Descale Your Tassimo – The DIY and Easy Way

Your machine lights up with the indicator — it’s time to descale your Tassimo! We had our Tassimo for a few years before it indicated it was time to descale, and when it happened, I had no idea what to do. It still worked with the indicator light on, but it didn’t seem like a good idea to keep using it.

What you’ll need to descale your Tassimo: the cleaning disc, the empty T-Disc with a bar code on it that tells the machine to run water through the system, and descaler. But — how to descale your Tassimo when you have none of those things on hand? That was my problem, but I solved it!

Descale Your Tassimo Without Descaler

How do you descale your Tassimo without descaler? Sounds like a tall order. You could go and get descaler, of course, but in my case, I live outside of a serviced area and would have to order it and wait. If you need to descale now, there are the general options available:

  • VINEGAR – Seems like a good idea, right? But Tassimo recommends against it, and that’s because it’s too acidic. It might work, but it might screw up your reservoir. It’ll probably also make your coffee taste terrible after the fact.
  • CLR – Yes, people on the internet said to put CLR in the reservoir to descale your Tassimo. But that seemed like a horrible idea to me — I use that stuff to clean my bathtub and I don’t really want to ingest it. It’s also not recommended for coffee makers with a built-in reservoir, but it’s allegedly okay for the type where the reservoir attaches, like our Tassimo T20 model. Still, not a fan of the concept.
  • CITRIC ACID – This one is apparently good and easy.Word has it that Kool-Aid, the powdered kind you have to add sugar to, is a good source. But, there’s another way, and it’s what I used…
  • THE WINNER – LEMON JUICE – The pure kind, as in, RealLemon — the stuff from the little yellow squeezy-bottle. I used two tablespoons of lemon juice and one tablespoon of baking soda, and added it to just over 500 mL of water; you have to use at least two cups.

Descale Your Tassimo Without the T-Disc

We lost our disk. I didn’t really feel like spending the money (or waiting) to get a new one. Here’s something that saved my life and will save yours if you are in the same boat: Bob Copeland has the barcode in PDF format! Print it, tape it to an already-used disc, ignore the gross watered-down beverage in your cup, and descale your Tassimo. You may find the paper disintegrates; that’s fine because you can just tape another label on next time.

How to Descale Your Tassimo — In Plain English

The Tassimo manual is basically in hieroglyphics. However, Nerd Fever’s plain English explanation of how the process works is all you need.

Get your (homemade) solution into the back of the reservoir and your (homemade) cleaning disc into the usual place, then hold down the button as if you are making coffee. If you did it right, the coffee-making indicator will blink along with the descale indicator.

How Did it Work?

Twenty minutes after this process began, I had a really disgusting cup of watered-down coffee, lemon juice, water and baking soda, and a soggy disc in the holder, but the descaling light was off and I was only out a buck for the lemon juice.

This had no negative effects on our machine, though it was probably more complicated than just using descaler and the factory standard T-Disc. In the event that you get stuck like I did, though, and you’re desperate for coffee, this should work.

52 Replies to “Descale Your Tassimo – The DIY and Easy Way”

    1. Hi well I was on vacation when my coffee maker needed to be cleaned. Didn’t feel like driving into the main town to buy a kit so I just used baking soda. Worked fabulously.

  1. Worked for me on the first Bosch machine, whichever model that is. Took 3 years for it to finally light up. Thanks for the tip, first result from Google.

  2. This was awesome! I was able to descale with things I had around the house…and your instructions made sense. Thanks!!

  3. Just a tip if you use the barcode taped on an old disc, the ink from the printed barcode may stick to the barcode reader. I have read some people declaring their machine broken after doing this. What happens is the the machine will not kick into automatic mode (when you try to brew a cup of coffee) because the code can’t be read properly. All you have to do is use soap and hot water to remove it if this does happen. The printed barcode works perfectly if you lose the factory disc!

  4. Brilliant!!! I’m going to pick a lemon from my backyard, strain the juice & go for it. I’m lost without coffee & it’s been nearly a week! ☕️

  5. I used the lemon juice method just now and it worked amazing!! better than the store bought stuff. There was so much debris that came out it was unbelievable! Thanks for the life hack! 🙂

  6. Here’s what I did. 1 polident tablet dissolved in 17 oz hot water. Pour into reservoir. Inser cleaning disk. Put 17 oz container under spout. Push start & hol for 3 seconds. After 20 minutes cleaning is done. Open & close disk &. Push start. Repeat 4 more times.

  7. Only had machine about 3 months! Have been at the lemon juice/bicarb soda for about 1/2 an hour and the descaling light is still on 🙁
    I think I will have to buy the proper stuff but I would have preferred natural products as I have a chemical intolerance!!

    1. Did you hold the coffee button down until they both start flashing? I didn’t do this at first and kept having to do it over and over again without the light going off. It will only go off if you press and hold the coffee machine “go” light for 5 sec.

  8. I used this on my Map Caffitaly capsule coffee machine, after having this machine for a year. Used the process suggested on wikihow with the recipe on here. After process finished after around an hour – the water I put through in the rinse cycle was so clear you could drink it!! Big success!! So happy. No more descaling light blinking. Awesome. And i didnt have to spend $27 on the official descaling solution. Thanks for the tip 😀

  9. I would recommend against using lemon juice. It contains sugars and bits of finely strained lemons which can remain in your reservoirs and spoil, clogging the filter and creating molds, and altering the flavour. Diluted vinegar will work fine where citric acid would. Just rinse everything thoroughly and use the disc several times to rinse out the plumbing.

    Also, don’t add baking soda with acid – it neutralises the acid, defeating the purpose, and makes a bunch of salt. If you’re concerned about too much acidity just use a vinegar dilution, not straight vinegar.

  10. Hi Shayla, I’m also a northwestern Ontarian! I was born and raised in Dryden ON. I just tried your “Natural” lemon juice, water and baking soda idea! Thank you for posting it. We had recently moved and I have no idea where my instructions for descaling are let alone the descaling tablets. I am happy to know there is a “natural” solution that works instead of using chemicals!! Thank you so much!!

  11. I would go without using the baking soda. The point of using lemon juice is that it’s acidic, and the baking soda is basic. So by mixing the two, you just neutralized the two and defeated the purpose of using them. Just use straight vinegar and water, 50/50. Works for me. Done it three times. You could use straight water and think you did the job, but you can’t see inside to know if it did the job. This is a fact, acid removes calcium. If you mix the opposite( baking soda), you neutralize the acid. Of course, you can add more water to weaken the vinegar. If you need proof, test it on an egg, as the shell is made of calcium(or used egg shells). Bosh may recommend against all this, because they have an interest in selling their descaling tablets. Test all solutions in different cups for yourself. Mind you, your tassimo heats the solution, and will work at a much faster rate.

  12. From what I understand, the pot works with the light on, it’s just that folks don’t want to ignore a ‘warning’ light…
    So, why not just disable or cover the offending light, and proceed with the coffeepot as usual, cleaning with whatever solution periodically? Does the coffeepot know or care what solution is used, as long as it works?
    Don’t let these types of decisions suck up your valuable time, people. It’s what ‘they’ want.

  13. You can get CITRIC ACID in powder form from a pharmacy or chemist shop, and it’s really cheap. I user it for descaling kettles, shower heads and steam irons etc.
    I have a Tassimo coffee maker, as yet it hasn’t required descaling but when it does I’ll be using the citric acid.

  14. I just tried this and it totally worked! I used the lemon juice and baking soda method. I was surprised by how little ” junk” came out, but ran it through 3 more times and stuff still came out. My red light came on and I was able to use the machine for a couple of months, til it stopped one day. Now it is back up and running. Totally keeping this diy idea.

  15. Haven’t tried it yet but I love the solution you propose and from reading the other comments, I think it’ll be a success for me as well. Thanks so much.

  16. I’m doubtful as to whether you’ve actually achieved anything other than just turning the light off.

    I still have the disc for mine, but no descaling solution or tablets. I put the disc in, filled the reservoir with water and held the button in until things started happening.
    The machine happily ‘descaled’ itself with nothing but water and the light went out. I’ve done it twice now (several months apart).

    I suspect the device has no ability to tell if it needs descaled or not, it probably just has a simple counter that tells it how many hot drinks it’s made and after a certain number it demands you run a descaling cycle (my car has a similar light on the dashboard – it has no idea how much I’ve revved the engine, how hot it’s been or anything other than the distance travelled. The milege counter can be reset by pressing a button – I get mine serviced once a year and the garage usually reset it, but once they forgot and I had to press the button myself. I didn’t change the oil or anything else. but the car seemed satisfied with what I’d done!).

    Once you’ve run one it sets the counter back to zero.
    You’ve satisfied the machine’s demand and turned the light off but I don’t know if you’ve actually removed any scale from the machine (and neither does the machine).

    I plan to try mine with some citric acid (Bosch list the ingredients as CITRIC ACID, MALEIC ACID, SULFAMIC ACID, SODIUM BICARBONATE but they give no indication of quantity. The sodium bicarb has no purpose other than to make the tablet fizz when you drop it in and stir the other ingredients around).

    1. Ian, you are right; after 400 cups delivered the machine will declare it needs descaling, by running the program you just reset the counter as it assumes (stupidly in the case of using Lemon juice) that the user has used the proper descaling tablet.

      The main active ingredient in the descaling tablet it sulfamic acid – the citric and bicarb are the fizzing agents. I am a high school science teacher so have easy access to sulfamic acid, use two teaspoons in 500ml to descale.

          1. Hi,
            Can someone please post the t-disc bar code again. I am having trouble finding it and these links do not work.
            Thanks so much!

          2. You can use this wiki page to create your own barcodes it’s not a PDF but it does contain the appropriate code. The proper barcode is the 07879 (the 5 is the check digit and auto generated). Steps to print 1. Download app 2. Run app 3. In the “List” box make sure 07879 is the only number and click the > button 4. Click Print (optionally print to PDF to save time).

      1. This can’t be the case since I tried 3 times to just run water through the descaling process and the light is still on

    2. My machine is about 5 years old. Gave to my father and I got it back about 3 or 4 years ago. My ex used it until we split up and the last 2 years its rarely used – I don’t drink coffee, so just occasional chai latte or peppermint mocha. Today I had a mocha and the descale light came on so I’m guessing that’s the first time ever. I ran it through with whatever water was in the reservoir at the time and nothing else, no solutions. Water came out a little cloudy and when it was finished the red light went out. The next time it happens I’ll try some lemon juice in there. Thanks for all the suggestions.

  17. Tried this method and it worked like a charm. The engineer in my would like to think there is some sort of sensor (infrared or piezo?) in the machine that is analyzing when the lines are getting somewhat blocked or obscured by the mineral build-up, but I’m skeptical they go that far. Also, my minimal chemistry training tells me that the basic baking soda (sodium bicarb) is working against the acidic lemon juice to essentially weaken it somewhat. There is obviously a mild reaction that takes place that I could be convinced was “activating” the mixture in some way to make it more effective, but I’m skeptical of that too. In any case, my annoying light is off and I’m makin coffee again! 🙂

  18. Just as a quick follow-up… regardless if I all I did was to reset the counter and light in the machine with this approach, there is no doubt that we have hard water, as evidenced by build-up in our sinks, baths, dishwasher, etc., so there has to be some in the coffee maker lines as well. Not sure if this method completely does the trick, but the acid certainly has some effect, and the placebo affect makes me feel better. Also, it was cheap, quick and easy, and shouldn’t have hurt the machine… so what the hell, I’m goin with this! 🙂

  19. Lost my yellow cleaning disc, Nerds Fevers sight is no longer running with this info…where do I get a “disc cleaning bar code”?

  20. Hi! Do you think that will work if i print the barcode on paper an i stick with transparent duct tape? I don’t have where to print on labels sheets…

  21. Hah so I googled descaling tassimo and this was the third option that popped up on my google search. And it have been so many years!

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