Vinegar for descaling an espresso machine?

Need help with equipment usage or want to share your latest discovery?
fizguy
Posts: 91
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 12:34 am
Real Name: Justin
Equipment: expobar Brewtus IV-V, Mazzer mini electronic (b)
Location: Ellicott City, MD

Postby fizguy » 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

User avatar
another_jim
Team HB
Posts: 9241
Joined: Thu May 05, 2005 1:16 am
Real Name: Jim Schulman
Location: Chicago

Postby another_jim » 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.

fizguy
Posts: 91
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 12:34 am
Real Name: Justin
Equipment: expobar Brewtus IV-V, Mazzer mini electronic (b)
Location: Ellicott City, MD

Postby fizguy » 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?

User avatar
HB
Posts: 14656
Joined: Fri Apr 29, 2005 9:13 pm
Real Name: Dan Kehn
Equipment: La Marzocco Strada, Elektra Microcasa a Leva, Compak K10 WBC
Location: Cary, NC

Postby HB » 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.
Dan Kehn

Cupofmoe
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2011 3:29 pm
Real Name: mark
Equipment: gaggia and rancilio
Location: new york city

Postby Cupofmoe » 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!