If you answered ‘yes’ to either of those questions, you probably need to descale your espresso machine—as of yesterday!
So many people throw their espresso machines away or send it off for costly repairs when the actual fact is that it may just need a really good clean. This is where descaling agents come in.
Not so long ago, we spoke about how you can descale your espresso machine at home using DIY descaling recipes. But some people prefer to skip the DIY route and buy ready-made solutions.
Today, we’re on the hunt for the best espresso machine descaler.
The Best Descalers for Espresso Machines
There are many different brands out there that produce descaling agents. While it’s great that we have so many options to choose from, buying a descaler for an espresso maker doesn’t have to be complicated. Even the best espresso machine is a simple product designed with one purpose in mind.
To help you narrow down your list of potential espresso machine cleaning agents, we’ve put together this list of the best espresso machine descalers.
Brewslang Universal Descaling Solution
This fast-acting universal descaling solution is made in the USA by Brewslang. The Brewslang team claims this can be used in any and all coffee & espresso machines.
Created with the use of food grade ingredients, you can feel safe using this descaler in your espresso machine. The double heat-sealed bottle is recyclable while the actual Citric Acid based formula is 100% biodegradable and free from phosphates.
This descaling solution works extremely quickly and each bottle contains enough solution for two uses, meaning you’ll have an 8 month supply from this one purchase.
On top of removing limescale, grime and white mineral build ups, the odorless Brewslang Universal Descaling Solution also effectively cleans the heating coils and reservoir tank of your espresso machine.
Descaling your brewer with Brewslang Universal Descaling Solution is an uncomplicated process with only 6 steps to follow.
Perfect Pod ECO-Pure Single Serve Coffee Brewer Cleaning Kit
The ECO-Pure Coffee Brewer Cleaning Kit is the fruit of Perfect Pod’s labor. Perfect Pod is all about enjoying delicious coffee, while not damaging the environment.
One of the best aspects of this product is that it is a 2-in-1 cleaning system. The descaling solution works its way through the brew path, cleaning as it goes.
The proprietary Jet Washer then uses 12 high pressure streams to thoroughly clean that brew chamber and other places that are normally difficult to clean.
We love that the Perfect Pod ECO-Pure cleaning kit is biodegradable and free from odors and unpleasant aftertastes. On the downside, you’ll need to brew several rinse cycles to get rid of the solution and the instructions are pretty complicated.
Urnex Full Circle Coffee and Espresso Equipment Descaling Powder
This descaling powder is a best-selling product of Urnex Brands and Full Circle. They claim that their product is found in most Starbucks franchises, which is impressive to some.
The Full Circle descaling powder is used for both the elimination of limescale as well as the prevention of it. Using the Full Circle Coffee and Espresso Equipment Descaling Powder is easy, the process consists of only 5 steps.
One great thing about Full Circle is that if you prefer your descaler in a liquid or tablet format, they manufacture these too.
Durgol Swiss Espresso Decalcifier
This Swiss Espresso Decalcifier is a Durgol product that is specifically designed for high-end espresso machines.
Durgol Swiss Espresso Decalcifier cleans 99.9% of all bacteria and is said to work 10 times faster than competitor products.
No odor, aftertaste or residue is left behind after use and you don’t need to worry about rinsing the machine, so the moment you’re done descaling the machine you can get back to brewing.
Using the Durgol Swiss Espresso Decalcifier is simple, just pour the contents of the bottle straight into your espresso machines water reservoir.
Tassimo Bosch Coffee Machine Descaling Tablets
These descaling tablets have been specifically designed by Bosch for use in its Tassimo machines.
The Tassimo Bosch Coffee Machine Descaling Tablets effectively remove limescale, residue and calcium deposits from your machine. While other products are marketed as safe to use, Bosch recommends only using these tablets to descale the Tassimo machine.
A typical descaling cycle will take about 30 minutes. Using the Coffee Machine Descaling Tablets to descale your Bosch Tassimo is simple, just follow the seven steps as instructed.
Nespresso Descaling Solution
This descaling solution has been designed by Nespresso for use in their Original machines as well as all Nespresso Vertuo machines.
The Nespresso Descaling Solution is a descaler that works by gently eliminating the buildup of limescale in your espresso machine.
Because it contains lactic acid and phosphonates, you need to be extremely careful when using the solution and wash your hands immediately after usage.
This descaling solution is easy to use and requires a thorough rinsing out before you can get back to brewing. Because it’s a product from an exceptionally well-known brand, it is more expensive than other descalers on the market.
KRUPS F054 Descaling Powder
KRUPS is a German manufacturer of kitchen appliances that has been around for quite some time now. Since they make their own espresso machines, it only makes sense that they would also start producing their own descaling agent.
This descaling powder eliminates the build-up of minerals, helping to prolong the life of your espresso machine by keeping it free from clogs and blockages.
Using the product is easy, although you’ll have to contact KRUPS directly for a copy of the instruction manual as there are no visible instructions on the packets.
The KRUPS F054 Descaling Powder can be used with kettles, coffee and espresso machines with a specific focus on KRUPS’ own Fully-Automatic Espresso Machines.
What You Need To Know About Espresso Machine Descalers
Before you go ahead and purchase an espresso machine descaler, there are a few things you should be aware of. Keep the following in mind while you’re searching for the right descaler to meet your needs.
What are the Different Types of Espresso Machine Descalers?
When talking about descalers for the top espresso machines, we typically see three different formats. These three different formats are: liquid, powder and tablets. Using each variation of descaler is easy and uncomplicated, some just require a little more effort than others.
Tablets are one of the most popular descaler formats since there is minimal effort required from your side. There is no need for any measurements or stirring, it’s usually just a case of inserting the tablet and allowing it to get to work.
Even though they sometimes need to be measured manually, powder descalers are surprisingly popular. Powder descalers are typically less expensive than liquid or tablet options. One downside of a powder descaler is that when not properly dissolved the powder can cause blockages.
Liquid descalers are becoming more and more popular because of how easy using it is. Because it’s already in a liquid format, there is no need to dissolve it and so mixing it takes hardly any time. Liquid descalers tend to be more expensive compared to descalers in other formats.
Important Questions to Ask before Buying a Descaling Agent
Before you buy a descaler for your espresso machine, you need to ask these three important questions.
Is this descaler compatible with my espresso machine?
Some brands are adamant that you should only use the specific descalers that it recommends. While many descalers work well with a number of machines (if not all) it is better to adhere to what the manufacturer of your espresso machine recommends to avoid any issues that could jeopardize your warranty.
What chemicals are in the descaling agent?
It’s important to be aware of what chemicals make up descaling agents, after all you will be ingesting these if you don’t follow the instructions properly.
How environmentally friendly is the descaler?
These days more people are conscious of the negative effects that their coffee habits have on the environment and like to minimize their own contributions. As far as possible, opt for a descaler that is biodegradable.
Natural Descalers Vs Chemical Descalers
Remember, espresso machine descalers are a specialized product that has been specifically designed for this sole purpose.
In saying that, what you choose to use for descaling your espresso machine is your choice. Some people prefer the ease and convenience of using a ready-made descaler, while others prefer to concoct their own natural descaling agent, so they know exactly what ingredients are used.
Both the chemical method and natural method have their unique pros & cons, the decision on which route to take is ultimately up to you.
What are the Best Espresso Machine Descaler Brands?
While there are many reputable brands of espresso machine descalers, and we stand behind all of the brands featured on this list, three brands stand out from the rest and are dominating the descaling agent industry.
Keurig is one of the best manufacturers of espresso machine descalers. In fact, the Keurig Descaling Solution Brewer Cleaner is the number 1 best selling product in Amazon’s Coffee & Espresso Machine Cleaning Products category. Keurig has been around since 1990 and during this time it has earned a reputation as an industry expert.
Perfect Pod is the new kid on the block that is fast gaining in popularity around the world thanks to its focus on sustainable coffee behavior. Established in 2005, today Perfect Pod offers a comprehensive line of refillable, reusable and recyclable coffee accessories.
No list of the best espresso machine descaler brands would be complete if Durgol isn’t featured on it. Durgol was founded in 1951 and has always specialized in the manufacturing of descalers. On top of its renowned Swiss Espresso Special Descaler, Durgol also produces an Express Descaler, Universal Decalcifier for other kitchen appliances, a bathroom cleaner as well as a Special Decalcifier for ovens and steam cookers.
Frequently Asked Questions
You’ve got the questions and we’ve got the answers! A lot of the time, people reach out to us with the same questions, so we decided to save you the time by sharing the answers to these FAQs with you.
What is an espresso machine descaler?
An espresso machine descaler is a chemical substance that is used to remove limescale build-ups from metallic components that come into physical contact with water. Descaling agents are used to clean the machine, keep it free from clogs & blockages and increase the overall lifespan of your espresso machine.
On top of being used in espresso machines, descalers are also used in boilers, kettles and general water heaters.
How often should I descale my espresso machine?
The frequency of descaling is mainly dependent on your specific espresso machine and how often you use it. More expensive espresso machines have maintenance notifications to alert you as to when descaling must be done.
Be sure to check your user manual for manufacturer-specific guidelines and instructions. As a general rule, descaling should be done at least once every two months.
What will happen if I don’t descale my espresso machine?
If you don’t descale your espresso machine left over residue will not be properly removed. This will result in a pungent smell coming from both your espresso machine and your coffee, a bitter tasting cup of coffee and potential blockages that will damage your entire machine.
Where can I buy descaler for my espresso machine?
If you don’t want to head on down to your nearest coffee supplies store, you can buy an espresso machine descaler without stepping foot in a physical store. Espresso machine descalers can be purchased online through Amazon, specialty coffee e-commerce stores or directly from the websites of espresso machine manufacturers.
Should I choose an acidic or non-acidic descaler?
This decision should be based on what you need to remove from your espresso machine. If you need to remove stains or build-ups of hard water, an acidic descaler will suit your needs nicely.
If you’re just looking to remove regular build-ups, you should opt for a non-acidic descaler.
What can I use instead of descaling solution?
While using descaling solution is specifically designed to be the best, most effective way of descaling your espresso machine some people prefer to make DIY solutions. Ingredients like vinegar, citric acid, lemon juice and baking soda are often used in these recipes.
What is limescale?
Limescale is the residue left behind on the metallic elements of espresso machines by hard water. When limescale is left unchecked, it builds up, hardens and damages your espresso machine.
Not only does it diminish the efficiency of the heating element, but it will also result in your machine working harder than it needs to thus significantly shortening its lifespan.
With so many great products available, it really is a case of taking your pick. Have a look at the products we’ve listed, read up on its user reviews and compare its specifications to your list of requirements.
After careful consideration, we’ve decided that the best espresso machine descaler is the Brewslang Universal Descaling Solution.
This fast-acting descaler is free from phosphates, contains food grade ingredients and is 100% biodegradable so we feel extremely safe using it to descale our espresso machine.
Because it has been designed with no specific brand or model of espresso machine in mind, you don’t need to worry about any compatibility issues as it can be used in all espresso machines.
On top of being one of the most affordable descaling agents available, you get two uses out of every recyclable bottle of Brewslang Universal Descaling Solution.