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guide descaling coffee machine

Step-by-Step Guide to descaling Coffee Machine

30 min.
1 pers.

Limescale and residues build up and gradually impair the operation of your bean-to-cup coffee machine. That’s why it’s essential to regularly maintain your coffee grinder and clean your coffee machine to ensure its longevity and the quality of your drinks. But how do you go about it? What steps do you need to take? We’ll break it all down for you in this comprehensive guide!

Why maintain and descale your bean-to-cup coffee machine ?


The benefits

Regular maintenance of your automatic coffee machine will help:

  • remove coffee oils and limescale residues that may have built up.
  • guarantee the in-cup quality of your coffee.
  • ensure the longevity of your bean-to-cup coffee machine.

Risks of poor maintenance

Lack of maintenance of your automatic espresso coffee machine may result in:

  • an accumulation of coffee oils and limescale, which will alter the coffee’s in-cup quality, increasing the bitterness of your drink.
  • coffee grinder malfunctions.

How often should I clean my coffee machine ?

how to descale coffee machine To maintain your bean-to-cup coffee machine properly, you’ll need to take a number of steps which we’ll discuss later on in this article.  These steps are not all done at the same time : some are done daily, while others are more occasional. That’s why it’s important to consistently maintain and clean your coffee grinder. Maintenance will also depend on how often you use your coffee machine, your location (in terms of the level of limescale in the water), whether or not you have a milk system and the number of users.

How to clean your coffee machine 

The steps we’re about to describe may at first seem daunting. But in fact, they’re more or less the same as those you do to maintain and ensure the longevity of a capsule coffee machine. Even if you might not think it!  So don’t fret, it’s very simple and we’re going to guide you every step of the way ! So what’s the best way to maintain and clean your coffee machine?

Steps you should carry out regularly or daily

  1. Emptying the grounds container and drip tray

When ? As soon as they’re full, which amounts to about 8–9 coffees (depending on the capacity of your coffee machine). But be wary of ambient temperatures.  Because even if you don’t reach this capacity, you need to empty these two trays regularly, especially your coffee grounds container. This is because heat can lead to the formation of mould. 

How ? Empty these two trays beforehand. Then use soapy water (hot water and washing-up liquid). You can also put them in the dishwasher if the supplier specifies this in the user manual.

  1. Cleaning the milk system (and/or steam nozzle)

When ? Repeat the process every day and/or every time you use your milk system. Milk can leave residues that are harmful to your bean-to-cup coffee machine and to your health. Clean pipes also guarantee milk foam with no aftertaste and a nice texture. 

How ? Use a milk cleaner. This will loosen the dried milk residue in the ducts. To do this, be sure to follow the cleaning product’s instructions for use, which will lay out the steps to follow. Usually, all you need to do is run the cleaning cycle found in your coffee machine’s ‘maintenance’ menu.

Arfize Milk System Cleaner – 250 ml

To maintain the milk system in your automatic coffee machine, we recommend the Arfize cleaner. 

Available now
Nettoyant systeme lacte arfize

Cleaning Product – Cleaner for Milk Systems – Arfize (250 ml)

– Affordable
– Suitable for all coffee machine brands
– Can also be used with manual espresso machines

See the product
  1. Rinse your bean-to-cup coffee machine when you switch it on and off 

When ? Whenever you switch your espresso machine on or off.

How ? Most of the time, bean-to-cup coffee machines have an automatic rinse when the machine is switched on and off. If not, you simply need to start it. It’s important not to deactivate it: the rinse when the machine is switched on will preheat it (and therefore ensure a good result in the cup), while when it is switched off, it will clean the coffee oil residue. 

Note : this rinse when you switch it on and off will also prevent your bean-to-cup coffee machine from breaking down prematurely. Also, don’t panic if there’s still water in the waste tank, despite the fact that you have put a cup under the nozzles. This is normal. Your coffee machine is rinsed through the nozzles and internally.

  1. Clean the brew unit

When ? Once a week. Wet coffee will accumulate in the brew unit, go mouldy and make your drink bitter. 

How ?

  • If your unit is removable: rinse the brewer with warm water and leave to air dry.
  • If your unit cannot be removed: use cleaning tablets and place them directly in the ground coffee compartment.

Arfize Cleaning Tablets Box of 100 x 2g

To clean the brew group in your automatic coffee machine, we recommend Arfize cleaning tablets. 

Available now
pastilles de nettoyage Arfize

Cleaning Product – Cleaning Tablets Box – Arfize (100 x 2 g)

– Affordable
– Effective and practical, for removing oil deposits from your daily extractions
– Can also be used with manual espresso machines

See the product

Steps you should carry out occasionally

changing the filter cartridge

  1. Cleaning the front of your espresso machine and the water tank 

When ? Whenever you clean your kitchen counter. Because just like any kitchen unit, you need to look after your appliances to keep your home clean. 

How ? Use a soft, slightly damp cloth for the front of your bean-to-cup coffee machine, and clean your water tank with clear, soapy water before drying it thoroughly.

  1. Changing the filter cartridge 

When ? Roughly every 2 months. This will vary based on your location and usage. What’s more, when you first start up your machine, it’ll probably ask you to test the hardness of your water using the test strip supplied. This will allow you to adjust the frequency of replacement.  And if you don’t use your bean-to-cup coffee machine for 2 or 3 weeks, you’ll need to change your filter cartridge too. Whatever the case, this will prevent your espresso machine from accumulating limescale too quickly, ensuring its efficiency and maintaining the great taste of your coffee!  

How ? Fill a new filter cartridge and install it in your espresso machine. You may then need to activate it on your coffee machine. 

Note : there are other ways of filtering the tap water you use for your coffee, such as installing a water softener in your home, or using a filter jug or filter sponges. If you prefer these methods, we recommend that you consult your supplier and/or the instructions for use.

  1. Descaling your coffee machine 

When ? Roughly every 2 months. Not to worry, as most automatic coffee machines will let you know when you need to do it. Again, how often you descale your espresso machine can vary, depending on how much you use it and where you live. Regularly descaling your coffee machine will ensure its efficiency and maintain an optimal in-cup quality. 

How ? Use a descaler. Simply add a small amount of product to the water tank of your bean-to-cup coffee machine, fill the tank with water and start the descaling cycle. Be careful, however, to follow the product instructions carefully, particularly in terms of the quantity of descaler you use. This stage can take between 30 minutes and 1 hour. 

Arfize Universal Descaler – 500 ml To descale your automatic coffee machine, we recommend the Arfize descaler. 

Available now
detartrant Arfize

Universal Descaler – Arfize (500 ml)

– Can be use for coffee machine, manual coffee machine, kettle
– Removes limescale from all appliances
– 5 Doses Capacity

See the product

Anaïs at MaxiCoffee’s tip

If your coffee isn’t hot enough, it might be that your automatic coffee machine is riddled with limescale! That’s why it’s a good idea to carry out a descaling cycle.

descaling cycle

Note : it’s important to use a suitable descaler solution and never use white vinegar. The acetic acid in white vinegar is not suitable for the seals, parts and pipes that make up your bean-to-cup coffee machine, as it’ll erode them. This will create leaks over time.

  1. Cleaning the grinder

When ? Once a week. The grinder can become clogged with coffee residue. 

How ? Use the grinder cleaner Urnex SuperGrindz following the instructions for use, the product page or the video below.

Note : Avoid coffees that are too oily or shiny. These aren’t recommended for use in an automatic machine and will clog the grinder too quickly.

Urnex SuperGrindz grinder cleaner for automatic coffee machines – 330 g

To clean your automatic coffee machine’s grinder, we recommend the Urnex SuperGrindz grinder cleaner. 

Available now
supergrindz urnex

Cleaning Product – Supergrindz Grinder cleaner for automatic coffee machines – URNEX

– Cost-effective (1 year of use)
– Efficient, it removes particles and absorbs oils
– Made from 100% natural ingredients

See the product

What can you put in the dishwasher ?

Some parts of your machine may be dishwasher safe.  This may be the case for your ground container and drip tray. Be sure to check that these parts have a logo indicating that they can be put in the dishwasher.  You can also wash all the parts in soapy water in the sink. It’s the safest way to maintain your coffee machine ! 

What’s the difference between the grinder (burr and blade) and the brew unit of your automatic coffee machine ?

Perhaps you heard ‘Clean the brew group’, or ‘Clean the grinder’ and thought to yourself, ‘what’s the difference?’ Step 1 : the grinder : this is where the coffee beans are poured in to be ground by the burrs or blades. Once the coffee has been ground, step 2 can begin: it falls into the brew group (also called the ‘brewing unit’ or ‘brewer’) which forms a puck, compacts it and extracts it (the water passes through the coffee puck). Lastly, step 3: the wet coffee puck falls into the coffee grounds container. 


arfize clean brand for coffee machine To maintain your coffee bean machine, we recommend using Arfize cleaning products. Several product ranges are available (descalers, detergents and filter cartridges) to help you clean your espresso machine on a regular or occasional basis.  What’s more, the products are suitable for the biggest brands on the market (including manual espresso machines) and they’re affordable.

Maintaining and cleaning your bean-to-cup coffee machine is essential to ensure that it lasts a long time and that your caffeinated and/or milk-based beverages taste great in your cup ! Have a capsule coffee machine? Don’t worry, we’ll also show you how to clean it properly. Want to learn more about all things coffee? Check out our tips on our YouTube channel.

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