Nespresso Red Light Blinking? Troubleshoot & Fix It Now!

Last updated on June 21st, 2023 by Rebekah Pierce

Nespresso Red Light

You’re sitting in your kitchen, bleary-eyed and still half-asleep, when you decide to make yourself a lovely espresso. You put in the capsule, press the button, and wait for the satisfying gurgle of coffee to fill your cup – but instead, you’re met with a flashing Nespresso red light. 

What does it mean? Is your machine broken? Is it time to panic?

Don’t worry, friends – we’ve got you covered. In this post, we delve into what causes the Nespresso red light and how you can fix it.

What Does Nespresso Red Light Mean – and How Do I Fix My Nespresso Red Light?

What Does Nespresso Red Light Mean
Nespresso steel head close-up.
Photo by Studio 74

If you notice a Breville Nespresso or DeLonghi red light that’s staying on, or perhaps just blinking every now and then, there are a few potential culprits that could be to blame besides a need for descaling. 

1. Needs to Cool Down

One of the most common reasons why your Nespresso machine might be flashing a red light at you is that it needs to cool down. 

Generally, this is because you’ve been using it to brew back-to-back cups, and the machine has started to overheat. If that happens, don’t panic. Simply turn off the machine and allow it to rest for a few hours. It will cool down on its own. 

2. Insecurely Locked

If your Nespresso machine isn’t securely locked, you’ll see the red light flashing. This is a safety feature to ensure no accidental operations occur. Open and fully close the head to lock it fully. 

3. Pod in Used Capsule Container

If there’s a pod lying in the used capsule container or particles of coffee grounds lingering in the container, you’ll see the red light flashing, too.

Discard the pod and get rid of any coffee that might still be in the receptacle. Then, close the head to continue with your coffee making.

A common question users ask on the Nespresso customer service page that’s related to this is, “Nespresso Vertuo red light won’t open.”

If you notice the red light and it’s flashing red – typically three times in a row – and you can’t get it open, the most likely cause is a stuck pod.

In some cases, you can force the top open by gently lifting it, but if you’re still having problems, contact customer service. It’s best not to use too much force on your machine, or you risk breaking it for good. 

4. Error in “Special Functions”

If you notice that your Nespresso red light blinks twice before going back to a steady green (or if you just notice Nespresso red and green light blinking together in general), it’s probably a programming error. 

A blinking red light turning to steady green indicates an error in the “Special Functions.” You can reset it by heading over to the menu and selecting the desired special function by pushing the lever down. Press it once to “descale,” twice to drain the system, or three times to “reset to factory settings.”

5. Coffee Residue in Container

A common reason for the Nespresso red light to appear is that the coffee residue in the container has accumulated. Open the device’s tray and clean any residue you find inside. 

Once you do this, the device should restart without a red light. 

How to Descale Nespresso

How to Descale Nespresso
A box of brown coffee capsules.
Photo by Bob Oyoo

Again, descaling is one of the most common reasons why a Nespresso machine might blink red. Descaling is something you should do on a regular basis – here’s how.

Step 1:

First, fill the tank with fresh water. Regular tap water is fine, but make sure you fill it all the way to the max mark, since you’ll be using quite a lot of water.

Step 2:

Your Nespresso should have come with its own descaling solution, but it’s easy to find a replacement online or in stores should you run out. Add a pack of the solution, then give the water tank a gentle stir or shake to mix it together.

Step 3:

Put a container under the coffee outlet to catch the water. The machine will beep during the descaling process, which will last around 20 minutes. You can leave it and just let it do its thing during this time.

Step 4:

Once the descaling cycle is finished, you can remove the water tank. Make sure you rinse it well. Then, fill the tank with fresh water and run it through another cycle to get rid of any lingering descaling solution. 

That’s all there is to it!

What to do if Your Nespresso Red Light Stays On After Descaling

Nespresso Descaling
More espresso, less despresso!
Photo by Aram Grigoryan

Descaling is an essential routine to ensure the longevity of your machine, but what do you do when the Nespresso red light stays on after descaling?

If you notice a Nespresso red light after descaling, it’s likely one of the other issues above to blame. Here’s how to solve each one based on the colors and patterns of the lights your Nespresso machine is displaying.

Note that these are all based on responses found on the Nespresso website to common issues related to lights flashing on your machine.

Although this advice isn’t necessarily uniform across models (you’ll want to do some deeper digging if you try the solutions below and they don’t work), they are fairly consistent. So whether you are having problems with a Nespresso Vertuo Plus red light, a Pixie Nespresso red light, or even a Nespresso Vertuo Next red light, give these troubleshooting steps a try. 

1. Nespresso Red Light – Won’t Work or Turn On

If your Nespresso machine won’t work or turn on after descaling, it’s likely due to overheating. 

The best way to resolve this is to turn off the machine and unplug it from the power source. Let it rest for at least 15 minutes to cool down before plugging it back in and turning it on. A solid, non-flashing green light will indicate that your machine has heated up and is ready to use.

2. Nespresso Half Red and Green Light

If you notice a half red and green light, your Nespresso machine is indicating that “Special Functions” are on standby. You can choose to descale, empty the system, or even restore it to factory settings by pressing the lever once, twice, or three times, respectively. 

To get out of the menu, press the button and the lever together at the same time. 

3. Nespresso Red Light Blinks Twice, Then Returns to Blinking Orange

A need for descaling is the most common reason for this error message, but if you’ve tried that, it could be that the machine’s water reservoir is empty or not properly placed. 

Make sure that the water tank is full and correctly fitted. If the problem persists, try removing the water tank and reinserting it.

Sometimes, the pod holder of the machine creates issues in the brewing process and causes a Nespresso Vertuo red light. Again, this is usually due to coffee grounds mucking up the machine, so make sure you clean the machine well before each use. 

4. Nespresso Vertuo Red Light Blinking Twice, Then Steady Orange

When your Nespresso Vertuo has a red light blinking twice, followed by a steady orange light, this means that the “Special Functions” are on the standby mode. 

You can get into the special functions menu and get rid of this error message simply by pushing down on the machine’s lever.

5. Nespresso Red Light Blinks Twice, Then Green Light Flashes

If you notice a Nespresso red light that blinks twice, followed by a green light flashing, clean the machine thoroughly. You might need to clean the nozzle or capsule compartment to fix the issue.

6. Nespresso Vertuo Solid Red Light

The Nespresso Vertuo solid red light indicates that the machine has an unhandled issue. If you try resetting it by unplugging it and plugging it back in, and the light persists, contact Nespresso’s customer service for support.

How to Fix Nespresso Red Light – Patience and Lots of Troubleshooting!

How to Fix Nespresso Red Light
Where there is coffee, there is happy.
Photo by Loow Invernissi

The Nespresso machine’s red light should be viewed as a tool, rather than a nuisance – after all, it’s trying to tell us that something is wrong with the device so we can fix it and get back to our regularly scheduled coffee routine!

The good news is that most of these issues are fixable – so take the time to read up on why you might be dealing with a Nespresso red light, and you’ll be back to normal in no time. Enjoy that cup!

Looking for a new Nespresso machine to add to your coffee bar? Check out these reviews:


Why is my Nespresso blinking red fast?

The fast blinking red light could mean two things – either the water tank is empty, or the capsule container is full. Before you panic, check to see if the water tank needs to be refilled or the used capsule container emptied. 

How do I fix my Nespresso red yellow light?

The red and yellow blinking lights indicate that your Nespresso needs descaling, in most cases, but could also indicate a stuck capsule or other issues.

Why do I have a Nespresso Vertuo red light after descaling?

If you own a Vertuo Nespresso machine and notice a flashing red light after descaling, it could mean the machine’s sensors need resetting. To do this, hold down the button on the top of the Vertuo machine until the light stops flashing, which will reset the sensors.

What causes a Nespresso red and green light?

The red and green blinking lights are an indication that your Nespresso’s temperature is too low. It could be a result of a malfunctioned thermostat or a damaged heating element. In this case, it’s best to contact Nespresso customer service and arrange a repair.

What causes a Nespresso Vertuo red and yellow light?

A flashing yellow light on your Vertuo Nespresso could mean that the capsule is stuck in the machine. Check to see if the capsule has been inserted correctly and remove any stuck capsules. 

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