What is it? In simple terms, it is that white/green buildup that occurs in appliances where “hard” water is heated and/or usually boiled. From a different perspective, it is the high amount of magnesium and calcium in water that tend to build up and form a scaling on the inside appliance surfaces that are exposed to the “hard” water. In an espresso machine, this includes the boiler, heating elements, and grouphead assembly.

What could be done? Well, some of our customers have used water and vinegar as a simple maintenance solution, but as they are learning, this is not always effective in preventing and removing limescale in your espresso machine. In addition, limescale build-up can become costly in the repair of your machine as it can affect an espresso machine’s steam or solenoid valve by keeping it open when the knob is in the closed position. Limescale can make heating elements less effective by coating their surface. And, lately, we have seen increased incidences of limescale in coffee makers and espresso machines that have become non-operational.


The main question now is…”What can I do?” We have two alternative solutions that you can follow for your home equipment. Most important is the “preventative” recommendation. Prevention of water high in magnesium and calcium is essential to the longer useful life of your home equipment. There are a few ways to accomplish this. First is to purchase bottled water that has been “softened” (a term describing water that has had magnesium and calcium removed) or to purchase “Reverse Osmosis” Water. The second is to install an in-home water softener – this is a good idea if many of your appliances and faucets have limescale build-up.

***Effective March 28, 2012 – 1st-line no longer recommends using any water pitcher filtration system as their cartridges usually are not effective enough to remove magnesium and calcium from the water. If you are solely using a water filtration system, please ask them if they have a water softening system included or a mechanism to remove magnesium and calcium or exchange these minerals into salt ions.


The second recommendation and line of defense is a maintenance schedule utilizing Puly Cleaner. According to the manufacturer, it is a light-duty cleaner and descaler for home use. We have found this product to be very effective when used on a regular basis. As a cleaner, it removes the rancid oils that can build up in your coffee maker or espresso machine. As a descaler, it eliminates the start of limescale build-up inside your machine. Although the manufacturer recommends weekly usage, we feel once a month is good enough (except for those cases where water is highly concentrated with calcium and magnesium, it should be every week to two weeks).

Now, Puly Cleaner is only good for home-model coffee and espresso machines. For semi-commercial and commercial equipment, Puly Cleaner can not be used due to the difficulty presented in removing the solution from the machine’s boiler. In these cases, a qualified commercial equipment technician should be utilized to perform this task incorporating a commercial grade (hazmat classified, which can not be shipped) descaler.

If you are interested in purchasing Puly Cleaner or for more information, you may do so on our website here.

We hope you found this topic interesting. We would love to hear from you about this and any suggestions you may have for topics to be discussed. Thank you.

Reverse Osmosis(RO)

The idea of an RO system is to purify water. That means giving you H2O, and H2O ONLY.

The H2O molecule is non-conductive. It is the minerals that make water conductive, and your auto-refill electronics use this conductivity to sense the water levels.

Pure H2O would simulate “No Water” causing the boiler to overfill itself.