Its hard to know when to clean your Nespresso machine, but we have a simple hack to help: the shot test. Run a shot of water through the machine with no capsule. Take a good look at the water that comes out - if it's clear and does not smell of old coffee, then you are probably good to go.
For extra certainty, let the water shot cool, then taste it. If its neutral tasting, then the state of your machine is not affecting the quality of the coffee being poured. More often than not though, most people will be amazed at what comes out the machine!
To clean the machine, use some detergent designed for a Nespresso® machine, add it to the water tank, following the manufactures instructions. We recommend 'Puly' descaler and detergent which you can purchase from Amazon, though there are plenty of products on the market.
Doing this stops the build up of old coffee oils, which can taste horrid. After you have used the detergent, run several [yes several!] tanks of water through the machine to make sure the detergent is washed away.
If the machine is clean, and shots are correctly sized, your coffee should taste at its best.......certainly worth the 10 minutes of your time once a month.