A coffee machine descaler is one of the three types of cleaner that are needed for your coffee machine:
- Coffee Machine Cleaning Tablets
- Coffee Machine Descaling Tablets or Descaling Liquid Cleaner
- Milk System Cleaner
This product is the second one – the descaling liquid cleaner and replaces coffee machine descaling tablets.
South Africa is a country that has a lot of water with high calcium content. Johannesburg is particuarly bad and there are a number of other areas including Cape Town where water is considered “hard”… or in scientific terms, high in ions like calcium and magnesium.
The challenge with hard water is that the calcium binds to metallic surfaces over time. You can see this in your kettle. Those chalky deposits on the element or base are calcium ions that have bonded to the metal.
While they are not in any way dangerous to health at these concentrations, they impact your coffee machine greatly. They need to be removed with a coffee machine descaling product. These are usually descaling tablets, but now there is a better method and that is to use descaling liquid.
Why? Simply because they will either eventually block your water pipes inside the machine; interfere with the sensors that measure water flow in the machine; and most critically, a build up of calcium in your boiler will reduce the temperature of the water in your cup.
What happens in the latter case is that the calcium layer sits between the hot surface of the boiler and the water flowing through it. This effectively insulates the water from the hot surface, and you get a lukewarm cup of coffee.
The descaler is a mild acid and what it does is react with the calcium. The calcium loses its grip on the metal and is washed out. The boiler surface remains clean and ready to make full contact with the water.