How do I descale my coffee machine?
Cleaning a fully automatic machine doesn't just mean descaling it. To rinse out ground coffee, you need to take the brew group out of the machine every week. Some machines also require you to grease the brew group with silicone grease. By constantly replacing the water filter on time, you'll prevent limescale from forming in the pipes. Components that come into contact with milk need to be cleaned every day, with a special milk circuit cleaner if necessary. If you take proper care of your coffee machine, you can enjoy it for years to come.
Cleaning the brew group
Fully automatic coffee machines usually have a removable brew group. You remove it from the side, after which you thoroughly rinse it with lukewarm water. After cleaning it, you let it dry in open air for several hours. Once the brew group's dry, grease the moving components with a thin layer of silicone grease. There's also a number of brands that don't require you to remove the brew group, because you can easily clean it with an automatic program.
Placing a water filter
A water filter filters limescale and other particles like iron from your tap water. That means hard water won't negatively affect your cup of coffee. But perhaps the main reason to use a water filter is to prevent limescale from clogging your coffee machine's pipes. How often you need to replace a water filter differs per coffee machine. On average, you need to do it once every 4 months. Make sure to check which filter is suitable for your coffee machine model.
Descaling the pipes
Because water filters usually don't filter out all the limescale from your tap water, you'll have to descale the machine every now and then. How often you need to do this depends on your coffee machine's brand and the water filter you're using. There are Philips Saeco water filters that make sure you only need to descale the machine once every 18 months. Jura has a unique filter that ensures you don't need to descale at all.
Cleaning the milk components
If you have a machine with a milk function, you'll have to battle fats and lactic acids that affect your machine's interior. A separate milk reservoir needs to be cleaned with soapy water after every use. To clean the hard-to-reach components, like the milk tube, you use a special milk circuit cleaner, which you pour into the milk reservoir and run through the milk circuit. A steam wand only requires a big blast of steam after every use, while you wipe the exterior with a tea towel.