Proper Descaling: Can I use Vinegar to descale my Coffee Machine?

Proper descaling and maintenance of your coffee machine is vital for its lifespan and the quality of coffee it brews. All coffee machines with water reservoirs build up limescale and calcium deposits in their heating components, like the element, thermoblock and piping. The question that remains is: What should I use for proper descaling? And can I use Vinegar to descale my Coffee Machine?

To answer this question, it is important to understand what descaling means and which build-ups you are trying to remove from your coffee machine when descaling. Limescale is one of them.

Limescale in your coffee machine

Limescale comes from calcium and mineral deposits present in water, especially municipal water. This build-up forms on your coffee machine’s internal parts, causing weak machine performance. Colder, poorer-tasting coffee comes with that poor performance.

There is ways to minimize the amount of limescale that builds up inside your coffee machine. For example, you can consider using fresh filtered water in your machine, as it keeps the build-up to a minimum, learn more here. However, the best and only solution to preventing and especially for removing limescale, is through proper and also regular descaling.

What is descaling?

Descaling is the act of removing the above-mentioned deposits from your coffee machine, to remove limescale and rust from the internal elements and heating elements. But what you use to descale can make a big difference. We have all heard of a few ways to “descale” a coffee machine, and vinegar seems to come up a lot as a recommendation.

Can I use vinegar to descale my coffee machine?

Some articles likely mention using common household vinegar to descale, which unfortunately does not turn out to be very effective. Vinegar is very weak and mild acid which is not effective to remove limescale or rust. Plus, you run the risk of leaving a vinegar taste in your machine. Vinegar has a potent smell which can take ages to get out of the pipes of your machine. And coffee and vinegar taste is not a good combination for your next cup.

Proper descaling with lactic acid

A premium and food safe way to ensure the proper descaling of your coffee machine is using a lactic acid based descaling solution. Lactic acid is used in many detergents and soaps due to its natural antibacterial properties. Lactic acid effectively removes limescale build-up from a coffee machine’s internals, while leaving little to no residue behind. It is also very effective in the removal of rust.

Our recommendation: An eco-friendly yet effective Descaler

Our recommendation is to look for a lactic acid based solution (not to be confused with citric acid, as it is less effective) that is good to the environment as well. Our Caffenu® Eco Liquid Descaler is an eco-friendly, phosphate-free solution that uses a food safe, high-grade lactic acid from Europe which effectively removes any build-up that may hinder the performance of your coffee machine, be it a household or commercial machine. Additional additives have been added to assist in the breakdown of the deposits. It has naturally antibacterial properties for a hygienic rinse and provides a sanitising action for all your machine’s internal components. Most importantly it has no smell and leaves zero taint or stains ensuring you get the best coffee out of your coffee machine.