How to Clean Your Coffee Machine

What makes the world go round? Coffee. You may have heard differently, but whoever said otherwise was wrong. In our range of coffee machines, you’ll find a selection of built-in and freestanding devices that will allow you to make the perfect brew at home.

If you’ve ever wanted to make that barista-level cup of coffee from the comfort of your home, but don’t have the time to learn the ins and outs, our coffee machines will give you what you’re looking for, sometimes at the push of a button!

There’s something you need to bear in mind though – your coffee machine needs cleaning. Taking good care and cleaning your machine not only improves the lifespan of your kit but will also improve the taste of your coffee.

We’re going to run through how to clean the following:

  • Espresso machines
  • Built-in machines
  • Capsule coffee machines

We’ll also talk about how to descale your coffee machine to get the most out of it. If you take yourself seriously as a coffee lover, a coffee machine is must have. And if you have one, the least you can do is take good care of it.

How to Clean an Espresso Machine

With an espresso machine, there are a few parts that will need to be cleaned. These are:

  • The portafilter – this is the handled filter that you fill with coffee grounds.
  • The basket – a filter screen that is found within the portafilter.
  • The gasket – this is where you insert the portafilter. It’s made from rubber and will experience a build-up of coffee grounds.
  • The steam lever – the metal arm normally found to the side of the gasket.

You can clean the portafilter and basket together. Simply remove them from the gasket, run hot water through them (you can even use your machine to do this) and scrub them with a pad or a nylon brush. Make sure you rinse them through with hot water and dry them with a clean towel. Grounds will get lodged in these parts quite easily, but this should be the most straightforward part to clean. It’s good practice to thoroughly rinse out your portafilter after each usage anyways.

To clean the gasket, you may want to ensure you have a nylon brush instead of a pad. Remove the portafilter and scrub around the gasket with your brush. Keep going around the edges for a short while and rinse it periodically with hot water, ensuring you don’t burn yourself in the process!

If you want to go a step further, you may be able to remove a part of the gasket with a screwdriver. This is the group screen, which will look similar to the screen found in the portafilter. Remove this screen and scrub around with your brush or pad. Not as essential but if you think it’s not working at full capacity, this is worth doing.

Cleaning the steam lever is very straightforward. You’ll see milk proteins building up on it, and this will normally happen after just one usage. Simply wipe it down after each usage. After every day or week, clean it with a sanitising product and either leave to dry or hand-dry with a clean towel.

How to Clean Built-In Coffee Machines

Our built-in coffee machines fall under the remit of ‘bean-to-cup’ machines and require a slightly different process. This will differ slightly from brand to brand, mostly in where you can find the different parts. If you’re still not sure after this, then refer to the guide of your product, or look to see if the manufacturer of your bean-to-cup coffee machine has provided instructions online.

With a built-in coffee machine, you may sometimes get an indicator light that lets you know when you need to clean your machine and there is often a button labelled ‘clean’ on it. Your machine will often slide out of the unit you installed it in.  Fill up your water tank and then press and hold down the clean button for a few seconds.

You will have trays that need to be emptied. Remove your trays from the unit and rinse those out. Often, built-in coffee machines will come with cleaning tablets or you can buy them online. Put these in where you would normally put your coffee grounds and press the ‘clean’ button.

If you fancy yourself your tinkering abilities, you can remove the face of the and clean the pipes out yourself. The most important part to clean is the milk frothing system. This should be cleaned daily.

It’s hard to be specific with built-in coffee machines and if this doesn’t satisfy your query, see if the manufacturer of your product has provided information on how to clean your coffee machine.

How to Clean a Capsule Coffee Machine

This is the easiest variety of coffee machine to clean. A capsule coffee machine is often freestanding and will sit on a kitchen countertop. They require disposable coffee capsule to do their magic, so there aren’t any messy coffee grounds to deal with.

It’s very straightforward, simply turn off your machine and let it cool down before you attempt to clean it. Then take out any removable parts such as the water tank, anti-limescale filter and anything else and wash them with a brush. Preferably with soft bristles. Leave these to dry or hand-dry them with a clean towel.

You should clean your capsule coffee machine after two or three roughly, depending on how many coffees you drink. A rule of thumb is do it after every 200 to 300 coffees but obviously, you don’t keep count. On the basis that you make three coffees with it a day, you should give it a proper clean every three months.

Descaling your Coffee Machine

Just as important as cleaning your coffee machine is descaling it. There are normally purpose-built descaling products that you can buy. This is usually the case for built-in coffee machines in particular.

If it is a built-in coffee machine, you will usually receive a prompt saying it s time to descale. If that is the case, simply put a descaling tablet into the machine where you normally put the grounds, press ‘clean’ and let it do its thing.

The rules are similar for other types of coffee machines, it normally involves using your machine as you would if you were going to make some coffee but using descaling solution instead of coffee. For example, on an espresso machine, you would put your descaling product in the portafilter. Just make sure that you rinse your machine through with fresh water before you make a coffee that you drink!

Staying on top of the cleaning and descaling of your coffee machine is a great way to enhance the lifespan and improve the flavour of your coffees. If you want to have high-quality coffee at the push of a button, a coffee machine would be a more than worthy investment. We have a great selection of freestanding and built-in coffee machines in our small appliances section, alongside our blenders, kettles, stand mixers and toasters.