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A Step-By-Step Guide To Descale A Breville Espresso Machine Or Drip Coffee Maker

The water used to brew coffee causes mineral buildup inside your coffee maker. While not toxic, this buildup can impact the machine’s water flow, temperature and performance. It can affect the taste of coffee too. Descaling is a deep machine cleaning that removes mineral deposits to extend the life of your brewer. Keep reading to find instructions on how to descale a Breville Barista / Bambino espresso machine or Breville coffee maker using a commercial descaling solution.

How Often To Descale Breville Espresso & Coffee Makers

In addition to regular cleaning, a good rule of thumb is that a you should descale your machine after 3 months. The Breville Barista Express will show a solid light on next to the word CLEAN when it is time to descale. If the light is flashing, you only need to run a cleaning cycle. If your Breville coffee maker has an LCD screen, the descale alert will be shown there.

Breville Barista Express Solid Clean Light Means It Is Time To Descale
Breville Barista Express Solid Clean Light Means It Is Time To Descale

You need to descale every 3 months whether you are using filtered water, bottled water or tap water with a low to normal mineral count. You will need to clean your machine more often if your tap has “hard water.” That means 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.

You should also descale if you are having any of these issues with your Breville coffee machine:

  • Produces a lot of steam while brewing
  • Runs for extended periods with only steam output
  • Does not use the full amount of water in the water tank
  • Brews slowly

Can You Descale Breville With Vinegar Or Another DIY Solution?

You should not use water and vinegar to clean Breville machines. White vinegar contains 5-8% acetic acid. This type of acid can wear down stainless steel and cause your machine to leak. Plus, vinegar cannot remove oils left by used coffee beans.

Instead, the best way to deep clean your coffee maker is with one of the below commercial cleaning solutions. They have safe and effective types of acids that won’t damage your machine. You may also want to stock up on cleaning tablets for regular care.

Breville Descale Solution Cleaners

Impresa Coffee Machine Descaler

Impresa Descaler to descale breville coffee and espresso machine

The Impresa descaler is a top selling cleaner. It has citric and sulfamic acids. Both of these are gentle on metal. Each pack contains two bottles. Each bottle has enough for two uses.

Essential Values Coffee Machine Descaler & Cleaner

Essential Values Descaler to descale breville coffee and espresso machine

The Essential Values cleaning solution has a citric acid that is both odorless and powerful. Each bottle is good for two uses. A two pack will provide four doses. That’s a year supply if you clean your machine every three months. 

De’Longhi EcoDecalk Descaler

De'Longhi Descaler to use when Nespresso half red half green light comes on

The De’Longhi Descaler is made in Italy with high quality, plant-based lactic acid. This solution can be used to solve a descaling issue with any espresso machine, including those made by Breville. A 16.90 fl oz bottle contains enough solution for up to 5 uses.

Urnex Dezcal Powder Descaler

Urnex Dezcal descaler

The Urnex Powder is a descaler that you can use to clean your Breville machine. It is odorless and effective. Add 1 oz of the powder to 32 oz of hot water to create a solution.

How To Descale A Breville Espresso Machine

We’ve summed up the instructions on how to descale four of the most popular Breville espresso machine models. If the Breville descale light or alert stays on when you are done, repeat the process.

How To Descale Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine

You’ll want to descale your Barista Express when the CLEAN / DESCALE light is lit and steady. If it is flashing you only need to run a cleaning cycle. For descaling, following these steps. Note that you should not let more than five minutes pass in between each step. If you do, the Barista Express will shut off and you’ll need to restart the process from step 2.

  1. Empty the water tank. Add descaling solution and fresh water to the tank according the instructions on your solution’s packaging.
  2. To enter descale mode, press and hold the 2 cup button while holding the power button at the same time. The power button will start to flash as the machine heats up. You’ll know it is ready to start descaling when the several lights turn on and are steady.
  3. First you will need to descale the coffee component. Press the 1 cup button. The button will start flashing for about 25 seconds. It will go steady once the process is complete.
  4. To descale the steam and hot water components, turn the steam dial right towards the steam icon. The first step will take about 13 seconds. When done, turn the dial to the left to the water drop icon. This will take 8 seconds to finish.
  5. At this point, there should be about half a liter of of the water-solution mix left in your tank. Repeat steps 2, 3 and 4 to empty the solution in the tank.
  6. Remove the water tank and rinse it thoroughly. Refill it to the max line with fresh cold water. Repeat steps 2, 3 and 4 to rinse the machine and remove any residue.
  7. Press the power button to quit descaling.

You may also see pages 24 and 25 of your Breville user manual for these descale instructions.

How To Descale Breville Barista Express

How To Descale Breville Barista Pro Espresso Machine

  1. Remove the water tank and drip tray from the machine and empty them. Remove the filter basket or filter holder from the tank.
  2. Fill the tank to the DESCALE line with fresh water. Add your solution, making sure to follow the directions on the pack.
  3. Reattach the tank. Place a large cup or bowl on the drip tray to catch the water.
  4. Touch the menu button to activate the main menu and then turn the grind amount dial to get to “DESCALE” in the menu. Press to select and the 1 CUP button will light up.
  5. Hit the 1 CUP button to start descaling. The process has 3 stages: coffee, hot water and steam. The machine will beep after each stage is done. Pay attention to the LCD screen as the steam dial will have to be manually turned to HOT WATER or STEAM when told.
  6. The machine will need to go through a rinse cycle after it is done. Remove and empty the drip tray and the cup or bowl used to collect water. Empty any solution from the water tank and fill it will fresh water only to the max line.
  7. Press the 1 CUP button to start the rinse cycle. This also happens in 3 stages and you will need to adjust the steam dial when told on the LCD screen.
  8. When the rinse cycle is over, the machine will beep and return to READY mode.
  9. Remove the drip tray and water tank and rinse them before adding them back.

You may also reference page 20 of your user manual for instructions on how to descale Breville Barista Pro espresso machines.

How To Descale Breville Barista Pro

Descaling Steps for Breville Barista Touch

Press the settings icon in the upper right corner. Select descale cycle and then hit the start button to enter descale mode. Follow the instructions on the screen to prepare the Breville Barista Touch for descaling.

  1. Empty the drip tray, then place a 2L container under the portafilter and steam wand.
  2. Empty the water tank and then refill it with clean water up to the DESCALE line. Add your descaling solution following the instructions on the packaging. Use a spoon to stir it.
  3. Reinsert the water tank. Press the right arrow to proceed to the next step in the descale cycle. Press start. The LCD display will display a timer that counts down while the machine purges the water-solution mix.
  4. When the timer completes, follow the instructions to prepare for the rinse cycle. When done, press the right arrow to advance the rinse cycle. Press start. Again, the machine will count down.
  5. When the time is done, follow the steps on the LCD to complete the descale cycle. When done, press the right arrow and then select the check mark.
  6. Press the X to exit the setting menu.
How To Descale Breville Barista Touch

How To Descale Breville Barista Express Impress

  1. Empty the water tank. Add descaling solution and fresh water to the tank according the instructions on your solution’s packaging.
  2. While the Barista Express Impress is off, press and hold the 2 cup button while holding the power button at the same time for five seconds. This will enter the unit into descale mode. It will start heating up and during this time the two buttons you pressed will flash. You’ll know it is ready to start descaling when the several lights turn on and are steady.
  3. First you will need to descale the coffee component. Press the 2 cup button. The button will start flashing for about 25 seconds. It will go steady and the machine will beep once the process is complete.
  4. To descale the steam and hot water components, turn the steam dial right towards the steam icon. The first step will take about 13 seconds. When done, turn the dial to the left to the hot water icon. This will take 8 seconds to finish.
  5. At this point, there should be about half a liter of of the water-solution mix left in your tank. Repeat steps 2, 3 and 4 to empty the solution in the tank.
  6. Remove the water tank and rinse it thoroughly. Refill it to the max line with fresh cold water (about 2 litres). Repeat steps 2, 3 and 4 to rinse the machine and remove any residue.
  7. Press the power button to quit descaling. The lights will turn off.

You may also see page 23 of your Breville Impress user manual for these descale instructions. Note that you should not let more than five minutes pass in between each step. If you do, the Barista Express Impress will shut off and you’ll need to restart the process from step 2.

Descaling Instructions for Breville Barista Express Impress

How To Descale Breville Bambino Plus Espresso Machine

  1. Empty the drip tray and then return it to the machine.
  2. Fill the tank to the DESCALE line with fresh water. Add your solution, making sure to follow the directions on the pack.
  3. Place a large cup or bowl that is at least 2 liters or 68 fl o on the drip tray under the portafilter and steam wand.
  4. Press the 1 CUP and STEAM buttons at the same time to turn the Breville Bambino off. Give the machine a few minutes to cool down.
  5. Now press both the 1 CUP and STEAM buttons together for 5 seconds to enter descale mode. When these buttons light up, the machine is ready to start descaling. Press either of the two buttons to begin the cycle. They will start to alternately flash.
  6. When the tank has been emptied of the water and solution mix, the descale mode will pause. Remove the water tank and refill it with fresh water only to the MAX line. Empty the large container and place both the container and the reservoir back to their original positions.
  7. When the machine is ready for the rinse cycle, the 1 CUP and STEAM buttons will illuminate. Press either to begin. When the rinse cycle is done, the buttons will alternately flash and then the machine will go into standby mode.
  8. Remove the container. Then thoroughly rinse the drip tray and the water tank before adding them back to the machine.
How To Descale Breville Bambino Plus

Descaling Instructions for Breville Bambino

  1. Empty the drip tray and then return it to the machine
  2. Fill the water tank to the DESCALE line and then add your descaling agent, following the instructions on the pack
  3. Place a large 2 liter container under the group head and steam wand
  4. Press the 2 Cup and Steam buttons together for 5 seconds to start the descale cycle. The 2 Cup button will begin to flash
  5. The descale mode will pause once the water and solution mix in the tank has been used up
  6. Remove the water tank and rinse it well. Then fill it to the MAX line with clean water only and return it to the machine
  7. Take the large container, empty it and return it under the head and steam wand
  8. Press the 2 Cup button to start the rinse cycle. When the rinse cycle is over, the machine will go to ready mode. Be sure to refill your water reservoir before using the brewer.

How To Descale A Breville Coffee Maker

We’ve summed up the instructions on how to descale two of the most popular Breville coffee maker models. If you have a different machine and need help with instructions, let us know in the comments.

Descaling Instructions for Breville Precision Brewer

Note that the process takes about 15 minutes to complete and cannot be stopped mid-cleaning cycle.

  1. Empty the water reservoir.
  2. Fill the water tank with a descaler and water mix following the instructions on your solution.
  3. Ensure the thermal carafe is empty and place it under the drip stop outlet.
  4. Place the basket in position and ensure the lid is securely locked.
  5. Press and hold the SELECT button for 3 seconds to start the descale cycle. The LCD screen should show “dSL” and tell you how much time remains in the process.
  6. When the descaling is over, the LCD screen will show the main menu.
  7. Turn the machine upside down to remove any leftover solution in the water tank.
  8. Fill the tank with fresh water only and brew into the carafe twice. Discard the water from the carafe and rinse it.

You may also see page 18 of your user manual for the instructions on how to descale Breville precisions brewers.

Descaling Guide For Breville Grind Control or Grind and Brew

Descaling Breville Grind Control machines takes about 30 to 40 minutes to complete and cannot be stopped mid-cycle.

  1. Empty the tank by pressing the CUP | CARAFE button and turning the dial to select the water volume that is currently in your tank.
  2. Turn the strength dial to the pre-ground setting. Do not add any coffee grounds to the coffee basket. Make sure it is empty.
  3. Ensure the lid is locked. Empty the carafe and place it under the drip outlet.
  4. Press the START | CANCEL button. When the cycle is over, discard water. The tank should be empty.
  5. Mix your descaling solution with cold, filtered water following the steps on your solution packaging.
  6. Place the empty carafe under the drip outlet.
  7. Hold the STRENGTH button for 5 seconds to start the cycle.
  8. When the process is over, the LCD screen will show READY.
  9. Empty the water from the carafe and rinse. Press MENU | EXIT to return to the main menu.
  10. rinse your machine to remove any residue. Fill the water tank with only clean filtered water until the display shows 12 CUPS.
  11. Rotate the CUP | CARAFE dial to select 12 Cups. Repeat steps 2 and 3.
  12. Repeat the rinse cycle (Steps 9 and 10) one more time to remove any remaining solution.

Looking for how to clean a model not included above? Leave us a comment and let us know. If you are looking for how to descale a Breville Nespresso machine, see our post on descaling Nespresso.

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