How to clean a Nespresso machine - 3 simple steps to keep your machine running smoothly

Top tips for cleaning the inside AND outside of your Nespresso machine

Testing the Sage Creatista Nespresso machine
(Image credit: Nespresso Lattissima Touch)

If you can’t start your morning without a caffeine boost, having a Nespresso machine in your life is an absolute must. But to make the most of this essential kitchen appliance, you need to know how to clean a Nespresso machine. 

Over the years, the Ideal Home team has tried and tested coffee machines from countless brands - and one thing we all agree on is that Nespresso has nailed its products. Its coffee machines have regularly topped the charts in our best coffee machine guide , and the Nespresso Vertuo Plus has taken the crown as the ‘best luxury’ option in our guide to the best pod coffee machines.

While it’s easy to learn how to clean a coffee machine, the fact that Nespresso has cornered the market in pod coffee machines means that it requires some very specific cleaning methods. So, that’s why we’ve put together this handy guide on how to clean a Nespresso machine so you know exactly what to do. 

How to clean a Nespresso machine

‘It’s important to give your coffee machine a deep clean to keep everything working and tasting the way it should,’ explains the Nespresso website. But if you’re not sure where to start, our step-by-step guide below will help you successfully clean both the inside and the outside of your Nespresso machine. 

What you’ll need


1. Descale the machine

Before you tackle the exterior of your Nespresso machine, it’s always a good idea to tackle the interior. As your coffee machine deals with an onslaught of hard water minerals on a daily basis, descaling your Nespresso coffee machine is key to keeping it in full working order. 

For this step, Nespresso states, ‘Nespresso machines should be descaled with a Nespresso Descaling Kit, which contains a natural solution that thoroughly dissolves the scale build-up. Other solutions (such as vinegar or store-bought descalers) may cause damage to your Nespresso machine.’

While some people have found success with descaling their machines using vinegar or citric acid, it’s important to state that using such products may invalidate your warranty. Because of this, it’s best to keep things legit. 

Not only that, but Ava Wilson, Chief Editor at Unclutterer, also adds, ‘Remember, always refer to your Nespresso machine's manual instructions, as different models may have slightly different care instructions.’

Image of De'Longhi Nespresso machine in press image

(Image credit: De'Longhi Nespresso)

However, the general process involves completely emptying your coffee machine of any old pods and then filling the water tank with the descaling solution and fresh water. You should then place your measuring jug on the drip tray and choose the descaling function on the machine.

Before too long, the solution will drip into the jug, and all you have to do is wait for the cycle to finish. When it’s complete, empty your jug down the sink, place it back on the drip tray,  and fill the water tank with fresh water. You can then finish by running a rinse cycle. 

Depending on the machine you have, you may be required to run a descaling cycle a few times before moving on to the rinse cycle. 

2. Clean the removable parts

Every Nespresso machine will come with numerous removable parts, ranging from the water tank to the drip tray. For this next step, you should take off these removable parts and give them a good clean. 

The best way to do this is by using a clean microfibre cloth and some warm, soapy water. And while you can clean these removable parts on your kitchen counter, it might be easier to submerge them in a washing-up bowl and clean them that way. This ensures that they have a good soak and that every nook and cranny is cleaned. 

Finish by rinsing these components in warm water and placing them on a drying rack or towel to air dry. While they’re drying, you can then move on to the next step. 

Image of Nespresso Lattisima machine

(Image credit: Future/Molly Cleary)

3. Clean the outside of the machine

Of course, there are certain parts of your Nespresso machine that you can’t remove - but they’re still very easy to clean. For this step, however, you should take some precautions.

Ava says, ‘Always start by turning off the machine and unplugging it. Then, use a soft, damp cloth to wipe the machine's exterior. Avoid using abrasive materials or harsh cleaning agents that could damage the surface.’

To make this step even simpler, empty out your old bowl of soapy water and replace it with a fresh, clean bowl. You can then submerge a clean cloth into the water, wring it out, and wipe down the exterior of the machine. 

While these parts of the machine are generally large and easy to clean, don’t forget about the smaller aspects of the coffee machine, like the steam wand, any buttons you have on the machine, and any levers. 

When you’re confident you’ve cleaned every nook and cranny, grab a dry, clean cloth and wipe the exterior of the machine to dry it. 

Then, when the removable parts are dry, you can then reassemble your machine and start using it again. 

Testing the Sage Creatista Nespresso machine

(Image credit: Future)

How to keep your Nespresso machine clean

Cleaning a Nespresso machine can be fiddly and time-consuming, but there are ways to make this process even easier and to reduce how long it takes you to complete. Here are some tips on how to keep your Nespresso machine clean:

  • Clean the steam wand daily: The Nespresso website says, ‘Make sure that you wipe and purge your steam wand after each use. This removes milk residue and clears milk from inside the wand. It’s also a good idea to wipe down your steam wand to remove any residual milk from the outside after each and every use.’
  • Clean the drip tray daily: Anyone who has left a coffee machine dry tray dirty for too long will know that it’s very easy for this component to become mouldy - and mould is something you don't want in your kitchen. So, it’s a good idea to remove the drip tray after every use, clean it with warm soapy water, and let it air dry. 
  • Remove used pods immediately: Nespresso pods are revolutionary, but the pod compartment can easily become dirty. It’s generally recommended to remove all used pods immediately after use and then leave the compartment open for an hour or so after use to allow any excess moisture to evaporate. As an extra step, you could also wipe down the inside of the compartment with warm soapy water after each use. 
  • Use filtered water: There’s no way to avoid descaling your Nespresso coffee machine, but there is a way to prolong its life. By using filtered water, you can limit the hard water and mineral deposits that ultimately result in limescale build-up. And while a water jug is a cheap option, if you’re looking to reduce your contact with hard water completely, the BRITA mypure Slim water filter system could suit you best. 

Testing the Sage Creatista Nespresso machine

(Image credit: Future)

How often you should clean your Nespresso machine

When it comes to the cleaning of a Nespresso machine, this can generally be separated into two categories: descaling and general cleaning. 

As seen on the coffee brand’s website, ‘Nespresso recommends you descale your machine on a regular basis, every 3 months or every 300 capsules (whichever comes first). Over time, water used during brewing may cause internal mineral build-up, which can affect the flow, temperature and overall performance of your machine.’

In terms of cleaning the removable parts and the exterior of the machine, this depends on how you maintain your Nespresso machine and how often you use it. 

In an ideal world, you should give the components of your machine (such as the steam wand and the drip tray) a clean after every use to prevent dirt and debris build-up. And if you stick to that schedule, you should only really need to give it a deep clean every six months or so.

However, if you use your coffee machine every day and forget to clean these components daily, it’s probably best to give it a deep clean every month to keep bacteria at bay. 


How do you run a clean cycle on a Nespresso machine?

Your Nespresso machine will tell you when it needs descaling, but knowing how to start this process can be tricky. That’s because all Nespresso machines are different and may require different processes to run a cleaning cycle. 

Generally, however, you should press down the main button or lever (or both) for three seconds. When the lights start blinking, you may then need to press the button again to start the cleaning cycle. 

To ensure you’re doing this correctly, make sure you consult your instruction manual before starting this process.  

How do I clean my Nespresso machine without a descaler?

If you don’t have the official Nespresso descaler, you can make your own using either a mixture of citric acid and water, or vinegar and water. However, it’s important to note that this is not recommended by Nesporesso and will invalidate your warranty if this was to cause your machine any damage. 

Yes, cleaning your Nespresso machine couldn't be simpler. 

Lauren Bradbury

Lauren Bradbury is a freelance writer and major homes enthusiast. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in English and Creative Writing from the University of Chichester in 2016, before dipping her toe into the world of content writing. After years of agency work, writing everything from real-life stories to holiday round-ups, she decided to take the plunge and become a full-time freelancer in the online magazine world. Since then, she has become a regular contributor for Real Homes and Ideal Home, and become even more obsessed with everything interior and garden related. As a result, she’s in the process of transforming her old Victorian terraced house into an eclectic and modern home that hits visitors with personality as soon as they walk through the door.