How to Descale Nespresso Vertuo

How to Descale Nespresso Vertuo

The descaling process is essential to the maintenance of any coffee maker. Descaling helps keep your machine working correctly, your drink hot, and your coffee tasting excellent. 

The descaling process varies between machines. If you need to know how to descale a Nespresso Vertuo, you’ll find all the information right here.  

What Is Descaling?

You probably wipe down the outside of your espresso maker, but what about the inside? Descaling clears the interior works of your Nespresso by running a descaling solution through it. 

Descaling refers to cleaning metal of unwanted mineral buildup. Every time you use your Nespresso, a tiny amount of minerals in the water coat the machine’s interior. The longer you use your Nespresso, the more buildup there is.

If left untreated, these minerals can prevent your Nespresso from pumping water. Buildup can also affect the taste of your coffee. A simple descaling procedure cleans the metal of these impurities, so your machine works like new. 

Why Is Descaling Crucial?

Unless you use purified water in your coffee, your Nespresso will have mineral buildup. Calcium and magnesium are common minerals in everyday water. These minerals are safe to drink, but the buildup can mess with your machine. 

As water is heated to make your coffee, the mineral residue is left behind and binds to the metal pipes. The leftover limescale, calcium carbonate, can prevent your water from heating adequately. In extreme cases, calcium deposits can clog your machine. 

If you want your morning coffee to be a joyful experience, you need to descale before you have a problem. 

How Often Should You Descale Your Machine?

How often you descale your Nespresso will change based on a few factors. 

If you use “hard” water in your coffee, you will need to descale more often than people who use “soft” water. If unsure, there are a few ways to find your water hardness

Hard water has a higher mineral content so buildup will happen easily. You should consider descaling monthly if you use your Nespresso daily with hard water.  

You also need to consider how often you use your Nespresso Vertuo. Some people use their Nespresso occasionally and have another coffee maker for daily use. 

If you don’t use it daily, you can descale your machine roughly every six months. If your Nespresso Vertuo is your main coffee maker you should descale every 2-3 months. 

Components of a Descaling Kit

A descaling kit will have some kind of cleaning solution and a descaling solution. Nespresso makes a descaler for all of their machines. 

It’s not strictly necessary to use a brand name descaler. You can use a DIY solution if you don’t have a professional descaler on hand. Acidic solutions will dissolve limescale well. 

Citric acid with water, ideally two tablespoons of acid to four cups of water, can be used to clean the machine. Run the solution at least twice to thoroughly clean the machine and remove any residue.

Why Should You Never Use Vinegar as a Substitute for a Descaling Solution

While you can use a DIY descaler, you must avoid the use of vinegar. You’ll see some coffee-related websites recommend vinegar; however, it will cause more harm than good. 

Yes, vinegar is acidic enough to remove limescale buildup. But vinegar can leave a residue. The large amounts of acetic acid in vinegar can corrode the interior of your Nespresso. Using too much vinegar too often can cause permanent damage to your machine. 

Vinegar is also much more pungent and flavorful than other descaling agents. If you use too much vinegar or fail to dilute it the smell and taste can linger in your Nespresso. No one wants an aftertaste of vinegar in their morning coffee. 

18-Step Procedure To Descale Your Nespresso Vertuo

Properly descaling the Nespresso Vertuo is an easy 18-step process. You can find all the details you need below. 

1. Note The Descaling Light

All Vertuoline machines have a green and red descaling alert. Make sure you count the number of coffee cups you make after seeing the descaling alert. If you saw the descaling light, you only have 3-5 cups of coffee left before descaling is mandatory. 

Remember, descaling means there is a detectable amount of limescale buildup. This buildup will prevent your coffee from heating to the necessary temperature to achieve the best flavor from your coffee. 

2. Turn The Machine On Then Off

Press the power button. Eject any used capsule by lifting the head of the machine. Close the machine by pushing the head down. Press and hold the lever for three seconds to turn your Nespresso off. 

3. Clear The Used Capsule Container

Continue clearing your Nespresso of debris by checking the used capsule container. 

The used capsule container is located under the cup support. Pull out the cup support to clean the capsules out. Once it is clean and empty, you can replace this container.  

4. Clean And Replace The Water Tank

Your descaling solution will go in your water tank. Make sure your water tank is prepared for the descaling procedure. 

Your tank must be clean and empty before you use it to clean the rest of your machine. You don’t want to run your descaler through a scummy water tank. 

5. Mix the Descaling Solution With Water

Whether you’re using Nespresso’s descaling solution or your own, you need to prepare the solution. The descaling solution should be diluted with water. 

Nespresso recommends filling your water tank with 17 ounces of water and one unit of descaling solution. 

6. Enter Special Functions

Now that your descaling solution is loaded into the water tank, you next enter descaling mode on your Nespresso Vertuo. 

To enter the special functions mode, your machine needs to be off. While off, push the power button on top and hold down the top lever simultanously. Hold both for three seconds. 

7. Wait For The Orange Light

If you did step six properly, you should see an orange light appear – it will be a steady solid orange with no blinking or two color options should be visible. 

If you have the orange light, this signals that you have successfully turned on special functions. 

8. Enter Descaling Mode

You need to enter descaling mode while the orange light is on. To do this, press and release the top lever once. That’s it. Pumping it more than once can enter a different special function, so don’t overdo it. 

9. Place A Cup Under The Coffee Spout

Descaling mode will release at least about 27 ounces of liquid. Place a cup on your cup holder that can hold this amount of liquid. You’d be surprised how many people forget this step and end up with a mess on their dispensers. 

10. Press And Release Top Button

Run through a quick checklist. Make sure your descaling solution is in the water tank and that all debris is clear from the rubbish tray. 

When your cup is secure and you are sure you’re in descaling mode, press and release the power button to begin descaling. You should hear the machine begin working as though it’s making a cup of coffee. 

11. Make Sure It’s Descaling

When your Nespresso Vertuo is in Descaling mode, the orange light should begin to blink. It should blink throughout the descaling process. 

The descaling solution will be dispersed in bursts, so you should hear the machine start and stop a few times. The process will finish automatically. When you stop hearing anything for a few minutes or the light goes off, you’ll know descaling is complete. 

If you need to stop the process for any reason, you can do so by pressing the top button once during the descaling cycle. 

12. Prep for the Rinse Cycle

You need to begin the rinse cycle when your descaling cycle is complete – this is to clear any descaling residue from the interior of your Nespresso. Do not skip this part. 

To prepare for the rinse cycle, you should empty, clean, and rinse the water tank and cup support. When both are thoroughly cleaned, refill the water tank with clean water and replace it on your machine. 

13. Begin the Rinsing Cycle

Once you’ve finished the prep work, you can begin the rinse cycle. 

Press and release the top button once to begin the rinsing cycle. You’ll know it’s in rinsing mode because the orange light will blink – about once every two seconds. 

14. Refill the Water Tank

The rinsing cycle will finish automatically. When it’s finished, refill your water reciptacle with fresh water. 

15. Exit Descaling Mode

When the rinsing cycle is finished you can easily exit descaling mode. You exit the same way you entered. 

Press and hold the button and lever for three seconds. The orange light should be gone and replaced with a green light. 

16. Turn Machine On Then Off

Just to be sure you’re machine is working properly turn it on and then off again. There shouldn’t be any lights other than green. 

You shouldn’t see the orange light or the green and red descaling light – this is to be sure you don’t try to use your machine when it’s in the wrong mode.

17. Leave Your Machine Alone for 10 Minutes

Once you’ve checked the lights, you should turn your Nespresso Vertuo off. Let it rest for at least ten minutes before attempting to use it again. You should do this anytime you run your Nespresso for at least 20 minutes. 

18. Reward Yourself With Coffee

Once your Nespresso has been rested and rebooted it’s ready for use. You just spent a lot of time making sure your Nespresso could produce the highest quality coffee, congratulations, now it’s time to have some. 

What Can You Do if the Light Stays on Even After Descaling

If you’ve completed the descaling process and still see the descaling light, don’t panic. There’s a simple fix for getting rid of the descaling light. 

The most common reason the descaling light is still showing is that you didn’t exit the descaling mode correctly. You may not have held the buttons long enough, or you forgot. 

While the machine is showing the descaling light depress the top button and the lever for three seconds. Wait until you see a green light. Let the machine rest for 10 minutes after you do this. When you boot up again, the descaling alert should be gone. 


You should now have a perfectly descaled Nespresso machine. If you followed all these steps it’s time to enjoy your fresh coffee. It should taste as though it came out of a brand new machine. 

Did this list help you descale your Nespresso Vertuo? If so, let us know in the comments. Don’t forget to share this article with all of your Nespresso-owning friends.

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