Can I Descale My DeLonghi With Vinegar?

Most coffee machine brands sell their own brand-manufactured descaling solutions, which they recommend as the safest and most reliable for descaling their brewers. Delonghi, is no different!

Vinegar is a cheaper and more accessible alternative for descaling Delonghi. If used correctly, this natural cleaner will remove limescale deposits from the inner components of your Delonghi coffee machine, all while saving you a few bucks in the process.

Is vinegar good for descaling coffee machines?

Vinegar is good for removing limescale from coffee machines due to its high acetic acid content. The acetic acid breaks down the calcium deposits from the walls of the machine’s internal parts, resulting in better-tasting coffee while also solving a host of machine problems usually caused by limescale buildup.

Vinegar is an organic cleaning agent and is, therefore, more eco-friendly compared to commercial descaling products. What’s more, vinegar is cheap and readily available in most homes, thus you don’t have to spend on commercial descalers which are costlier.

On the downside, though, vinegar leaves a strong residual smell that can affect the smell and taste of your coffee. You, therefore, need to rinse off the residual vinegar more thoroughly than you would after descaling with a commercial descaler.

Note: You should run at least three rinsing cycles to wash off excess vinegar after descaling using it to decalcify your coffee maker.

Failure to thoroughly rinse off residual vinegar not only affects the taste of your coffee but can also cause the degradation of the brewer’s internal aluminium components. However, if the coffee machine doesn’t have aluminium parts, there should be no risk of deterioration of components.

Take note that while vinegar will effectively descale your coffee machine, the brand manufacturer may not honor warranty any warranty claims resulting from damage caused to the inner parts by residual vinegar. Most coffee maker brands actually advise buyers to avoid using vinegar if they don’t want to forfeit their warranty coverage.

Can I descale Delonghi with vinegar?

Delonghi is a brand that’s renowned for its premium-quality coffee machines. However, just like all other brewer brands, Delonghi coffee makers are prone to gunk buildup. When this happens to your Delonghi, you can quickly use the Delonghi descaling solution to descale the brewer.

Alternatively, you can use vinegar, which is cheaper and more readily available compared to the Delonghi descaling solution or any other commercial descaling solution. The best time to descale your Delonghi machine is when the ‘descale’ message comes up on the display screen.

 Ways of descaling Delonghi with vinegar?

The proper way to descale your Delonghi depends on which model it is. There are different ways to descale Delonghi brewers using vinegar, depending on whether it’s a Delonghi ECAM 23.460.S, a Delonghi Dedica pump espresso machine, or any other type of Delonghi pump espresso machine.

 How to descale De’Longhi ECAM 23.460.S coffee maker with vinegar?

i. Detach the water reservoir from the main unit and empty it in your sink. Inside the water tank, you’ll see the water softener filter, which you should remove as well.

ii. Next, remove and empty the drip tray before replacing it in position.

iii. Pour 100ml of vinegar into the water tank, then add one litre of water to form a vinegar solution. Replace the water tank back into its compartment.

iv. Place a 1.5-litre container beneath the Delonghi machine’s hot water spout.

v. Next, press the hot water delivery button on your Delonghi to confirm that you’ve added the descaling solution. At this point, the message ‘descale underway’ should come upon the brewer’s display screen.

vi. Within a moment you should be able to see the vinegar solution coming out of the machine through the spout and into the collecting container. The Delonghi machine is programmed to automatically perform descale processes on the internal parts of the machine through a series of rinses and pauses that dissolves the built-up limescale inside the brewer.

vii.  Since the hot vinegar solution coming out of the spout is acidic, you should avoid direct contact with the splashes.

viii.  After 30 minutes of descaling, the Delonghi will be ready for rinsing and the message ‘rinsing’ will come upon the display screen. It’s necessary to rinse off the residual vinegar solution with clean water to prevent your brewed coffee from smelling or tasting like vinegar.

ix. Extract the water reservoir and empty the remaining vinegar descaling solution. Then, rinse it and fill it with clean water up to the maximum level. If you’d previously taken out the water softener filter, reinsert it at this point, before reinstalling the water tank in its compartment.

x.  As soon as you reinstall the water tank, the message ‘rinsing: confirm?’ will be shown on the display. First, empty the collecting tray and return it to its position. Then, press the hot water delivery button to kickstart/confirm the rinsing process.

xi.  As the rinsing water comes out of the spout, you’ll be shown the message ‘rinsing: please wait’ on the display screen. Once all the water in the reservoir drains out, the message ‘rinsing complete: confirm?’ is displayed. At this point, press the hot water delivery button to confirm completion and wait for the machine to heat up and be ready for use.

 How to descale Delonghi Dedica pump espresso machine with vinegar?

i. When the machine needs to be decalcified, an orange light will begin flashing on the ‘steam’ button. This is the right-side button with an arrow-down icon. Remove the water tank, empty it, rinse it, and pour in 100 ml of vinegar and one litre of water.

ii. Replace the tank onto the appliance and turn on the Delonghi brewer by pressing the ‘on/off button. Then, remove the filter holder and position a water holder under the spout of the cappuccino maker.

iii. After the ‘1’ and ‘2’ cup lights come on, the Delonghi will be ready for use. At this point, press and hold the ‘steam’ button for about ten seconds until all three buttons flash sequentially, starting from the one on the left.

iv. Next, rotate the steam dial located on the side of the Delonghi coffee machine down to the ‘steam’ position. Then, press the ‘steam’ button to begin descaling the machine. The descaling solution should come out of the hot water spout after a while.

v. As the machine’s descale program continues to decalcify the internal components through a series of rinses and pauses, remember to clean the boiler outlet as well. To do this, periodically close the steam dial to allow the descaling solution to come out through the boiler outlet instead.

vi. Once the reservoir is empty, it’s now time to rinse excess vinegar solution out of the inner parts of the Delonghi coffee machine. Extract, empty, rinse and fill the water tank with clean water, and reinsert it into the appliance. Empty the collecting tray/container as well, and replace it under the cappuccino spout.

vii. With the steam dial once again in the ‘steam position, press the ‘steam’ button to kickstart the rinsing process. Once done rinsing, reattach the filter holder under the boiler outlet and you’re done descaling.

 How to descale any other type of Delonghi pump espresso machine with vinegar?

 If you have a Delonghi pump espresso machine but it’s not a Dedica model, follow the steps detailed below to decalcify it:

i. To kickstart the descaling process, power on the Delonghi machine. As you wait for it to heat up, detach and empty the water tank.

ii. Then, mix 100ml of white vinegar with a litre of water inside the water tank, before reinserting the tank inside the appliance.

iii. Place a container with a capacity of at least 50-ounces underneath the boiler outlet and the steam wand.

iv. Once the green light turns on, indicating that the machine is ready to brew, turn the dial to the coffee/hot water position. Depending on your Delonghi model, you may have to press a ‘coffee/hot water button instead.

v. The vinegar solution will flow through the brewer, breaking down the calcium deposits in the process, and flowing out through the boiler outlet.

vi. After 10-15 seconds, turn the steam dial to the ‘on’ position. This will allow the vinegar descale solution to flow through and remove limescale from the steam wand. After another 10-15 seconds, turn the dial back to the ‘off’ position. At this point, let the Delonghi machine sit idle for about 15 minutes.

vii.  Then, repeat steps iv-vi above until the water reservoir is empty.

viii. Remove the empty water tank and refill it with fresh water without adding vinegar this time. The aim is to perform a rinse cycle to wash out the excess vinegar still inside the machine. Reattach the water tank inside the machine.

ix. After emptying and replacing the collecting tray, wait for the green light to turn n. Then, press the hot water/coffee button to allow the freshwater to run through the machine and wash out residual vinegar before exiting through the boiler outlet.

x. After 10-15 seconds, turn the steam dial to the ‘on’ position to allow the fresh water to pass through and rinse the steam wand as well. Finally, after another 10-15 seconds, turn the dial back to the ‘off’ position and you’re done descaling your Delonghi pump espresso machine.

How much vinegar to descale DeLonghi?

Since vinegar contains strong acetic acid that can damage internal machine parts over time, it’s recommended that you use no more than 100ml when looking t decalcify your Delonghi coffee maker. In fact, even this small amount needs to be diluted with 10 times as much water (1000ml/1-liter) to make the solution safe for use but still effective.


I. FAQs: How do I descale my Pump Espresso Machine?

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