A Simple Guide To Nespresso Expert Descaling

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 Your Nespresso Expert or Expert&Milk Machine The Right Way

The water used to brew your espresso pods contains minerals that cause limescale to build up inside your coffee maker. Nespresso Expert descaling when done the right way can remove those minerals. If left untreated, this can have a negative impact on the temperature and taste of your coffee as well as the machine’s water flow.

Keep reading to learn more about how to descale your Nespresso machine, with step by step instructions for the Expert and Expert&Milk models. To begin the process, you will need a descaling solution kit like the one from Nespresso listed below.

How Often To Descale Your Nespresso Expert Machine

In addition to daily cleaning, Nespresso recommends you descale your Expert machine every 3 months or 300 capsules, whichever comes first. Frequent use of the Americano or hot water option, you may have to descale sooner. If your tap has “hard water,” meaning it contains higher level of minerals, then you should clean your Nespresso Expert more frequently. If you are not sure about the level of minerals in your water, you can get a low-cost water testing kit.

You’ll know it is time to descale your Expert when the orange maintenance light starts to blink near the brewing button. It will keep blinking slowly until descaling has been done. If you have connected your Nespresso Expert to Bluetooth and have the Nespresso app, you’ll get a notification when it is time to descale. You can still use your machine a few times after this warning light turns on, but it’s best to descale soon as possible.

It takes around 20 to 25 minutes to finish the process. It cannot be stopped so be sure to start only once you have all of the supplies you need and have enough time to finish it.

Why Nespresso Expert Descaling With Vinegar Is A Bad Idea

Nespresso warns that you should NOT descale your Expert machine with vinegar. White vinegar contains 5-8% acetic acid. This specific type of acid can wear down metal and cause your machine to leak. As a result, using vinegar to clean your Nespresso can void the warranty on your machine.

Instead of damaging your machine by using vinegar, you can use one of these descaling kits to maintain your Nespresso machine. These kits contain safer and effective types of cleansing acids.

Nespresso Expert Descaling Solution

Nespresso descaling solution

This is the official descaling solution kit made by Nespresso. Nespresso strongly recommends only using this descaler. It is compatible with all Original models. This descaling solution will gently eliminate the lime scale that has built up in your machine. Each pack contains 2 kits, which you need when descaling the Expert model.

How To Descale Nespresso Expert Machines

Follow the below instructions carefully. The descaling steps are the same whether you have a Nespresso Expert or an Expert&Milk machine.


  1. Empty the drip tray and used capsule container. Make sure there is no pod in the machine.
  2. Empty the water tank. Add 2 packets of the Nespresso descaling solution to the reservoir. Then fill it up with fresh water to the MAX line. Do not fill above this line!
  3. Place a container that is at least 1.2L under the coffee and hot water outlets.
  4. Turn the machine off and close the slider. To turn off the machine, turn the temperature dial counter-clockwise until it reaches 0. The light will blink for 5 seconds and then the unit will turn off.

Descaling Cycle

  1. Press and hold the brew button for 6 seconds. Both dials will flash to confirm that you have entered the special functions menu.
  2. Turn the recipe dial to the ristretto icon and then press the brew button once.
  3. Turn the temperature dial to high and then press the brew button once. The ristretto icon will start to blink. This confirms that your Nespresso Expert is in descaling mode. It will continue to blink during the entire process. The maintenance light, however, will be steady most of the time. Keep an eye on the maintenance light because it will blink at times when you need to take action during the process.
  4. Press the brew button one more time to start descaling.
  5. After a few minutes, the descaling process will temporarily stop and the maintenance light will blink. Empty both the container and the drip tray and return them back to the machine.
  6. Push the brew button again. Descaling will resume and keep going until the water tank is completely empty, at which point it will stop.

Rinse Cycle

  1. Empty the container. Rinse the empty water tank, drip tray and cup support to remove any residue.
  2. Fill the water reservoir with 1.2L or 41 oz of fresh water. Be sure to not under-fill the tank! if you do, the descale maintenance light will keep blinking after the process is done.
  3. Empty the 1.2L container and put it back in place and press the brew button once to start the rinse cycle.
  4. The machine will switch off when the water tank is empty and rinsing is done.

Steps In The Nespresso Expert Descaling Process That Often Confuse People

While my instructions are correct, there are a few errors in the Nespresso video. There are also some important details that people often overlook. Here are the most common things that often confuse people

  • The Expert must be off before you try to enter descale mode. To turn off the machine, turn the temperature dial counter-clockwise until it reaches 0. If for some reason that doesn’t work for you, you can always unplug the machine and then plug it in again.
  • To start the descale cycle, you must turn the temperature dial counter-clockwise, not clockwise as shown in the video.
  • Before you start the rinse cycle, you must fill the water tank with at least 1.2L of water otherwise the rinse cycle won’t complete.

What To Do If the Expert Orange Light Keeps Blinking After Descaling?

The descale alert should reset automatically if you followed the above steps all the way through without interruption. You shouldn’t have to do anything. If the descale alert or light stays on and it won’t exit, then it is likely that you did not add enough water before starting the rinse cycle. If there is less than 1.2L, the rinse cycle won’t complete. You’ll need to repeat the entire process from start to finish all over again. However, this time you can just use water and you don’t need to add any descaling solution.

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