Fix Nespresso Red And Yellow Light With These 5 Simple Tips

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nespresso red and yellow light

Wondering how to fix Nespresso red and yellow light? Find out the meaning of a red and yellow light alert on a Nespresso machine and how to fix it.

You were just getting to make yourself a nice, hot cup of coffee when suddenly…

…your Nespresso red and yellow light alarm is on!

Don’t worry, I decoded the language of Nespresso light signals, so you don’t have to. This could mean that your coffee maker just needs a descaling cycle or that the water tank is empty.

Either way, stay with me, and I’ll help you fix it in no time!

Let’s jump into the topic.

What Does Red And Yellow Light On a Nespresso Machine Mean?

nespresso coffee maker

By now, you probably have figured out that Nespresso coffee makers have very advanced electronic software. They can detect problems and warn you about them with lights flashing in different colors.

The later models, like the Nespresso VertuoPlus, have that cool-looking LED light ring on top of it. It changes colors and informs you what’s happening. Pretty neat, right?

So, you’re asking what half-red and half-yellow light ring means?

One little thing to clarify at the beginning: that yellow light is actually green. It only looks yellow because of the lightning. So, don’t be confused if somewhere it’s referred to as a green light. But, further on, we can call it the yellow light.

Red and yellow (green) lights are error lights. They will stay on and annoy you until the problem is solved. So, let’s fix this the fastest we can!

There really just two potential problems occurring when the yellow and red light is on:

  • your Nespresso coffee maker is crying for a descaling cycle, or 
  • the water tank is empty and won’t continue working until you refill it.

Don’t worry, both of these are not big of a deal and are easily fixable.

Your Nespresso Machine Is Begging For Descaling

If your Nespresso coffee machine lights red and yellow, it’s most likely that it’s begging you to run a descaling process.

Descaling your Nespresso machine is mandatory if you don’t want to cut down its lifespan. If you clean it regularly and run a descaling cycle whenever it’s necessary, it will serve you well for many years.

But why is descaling so important, you may ask?

Here’s the deal:

Even if the water may seem totally clean, it contains different minerals, like calcium. There’s even a term “hard water” for water that has higher levels of minerals. Those minerals are left behind on the inside of the coffeemaker’s interior, building up and forming limescale.

If you don’t clean the limescale, it will build up inside the water system of Nespresso. And those build-ups will affect water pressure and the machine’s performance. Eventually, it can clog and interfere with your machine. And in the end, causes some serious damage to it.

No less important, some part of those mineral build-ups will surely end up in your cup of coffee. And I’m sure you don’t want to flavor your coffee with nasty limescale.

Although limescale isn’t dangerous for humans on its own, it could be potentially bad for you. Those build-ups, in combination with moisture and heat, are fertile soil for bacteria and fungi growing. Yuck!

Now that you know all the gruesome details, let’s clean your Nespresso machine!

Nespresso descaling: Step-by-step instructions

Before we start, I just want to bring this to your attention: make sure that you do all these steps within 2 minutes of each other. Otherwise, there’s the possibility that the machine will reset itself, and you’ll have to do it all over again.

Now, follow me. We’re gonna descale the Nespresso VertuoPlus coffee maker:

  1. Prepare the machine. Check if the machine is empty. I often forget to remove the used coffee capsule from the pod chamber. (Also, empty the Nespresso pod container.) Remove the cup support so you can place a large container under the liquid output. It should be about 35oz because it will collect all the discharge liquid. Add one package of Nespresso descaling solution to the water tank. It should be diluted with clean water. The ratio for Nespresso descaling solution is 1:1.
  2. Star the descaling program. Press the main button, then push the lever down, and hold it together for 3 seconds. The light ring will be a steady orange. That means you’re in menu mode. Push the lever once, and you’ve chosen the descaling cycle. Press the power button once more. The orange light will start flashing, and the descaling cycle will start.
  3. Descaling cycle. The whole cycle lasts about 20 minutes, and you don’t have to do pretty much anything. The orange light will flash during the whole cycle. You shouldn’t interrupt this process. It’s a serious commitment!
  4. Run a rinsing cycle. When all solution is out of the machine, you need to rinse it. Pour out that dirty solution from the container, and place it back empty under the liquid output. Pour clean water into the water container. Press the button 3 times quickly and leave it to finish the job. Fresh water will start flowing in about 2 minutes, and the whole rinsing process lasts about 5 minutes. When you see the steady green light, the rinsing is complete.
  5. End the descaling process. Again, press the button and push down the lever at the same time for 3 seconds.

Well done, you’ve finished the descaling. Now you can enjoy a fresh cup of coffee!

You Forgot To Refill The Water Tank

Another issue your coffee maker is trying to bring to your attention with steady yellow and red lights is the empty water tank.

This one is a no-brainer. The only thing you have to do is to detach the water tank, refill it with fresh, clean water, and attach it again to the coffee maker.

After that, you can resume brewing your morning cuppa.

FAQs About How To Fix Nespresso Red And Yellow Light

Let’s go through a few more common issues people are frequently asking about.

Can You Descale A Nespresso without A Descaling Solution? 

Although there are less expensive everyday products, like white vinegar or baking soda, it’s not the smartest idea to use them. Those can be too aggressive for materials inside Nespresso.

The best option is to use a proper descaling solution, no matter the brand. Nespresso even has the whole cleaning kit, so you don’t need to bother with finding everything you need.

Why Is My Nespresso Still Blinking Orange After Descaling? 

If you still have a blinking orange light after descaling – you might have a problem. It indicates that there’s a problem with the heating system. Most likely, it’s overheating from the descaling. Turn it off and leave it for an hour or two to cool down. Turn it back on, and if the orange light is still flashing, I suggest you contact Nespresso customer support.

How Often Should I Descale My Nespresso? 

The warning light is a pretty convenient reminder on its own. But, guys from Nespresso recommend you run a descaling cycle once in 3 months or every 300 coffee capsules

Yet, if your water is very hard, you can do it more frequently. Also, you can use filtered water and slow down the build-up of limescale in your machine.


And we reach the end, people.

When it comes to your Nespresso VertuoPlus, your machine will tell you what it needs. You just need to understand it.

The half-yellow-half-red light ring wants to warn you: you need to run a nice descaling cycle and clean it, or the water tank is empty, and you need to refill it. Both ways, it’s fixable, and you can have your cup of joe really soon.

Do you have problems with your Nespresso milk frother? Stay calm, we will help you figure out what could be the problem and how to fix it.

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Tijana Veljovic
Tijana spent a few years working as a barista. Now she’s enjoying writing about everything she learned about coffee and sharing it with you. Her weapon of choice for making it through the day is a hot latte. Besides writing and coffee, she loves traveling, camping, cooking, and good music.