I owned a lot of coffee gear for an embarrassingly long time before realizing I should be cleaning my equipment regularly. I didn’t know that hot water running through all the metal parts can slowly lead to a buildup of limescale that needs to be removed.
The unpleasant, toned down taste became apparent after a good six months of using my machine regularly. When I realized I needed to clean out all the buildup, I wasn’t even sure where to start.
There are so many different types of cleaners and descalers out there, some come in packets, others come as a liquid solution or in tablets. Deciding which to buy comes down to what will be most convenient, cost-efficient, and functional for you.
If you’re looking to get your machine back in tip-top shape, you’ll want to find a product to descale and clean. Allow this list of best coffee maker cleaners and descalers to help you make a decision with the many products on the market today.
If you’ve got personal, single-use coffee or espresso machines, this simple descaler is a great choice. It’s compatible with all single-use machines, regardless of if they’re automatic, manual, kettles, or water heaters.
They have a powerful formula, created by a seasoned chemist, that is easy on the environment as well. The recommended use for this product is every two to three months. Each bottle has two uses, so if you buy this pack you will be set for four cleanings.
I think liquid solution is convenient, as you can just open the top and give it a squeeze. I do find it a bit more difficult to measure and prevent any spills when using liquid solution, though.
This descaler is great for personal use machines, or larger coffee pots. Like the previous descaler, the product comes in a two-pack, with two uses per bottle.
What I like about this one especially is the odorless citric acid cleaner. The worst part about cleaning anything for me is having to inhale the strong fumes of a cleaner.
Best of all, the bottle is made from 100% recycled material.
This solution offers more bang for your buck than the previous two. It comes in a larger bottle and boasts up to eight or more uses per bottle.
However, it is recommended to use more frequently, waiting about 6-8 weeks between use. I find that you can adjust the time between use based on your personal habits, though.
Like the Essential Values descaler, this one is completely odorless.
Rather than a bottle filled with solution, this company puts their descaler and cleaning solution in small packs. This is great for saving space and clutter around the house but could be an issue if you tend to lose small things over time.
This product caught my eye because the company has been making coffee cleaning solution since 1936. The powder can be used on all types of coffee makers and should be used quarterly.
Switching up the delivery of cleaning solution, this product uses tablets, similar to the ones you’d put in your dishwasher.
This solution relies on citric acid to descale, meaning there will be no pungent odor.
I like the convenience of these tabs, as there is no measuring necessary, and no cleanup. Unlike the other products, which can create a mess when being poured in the machine, the tablets remain controlled and only dissolve when dropped in the machine and brewed.
This is certainly the most heavy duty of the bunch, so you can count on it to get your coffee squeaky clean.
At first, I was a bit unsettled by the fact that it can be used on ceramic tiles, faucets, and other household products that need descaling, alongside coffee makers, as I thought that sounded dangerous. But the solution is food safe and leaves no chemical residue, and even works 5-10 times faster than other competitor products.
Despite being so heavy duty and multipurpose, the product still maintains positive ethics. I love that the bottle is also made from 100% recycled plastic.
This product packs a lot of the positive features from all the products on the list into one. The solution is odorless and biodegradable, and comes in a very natural looking container.
The recommended time between uses is about three months, so this solution will last longer than others that require more frequent descaling. This solution is compatible with all types of coffee makers as well.
This line of cleaning product was created by Urnex, the company that has been around since 1936. My trust in Full Circle is very high with the features of the product and the quality of its creator.
How to Choose Coffee Maker Cleaners and Descalers
Figuring out exactly what you’ll want to use to clean your machine can be a challenge. If you’re like me, the first time you purchase a descaler might be after finally realizing you actually need to clean your machine.
Familiarize yourself with the process of cleaners and descalers. You’ll want to have a good idea of what is going on behind the scenes of your coffee maker, so you can assess what you will clean with.
If you have a new coffee maker, you haven’t built up much mineral or limescale, so buying a simple, basic descaler solution would be a reasonable choice. As long as you continue to use the solution every few months, you can extend the life of your machine.
If you’ve had a machine for a while, and never cleaned it, you’ll probably want a heavy duty cleaner that will wipe away all of the build up. A heavy duty solution like the Durgol is a great choice if you have other household items that require descaling, as you can save money and time by getting a solution that can take care of it all.
FAQ About Coffee Maker Cleaners and Descalers
What happens if I never clean my machine?
Don’t feel too bad, most of us don’t realize until later in our coffee-consuming years that our machines do not magically clean themselves.
You will notice a change in the taste of your coffee over time if the machine never gets cleaned. The brew will begin to taste more bitter, and the aroma might even seem off.
If it gets real bad, your machine may even clog and lose function.
Can I use vinegar instead of buying a solution?
Vinegar is a great way to clean and descale a machine, but it can’t do as effective of a job as a descaling solution can. I still run some through my machine every now and then, but rely mostly on solution to keep my machine in great shape.
The mineral buildup and limescale that can occur in machines often gets to the point where vinegar simply cannot remove it all. While not a bad product to use, I would recommend using a descaling solution over relying on vinegar.
Is there a difference between cleaning and descaling?
Yes, there is a difference.
Descaling is meant to remove minerals that build up inside your machine from the passing of hot water. The limescale build up can damage the machine and create unpleasant tasting coffee.
Cleaning a machine does not necessarily mean removing the limescale, although that is a part of the cleaning process. When you are cleaning your coffee maker, you are removing the excess oils and residues from the coffee itself. Buildup of these things can produce a pretty nasty cup of joe as well.
There are a lot of products out there to help you clean and descale your coffee maker. They all serve to reach a shared goal, which is an optimum cup of coffee. If you don’t ever clean or descale your machine, you can throw away any chance of making a full flavored delicious cup of joe.
Choosing a product to clean and descale can feel overwhelming when first looking into it. One second you don’t know you’re supposed to clean your machine, and the next you’re supposed to choose from a huge list of products all claiming to be the best.
This list of best coffee maker cleaners and descalers should help you narrow down your search, and hone in on what features you really need.
For me, the Durgol is the perfect choice. I can clean all of my coffee gear, and other parts of my house with just one jug of solution. There is no chemical residue, and the bottle is made from recycled material, so I feel good about using it.
The right cleaner and descaler is out there, you’ll just need to consider your needs and equipment before making your purchase. This list should help in figuring out what the best product for you is.
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