How To Clean Your Espresso Machine (It Can Get Nasty)

You can clean your espresso machine using an espresso machine cleaning powder and water. The portafilter, the steam wand, and the group head are all the components that need to be cleaned at least once a day for commercial use and every 2 to 4 weeks for personal use.

Enjoying a delicious cup of coffee every day is such an overwhelming feeling. The caffeine from the coffee provides the much-needed energy jolt that helps us get through the day.

But no matter if you brew your favorite cuppa at home or a professional barista working in a coffee shop brews it for you, your espresso machine needs to be clean every single time. And if you’re able to maintain its hygiene well, it will take less time in doing a deep clean every other day.

So, we’ll discuss everything about cleaning the espresso machine.

How Do You Clean An Espresso Machine?

Whether your espresso machine is set up at home or at a coffee shop, it’s can easily be cleaned using espresso machine cleaning powder.

Keeping an espresso machine at home is an investment. If you haven’t gotten one already, you can check out my article where I recommend the best espresso machines.

And if you’ve made that commitment and make espresso every day for your delicious espresso-based coffee drinks, you need to clean your espresso machine.

So, whether your coffee machine is at home or you’re a barista and need to clean your espresso machine, the method is the same. Every time you use your espresso machine, a film of calcium deposits is left. Plus, the coffee oils and buildup of leftover coffee grounds can clog the whole machine.

Cleaning Espresso Machine Instructions

There here’s how to clean your espresso machine in the easiest way:

  • The first thing that you need to do is that you need to remove the group heads.
  • Then remove the portafilters.
  • With an espresso machine cleaning brush, clean the group heads. This will remove a residue or leftover coffee grounds.
  • Now remove the brewing baskets from the porta filter and replace them with blind baskets.
  • Add one teaspoon of espresso machine cleaning powder in the blind basket.
  • Put it in the group head with portafilters.
  • Now add in the water how you would normally do for making an espresso, and let the water run for 10 seconds.
  • Wait for another 3 second before you switch on the water again.
  • Repeat these four more times with a 3 second interval.
  • Clean the group heads by removing the portafilters and flushing away the foamy cleaning powder with water.
  • To make sure that no coffee grounds are left, brush the group heads again.
  • Now again in the group heads insert the portafilters.
  • Repeat this four times for 10 seconds.
  • Run the group heads with some water after removing the portafilter.
  • And you’re done.

Cleaning Instruction For Porta Filter, Basket, And Steam Wand

  • Wipe the steam wand every time you use it with a wet cloth.
  • In the pitcher, add the steam cleaning wand solution and let the wand soak in for 10 minutes.
  • Remove the cleaning solution from the pitcher and fill it with water.
  • Now let the want simmer in the water for 10 seconds.
  • Repeat this 4 times.
  • And you’re done with the steaming wand

Now let’s talk about the portafilters and the basket.

  • Soak in the portafilter and the basket in hot water mixed with a cleaning solution.
  • Soak it in a metal sink or a large metal bowl.
  • Make sure that the plastic handles are not submerged in water because they may corrode. 
  • Let it soak for 15-20 minutes.
  • Then wash them with hot water and a brush.
  • And you’re done with these two.

Cleaning Instructions for Shower Screens

In the coffee maker, the shower screens are responsible for evenly distributing the brewing water to the coffee pucks. Throughout the day, the coffee puck is constantly in contact with the shower screens, making them dirtier very quickly especially if your espresso machine is used commercially.

  • Unscrew and remove the shower screen
  • Now soak in all three parts, in hot water mixed with espresso machine cleaning powder.
  • Let it soak for 10 – 15 minutes.
  • Brush them and clean them in running water.
  • And you’re done with shower screens.
a clean espresso machine

How Often Should An Espresso Machine Be Cleaned?

The portafilter, the steam wand, and the group head are all the components that need to be cleaned at least once a day for commercial use and every 2 to 4 weeks for personal use. And for commercial use backflushing once a day is a must whereas for home use only once in a week or two is required.

Any gadget or equipment that is used for any purpose needs to be cleaned and maintained for longevity. If you don’t take care of your gadgets and machines, bacteria can grow and contaminate the food that you make using those machines.

If your machine is used for commercial purposes you need to clean them at least once a day. And the same rule applies to an espresso machine. You need to clean it thoroughly at least once a day. The portafilters, steam wand, basket, and shower plates need to be brushed and washed every day using the above-mentioned instructions.

But if your espresso machine is at home and not used excessively, cleaning them once a week is ideal. Though cleaning it every other day does no harm, it isn’t required.

A bi-weekly cleaning schedule is good for an espresso machine that is in service for home use. Lastly, keep in mind, that backflushing is very important once a day for an espresso machine that is being used commercially. For a home espresso machine, every week works just fine.

Can I Use Vinegar To Clean My Espresso Machine?

You can definitely use vinegar to clean the espresso machine. Mix three parts of vinegar with one part of water and use the solution to clean the machine.

When it comes to cleaning there are a lot of things that are used from the household things. Like baking soda, lemon, vinegar, and many more acidic items. And if you don’t have espresso cleaning powder you can use vinegar instead.

Since vinegar is acidic and has a 2 to 3 ph. level, it’s able to remove the oils and calcium build-up on espresso machines.

a cup of coffee with latte art

But if you don’t even have vinegar, you can also use:

  • Baking soda
  • Lemon juice
  • Salt and Ice scrub
  • Cream of Tartar
  • Citric Acid

All of the above-mentioned items are to be used with water and not directly. And after cleaning it with this solution, you need to clean it with plain water so that no cleaning residue is left and not after taste is transferred into the espresso.

Below is the table suggesting the pH level of each of these household items, to give you a better understanding of how acidic each of these is.

House Hold pH Level
Vinegar3
Baking Soda (water solution)8
Lemon Juice3
Salt7
Cream Of Tartar5
Citric Acid3

How Do You Clean A Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine?

You can easily descale your semi-automatic espresso machine by using an espresso machine cleaning solution.

Cleaning a semi-automatic espresso machine is not that hard. Just like you can easily clean an automatic espresso machine. This is how you can clean it.

Cleaning Instructions for Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine

  • Fill up the tank with water and cleaning espresso machine solution.
  • Switch your machine on and let it come to its normal pressure.
  • Then run quarter of the tank through the machine.
  • Allow alternatively flow through the steam wand and the brew head.
  • Then wait for 10 minutes and repeat this.
  • Do this until the water tank is empty.
  • Then flush the machine by taking out the water tank and filling it up with fresh clean water.
  • Allow the water to flow alternatively through the steam wand and brew head.
  • Once the tank is empty again, it’s ready to use again.

You can have a look at this video if it’s still not clear.

My Two Cents

lemons and a spray bottle

An espresso machine is used for almost any coffee drink. As espresso is used as a base for almost all kinds of coffee like lattes and cappuccinos. But cleaning them is necessary. If you don’t clean the espresso machine it can clog up and easily cause the machine to go out of service.

If you take care of your machine regularly, cleaning it would be easy. Though many people use the espresso coffee machine cleaner that is readily available in the market, if you don’t have one, you can definitely use vinegar, lemon, baking soda, and many more things.

It doesn’t matter whether your espresso machine is in commercial use or at-home use, cleaning is necessary, and rinsing it well after the clean up so necessary so that the taste of the espresso doesn’t get taint.

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Matt Marshall

As I learn more and more about coffee and coffee products I want to share all my learnings with you here on this website. I hope you find my articles useful and entertaining to read.

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