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  • Gaggia Classic Cloudy Water

    Hello everyone,

    I have Gaggia classic less than 1 year old, I read different opinions about descaling it with citric acid. However I did use it to descale my machine,
    and now the water is cloudy with some white pieces in it, not matter how many tanks I flush away! I don't believe the brew head is dirty my machine is quite new!

    I changed the water, did everything I could. however the water from the milk frothed is not as cloudy.. it's almost clear.

    Anyone knows how to solve this? please not that no pro. near by. So I can't take it to someone and fix it.

  • #2
    Hello Sarah,

    How did you decide that it needed descaling? Acid + metal = ??

    Citric acid is not an accepted descaler for anything other than espresso machine parts in a bucket. It can and does cause damage to aluminium boilers, solenoids, gicleurs and it's a definite no go for HX/Dual boiler machines.

    How to solve it? Flush a heap and hope you haven't done too much damage.

    It's always a good idea to be sceptical of what you read on the internerd. Way too much of it is rubbish!
    Last edited by TC; 31 August 2015, 08:39 AM. Reason: more detail

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    • #3
      yeah but I read so many people said that they use it and never had any problem with it. Too bad, I guess the machine is damaged now..

      Thanks for responding

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      • #4
        Hi Sarah26! What is your maintenance routine for your Gaggia Classic? Do you backflush? Have you tried removing the shower screen and dispersion plate and cleaning them manually? You seem to suggest that the water coming out of the frother is cleaner than the water from the group head. Do the cloudy water eventually clear up when cooled?

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        • #5
          Hi JojoS,

          Well no it doesn't clear up, the shower screen looks shiny and clean as I said I've been using it for less than a year. I tried unscrewing the shower screen but its STUCK no matter how hard I try. Would you suggest I back flush?

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Sarah26 View Post
            yeah but I read so many people said that they use it and never had any problem with it. Too bad, I guess the machine is damaged now..
            Hello Sarah, I doubt that you have seriously or permanently damaged your Gaggia. Citric acid is a relatively mild organic acid and is in fact used in numerous proprietary de-scalers. One very well known brand contains 60% citric acid.

            The cloudy water is probably dissolved scale and the white pieces are bits of scale. Just keep flushing until the water runs clear.

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            • #7
              Hi Deegee,

              That's what I thought, but I flushed around 10 tanks now, would it take that much? should I try back flushing?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by deegee View Post
                Citric acid is a relatively mild organic acid and is in fact used in numerous proprietary de-scalers. One very well known brand contains 60% citric acid....
                Yes- the other components are used to break up plaques of scale that those who use it neat find fouling solenoids, gicleurs etc.

                We pick up the pieces frequently and I can assure you that 40% matters.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Sarah26 View Post
                  Hi JojoS,

                  Well no it doesn't clear up, the shower screen looks shiny and clean as I said I've been using it for less than a year. I tried unscrewing the shower screen but its STUCK no matter how hard I try. Would you suggest I back flush?
                  I suggest you remove both shower screen (#2 Phillips head screw driver) and the dispersion plate (5mm Allen wrench) before you do anymore flushing.You can remove the water reservoir and put the Gaggia Classic on it's back for better access to remove the 2 parts. As pointed out by others, what you see in the water are bits of scale. What type of water do you use? Are you in a hard water area?
                  Last edited by JojoS; 31 August 2015, 11:12 AM.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Sarah26 View Post
                    Hi Deegee, That's what I thought, but I flushed around 10 tanks now, would it take that much? should I try back flushing?
                    That's puzzling, 10 tanks is a lot of flushing, and I would have thought that would be more than enough to remove all the citric acid and dissolved / loose scale from your machine. I also wonder why the water from the steam wand is relatively clear, it's taken from a bit higher in the boiler than the water that goes through the brew head, but not much.

                    There is a slight risk in doing a back flush while there are still some solid pieces of scale in the system. They could block the passage in the brew head, or the solenoid valve. I don't think that it is likely to solve the problem anyway, so probably better not to, though if the water was just cloudy with no solid bits, it would be OK .

                    Are you allowing the water to heat up in the boiler before flushing, or just pumping cool water through the boiler without bringing the machine up to brewing temperature ?. To be honest, I don't know if that would make much difference, but it could be worth trying. It may be that the boiler needs to be heated then cooled a few times to help remove all the scale that has been loosened but not fully dissolved by the citric acid.

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                    • #11
                      If the cloudy water is more severe from the group head than from the steam wand, it is likely that the space between the boiler base and dispersion plate and the space between the dispersion plate and inner side of the shower screen is coated with scale. Best to do manual cleaning on this 2 parts as well as the base of the group head. Do not backflush until then as it can just mess up your 3 way Solenoid.

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                      • #12
                        Thanks everyone, I will do so and hope it works.

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                        • #13
                          Hi Sarah,

                          Here's what the inside of your Classic probably looks like (image of a Via Venezia I was working on that was not de scaled nor was softened water used in the tank - very similar to the Classic boiler in water flow respect).

                          Please note the upright copper tube in the centre of the boiler: when you press the button to extract espresso and the pump starts it forces water into the boiler which displaces the hot water which flows down that tube.

                          You can see how challenging it is to flush the scale out which like to sit on the bottom of the boiler!

                          So ... lots and lots of flushing.Click image for larger version

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                          • #14
                            Oops! My bad - that's actually a Gaggia Classic boiler I serviced (I just throw the VV's away now [emoji14]... so that's what yours looks like inside I'm guessing.

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                            • #15
                              oh, now I just wanna open it, out of curiosity. I couldn't find the right screwdriver for that but that's how the rest looked like (After brushing them with water only):

                              Click image for larger version

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                              Not sure if it's damaged or just dirty.. however I started to see very small brownish things in the water when I flush it.

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