Cleaning & Maintenance Answers

Question Submitted by Tech Kathy
What do I do when my machine has the 'decalcify' message on? click to open/closeopen and close answer
  • First, descaling and decalcifying are the same thing. When you descale your machine, you are removing the calcium and mineral build-up in the boiler, brew group, frothing wand, and other related parts. You should descale your machine every 2-3 months whether the machine gives you a signal or not. The descaling signal is based on a cup counter, so it cannot detect actual scale build-up in your machine.

    The first thing you will need is a descaling agent. Urnex Cleancaf or Durgol are the best for almost all espresso machines and coffee makers. Do NOT just use any product that claims to remove calcium and lime. Many products you can purchase at the local store are very harsh and some are even poisonous. Make sure the cleaner that you select is specifically for espresso machines and/or coffee machines.

    To descale your machine, follow these steps:

    1. Mix the descaling solution according to the directions on the container.
    2. Add the solution to the machine’s empty water tank.
    3. The last button (looks like light and dark circles hooked together) on the right is a descaling cycle button. Press and hold this button until the message on the screen changes to “Descaling Open Knob.”
    4. Place a large container under the steam spout and open the steam knob.
    5. The machine will now go through a descaling cycle. It will let out a little water from the wand, then the coffee spout. It will continue to do this for about 30-40 minutes. DO NOT remove the water tank or anything else from the machine until this cycle is finished.
    6. When the machine is done, it will read “descaling finished, close knob.” Close the knob and remove the water tank.
    7. Thoroughly rinse the water tank and fill it with clean water. The machine now will say “Rinse machine, fill water tank.”
    8. Place the water tank back on the machine. Now the machine will flush itself out thoroughly. It will read “Rinse machine, press key.”
    9. Place a large container under the spout again and press the descaling button again.
    10. The machine will now read “Rinse machine, open knob.” Open the knob and the machine will begin the rinsing cycle.
    11. The machine will now read “Machine is rinsing.” The machine will flush out any remaining descaling solution. This will take a few minutes.
    12. Finally, the machine will read “Rinsing finished close knob.” Close the steam valve.
    Note: In some cases, the machine may now read “Ventilate.” If it does not read “Ventilate,” you can skip the next 2 steps.
    13. If it reads “Ventilate,” press the hot water button (it looks like a raindrop) once. The message on the screen will not change. This is normal.
    14. Now open the steam knob and allow water to flow freely from the steam wand into a large container. The screen should now read “Hot water, Ventilate.”
    Note: You may need to run a full reservoir of water or more through the machine until this message reads only “hot water.”
    15. As soon as the screen reads only “hot water,” turn off the steam valve.
    Your machine will now warm up and you are ready to brew again.

    Why Decalcify?

    Cleaning Products page

    Comments (1)

    11/29/09 at 05:48 AM by H Liem
    After descaling I got the message "Rinsing finished Close knob". After closing the tap, this message stays on the display.

    Add A Comment

Question Submitted by Tech Kathy
When and how do I clean my grinder? click to open/closeopen and close answer
  • You do not need to clean the grinder as often as you may think. Usually we do not recommend cleaning the grinder unless there is a problem with calibration or a clog. Avoiding oily beans, flavored beans, and beans stored in the fridge or freezer will typically prevent issues.

    If you do experience issues with your grinder, cleaning it is the most common solution. To clean your grinder, follow these directions:

    1. Remove the water reservoir, turn off and unplug the machine.
    2. Take the cover off of the bean hopper and vacuum out the beans.
    3. Remove the 3 Phillips head screws that are in the bean hopper.
    4. Lift up the bean hopper and set it aside.
    5. Open the machine’s service door and remove the drip tray and the brew group.
    6. Remove the rubber gasket from the top of the grinder area.
    7. The grinder is made up of 2 pieces. The inner piece has 4 tabs that the rubber gasket sits on. The outer piece has teeth in a ring on the exterior covering ½ the circumference.
    8. Rotate the outer ring 180 degrees counterclockwise. You should be able to lift off the inner ring. There is a red spot on the outer collar which should now be facing the 9 0’clock position when you are at the front of the machine.
    9. Vacuum out all of the beans and ground coffee.
    10. If possible, use a small pipe cleaner to get grounds out of the “pathway” going to the front of the machine. It is located on the floor of the grinder at about the 5 0’clock position.
    11. Above where the brew group would be located, there is a gray triangular tab attached to a door on a hinge. Pull down on the triangle – coffee grounds may come out.
    12. Look above the trap door and you will see the other end of the chute. Vacuum out the chute and clean with a pipe cleaner.


    1. Drop the inner burr onto the grinder with the tab that has the red and blue marks facing the right hand side of the machine at approximately the three-o’clock position.
    2. Rotate the outer collar so that the red mark lines up the red/blue marks on the inner burr.
    3. Reinstall the rubber gasket that goes over the grinder. The slots in the gasket line up with the four tabs of the outer burr.
    4. There is a straight piece located directly to the right of the grinder. This is your dosage control. There is a piece that can slide backwards and forwards on this dosage arm. Push this arm all the way to the back of the machine.
    5. Set the knobs in the bean hopper to #0 on the grind setting knob. Set the doser knob all the way to the plus setting. Now place the hopper back into the machine.
    Note: You may have to rotate one or both of the knobs, a small amount, to get the bean hopper to set down on its supports.
    6. Install the 3 screws.
    7. Replace the water reservoir.
    8. Fill the bean hopper with a cup of beans.
    9. Plug in and turn on the machine.
    10. Reinstall the brew group and the drip tray.
    11. Once the machine warms up, press the small coffee button. When the grinder comes on set the grind setting to 6.
    Note: You may have to press the small coffee button twice or 3 times before the machine will make a cup of espresso.

    Comments (4)

    04/17/09 at 09:07 AM by Kathy Smith
    You do not have to use the machines grinder at all. You can use the bypass function and ground coffee. Make sure he grinds are not too fine/too much.

    04/17/09 at 09:04 AM by Kathy Smith
    The grinder is supposed to fill with grounds. Your machine senses coffee by totally filling with enough grounds to press against a switch at the end.

    04/13/09 at 05:17 PM by rick stevens
    I have cleaned out the grinder (pretty easy) but the chute between the grinder and the brewing system keeps filling up. How do I fix that??

    12/26/08 at 05:41 PM by gene merritt
    Does one HAVE to use the internal grinder, or can grounds from an external grinder be used?

    Add A Comment

Question Submitted by Tech Kathy
When and how should I clean my brew group (brew unit/central unit)? click to open/closeopen and close answer
  • The brew group, sometimes referred to as the brew group or central unit, is the grey or black mechanism inside the machine where your coffee is brewed. It is easily removable, and it should be cleaned at least once a week. To clean it, follow these instructions:

    1. Make sure the machine is not in the initial start up process or halfway through a brewing cycle. Wait until it is ready to brew.
    2. Open the service door on the machine and remove the drip tray and dump box.
    3. Remove the brew group by pressing/pushing (depending on your machine) on the part that says “Press" or "Push”. Pull firmly and straight out.
    Note: Be cautious not to break the brew group. Also be aware of the door of your machine as it can break as well.
    4. Rinse the brew group thoroughly under clean, flowing water.
    Note: Do not use soap – this will remove important lubrication in the brew group. Also, do not put the brew group in the dishwasher – it can cause it to warp and not fit properly back into the machine (a new brew group can cost $100 or more).
    5. At the top of the brew group, you will see a black stem-like object that is about the width of a pencil. You will notice a large orange o-ring beneath the stem, look below the o-ring and you will see the upper filter screen at the end of the cylinder-shaped piece. It is flat and about the diameter of a silver dollar. With the top of the stem facing you, turn the stem counterclockwise. Hold the screen steady as you continue rotating the stem counterclockwise until the screen is free.
    6.Give the screen a thorough cleaning. Hold it up to the light and make sure you can see most of the holes. DO NOT use a pin to clear out any clogs. This can increase the size of the holes, causing future clogs.
    7. Reattach the upper filter screen by turning the stem clockwise. DO NOT OVERTIGHTEN- FINGER TIGHT ONLY.Make sure that the filter screen is snug but not too tight. This can strip the small nut in the stem.
    8. Pat the brew group dry with a clean cloth. Again, be careful not to wipe off the lubrication on the internal parts.
    9. Slide the brew group back into its place in the machine. Press it in firmly until it clicks into place.
    10. Replace the drip tray and dump box.

    Perform this about once a week and your machine should stay clog free!

    Comments (2)

    04/02/09 at 10:49 AM by TechStarS S
    Please note: The Gaggia Platinum models do not have removable brew group components, and are only able to be rinsed off.

    03/22/09 at 11:49 AM by Paul Ballard
    My Gaggia Swing has a different brew group than you've described. No pencil like stem to turn. You sure you've got the right machine here?

    Add A Comment