How to clean a coffee machine

Professional technicians or repairers should always be called upon for anything more serious than a general clean. However, if you clean your coffee machine consistently, you won’t need to call in the professionals too often. If you are ever unsure as to the cleanliness levels of your coffee machine, pull a cup without using any coffee and examine the water…would you/could you drink it? If the answer is no on both occasions, it’s definitely time for a clean. Cleaning is recommended after every 80 brewing cycles for soft water and after every 40 brewing cycles for hard water:

Remove all drip trays and soak in soapy, lukewarm water. Do not put any soap directly into your coffee machine. Rinse all soapy water off before replacing parts.

Remove and clean milk wand with pipe cleaner and soapy water. Rinse soapy water off. Let off steam without actually frothing milk, to cleanse the wand internally.

Remove any used ground coffee from group handle immediately after brewing. Rinse off the filter basket with warm water. Scrub the portafilter and filter basket with a scourer if any brown-black residue is left behind. Do not use any soap.

Wipe down your machines ‘shower-head’ with a clean damp cloth after every use. Again, no soap here.

Be aware of the calcium levels of your tap water, you may have to think about using distilled water if calcium levels are too high.

For a moderate internal clean: If your coffee maker isn’t significantly clogged, white distilled vinegar may be your best option. Simply fill the reservoir halfway with cold water and halfway with white vinegar. Put a clean filter in the basket, and turn on the pot. Allow the machine to go through its entire cycle and then discard the water and vinegar mixture. Refill the reservoir with clean cold water and run through a normal cycle again. Discard the water and refill with clean water once more. Run the machine again to flush out any remaining debris and get rid of the vinegar scent. If you simply can’t tolerate the smell of vinegar, lemon juice may be used instead. Lemon juice is acidic, which means it will eat away at any mineral deposits, but it also leaves behind a pleasant smell. Lemon juice is not recommended for severely dirty or clogged coffee makers, however. Use the same technique for cleaning with vinegar, and continue brewing with cold water until you can no longer smell lemons.

For a heavy duty internal clean: For severely dirty coffee makers, vinegar or lemon juice may not be strong enough. If the state of the machine is affecting the taste or smell of the coffee, the brewing time or the heating element, a commercial product may be your best bet. A professional lime and rust remover will get rid of the toughest mineral deposits inside your machine. To use, fill the reservoir with cold water and then add 2 tbsp. of liquid lime and rust remover. Turn on the machine and run it through a regular cycle. When done, empty the water and refill the reservoir with clean water. Run through once more and then you should notice a considerable difference. Cleaning your coffee pot regularly with vinegar or lemon juice will prevent it from becoming severely dirty and will reduce the need to use chemicals.

Pull a cup without actually using any coffee and throw it out without drinking it or tasting it, immediately after de-scaling your coffee machine. Repeat this once or twice to make sure all the toxic agents have been removed.

Shine the exterior chrome of your espresso machine as often as you like.

Never submerge your coffee maker in water, as this will damage the electrical components

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