual. 

Remove the bowl and dump the now dirty water. If you are done at this point, return the tray to the base. If you are continuing to descale your machine, keep the tray off.


How to descale the Nespresso machine

Place a bowl under the Nespresso dispenser. This bowl should hold at least 1 liter of liquid, about 4 cups. 

Fill the tank with 17 ounces of water and one packet of descaling solution. The amount of water can vary based on the model. Check your manual if unsure. Be careful not to touch the solution, as it can be dangerous. Replace the water canister on the machine. 


This is where things start to vary depending on the model. For newer Vertuo models, start by turning off the machine. To do this, hold the lever down for three seconds. Push the lever and hold the button down simultaneously for three seconds. At this point, the top light should turn orange. If the light is orange, press the lever down once quickly. Then press the top button once. This will activate the descaling mode. The orange light should start blinking and continue to blink while the Nespresso is descaled. 

If you have an older model Vertuo without a lever, open the Nespresso. Press the button for seven seconds, then close the Nespresso and turn it to the lock position. Unlock again, but keep it closed, and press the button for another seven seconds. 


The button should now be orange. Press the button once to activate the descaling mode. For all models this can take up to 20 minutes.

Once the descaling has been completed, dump the used liquid out and replace the empty bowl.

Now, the machine must be rinsed to remove any descaling liquid. Refill the water container with fresh, clean water. Press the top button. The orange light will blink while the Nespresso completes a rinse cycle.

Now you must exit descaling mode. For newer Vertuo models, push the lever and hold the button down simultaneously for three seconds. For older models, push and hold the button for seven seconds. When in doubt, look to your owner manual for guidance on your specific model. 

Replace all machine parts and wait 10 minutes after descaling before using. Then, enjoy a great cup of coffee.

Common Mistakes

One of the most common mistakes people make with their Nespresso is not cleaning their machine often enough. Your Nespresso should be descaled every three months; however, if you drink a lot of Nespresso coffee, it should be done more often. Additionally,  Nespresso cleaning cycles should be done in between. When in doubt, you can check the indicator light on the top of many machines. For example, the machine needs to be cleaned when the light on newer Nespresso Vertuo machines turns red and green.


Another common mistake is using cleaning pods as they only clean the head of the machine. Many brands sell Nespresso-compatible pods that claims to clean your machine. Nespresso themselves do not sell these pods but rather a descaling kit instead. While they can clear out some coffee residue, they do nothing to clean the rest of the machine. You are better off saving money and using Nespresso's built-in cleaning features.