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Cleaning and descaling a Gaggia Classic

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  • Cleaning and descaling a Gaggia Classic

    Hi all

    It's been a while since I cleaned and descaled my Gaggia Classic. What products should I use?

    Josh

  • #2
    Hi Josh,

    this is what we use in our service dept.:
    * for backflushing: Clean Machine Powder
    * for descaling: Triple Action Coffee Machine Descaler 250ml

    charlie

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    • #3
      Thanks Charlie. Will get those things soon.

      Josh

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      • #4
        Hi again Charlie. I've finally purchased the items. Just a quick question. The clean machine powder doesn't have instructions for use. I'm guessing I just put some in my blind and back flush. How much cleaner should I put in the blind, and for how long / how often should I back flush with it? Cheers, Josh

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        • #5
          G'day Straws82...

          There're some great how-to videos on the ECA website by Scottie Callaghan and one specifically dealing with cleaning and maintenance. Although these are aimed at different machines to yours, a lot of the basics are still the same.

          All the best,
          Mal.

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          • #6
            Thanks Mal and Charlie. I cleaned and descaled the machine this morning and it's working great! Appreciate the help!

            Josh

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            • #7
              Best to mark your calendar Josh and do your maintenance on a regular basis. You will not regret it. Check out the Gaggia Users Forum for more Gaggia specific tips and tricks.

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              • #8
                Cleaning and descaling a Gaggia Classic

                Originally posted by Straws82 View Post
                Thanks Mal and Charlie. I cleaned and descaled the machine this morning and it's working great! Appreciate the help!

                Josh
                Hope your Classic is still going well. Due to the small aluminium boiler the Classic can experience greater issues with scale. It's highly recommended to use only filtered water (just from a Brita jug is fine), back flush regularly (at least once a month if used for an average of 1 cup a day), and continue to descale even if using filtered water. Regularity of the descale really depends on the quality of your water, how much use the machine gets and the descale product you use. You can use a weak detergent/descale like Cleancaf say every 2-3 months and then a strong descaler like Durgol once a year for example, but it all depends on those variables.
                Last edited by LeroyC; 15 March 2015, 08:25 PM. Reason: Update

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                • #9
                  I hope you realise Gaggia used aluminium dispersion discs in the Classic and other machines of that era. Backwashing with a caustic cleaning powder will corrode those in short order.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by kaanage View Post
                    I hope you realise Gaggia used aluminium dispersion discs in the Classic and other machines of that era. Backwashing with a caustic cleaning powder will corrode those in short order.
                    It is always a good idea to remove shower screen and dispersion disc aka plate holder when back flushing with detergent. That is what I do.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by kaanage View Post
                      I hope you realise Gaggia used aluminium dispersion discs in the Classic and other machines of that era. Backwashing with a caustic cleaning powder will corrode those in short order.
                      The couple of Classics that I have pulled apart, only the Boiler was Aluminium and everything below the Boiler (the Group Head) was made of brass, including what you refer to as the Dispersion Disc. Backflushing with a reputable product such a Cafetto Clean Machine won't do any harm as that part of the hydraulic circuit exposed to the backflushing routine is entirely made of brass, including the 3-Way Valve.

                      Gaggia Classic machines and their siblings do suffer from electrolytic corrosion of the inside of the Aluminium Boiler though, since in a dissimilar metal hydraulic environment such as this design, the Boiler ends up being a sacrificial anode of sorts, given that that Al is a more reactive metal than the copper tubing and brass Group Block. The good thing though, is that the Boiler is a relatively inexpensive replacement option for when things become truly sad and pitted...

                      Mal.

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                      • #12
                        I was under the impression that the gaggia's dispersion disk/shower screen holder was aluminium, while brass replacements are available. The problem of backflushing detergent (sodium [per]carbonate) damaging this part is pretty well documented - I don't know how it reacts but a dark grey residue forms which is easily wiped away. Its also recomended not to clean aluminium cookware in automatic dishwashers due to the high pH of the detergents.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by burr View Post
                          I was under the impression that the gaggia's dispersion disk/shower screen holder was aluminium, while brass replacements are available. The problem of backflushing detergent (sodium [per]carbonate) damaging this part is pretty well documented - I don't know how it reacts but a dark grey residue forms which is easily wiped away. Its also recomended not to clean aluminium cookware in automatic dishwashers due to the high pH of the detergents.
                          Are the newer machines using brass as stock?

                          I had 3 Classics and a Coffee go through my hands and they all had aluminium dispersion disks that were very reactive to sodium percarbonate based cleaners.

                          I remember looking at the brass replacements but decided it was not worth the cost.

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                          • #14
                            If they have the commercial brass dispersion disc (Coffee Parts | GAGGIA coffee machine | Shower Screen Holder), then backflush away with Cafetto, et al. But I've never seen this on the stock Classic so any Classic owner should check first.

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                            • #15
                              If I have a replacement dispersion disc made of brass, I will still remove them and soak it separately in a detergent solution and do my back flush without it. The main target of the cleaning routine is the 3 way solenoid valve and the passage way where coffee oils tend to accumulate when pressure is released after a shot.

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