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Vinegar for descaling an espresso machine?

Postby fizguy on Sat Apr 30, 2011 5:52 pm

I have not been able to dig up much in the way of using vinegar to descale a silvia. My questions are

Is there a risk of damaging the boiler?
How much vinegar should I use (if any)?

Thanks
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Postby another_jim on Sat Apr 30, 2011 5:59 pm

You can descale with a 50/50 white vinegar and water solution, but it's smelly. 1/4 filtered lemon juice (like "reallemon") or a 1 1/2 table spoons of citric acid per quart of water will be more pleasant.
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Postby fizguy on Sat Apr 30, 2011 6:03 pm

Smelly while I do the descale, or smelly tomorrow morning when I bring the cup to my mouth? I am not opposed to rinsing thoroughly, so I guess as long as there no risk to damaging the machine it should be ok.

Right?
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Postby HB on Sat Apr 30, 2011 6:37 pm

fizguy wrote:Right?

Right. It's easy to rinse out single boilers; steam boilers are a lot harder and vinegar is definitely not recommended.
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Postby Cupofmoe on Mon Nov 28, 2011 3:50 pm

Here is something to consider...

Distilled White Vinegar is a mixture of water with 5% acetic acid, nothing else.

Any lemon juice products may include things like chemical preservatives and even sweeteners. i dont think you want that run thru your machine.

you should run the Distilled White Vinegar mixture thru the entire system, because scale builds up everywhere the water goes. in fact the Scale will impact your system more in the fluid lines and small openings.

here is what my dad uses in his shop...
Dilution 1:1 - one part water mixed with one part Distilled White Vinegar
run the solution thru a hot machine ONCE and discard.
Rinse machine immediately twice with Fresh clean water. after that there should be Zero odor and a clean machine. this should be done at least once every two months, or once a month if you have very hard water.

acetic acid is the main ingredient in most espresso machine cleaners, some add a detergent. Check the price difference. it is also easier to mix than the dry packaged cleaners. Win-Win, cheaper and easier!
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