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Descaling solution for espresso machines (and coffee makers)

I hadn't used my espresso machine in quite some time (DeLonghi EC-701) and I thought that before I make some espresso, I'd best give it a thorough cleaning and a descaling.

My question is about descaling solutions/liquids.

I don't wish to pay $14 a bottle for my next pre-bought solution.

I've also read about the problems with using vinegar in espresso machines.

Does anyone have any experience with a homemade citric acid solution? What was your "recipe"?

Thanks!

NYChristopher

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  1. I have a Saeco machine and use a powder that Saeco sells, available from Saeco dealers (I purchased it at Nella on Queen East in Toronto) and online. They also have a liquid solution that costs a fortune for one use, but the powder comes in a box of three single-use packages that you just mix with water. I can't remember what I paid, but it was probably less than $14 for the 3-pack.

    Here's a link http://www.crissyscoffee.us/descaling...

    1. Citric acid is used in home canning, so any place that carries Ball jars and such should have it. I doubt you could make the solution too strong, as citric is a relatively weak acid. I found that nothing worked particularly well, which is one reason I switched to a stove-top espresso maker.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Zeldog

        Cant you get it in bulk from health food stores or vitamin magazines.

      2. I use white vinegar to clean my machine--don't know if it's the best but I read about this years ago-just be careful when the vinegar is hot not to burn yourself

        1 Reply
        1. re: marlie202

          A warning: Saeco's espresso machine instructions advise against the use of vinegar to clean their machines. I don't know whether this is just to get customers to buy their descaling products, or if vinegar will, in fact, damage the machine, but the wording in the booklet is such that the warranty may be voided if specific instructions are not followed.

          In the booklet that came with my Saeco Royal Coffee Bar:

          Page 100: "Never use vinegar!"
          Page 102: "Important: A periodic descaling ensures a correct machine functioning and avoids excessive repairs. The machine warranty does not cover damages occurring as a result of the non-observance of descaling procedures, improper use and non-observance of any other instruction contained herein..."

          Between you and me, I'd rather pay the few bucks every few months for the descaling powder than risk losing the warranty on the most expensive countertop appliance in my kitchen.

        2. I always use Vinegar and never had a problem.

          1 Reply
          1. re: billjriv

            I meant for a coffee maker I don't know about an Espresso machine.

          2. In Canada , we have a cleaning solution called CLR that many folks use to desclae coffee makers, kettles, etc. The directions are on the container.....don't know if it's avail in the US. Here's a link:

            http://www.jelmar.com/CLRproducts.asp

            11 Replies
            1. re: jcanncuk

              Boy, you cannuks are one tough bunch! We have that product here and I thought it was just good for cleaning toilets and showers.

              1. re: chipman

                and rust off my old skates ;-)

                I too saw the vinegar warning which is why I'm looking for a citric acid solution (if I can).

                1. re: chipman

                  Note that it's used 1:8 in the coffee maker - not full-strength :-)

                  1. re: jcanncuk

                    I use a weak CLR solution or white vinegar, but I have a drip coffee machine.

                  2. re: chipman

                    To be fair, the commercial for CLR (in the US) does show it descaling a glass coffee carafe.

                  3. re: jcanncuk

                    A word of caution about CLR! The directions say - don't use in a system that has a hot water reservoir (read. espresso maker). Of course I ignored it and am now on about 40 gallons of water trying to flush the foul crap out of my espresso machine! No end in site. Keep CLR for your BBQ and toilet bowl. You will never forget that disgusting taste once it goes near your mouth. Lattes may never be the same for me.

                    1. re: pbmoore

                      If you don't use a commercial cleaner descaler then use citric acid. It's what the descaler is in the commercial products. No foul odor or color and is food safe. You can cook with it and it's in many prepared foods and candies.

                      1. re: scubadoo97

                        Just talked to a CLR representative. After giving me a nastry swat on the head for ignoring the directions she said she didn't know if it could be cleaned out. # days of rinsing - even tried vinegar - it stinks but stopped the CLR smell for a while and no joy!
                        May try Citric Acid but can't think of a chemical logic for it. CLR is also an acid as is vinegar.

                        1. re: pbmoore

                          The citric acid is for future use. The CLR should have descaled it but just left a nasty smell taste, maybe from the surfactants and the types of acids used. . I'd suggest you continue rinsing and rinsing to purge out any residue of the CLR. The CLR is a pretty strong acid

                          1. re: pbmoore

                            I use CLR in my Kureg all the time, 2 tanks of water clears the smell and taste, maybe you had a really heavy build up

                            1. re: pbmoore

                              Since the CLR is an acid, maybe try something alkaline like baking soda dissolved in water?

                      2. I use about 2 tablespoons citric acid powder to a quart of
                        water.

                        I bought a 15 lb pail of the stuff from:
                        http://www.chemistrystore.com/citric_... I think I paid about $40 with s/h.

                        I expect this to last a *very* long time!

                        You can also check stores that sell soap-making supplies.

                        1. Lemon Flavored Kool-Aid (unsweetened). I saw this in the latest issue of Real Simple magazine. It's good for dishwashers--cleaning lime deposits and stains. This flavor is the only kind that is good for this use because it specifically has citric acid in it.

                          http://www.realsimple.com/realsimple/...

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: capitts

                            <Crashes through brick wall>...Ohhhh yeahhh!

                              1. re: capitts

                                Out of desparation (or laziness/cheapness) I tried this in my esspresso machine using one packet of Kool-Aid lemonade and about 20 oz of water. I ran through about a coffee mug at a time, then returned the solution to the well. I did about 6 cycles of solution and 8-10 rinse cycles with filtered water and the thing is running like new.

                                1. re: spurtle

                                  I ended up with the Cleancaf which I purchased from my local roaster. Did the trick. I suppose I could try a home remedy but I would fear using something with flavors such as the ones with Kool-Aid. Glad to hear it worked though. I'm constantly amazed at some of the home remedies I've employed over the years (two words: baking soda)

                                2. re: capitts

                                  According to that site the thing to use in coffee makers is
                                  Barista Cleaner & Descaler - $4 at Starbucks.

                                3. I use the cleancafe (3 packs of powder), once every 2 months. It's $3.99 a pack, so I'm paying a whopping $8 per year, or less than 2 Starbucks Grande Capps :-)

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. For descaling only, citric acid is preferred. Vinegar leaves an odor. The commercial descaling products are made with citric acid. Some espresso cleaners like Cleancaf is a combined descaler and surfactant cleaner to remove coffee oils. Descaling alone will not remove the built up coffee oils found in the portafilter and baskets and around the group head.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: scubadoo97

                                      Rather than become a chemist: I would recommend that you purchase a commercially prepared product. You will have consistant results that way. Your water quality also makes a big difference. Ideally you are looking for something between 1 and 4 grains per gallon hardness. Any less and you coffee will taste flat, any more and your coffee makers internal plumbing will scale quickly. If you use it every day, the cleaning intervals also needs to be no longer than once every 60-90 days. Any more and you will press your luck. You can purchase inexpensive water test strips or call you local utility to find out. Better to test at the tap though. Filtering with a demineralizing "filter" also helps allot. And I agree with scubadoo: cleaning your group (if you have a drewer design?) is also a must do. Ground coffee residue and residual oils cling to these components and can alter your brew cycle dramatically. Do this procedure at least monthly if not every 30-40 beverages.

                                    2. If you need citric acid, almost any Indian grocery store should carry it--in small packages, not 15 lb. pails.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Al Davis

                                        Isn't what they call "sour salt" simply citric acid? I thought so. And you can buy that in most supermarkets. Just look for it where they keep the spices.

                                      2. You could use vinegar. It will help with the hard water deposits although you shouldn't use hard water in your coffee maker. It will cut the grease left from the natural greases and tars in the coffee. Afterwards, run it with just water a few times to get the vinegar taste out.

                                        Then, of course there is that video from chowhound on the right side of the screen. The one showing how to clean your coffee maker. I noticed it while thinking about how to answer your question. :-)

                                        1. We give our customers a sachet of descale which I understand is a food grade citric acid solution. $14 dollars seems very high. We are in Australia but each sachet costs less than a $1 but comes in a pack of 10. You can see how we do it on our support area of our web page. I'm sure something similar is available in the US
                                          www.bluepod.com.au

                                          1. Apropos this discussion, I now have well water with indeterminate level of minerals, so to be on the safe side I am using distilled water in my machine (Rancilio Silvia) and have been doing so for maybe 2 years. I wondered if anybody has an opinion about this strategy.

                                            I nearly always make cappuccino not plain espresso, and the taste seems fine to me. I've never cleaned the machine, and it seems to be doing fine. Previously I used municipal water that is sourced from a river, also for about 2 years.

                                            The distilled water costs about $1 per gallon and a lasts about a week.

                                            7 Replies
                                            1. re: johnb

                                              distilled water is tasteless and also may adversely affect the water level sensors in your machine. On Homebarista they did some experimenting and found Crystal Geyser to be just about the perfect PH level. I've been using it for about 5 years and have only descaled one time since I started using.

                                              1. re: johnb

                                                My La Pavoni machine has been in service in my kitchen for about 30 years, and I never thought of cleaning it. Why should I? Perhaps the water I use ( San Francisco Bar area) is mineralogically benign. Who knows?

                                                1. re: johnb

                                                  cease and desist. distilled water does horrible things to you if you drink it too often. google on it.

                                                  1. re: Chowrin

                                                    It's not distilled after you brew espresso with it.

                                                    1. re: robertron

                                                      But the taste of your water will come through in the finial product. A certain amount of dissolved particles is preferred.

                                                      1. re: robertron

                                                        your espresso contains calcium now?

                                                    2. re: johnb

                                                      I think that it's a good strategy to prevent the mineral buildup in the first place. The benefits outweigh the costs. I can't taste the difference either. This article sums it up:

                                                      http://www.thecoffeebrewers.com/whisb...

                                                    3. After trying the overpriced stuff (with success) that Starbucks used to sell, I too went on a search for citric acid. And managed to find it, for very little money, at an Indian grocery store, of all places. What they use it for I have no idea, but it's a much cheaper alternative than buying it as a prepackaged mix.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: Al Davis

                                                        citric acid aka sour salt is used as a lemon juice alternative in many prepared foods.

                                                        1. re: Al Davis

                                                          It works very well. PLEASE wash your hands well after using this stuff. It's very concentrated - you don't want any on your face or in your eyes!

                                                        2. The only drawback to vinegar seems to be the taste. I've had to run a large amount of fresh water through the machine to rinse the vinegar taste/smell out of the machine. Some people say that vinegar damages the machine. However, I don't really see how 5% acetic acid could be worse than citric acid. Vinegar just has a strong taste/smell that has to be rinsed out more thoroughly before making espresso. It's really best to use distilled water, or at least soft water for espresso. You'll never clog your machine with distilled water.

                                                          4 Replies
                                                          1. re: robertron

                                                            Only problem with distilled water is the taste

                                                            I never liked using vinegar due to the lingering odor and taste. You have to do multiple rinses to get rid of it. Dissolved citric acid does much better and takes up less cabinet space to store

                                                            1. re: scubadoo97

                                                              Yes, distilled water lacks taste, and it's not good to drink straight. Check out this link:

                                                              http://www.thecoffeebrewers.com/whisb...

                                                            2. re: robertron

                                                              Using distilled water can also affect the auto- water sensor, besides having no taste.

                                                              1. re: poser

                                                                I hadn't heard about the sensor. How does it affect it?

                                                            3. Nobody has mentioned a Nespresso machine - I have a Citiz and I remember reading the manual that you should get descaling agents from them at over-inflated costs. Does anybody have a method of cleaning these machines (not their barista machines)? I guess you could mix citric acid with water and just run it a few times without a capsule in it..

                                                              1. I'm wondering how chowhounders clean out their Nespresso machines?

                                                                29 Replies
                                                                1. re: xiaobao12

                                                                  Nespresso? Yech! That is just not coffee. Coffee should be rich and sublime.

                                                                  1. re: PepinRocks

                                                                    "Yech"??

                                                                    The one time I tried a Nespresso I thought it tasted better than 90% of the local espresso shops within a 15 mile radius.

                                                                    No, I won't be replacing my home espresso machine with one anytime soon, but it sure beats going to the trouble of trekking to a shop for something less...

                                                                    1. re: Eiron

                                                                      Hi Eiron,

                                                                      No offense meant. But I'm not surprised at how you felt about the local shops. I often feel the same way. Things are changing for the better but most coffee here is still over-roasted and therefore bitter. Things are getting better, thank goodness.

                                                                      Please bear in mind that my expectations are really high since I roast my own coffee and have been to Europe a few times as well as Panama. I yearn for a proper neighborhood cafe and the amazing espresso that one can easily get in Seattle or Europe - both of them 3000 miles away.

                                                                      Even at home, I can't make that espresso ... yet ... my grinder simply isn't good enough (and my machine probably isn't either). But ... at least i can make truly excellent coffee.

                                                                      1. re: PepinRocks

                                                                        LOL, no offense taken. I could tell what you were trying to say, but it just didn't come across in your post.

                                                                        My only point was that there's no need to disparage someone else's choice when their immediate alternatives are worse. ;-)

                                                                        1. re: Eiron

                                                                          You're right ... I really shouldn't taunt those coffee lovers who are, through no particular fault of their own, surrounded by places like starbucks ... or worse. Let's chaulk it up to the likely conclusion that I'm mean and persnickety, even downright nasty. Bottom line is that I've lived near NYC my whole life, am 20 miles from Princeton and 25 from Philly - STILL can't get a proper espresso without getting on a plane. So if that makes me irate, then I need some way to vent and .... oh look! A whole bunch of innocent people on chowhound ...

                                                                          It really sucks ... you should pity me :-)

                                                                    1. re: xiaobao12

                                                                      I checked their website and of course, they use a proprietary expensive descaler - I suspect that their descaler is primarily citric acid.
                                                                      As an alternative a solution of 25-30 ml of citric acid powder to 1 liter of water should work fine.

                                                                      Caveat: I've never used a Nespresso.

                                                                      1. re: rosetown

                                                                        Thanks Rosetown. I hope there is somebody here who has used the citric acid solution that you proposed. Why do manufacturers say to not use vinegar or anything except their proprietary solution? There shouldn't be any problems right??? I don't see why there would be..

                                                                        1. re: xiaobao12

                                                                          I have used citric acid as a descaler in gaggia espresso machines, many times, successfully.

                                                                          I don't know about vinegar - others might

                                                                          The Nespresso site never suggested alternatives to their proprietary solution - no surprise there - profits.

                                                                          Edit: I have one pound of citric acid powder, that cost me $4.00, from a wine kit store - it should last a lifetime.

                                                                          1. re: rosetown

                                                                            Thanks Rosetown. Did you buy it online?

                                                                            1. re: xiaobao12

                                                                              No, a 10 minute drive - where do you live?

                                                                                1. re: xiaobao12

                                                                                  In Calgary Canada - you should have no problem sourcing citric acid in Boston - call some wine kit stores for availability.

                                                                                  1. re: rosetown

                                                                                    OMG - I grew up in Calgary!!!! Miss the mountains and chinooks...

                                                                                    Thanks for your advice.

                                                                          2. re: xiaobao12

                                                                            It will be absolutely fine with citric acid. The vast majority of commercial espresso machines are cleaned with it. Just make sure to wash your hands well if they touch the powder in any way, and after you run the solution through, then run a bunch of clean water. coffeegeek has good recommendations as to how often you should do it, based on your usage patterns.

                                                                            1. re: PepinRocks

                                                                              Thanks Pepin.

                                                                              Btw, Nespresso is not that bad at all! Especially when you pair it with the Aerocinno...

                                                                              1. re: PepinRocks

                                                                                Actually Nespresso does a decent job when advising frequency of descaling per cup in this pdf.
                                                                                http://www.nespresso.com/fileadmin/ca...

                                                                                They deal with FH and DH, terms I'm not familiar with, I've always dealt with water hardness in TDS.

                                                                                To determine water hardness one can call their local water supply authority.

                                                                                1. re: rosetown

                                                                                  In the instructions, there is a small filter that you put to descale - what is that for? To catch the actual scale???

                                                                                  1. re: xiaobao12

                                                                                    That has me stymied - Did your Nespresso come with a descaling kit?

                                                                                    1. re: rosetown

                                                                                      No....just the machine. I have an Essenza (different from the one in the manual you linked to) but virtually same machine and functions.

                                                                                      I don't think the filter is important. In the end, whether you use their solution or the citric acid solution, it's all just liquid going thru the machine, no?

                                                                                      1. re: xiaobao12

                                                                                        I don't have any answers - Boston is big - I googled TDS for Boston and the results are all over the block. Here in Calgary TDS is high - in Vancouver it's low. I can't get a decent read on Boston. Millbury (high) vs Worcester (low). I don't know whether the posters readings are trustworthy.

                                                                                        I use a Brita one liter container and pour that into my espresso machine as water is needed. Oh, I still descale.

                                                                                        How do you read your water quality - do you find it hard - assuming you are not using a water softener for showering?

                                                                                        The other approach, when in doubt, buy the Nespresso descaler.

                                                                                        1. re: rosetown

                                                                                          Hi Rosetown and all,

                                                                                          I descaled my Essenza Nespresso using 2 TB per 4 cups of water. Water than came thru was clear. Does that mean it didn't need to be descaled?

                                                                                          I realized that there is a descaling function on the machine, according to the manual here:

                                                                                          http://www1.nespresso.com/precom/manu...

                                                                                          I did not do that. I just closed the lever and pressed the large cup button until the tank was empty. Then I ran a few large cups of fresh water...then, I finished it with a cup of espresso =

                                                                                          )

                                                                                          If anybody could let me know regarding my question about the water clearness.

                                                                                          Thanks!

                                                                                          1. re: xiaobao12

                                                                                            Based on your description, you should be fine. The scaling solution in water will be clear to opaque. It sounds like you have been using purified water for your machine, which is good.

                                                                                            I would think that to be sure, it would be best to change tthe water in the tank, and run it once or twice to flush any residual elements out of the tank, and out of your machine.

                                                                                              1. re: xiaobao12

                                                                                                I just had a Crealto black, for the first time. Very strong.

                                                                                                I may need to de-scale my machine, and my body. .Talk about pucker power !

                                                                                2. re: PepinRocks

                                                                                  Pepin and rosetown, I am on a mission to buy citric acid and descale my Nespresso. I hope it will be fine. Will report back.

                                                                                  Thanks for your help with this.

                                                                            2. re: xiaobao12

                                                                              We have Nespresso machines ( A Citiz and a Pixie ) and use them twice a day, a little more often when guests arrive.

                                                                              Both are descaled-cleaned using the suggested powder packets on a quarterly basis. A simple inexpensive easy process, without problems or aftertaste..

                                                                              We also have two Gaggia Carezza machines, with the full boiler and portafiler attachments. Cleaning these machines is much more involved: Quarterly descaling, and taking the mesh screens, etc. apart annually.

                                                                              I would suggest that if a manufacturer advises not to use vinegar, Kool-Aid, lemon juice, classic Coke, or toilet cleaning chemicals, then there is a very good reason for it.

                                                                              Having taken apart the Carezzas many a time, I can report that the inside mechanisms are modern, inexpensive, fragile, delicate parts, much of which is plastic and simple light alloy. No stainless steel.

                                                                              What may have worked for another older appliance or machine for Grandmother, may not work very well for your modern devices. Warranty and replacement of a chemically damaged machine comes to mind as a consequence. Think of the consequence of an aluminum canteen with these chemicals added, and drinking from it afterwards.

                                                                              Although we started with the Carezza in 2000, we much prefer the Nespresso today. Simple to operate, and consistently good tasting coffee all the time, never bitter, anytime. When the Carezza finally quit someday, they will not be replaced.

                                                                              1. re: SWISSAIRE

                                                                                Your suggested powder packets contain citric acid. It descales, leaves no smell and as long as you flush it out it leaves no taste. What citric acid does not do is remove oily residue. A surfactant cleaner is needed for that.

                                                                                1. re: scubadoo97

                                                                                  Yes, with the Carezza there was residue from coffee oils. We ground our own espresso using Brasilian Santa Clara and 10% Mokka beans. These had to sit for a few days before being ground to lessen the oils, something our neighbours nearby in Austria taught us to do. Nonetheless, heavy residue does build up, even with filtered water and good beans medium roasted. The more you use the Carezza, the more the build-up.

                                                                                  Unlike the Carezza, we notice no coffee oil residue with the Nespresso machines, most likely given the fact the coffee is in the capsule, and the short distance to the spout.

                                                                            3. I have successfully used a mix of 50% white vinegar (5% acid) with 50% water to clean calcium buildup from my 3 year old Saeco Sirena. I used this as a last effort to try and save the machine from the garbage... the steam wand was no longer producing steam. I used 16oz vinegar mixed with 16oz water and then flushed with 2 tanks of water. So far I have not noted any problems as a result of using the vinegar, and it saved me from buying a new machine.

                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                              1. re: analystmom

                                                                                vinegar does work for descaling but just leaves an odor and taste even after flushing. You have to flush much longer with vinegar compared to citric acid. Citric acid also can be mixed to yield varying pH levels

                                                                                1. re: scubadoo97

                                                                                  Vinegar does work as a descaling liquid: We use it annually on our Hansgrohe showerheads.

                                                                                  Very effective.

                                                                                  But we will follow as we have with our 12 year old Carezzas, I think. No need to experiemnt now.

                                                                                2. re: analystmom

                                                                                  I used your suggestion to mix 50/50 water and vinegar (also use for swimmers ear with alcohol added) and my Tassimo was restored to new. The lower left red light was on and several attempts to clean had not worked. Thank you!

                                                                                  1. re: rlikis

                                                                                    Good for you !

                                                                                    I'm glad the formula worked for you so well.

                                                                                    I'll have to check for Otitis Media with this morning's Nespresso.

                                                                                  2. re: analystmom

                                                                                    Also, it was necessary to hold the start button down 3 seconds with the factory disc installed...forgot to mention this, which I read on this post.
                                                                                    Thanks to all...

                                                                                  3. I know this is an archaic thread but I find cheap Citric acid works perfectly without damaging anything (and is the recommended cleaner for many of DeLonghi bean to cup Machines).

                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: SomersetDee

                                                                                      My Technivorm instructions suggest white vinegar. Good enough for me.

                                                                                      1. re: grampart

                                                                                        Hi Grampart
                                                                                        Ah, I would imagine that would work well. Must be a 'vinegar day' because I heard today that vinegar is excellent for cleaning vinyl records too. Thanks for the tip. I do have a huge bag of citric acid that I need to use up for now. It does make me laugh when they sell citric acid solution in a plastic bottle for £9 which would cost them 12pence or less to make.
                                                                                        regards Dee

                                                                                      1. re: scubadoo97

                                                                                        I believe it has a strong citric acid component but there must be other things too as it gets the residue off also. I am very happy with it.Seems really popular in Europe and I'm sure it will be here.

                                                                                        1. re: DavidB77

                                                                                          No, citric acid is the only active ingredient. It is the safest.

                                                                                          A pinch of sodium citrate together with a pinch of malic acid acts as buffer to protect aluminium parts if your boiler if has any aluminium parts in it, that's all.

                                                                                          Malic acid is similar to citric acid. Safe to keep at home.

                                                                                          Sodium citrate (E331) is not a descaler but only added as a protective buffer and such buffers are totally unnecessary if the boilers do not have iron and aluminium parts.

                                                                                          Tartaric Acid is safe but more expensive

                                                                                          Sulphamic acid is ok on brass and stainless steel but not on aluminium.

                                                                                          I don't think any manufacturers still use aluminium thermoblocks. Gaggia did for some of their domestic machines (not in their commercial range) If the coffee machine you have has aluminium parts in the water pathway then use citric acid with sodium citrate and malic acid as buffer.

                                                                                          Citric acid, Sodium Citrate (trisodium citrate) and malic acid are all found in fruits. 100% safe to keep at home. Even if your toddler gets to it and eats it, it is nothing to panic about.

                                                                                          All these ingredients cost pennies to buy. thanks for reading.

                                                                                          1. re: SomersetDee

                                                                                            Hi, have you tried the HG espresso descaler also? Sounds like you have done your research on what's out. Did you buy it in the US?
                                                                                            Thanks

                                                                                            1. re: DavidB77

                                                                                              Bought my unit in US... 50/50 water/vinegar works

                                                                                              1. re: DavidB77

                                                                                                I live in the UK. It is a big bag of food grade citric acid from Ebay. (was for the descaling of DeLonghi). Now we have a Franke Flair and it is great for Franke too.
                                                                                                regards

                                                                                                1. re: SomersetDee

                                                                                                  I have a Franke Flair. I have to descale it every other week or so. I like cheap but how do I know if a home-brew descaling solution is really working?

                                                                                                  1. re: Ddanielt

                                                                                                    If you pour an acid solution of citric acid in your machine it will work. You may even see calcium clumps when you flush the machine

                                                                                        2. I normally use Citric acid, I found it worked good.

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: christopher1974

                                                                                            Yes Christopher1974
                                                                                            Ascorbic acid, and citric acid help preserve the gluten from breaking down. It can even repair broken gluten strands. Ultimately yielding springier bread. Similar effects can be achieved from adding yoghurt or sourdough leaven. Those bacillus bacteria form a relationship with the fungus (yeast) yielding various acids and complex textures and flavours. So ideally it is better to develop the acids through leaven rather than adding the acids yourself. For a quick bread there is no better alternative than cheating with a pinch of ascorbic acid (or citric acid).

                                                                                          2. Has anyone tried using Coke Cola for descaling? it seems to work for cleaning a lot of things. Ummm ... it also cleans toilets!

                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: Koloheman

                                                                                              Hi Koloheman -

                                                                                              I have heard that.

                                                                                              And keeping Christmas trees fresh. All of which I have not tried.

                                                                                              Let us know how it works for you as a descaling agent, if you can.

                                                                                              Cheers,

                                                                                              -R

                                                                                              1. re: Koloheman

                                                                                                Why take a chance with something like that especially when white vinegar works fine and is cheaper?