How to clean your espresso machine: maintaining your machine made easy

Your espresso machine works hard to give you delicious coffee with every use. Just like you, it needs a little care and attention to keep it in tip top shape. So what are some of the things you need to do for your machine?

It is always good practice to rinse the porta filter of excess coffee grounds, and make sure that the steamer spigot is flushed and clean after every use. But you can do a little more for your machine than just a quick rinse.

First, there will be the things you need to do after daily use. Then you will have to do a deeper cleaning around once a week. Finally, you might need to descale your espresso machine every four months, depending on the water you use.

The daily tasks

The first thing you need to do at the end of the day is to be sure that the porta-filter and basket are clean. You will need a nylon brush or sponge, or something that can dislodge any residual grounds from these parts.

Rinse the porta filter and the basket under hot water. These are the components that take a lot of wear and tear. You place the coffee grounds directly in them and need to care for them especially.

Second, you will need to clean the gasket or group-head. This is where the porta filter attaches. Take a nylon brush and scrub around the edges where coffee grounds can get stuck.

Next, run some water through the group-head to rinse it.

Next, wash the screen of the group-head as well as its underside. Usually, there will be a screw under the group-head that keeps the screen in place.

Remove this and give the screen a good scrub. When you take out the screen, also clean the underside of the group-head to make sure no coffee grounds have gotten stuck.

Once the screen is clean and dry you can put it back and screw it in place.

The next step is a backwash. First, you will need to insert a blind disk into the porta-filter. This is a basket without any specific holes.

This might differ between the manufacturers so check the user manual of your machine. If it is a process that is recommended in your manual, you can fit the porta-filter to the group-head.

Turn the machine on and run for about twelve seconds. Then remove the porta-filter, empty the water and repeat the process.

Now you need to clean the steam spigot. This is really important to keep clean. Milk proteins can get stuck and build up in the spigot and your coffee will start to get a strange taste.

Your machine might also become clogged up. You don’t want either of these things to happen.

To clean the steam wand, place a damp clean cloth over the end of the spigot nozzle. Turn on the steam, as you would before and after steaming milk, so the steam can flush out water and milk that might have gotten into the nozzle.

Do this for about two seconds. Wipe down the steam spigot on the outside as well.

The last step is to give your machine a good wipe down from top to bottom. If you follow these steps, it should perform really well every day.

Weekly tasks: a detox for your machine

There are a few things that you will need to do once a week. These steps we will give you now are for a weekly deep-clean. Again, check your machine’s manual and see what is recommended.

For this part you will need an espresso machine cleaner. There are different types of cleaners on the market but most you can just add to water. Mix the cleaner according to the instructions on the packet.

You will need to take apart your machine for this deeper cleanse. Usually your manual will be a good guide here. Once you have taken everything apart you can soak it in the cleaning solution or espresso machine cleaner.

If it changes color there was probably just some coffee grounds still in the mix somewhere.

The last step is to give everything a good scrub to remove any stubborn espresso residue or coffee grounds. Then rinse every part that you soaked in the solution under clean water and dry it.

Double check your steam wand or spigot to make sure there is no milk lingering.

Now you can put everything back together and enjoy the gleaming machine.


The last thing you might need to do is to descale your machine. This only needs to happen once every few months. You can get a descaling product that will explain how to use it.

You might know this by now, but check your user manual to see if the manufacturer has any recommendations.

If you keep your espresso machine nice and clean it will give you thousands of excellent coffees over its lifetime.