How To Descale Gaggia Espresso Machine The Right Way

Mike C
Written By Mike C

I've been writing about coffee and espresso machines for 3 years. My goal is to provide you with helpful content that you can trust based on my own personal experiences, information from manufacturers, and tips and tricks I've gathered from other coffee and espresso machine users.

I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

How To Descale Gaggia Espresso Machine The Right Way

The water used to brew coffee causes limescale buildup inside your Gaggia espresso maker. While not toxic, this can impact the machine’s water flow, temperature and performance. It can affect the taste of coffee too. Descaling removes this buildup to extend the life of your unit. In addition to running a Gaggia descale cycle often, regularly changing the water filter, using cleaning tablets and cleaning the brew head will keep your machine operating at its best.

How Often To Descale Gaggia Coffee Makers

Gaggia recommends that you descale your coffee maker at least every two months. Some models like the Gaggia Brera will have an icon that displays when the machine senses it needs descaling. If you ignore this important process and let the minerals continue to accumulate, your warranty will not cover any issues that arise as a result.

accademia gaggia descale icon
accademia gaggia descale icon

You should clean your machine more often if your tap has “hard water,” meaning it contains higher level of minerals. If you are not sure about the level of minerals in your water, you can always get a low-cost water testing kit.

Can You Descale Gaggia With Vinegar Or Another DIY Solution?

You should not use water and vinegar to clean Gaggia espresso makers. White vinegar contains 5-8% acetic acid and apple cider has 5-6%. This type of acid can wear down metal and cause your machine to leak. Plus, vinegar cannot remove oils left by used coffee beans. Using a non-approved cleaner may void the warranty on your machine.

Gaggia Descaler Solutions

Gaggia Decalcifier Descale Solution

Sale
Gaggia Decalcifier Descaler Solution 250ml (2 Bottles)
  • The Gaggia decalcifier cleans all the water circuits in your espresso machine.
  • Regular maintenance ensures the best taste and aroma from your Gaggia espresso machine
  • This special decalcifier protects your appliance from the build-up of limescale which affects performance and taste.

According to your Gaggia user manual, only the Gaggia descaling solution should be used with your coffee maker. This formula was designed to ensure better machine performance and consistent coffee taste.

Despite what the user manual says, the Gaggia North America website also recommends a descaling solution by Durgol.* This Swiss-made professional grade cleaner will safely and effectively remove limescale buildup.

Durgol Swiss Espresso, Descaler and Decalcifier for All Brands of Espresso Machines and Coffee Makers, 4.2 Fluid Ounces (Pack of 4)
  • DESCALING SOLUTION: This professional grade cleaner will remove limescale and calcium buildup
  • LIMESCALE REMOVER: Use on all coffee makers as a solution for your toughest kitchen maintenance
  • EASY TO USE: Pour 1 portion into your machine’s water tank and run the decalcification program

How To Descale Gaggia Espresso Machines

We’ve summed up Gaggia’s instructions on how to descale three of the most popular models.

Gaggia Brera Descaling

Part 1: Descaling

  1. If you are using the Pannarello, remove it from the steam wand. Also remove the Intenza water filter.
  2. Press the stand by button and wait for the machine to rinse and heat up.
  3. Pour the entire Gaggia solution into the water tank. Next, fill the tank with fresh water to the MAX line and place it back on the unit.
  4. Place a container that is at least 1L under the steam wand.
  5. Turn the selector switch to the right to the steaming coffee cup icon. Keep it there until about 2-3 cups of water (150 ml) have been dispensed. Stop the water output by turning the selector back to the central position.
  6. Wait for 15-20 minutes to allow the solution to clean the inside of the machine.
  7. Repeat step 5 every 3 minutes until there is no more solution left in the machine.
  8. When the empty water tank icon displays, take the water reservoir and rinse it thoroughly. Fill it with fresh water.
  9. Empty the container used to collect the solution. Place it back under the steam wand.

Part 2: Rinse Cycle

  1. Turn the selector to the right again to start a rinse cycle. When the cycle completes and the empty water tank icon displays, turn the selector back to the center.
  2. Rinse the water tank thoroughly. Fill it with fresh water.
  3. Empty the container used to collect the solution. Place it back under the steam wand.
  4. Check to make sure that seven icons are displayed – four in the middle row (no center icon) and the first three in the bottom row.
  5. WITHOUT adding ground coffee to the unit, press the pre-ground coffee button below the power button one or more times. In the display, the two bean icons in the bottom row should disappear and a portafilter icon should display.
  6. Press the button near the bottom left of the display to brew a long coffee. When the brewing is complete, empty the container of the water collected.
  7. Repeat steps 12 to 15 more three times.
  8. Place the empty container under the steam wand. Turn the selector to the right. The steaming cup icon will display.
  9. Dispense water until the empty water tank icon displays. Turn the selector back to the central position. Refill the water tank.
  10. To turn the descale alert off, press and hold button under the power button for six seconds.
  11. Gently wash the brew group with warm water only and no soap.

You may also see pages 37 and 38 of your user manual for these instructions. Note that if you turn the machine off at any point during the cycle, you will have to start from step 1 when the machine turns on again.

Gaggia Classic Descaling

  1. Remove and clean the shower disc.
  2. Pour the entire Gaggia solution into the water tank and add water following the instructions on the solution packaging.
  3. Place a container under the machine output.
  4. Turn on the pump for 15 seconds. Allow the solution to flow through both the brew head and the steam nozzle for several seconds.
  5. Wait for 20 minutes.
  6. Repeat step 3 until all of the water has been depleted from the tank.
  7. Rinse the tank and refill it with clean fresh water.
  8. Run this clean water through the machine and into a container until the tank is empty to rinse the unit.
  9. Replace the shower disc.

You may also reference page 14 of your user manual for instructions.

Baby Gaggia Descaling Instructions

  1. Insert the filter holder into the brewer from the bottom. Turn it to the right until it locks into place.
  2. Remove and empty the water tank.
  3. Pour only half of the Gaggia solution into the tank. Fill the reservoir with water up to the MAX line.
  4. Remove any installations from the steam pipe, like a pannarello.
  5. Turn the machine on.
  6. Use the make hot water functionality to fill two 150 ml cups from the steam/hot water wand with the diluted solution.
  7. Turn the machine off and let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes.
  8. Turn the machine on again. Repeat step 6 every three minutes until the water tank is empty. Be sure to turn the machine off and let it sit for three minutes in between each round.
  9. Rinse the tank and fill it with fresh water.
  10. Place a container under the steam wand
  11. Turn the knob slowly clockwise to open it. Press both the brew and steam buttons.
  12. Water will start to dispense from the steam wand. Keep going until the tank is empty. Close the knob by turning counter-clockwise.
  13. Repeat steps 9 to 12 four total times.
  14. Remove the filter holder and rinse it with clean water.
  15. Fill the tank with fresh water again and your machine is ready to use.

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