What ratio citric acid / water to descale?

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#1: Post by EspressoGirl »

Can anyone tell me what amount of food grade citric acid to use per quart of water to descale my espresso machine? (It has a 2 quart tank I fill). (Ex: is it 1 Tablespoon per quart of water, or 1 teaspoon or whatever?)

Also, does it matter if you use the coarse or fine crystals in terms of dissolving?

I was also told food grade citric acid is called soursalt sometimes. Anyone know if that is correct?


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#2: Post by GVDub »

I use 1.5-2 TBLs/liter, which works very well for me.
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#3: Post by another_jim »

Yep. Go down to one tablespoon for aluminum parts. Also, don't freak if you see a greenish/bluish tinge when you rinse; that's normal for copper and brass parts.
Jim Schulman

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#4: Post by sweaner »

Sour salt is another name for citric acid.
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#5: Post by cupojoe »


What if it is "activated" citric acid? My machine is about 5 months old, we are in a hard water area. I have purchased Everpure descaler (activated citric acid) from espressoparts.com.
Still 1 Tbsl/Quart? Does it make a difference using "activated" for a Gaggia, with aluminum boiler? Thanks!

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#6: Post by another_jim »

I'm not totally sure what "activated" means; but was told it is an additional ingredient that speeds up the action of the citric acid without increasing its strength. Using the standard amounts should work.

The issue with the Gaggia is preventing galvanic corrosion at the join between the lower brass part of the boiler and the upper aluminum part. Go a little easier on the citric concentration, and make sure you flush very thoroughly afterwards. Since the boiler is so small, the reduced concentration solution should still be effective.
Jim Schulman

EspressoGirl (original poster)

#7: Post by EspressoGirl (original poster) »

Well, I have a Gaggia Classic. Do they all have aluminum? I thought I read the newer ones changed that.

Should I just play it safe and go with 1TBSP per Liter?

Does coarse or fine matter?