Exit descaling mode in Nespresso Vertuo (100% works)

By Barath
Last Updated:

Did you put your machine in descaling mode, and cannot exit it? Power off and power on does not work, and is eternally stuck in that yellow blinking light?

My vertuo pop got stuck in descaling mode and nothing on the internet worked. I researched various options and compiled the following steps to get your Vertuo off the descaling mode.

The short answer is, that you need to perform the descaling process properly to exit the descaling mode, nothing else works. The process is very quirky and has a lot of moving steps. Doing it wrongly results in the machine being stuck.

Read Also: Fix your Nespresso that is not making a full cup of coffee

Common mistakes people make during descaling,

  • Vertuo Next and Vertuo Pop, are programmed to look for specific things like “removing the water tank”, and “removing the capsule tray”. If that is mentioned in a step, do it.
  • Pouring water directly into the tank during the descaling step, causes the machine to go with descaling continuously without ever exiting.
  • Turning the machine off during the process causes the machine to be stuck in descaling mode.
  • Encountering red lights and switching the machine off. Don’t do this, instead check my tips to get past the red light.
Most Common Problems
Improper descaling ProcessEnsure you do the cleaning cycle using a good descaling agent.
Even if the machine is stuck in descaling mode, perform the exact steps as mentioned
Machine OverheatingYou will know that the descaling process is not happening if you waste a lot of water.
I have a maximum of 2L (including the descaling solution the first time).
The machine overheats and shuts down. So, turn it off, wait for 30 mins and retry.
Red lights during descalingVertuo Pop gives a red light, 1 red light means you need to fill the tank with water,
2 blinking red light and back to yellow means you need to clear the capsule
from the tray/cup.
The only way to exit the descaling mode is to continue the process properly. Nothing else works, don’t panic, and follow the steps I have mentioned below to the tee!

Vertuo stuck in descaling mode – 2 blinking orange lights

Remove capsule and place a large bowl to start the descaling process

It can be annoying to find that the Nespresso Vertuo gets stuck in the descaling mode, blinking a yellow light. Or you go through with the descaling mode repeatedly, wasting water and the solution while the machine is stuck in the same mode.

To fix this, the only thing that worked for me was to do the following step exactly. In simple terms, you need to go through with the descaling process, possibly wasting water and time to exit the descaling mode.

There are a total of 7 steps, but you will find that some steps have to be repeated multiple times. I have marked them on the side for easy reading.

Step 1 – Use the Nespresso descaling agent (Recommended). I do not recommend using any other descaling agent like citric acid.
Ensure there is no capsule in the machine, check the capsule basket and the capsule holder.

Step 2 – Pour the descaling solution and ensure the container is half full, unlike cleaning, descaling does not need a lot of water. Do not lock the machine, leave it in the unlocked position after closing the lid.

Step 3 Hold the brew button for 7 seconds. You should see the blinking yellow light here.

Step 4Lock the lid once and unlock it again. Press and hold the brew button for 7 seconds till the blinking lights momentarily stop. Lock the lid again, and the blinking yellow lights start. Press the brew button to start the descaling process.

Lock it once and put it back in the unlocked position. Do not open the lid

Step 5 (Might need repeating) – Most people exit the descaling mode during this step or wait for the descaling solution to end and leave the machine to turn off.

If you are using Vertuo Pop(like me), you will find that the machine drains the solution(or water if you are not using a descaling solution) and stops with a blinking red light.

Don’t panic, pour water again and press the brew button once. Repeat till this phase exits.

You will know that it exits if the water is fully drained, so don’t keep pouring water, rather wait for it to drain once, a red light to indicate it needs more water/solution, and then repeat.

Step 6 – After the first rinse (completely exhausting the descaling agent). Remove the water tank, and the capsule holder and clean it.

IMPORTANT: Ensure you are removing the water reservoir and the capsule holder. In Vertuo Next, this is an important step because the machine does not understand that you have to move to the next stage, cleaning.

Step 7 (Might need repeating) – Press the brew button again, for the rinse cycle to run. It might or might not drain the entire tank. In an ideal situation, it will stop midway and reboot to get you back to brewing mode.

For me, Vertuo Pop had the red light again, which meant I had to pour more water. In this stage, I didn’t have to wait for the machine to blink red again, instead, I kept pouring more water till it exited mid-way.

At the end of the descaling, the light returns to a breathing pattern.

Descaling completes with a breathing white light

Factory reset won’t work if Nespresso Vertuo is stuck in descaling mode.

Nothing works including factory reset if the Nespresso Vertuo machines are in a descaling mode. This is extremely annoying because once you enter the only way to exit is to wait for the machine to move to the brewing state automatically

I tried factory resetting and it did not work. Don’t try my failed attempt!

Red light during descaling?

If you encounter a red light in your Nespresso during descaling, it means fixable problems. You can easily fix the problem and continue the descaling process based on the type/pattern of the blinking light.

Two red light blinks and back to normal

This happened to me because there were still some capsules left in the tray, once I removed it and cleaned it it went to the next step normally. Check for the presence of capsules either in the tray or on the capsule holder.

Single Red light during the descaling process

This happens because the tank is empty, this is pretty tricky because you expect the machine to exit the descaling mode if the water is drained.

Simply pour more water, and continue by pressing the brew button once. Whatever phase you are in (Phase 1 is descaling, Phase 2 is cleaning), it will not be affected. If you turn off the machine, the descaling mode will exit.

Caution – Things to avoid

Do not heat the machine. It can trip the internal thermostat that is responsible for heating the water.

If you have been repeatedly running the descaling process and the yellow still blinks, it is better to turn the machine off and pull the plug out. Resting it for 30-40 minutes has helped in some cases

Don’t use a descaling solution more than once. The machine cannot distinguish between water and the descaling agent, so why waste the descaling solution!

In the end

In my experience, to exit the descaling mode, go through descaling with just water alone. You can expect to use a minimum of 2L water to exit descaling properly.

  • Perform proper descaling by following exactly without skipping any step.
  • Be aware of overheating the machine and use the proper descaling agent
  • If nothing works out, reaching out to Nespresso support is better.
Barath is a coffee lover, who has been brewing his coffee at home for several years. He talks about coffee tasting, brewing guides and much more in home coffee wizard. Follow barath on X (twitter) @diputsC