I've had this machine for about 3 years and I just noticed a Menu entry called "Wash" a photo of the screen, reading "WASH No" and on the line below it, "o select function th" That when selected prompt you to "ADD DETERGENT": a photo of the screen, reading "ADD DETERGENT" and on the line below it, "PRESS OK"

This option is not documented anywhere in the manual, I tried searching the net without finding any concrete answer or even vague references to this option.

I'd like know:

  • What's supposed to wash?
  • What detergent should be used?
  • When it should be run?

2 Answers 2


I just ran the WASH cycle (without detergent).

A couple of notes and observations for the record:

  • Took about 15 minutes to run.
  • It would "brew" about 150ml of water every few minutes until the tank is emptied
  • Once emptied it would not perform a rinse cycle with an additional tank like DESCALE does.

Given the lack of a rinse cycle I suspect that whatever detergent it wants, it probably has to be poured using the pre-ground opening on the top unless you like detergent-flavored coffee.

I STRONGLY ADVICE AGAINST ADDING DETERGENTS TO THE TANK when using this function, at least until we find out how to correctly using this function.

I found this fixya link

Long story short, the wash programs does a high tech cleaning of the machine. You should use coffee machine cleaners like Cafiza, Puro Caff or Joe Glo. The detergent should be poured using the pre-ground hole at the top.

I bought a bottle of Cafiza and poured about a spoonful through the pre-ground chute and ran the WASH cycle, photo below shows what was coming out (I had already emptied the glass jar once, what initially came out was plainly gross I should have taken pictures). It's surprising considering that I had disassembled and cleaned the entire brew unit 2 days ago in order to replace an aging o-ring.

a photo of a pyrex bowl containing dark brown, foaming water

Once it was done, I took out the brew unit, rinsed it with water just in case and brewed and discarded one coffee. After that I brewed a new coffee and it definitely tastes better now, less acidic and more "round" around the edges. I'm using a custom blend of 78% Brasil Santos + 22% Colombia beans made by my friend.

  • This seems a lot like the descaling on my Philips machine. Rather than rinsing, you would have to run it twice, once with descaling solution and once more with just water. As for detergents, the problem isn't so much that it changes the taste, it may actually damage the pipes in your machine. For example, my espresso machine has backflush tablets which contain a bleaching agent; that's fine for stainless steel but it may damage aluminium.
    – JJJ
    Jun 12, 2021 at 2:25
  • Descaling is to remove water mineral deposits inside the boiler, if you let them pile up for too long the machine will not be able to keep the ideal water temperature to ensure optimal brewing quality.
    – Elfarto
    Jun 12, 2021 at 3:18

The only cleaning option I can think of (after going through the manual) where you would add some cleaning mixture and let the machine process it is the descaling procedure (described on page 34 of manual, page 17 in the linked PDF).

Another option might be that it's a generic menu option which is used for some machines using the same menu, but not your machine. An easy way to find out would be to start the program without adding any detergent. If nothing happens or you receive an error message, then it's probably just a function that doesn't do anything on your machine. If it starts some cleaning procedure, you might be able to figure out what it does by observing which parts of the machine start working.

As a general note on detergents, the manual for the ESAM4 contains the following warning on cleaning:

Do not use solvents, abrasive detergents or alcohol to clean the coffee maker. With De’Longhi superautomatic coffee makers, you need not use chemical products to clean the machine. The descaler recommended by De’Longhi is made from natural and completely biodegradable substances.

  • I'm awere of DESCALING, this is a different option called WASH which can be accessed from the MENU,
    – Elfarto
    Jun 11, 2021 at 20:06
  • @Elfarto did you try running it (without detergents)? What happens if you do? If you figure it out that way, feel free to post it as a new answer as it might be useful / interesting for others. :)
    – JJJ
    Jun 11, 2021 at 20:08
  • I just added photos with the option and the Add Detergent prompt, i'm surprised nobody came across this before as this is a popular coffee machine and has been around for quite some time.
    – Elfarto
    Jun 11, 2021 at 20:09

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