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Cleaning materials?

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What are the thoughts of experienced Gaggia owners in relation to the "right" cleaning products to use, and where to use them, on a 2008 GC?

I seem to be getting some repeated issues of the 3w valve sticking which normally get resolved with a decent backflush with Pulycaff, but I'll run out of this at some point and thought now would be a good time to find out what I should be buying.

It's an aluminium boiler, and whilst scale isn't a huge problem round here we've not got totally soft water, so I'd need to think of descaling too.

Do I need a separate descaling chemical as well as a cleaning chemical?  And is there anything else I should have?

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8 hours ago, larkim said:

Do I need a separate descaling chemical as well as a cleaning chemical? 


I use for backflushing(and it's the most common I think), Urnex Cafiza powder. I do backflush weekly, and daily backflush with water only.

For descaling I use Puly Baby descaling sachets. 

If you have some repeated issue, you may need to dismount the 3w valve, and descale/clean in disassembled state. It has a tiny holes which can be easily clogged. But if you didn't do for a while I would recommend to take the boiler off and give it maintenance, replace o rings, check it's state etc. Repeated issue can be a sign of the scale.



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When I had my gaggia Classic, I used citric acid to descale. I no longer descale my machines. I prevent it instead. But granted, a descale on a Gaggia Classic is a very simplified operation compared to dual boiler machines!
For backflushing, I’ve always used Puly Caf. 

Current: Lelit Elizabeth / Niche Zero / VST baskets / Distilled water + 100mg NaCO3/L

Previous: Gaggia Classic | Eureka Mignon | Rocket Cellini Evo | Profitec 700 | Profitec T-64 | Gene Cafe CBR-101 | Kinu M68 | Feldgrind 2 | La Pavoni Europiccola 2012

Also at: CoffeeTime Forum & Niche Zero Owners Group


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Just thinking specifically of the 3 way valve, are there any chemicals to use / avoid specifically to deal with the whole of that?  With the brass body, the springs, the non-brass (I think - could just be silver coloured brass?) plunger body, plastic / rubber seals etc I wouldn't want to soak the valve components in something and risk damaging a part of it.  I've actually not got any descaler around but would be happy enough with spirit vinegar as a temporary solution as I'm happy I can remove all traces of it.  

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Vinegar is a descale solution though 😉

Is there any value in taking apart the plunger body too?  Or when you say "dismantle" are we saying separate into the three parts; the junction that bolts to the boiler, the sleeve which covers the plunger, and the plunger. 

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Vinegar is not a descaling solution, it may / does work to a degree depending on strength and can leave an unpleasant taste.

It is rather like being told your car needs a specific oil and then using something inferior olive oil ?

Ref the sol/ valve, completely dismantle it and split the valve at the 19 mm nut (3/4'' AF) it can be tight, hold in vice or screw to piece of wood to hold it.

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Yep, no issues with getting the valve into 3 pieces, I've done that a few times now.  Last time I had to screw the valve to a piece of wood so that I could get enough force on the deep socket to make it budge, which is a good trick.

So long as I don't need to get it into any smaller parts I'm OK with the process, especially now I can get it all out without having to dismantle the boiler etc too.  I stripped everything down about 3 months ago so at least I know how it all works now.

A descaling solution is only really an acid surely?  Vinegar is acidic, therefore it is a descaler.  Anyway, I've got sachets coming so I'll hold fire on the vinegar!

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