5 Tips For Cleaning An Espresso Machine

5 Tips For Cleaning An Espresso Machine

An espresso machine is a great way to give your customers a wide variety of coffee drinks, letting you offer cappuccinos, lattes, Americanos, and more. It’s likely a staple in your restaurant or cafe, which means you want to keep it operating smoothly.

To keep your espresso machine running efficiently and dispensing these delicious offerings, you need to make sure you properly maintain the machine. Luckily, while these machines may look complicated, you don’t need to be a mechanic to conduct regular espresso machine maintenance.

Here are 5 easy tips on how to clean your espresso machine so you can keep your customers happy from open to close.

1. Always Read the Manual

The first step for espresso maintenance is to make sure that you read the machine’s manual. The manufacturer will likely specify what can and can’t be used in the machine, and you want to make sure that you don’t void a warranty.

More importantly, some commercial espresso machines might have an automatic cleaning function, so you need to know this before you start to take the machine apart. Before cleaning your espresso machine, you should know the recommended cleaning products and cleaning process according to the manufacturer.

2. Clean Your Machine Daily

How often should you clean your espresso machine? Easy, every day!

You should keep the espresso machine clean daily, first by cleaning the exterior with a damp, clean rag to remove spots and debris that could clog the machine. You may use an espresso machine cleaner as recommended by the manufacturer for this process as well.

Next, after you’ve finished preparing drinks, it’s time to clean the other parts of the espresso machine. The portafilter and basket will likely need to be cleaned and you can remove them, then gently scrub with a nylon brush or pad — or whatever the manufacturer suggests — to remove the grounds. Next, you can rinse them with hot water, and rub them dry with a clean towel.

The gasket often needs cleaning next, and you should use a nylon brush, moving the brush around so as to remove any loose debris from the gasket, then follow that by running water through it. Flushing the gasket this way will make sure you’ve rinsed out any debris that could clog the machine or get in a customer’s drink.

A daily espresso machine maintenance schedule ensures your machine remains in the best shape. Similarly, daily cleanings make sure each and every drink you make for your customers is fresh!

3. Descale Your Machine

Descaling is a process that helps you remove buildup from your espresso machine. As you make drinks throughout the week, the water used in the process can leave mineral deposits, and it’s important to remove those to keep the machine running steadily. You should descale your espresso machine at least every three to four months, though the manufacturer may specify a different timeline.

How to Descale an Espresso Machine

The first step is to fill the reservoir with clean water, then add the descaling cleaner to the water, letting it dissolve. Descaling solutions will specify how much to use so be sure you use the proper amount and don’t just dispense it “eyeballing” the amount.

Once it’s inside the machine, you can dispense the solution through the steam wand by letting one cup run through it. Don’t forget to place a cup underneath the steam wand to collect the dispensed solution, or the abrasive properties may ruin the exterior of your espresso machine.

Next, let the machine sit with the descaling solution for at least 20 minutes, so it can get to work removing the mineral deposits. After it’s rested for 20 minutes, run the solution through the steam wand to fill a ¼ cup up into the waiting cup. Some models may specify that you need to run it through the group as well, so be sure you read the instructions for your particular espresso machine carefully.

You’ll need to let the machine sit another 20 minutes to give it a thorough cleaning, then you can run the rest of the solution out either through the steam wand and group, or just the steam wand, depending on the manufacturer’s instructions.

Finally, flush your espresso machine with clean water running it through the steam wand and portafilter to remove any last traces (or just the steam wand, depending on the model of your machine), and collect the water with a cup underneath.

4. Keep Your Steam Wand Sanitary

Your steam wand goes into a lot of drinks and needs to be sanitized regularly. Be sure that you regularly sanitize it, or else your machine may become clogged. Wipe it carefully with a damp clean cloth, placing it over the nozzle.

Then turn on the steam wand, and let it run for a few seconds to remove the build-up. Depending on the model of your commercial espresso machine, you may be able to remove the wand tip to clean it more thoroughly.

5. Soak Parts Overnight In Cleaning Solution

Another way to properly clean your espresso machine is to soak the parts overnight. These parts usually consist of the drip tray, gratings, filter basket, group, and showerheads, all of which you can remove according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Be sure you pay attention to the soaking instructions and don’t use abrasive chemical cleaners. Letting them soak overnight will remove any buildup or debris from the parts, and that means you’ll have a cleaner running espresso machine.

Your Espresso Machine Maintenance Checklist

With your machine’s manual in hand and these espresso maintenance tips in mind, you’re on your way to having an efficient working machine year-round. Of course, you should also keep the necessary cleaning supplies on hand.

Here are a handful of espresso machine cleaning products to consider:

Remember that different commercial cleaning products are often designed for specific models. Always make sure to know the model of your espresso machine and any manufacturer information before using a new product.

Elevate Your Espresso Machine

Your customers want delicious coffee drinks, and if you’ve invested in a quality commercial espresso machine, you want to be sure you give them exactly what they ordered. Be sure you take care of your espresso machine by cleaning it regularly with these tips, and you’ll preserve the life of your machine for a long time.

Shop All Commercial Coffee Equipment from GoFoodservice today to keep your commercial equipment looking great and operating smoothly.


  1. comment authorHome Plix May 13, 2019

    Cleaning an espresso is a tricky thing. You have discussed the matter details. Thanks for sharing your helpful post.

  2. comment authorGeorge Holcomb Apr 12, 2020

    I have a Rancillio Sylvia expresso mashing. Which chemical product should I use to clean the screen?

    comment authorGoFoodservice Invalid Date

    Hi George, we recommend soaking it in hot water with some dish detergent. You can use a toothbrush (or similar brush) to remove the debris. Be sure to rinse it thoroughly. Hope this helped!

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