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.
Related – Coffee machine hygiene is key to the perfect brew. Explore our dedicated page to ensure your drip, Keurig, Moka Pot, or French Press is sparkling clean.
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.
7 of the Best Coffee Maker Cleaners and Descalers (That Actually Work!)
It’s easy to get stuck in your morning routine before realizing that the entire brew system has been building up water spots and free range coffee debris. These can lend off-tastes to the cup of coffee that your strive so much to make perfect.
Coffee oils that sit and age on your brewing equipment can infuse your fresh coffee with staleness and bacteria.
Nobody wants to deal with this.
If these brewing issues are plaguing you and an easy solution is what you seek, then take a look below where we’ve featured our own reviews of the best coffee maker cleaners and descalers on the market today.
The Best Coffee Maker Cleaner & Descaler Products
Urnex Clearly Coffee Liquid Coffee Pot Cleaner
Urnex has a long history of manufacturing a diverse line of coffee-specific cleaning agents. Out of all of their cleaning products, the most well known has become their Cafiza line. These tablets are considered the industry standard when it comes to cleaning espresso machines that undergo plenty of daily use. Unrnex now creates coffee cleaners out of a desire for increased environmental consciousness and sustainability.
Using the Urnex cleaner is as easy as draining and rinsing the urn or brewer reservoir. Pour in contents of packet, add a quarter to half full with very hot water. Simply scrub sides of vessel, drain and repeat until noticeable coffee stains are removed. It’s worth mentioning that the Urnex Clearly Coffee cleaning agents are petroleum free and won’t impart strange chemicals into your beverage when cleaning is performed properly. Over 80 years experience won’t lead you astray.
TriNova Descaling Solution
Anyone who has experienced the troubles of cleaning a complex machine like the Keurig will fully appreciate the work that TriNova has put into creating this Keurig machine cleaning solution. It’s applicable when cleaning other coffee brewers as well but perhaps the testimony of Keurig users freeing their machines from buildup is enough to win you over. The Descaling solution is also tasteless and unlike Vinegar, this citric acid formula won’t impact your morning java, leaving no odor or smell behind.
The TriNova brand is responsible for creating a variety of other material cleaners like leather for the interior of your car. They seem to be passionate about cleaning out important machines that people use daily. Test out the TriNova descaling solution and see if the effects of their engineering bestow a cleanliness to your coffee creation.
Java Clean Universal Coffee Cleaner
Java Clean is unique in that it provides a color feedback when cleaning. Its natural yellow color dye is added to the formula so you visually know when the brewer descaling process has been fully completed. This means no leftover solution makes it’s way past your watchful eye. Changing from yellow to clear means you are done descaling!
There’s truly no other coffee cleaning product that implements this kind of defense against ingestion of the cleaning solution. Most others you’ll find are clear color formulas giving no true visual indication for when a flush descale process is fully completed. Java Clean Universal Coffee cleaner is truly unique and features a great way to save your coffee from misuse.
K3 Brands Pure Perk Coffee Machine Cleaner
The K3 Brand has created the Pure Perk descaling solution for coffee machines and kettles and is aimed towards making sure you extend the life of your home brewers. Its an odorless solution which works hard to preserve your brewing equipment and lengthen the time in between cleaning sessions. This is particularly helpful if you’re forgetful in cleaning your brewer (as most of us tend to).
K3 Brands Pure Perk cleaning solution uses an organic base to create optimum cleaning conditions that don’t disturb the environment in the process. We know that brewing equipment is on the rise, technologically speaking, so it’s important to treat with solutions that are reliable and won’t impart strange tastes.
Don’t leave your expensive brewer to a haphazard solution of vinegar, which in itself is difficult to clean up after.
Coffee lovers want that perfect cup, every time. Join the fight against the buildup of minerals with Braun’s BRSC003 descaling solution. You’ll need a good defense first, so try the Braun coffee cleaner to fend off limescale leftover from the many brewing processes.
The Braun name might sound familiar if you own one of their many shaving or hair trimming devices, but their expertise for cleaning those difficult machines has lent itself to developing a plethora of cleaning solutions. Use this solution for a variety of brewers and even your Aeropress or French press, where water stains and minerals can build up.
Durgol Swiss Espresso Decalcifier
Let’s be honest, if a Swiss rescue dog came to save me from an avalanche stocked with a bottle of this, I wouldn’t be too upset.
This decalcifier formula was created specifically to protect and treat high-end brands of espresso machines. Again, these kinds of machines deal with fine particles and can easily create mess even under the most scrutinous of barista. This solution extends the life span of machine and helps deliver an espresso product you can be proud of.
The Durgol Swiss Decalcifier works with fully or semi-automatic machines, manual machines, coffee pod or capsule machines, filter machines, even electric water heaters. Whatever you can throw at it. This is a powerful cleaner which works on the spot. That’s likely ten times faster than other decalcification processes. This is also an environmentally safe solution contained within 100% recyclable bottles.
DeLonghi EcoDecalk machine descaler
DeLonghi prides themselves on the non-existent ecological impact their products have. This cleaner is no different. It’s made from natural ingredients and without harsh chemicals. Predominantly, this descaling solution is used for treating Nespresso machines, which can be quite complex.
The De’Longhi EcoDecalk machine descaler is a liquid treatment that should be used regularly to significantly reduces the build-up of minerals and off-flavors that water can impart over time. Cleaning your complex brewer increases the energy efficiency, and improves the flavor and crema, allowing those great coffee oils to perform at their best. Comprised of solely lactic acid, this brewer is suitable for all coffee machines.
Wether you’ve got a Keurig on the fritz or simply can’t stand looking at the stains troubling your glassware, it’s time to choose one of these products to bring the luster back to your morning coffee routine. There’s plenty of options out there, and if you’re looking for more coffee ware to clean, check out our shop.