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How to remove limescale from a coffee machine

Learn how to remove limescale from a coffee machine

Limescale is a build up of calcium carbonate that can be especially irritating if found inside machine parts such as a coffee machine. Limescale tastes terrible, is not especially good for your health and can be detrimental to your coffee machine’s lifespan and overall performance. Below we’re going to look more into what limescale is and how to clean limescale from a coffee machine to ensure you are always serving delicious coffee. 

What is limescale?

Limescale is a form of calcium carbonate. It’s a hard, white mineral deposit that forms on surfaces that come into contact with hard water. Hard water contains high levels of dissolved minerals, such as calcium and magnesium that can accumulate over time and leave a crusty residue.

Limescale can easily build up inside coffee machines, particularly in areas where water regularly flows and evaporates, such as the heating element and pipes. When hard water is used in coffee machines, the minerals in the water, such as calcium and magnesium, can accumulate over time and this forms limescale deposits.

Because coffee machines heat water to high temperatures, this causes the minerals in hard water to precipitate and form solid deposits inside the machine.

The accumulation of limescale in a coffee machine can lead to some irritating issues. Firstly, it can affect the taste and quality of the coffee produced because the limescale is altering the water's pH level and taste. It can also reduce the efficiency of the machine by blocking the pipes and causing damage to the heating element. Finally, it can also lead to increased energy consumption as the machine has to work harder to heat the water and maintain the correct temperature.

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Why should limescale be removed from coffee machines?

Limescale, while not an incredibly hazardous compound, should still be taken seriously and cleaned and removed from your coffee machine. This is for a variety of reasons. 

Affects taste: Limescale buildup can affect the taste of coffee by giving it a bitter and unpleasant flavour which no customer wants to experience firsthand. 

Reduces efficiency: Limescale buildup can reduce the efficiency of the coffee machine by clogging up the internal pipes and valves, which can result in slower brewing times, lower water pressure, increased energy consumption, and therefore increased energy bills too. 

Shortens lifespan: Limescale buildup can also shorten the lifespan of the coffee machine by causing corrosion and damage to internal components, which is especially irritating if you have invested in a high quality machine. 

Health concerns: Limescale can also harbour bacteria and other harmful microorganisms that can pose a health risk if consumed.

It is important to regularly remove limescale from coffee machines to maintain the performance and prolong the lifespan of your machine, as well as ensure the quality and safety of the coffee being produced is optimum.

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How to remove limescale from a coffee machine 

There are a few ways to clean limescale from your coffee machine, however please check the instructions of your individual machine before cleaning limescale. 

  1. Using citric acid: Citric acid is an effective alternative to vinegar cleaning solutions and can be used to descale a coffee machine. Dissolve a tablespoon of citric acid in a cup of water and run the coffee machine through a brew cycle. Rinse the machine with clean water to ensure all the citric acid is gone. 
  2. Using commercial descaling solutions: There are many commercial descaling solutions available that are specifically designed for coffee machines such as household limescale remover. Follow the specific instructions on the product label for the proper amount of solution to use and how long to let it sit in the machine.
  3. Using a mixture of baking soda and water: This a great, natural coffee machine limescale remover. Make a paste with baking soda and water and apply it to the areas with limescale buildup. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes, then scrub with a soft brush or sponge. Rinse with clean water to make sure all of the solution is gone. 
  4. Using a steam cleaner: Some coffee machines have a steam function that can be used to clean the limescale buildup. Simply fill the water tank with water and run the steam function for a few minutes to clean the internal parts of the machine and voila. 

It's important to note here that some of these methods may not be suitable for all coffee machines, so always check the manufacturer's instructions before attempting to descale your machine, and if you still are having issues, call the detailed help number for more specific advice. 

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