Whenever you brew coffee with your coffee maker or coffee pot, calcium carbonate deposits, also known as limescale, are left behind by water. Limescale looks like a white, hazy film that builds up after some time. The buildup slows the speed at which the coffee maker brews coffee. Also, it affects the taste of coffee.
The best way to remove limescale buildup from your coffee maker is by cleaning it with a descaling solution. Rather than buying a commercial descaling cleaner, you can easily make an effective coffee descaling cleaner at home. Besides, homemade descaling solutions are more affordable than commercial products.
Household cleaners and soaps aren’t effective at removing limescale. Limescale is only removable by dissolving it with an acidic solution. Both citric acid and vinegar have sufficient acidity levels to dissolve limescale. Besides, their acidity levels can’t damage the inner components of a coffee machine.
You can easily find citric acid at candy wholesale and health food stores. Citric acid smells better than vinegar. Thus, you won’t find it bothersome when descaling your coffee maker with citric acid. You’ll only need about two rinsing cycles to remove any residual cleaner.
You can as well use pulp-free and pure lemon juice to descale your coffee pot. White vinegar is also effective but has an unpleasant smell. Thus, it requires more rinsing cycles to clear any residue vinegar smell. The main advantage of vinegar over citric acid is that it’s relatively easy to find from local stores. Also, vinegar is cheaper than lemon juice and citric acid.
Descaling Your Coffee Maker
Typically, all kinds of homemade descaling cleaners work similarly. For instance, citric acid is diluted in clean water to soften and wash away limescale. You should mix water and citric acid in a ratio of 20:1 respectively. The ratio of mixing vinegar and water differs depending on the recipe used. Generally, you can mix vinegar and water in equal parts. Also, lemon juice and water should be mixed in equal parts.
For other homemade coffee descaling solutions, fill the coffeemaker reservoir with water and add the acidic solution. Run the machine like you do when brewing coffee, with the filter and coffeepot in place. Next, pour out the solution and remove the used filter. Fill the coffeemaker reservoir with plain water and run it. Running it with plain water for at least two cycles will remove the taste and smell left behind by the cleaner.
Preventing the Buildup of Limescale
Hard water contains higher levels of calcium carbonate than soft water. Thus, hard water leads to the formation of thicker limescale at a faster rate than soft water. Faster buildup of limescale means that your coffee machine will require more frequent descaling. You can prevent this problem by brewing coffee with distilled water or installing a hard water softener.
Distilled mineral-free water doesn’t interfere a lot with the aroma and taste of coffee. Although a hard water softener reduces the rate of limescale formation, you’ll still have to descale your coffee maker once every few months.
Preferably, descale the coffee machine before it starts to sputter or slow when brewing coffee, as sputtering or slowing down indicates the formation of clogs due to limescale buildup. Preventative descaling makes sure that all limescale deposits are dissolved before they become more stubborn to remove.
Manufacturer’s Descaling Recommendations
Before descaling your coffee machine with a homemade cleaner, it’s important to check the manual that came with the machine for any special cleaning instructions. In case the machine has an inbuilt descaling process, probably the manufacturer recommends cleaning it with a specific descaling cleaner.
Using a homemade cleaner on a coffee machine whose manufacturer recommends a specific cleaner may void its warranty or damage the internal parts. If the manual doesn’t specify the cleaner to use, you can proceed to descale it with a DIY cleaner without damaging the machine or voiding the warranty.
How to Descale and Clean Your Espresso Machine?