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How to descale a HX machine properly

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  • #31
    Hi all,

    So i just pulled apart my Giotto cos I found some scale on the mushroom. So far i’ve removed all the pipes and disassembled the group head. There’s a bit of scale ,really not that bad. So was wondering what descaler i could use to soak the parts in a bucket? a citric based one be ok? TIA

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    • #32
      Citric is fine but slow. The solubility of calcium citrate is actually quite low so the solution will saturate. Since citric is like $5 per kilo it is not worth your time to stuff around, just make enough citric to do several soaks and change the solution every hour.

      Acetic acid (vinegar) is a bit more effective but also more aggressive on the parts. Amidosulphonic acid (Sulphamic acid) is excellent but hard to buy in domestic quantities. Hydrochloric acid is the most effective of all but it will attack the parts very quickly unless you are very careful.

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      • #33
        I use straight citric acid when soaking parts. For E61 group heads and their associated plumbing, I leave it in for 24-36 hours then check.

        I find that after this time pretty much all of the scale is gone. If there were any spots that were particularly thick, it may have not eaten all the way through yet. In this case I just lightly brush away any excess that it easily removed then let soak for another few hours.

        Providing time is not a concern, I find this method easy and effective.

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        • #34
          Thanks for your info guys, much appreciated

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          • #35
            I think that some of the commercial products available these days use a healthy proportion of Phosphoric Acid in combination with other chemicals (I don't know which). Used a commercial version of Bombora's Triple Action Descaler many moons ago, which uses this particular acid, to clean up an old Bezzera HX boiler. The end result was very good indeed, and fast - All internal surfaces came up as pristine afterwards...

            Mal.

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            • #36
              I’d hesitate on using vinegar for a couple of reasons - for one the taste, but also as mentioned above, it is aggressive to metal. Check some of the YouTube videos on rust removal where this is tested.

              I use hydrochloric to clean the calcium off the chlorinator in my pool. A 10% solution creates a lot of fizz and gets rid of the deposits very smartly, but I would hate to think what it would do to a nice coffee machine. Last resort stuff for a machine that is almost completely blocked.

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              • #37
                Thought I'd post this here.

                I just did my first descale of my Profitec Pro 500. I didn't take it apart or anything, but just did the method in the manual (dissolving descaler in, running it through group head, back flush, empty out boiler through hot water tap, wash water tank and refill with fresh water, empty boiler and refill 3-5 times to clear out descale solution).

                Am now up to my 13th time of emptying and refilling the boiler, and the water still had a slight smell. It is getting better, but it is strongest smelling out of the steam wand :s. Not sure what to do, should I not worry about it?

                I've been adding water from the hot water tap to a cup and adding some bi-carb to see if it fizzes up, and it still is fizzing up a slight bit (which shows there's still a bit of solution in there...).

                It doesn't say you shouldn't ingest the descale liquid, just to keep it out of your eyes hehe...

                Its ingredients are citric acid 10-30%, tartaric acid 1-10%, anionic surfactants <5%.

                Wondering if I should just keep draining the boiler and refilling with fresh water from this point until the smell goes (have put a lot of water through already now...) or just not worry...

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                • #38
                  Originally posted by simonsk8r View Post
                  Thought I'd post this here.

                  I just did my first descale of my Profitec Pro 500. I didn't take it apart or anything, but just did the method in the manual (dissolving descaler in, running it through group head, back flush, empty out boiler through hot water tap, wash water tank and refill with fresh water, empty boiler and refill 3-5 times to clear out descale solution).

                  Am now up to my 13th time of emptying and refilling the boiler, and the water still had a slight smell. It is getting better, but it is strongest smelling out of the steam wand :s. Not sure what to do, should I not worry about it?

                  I've been adding water from the hot water tap to a cup and adding some bi-carb to see if it fizzes up, and it still is fizzing up a slight bit (which shows there's still a bit of solution in there...).

                  It doesn't say you shouldn't ingest the descale liquid, just to keep it out of your eyes hehe...

                  Its ingredients are citric acid 10-30%, tartaric acid 1-10%, anionic surfactants <5%.

                  Wondering if I should just keep draining the boiler and refilling with fresh water from this point until the smell goes (have put a lot of water through already now...) or just not worry...
                  I have the same machine. I'll look over my descaling procedure on Monday and get back to you. I've done it a few times without a problem.

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by homeslice View Post
                    I have the same machine. I'll look over my descaling procedure on Monday and get back to you. I've done it a few times without a problem.
                    Oh that would be awesome, would really appreciate that. I have no idea if descaling is something I even need to do for this machine still..

                    Thanks homeslice! (I think I've ALWAYS wanted to say that phrase... yes finally!)

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