A guide on the most popular coffee machines and how to clean them correctly

The recent global developments and the ongoing pandemic we find ourselves in have made one thing clear: Daily cleaning routines are now more important than ever. This applies to many areas of your life, and your kitchen and household appliances like your coffee machine, should be included. After all, you use it on a daily basis and want to ensure you drink germ-free fresh coffee.

If you want to enjoy your next cup of coffee, you need to keep your equipment clean. Unfortunately, very often the wrong cleaners are used. Incorrect detergents and soaps leave residues, odours and deposits that should have no place in your next coffee or tea.

Should you have been made to believe that hot water and a bit of vinegar will do the trick, you are unfortunately on the wrong track. There is a reason we use soap to wash our hands. And a detergent when washing dishes. The detergent part is needed to break down oils and remove bacteria and germs from your hands, dishes, and your coffee machine needs this too.

The same applies for removing mineral and calcium deposits (the white stuff you see in your kettle). You need an acidic solution to break down the residue. Decalcifying your espresso machine just with vinegar isn’t effective enough and can leave a bad vinegar smell. Vinegar and coffee? Not recommended!

To make it easy for you, we wrote a guide on the best way to clean your coffee equipment, simply find your coffee machine type below. “I regret cleaning my coffee machine”, said no one ever, we promise! And protecting yourself and your favourite beverage has never been more important.

Here is your guide on the most popular coffee machines and how to clean them correctly…

Clean your capsule coffee machine

Recommendation: Clean with a capsule, and descale!

Don’t think that your coffee machine will clean itself when you flush it out with water. Hot water alone does not break down coffee oils. Machines such as Nespresso®, Lavazza A Modo Mio®, Caffitaly® require two food safe cleaning processes:

Firstly, run a Caffenu® cleaning capsule at least once a month through your machine to properly clean the machine’s coffee brewing chamber and rest of the front end. Tip: Use the cleaning solution afterwards to soak your drip tray and capsule basket, works like a charm!

Secondly Descaling. The Caffenu® Eco Descaler cleans the back end of the coffee machine’s internals, removing harmful calcium, lime scale and mineral build up. The Eco descaler also has a natural antibacterial action to give a hygienic clean. Your machine will thank you with hotter coffee, too! Descale every 3 months or when descaling light comes on. For generic usage instructions on how to descale, see here.

Clean your bean to cup, espresso and filter coffee machines

Recommendation: Clean with a tablet, and descale!

Bean to cup machines require two cleaning processes, cleaning with tablets and descaling.

Step 1: The Caffenu® cleaning tablets, specifically the retail blister pack is perfect for home use to remove dirty old oils and odours and should be used at least once a month.

For detailed instructions on how to use the cleaning tablets in your machine, see here.

Step 2: The Caffenu® Eco Descaler removes lime scale and should be used according to the user manual instructions supplied by your machine’s manufacturer.

Descale every 3 months or when descaling light comes on. For generic usage instructions on how to descale, see here.

Optional Step 3: If your bean to cup or espresso machine also has a steamwand, clean it with a milk system cleaner.

The milk system cleaner removes sour milk residues and also sanitizes your equipment. Find more info on how to clean here.

Clean your fully or super automatic coffee machine incl. milk system

Recommendation: Clean with a tablet, use a milk system cleaner for milk circuit and descale.

Step 1 & Step 2: To clean bigger machines, you should use the appropriate size Caffenu® cleaning tablets in a jar, along with the Caffenu milk system cleaner to thoroughly clean the machine, and remove bitter tannins, coffee residues and oils. The tablets should be used once a week if you use your machine a lot or at least once a month. This will keep your machine clean and prevent misfunction but more importantly provide great coffee. 

For detailed instructions on how to use the cleaning tablets in your machine, see here. The milk system cleaner should be used regularly (at least weekly) to prevent milk blockages and ensure hygienic milk circuits. General instructions on how to clean your automatic one touch milk circuit can be found here.

Step 3: Any coffee machine/hot water appliance needs descaling so be sure to familiarise yourself with the Caffenu® Eco Descaler.

Don’t worry though, descaling is only required every 3 months or so. However, please be aware that not every machine have a descaling light to alert you, so be sure to descale anyway!

Clean your commercial manual or semi-automatic espresso machine

Recommendation: Clean with powderuse a milk system cleaner and group head brush.

Cleaning your commercial coffee machine requires the Caffenu® Cleaning Powder. The fast-acting, concentrated formula ensures removal of old coffee oils, build up and bitter tannins from your machine’s group heads, lines and valves. It is also ideal for soaking removable parts like portafilters, filter baskets and shower screens. The powder is great to use in your daily backflush cleaning routine.

Weekly cleaning of filters, handles, holders, trays, cups etc:

Use the Group Head Cleaning Brush measuring spoon to dissolve 2 teaspoons (8-10 g) of Caffenu® Cleaning Powder per 1 litre of boiling water in a suitable container. Place objects to clean in solution for about 20 minutes, until parts are clean. Rinse thoroughly afterwards with fresh water. 

Weekly cleaning of steam wands, milk foaming devices, milk jugs and thermometers etc:

caffenu milk-system-cleaner-bottlesTake your milk jug/pitcher, and mix milk system cleaner at a 1 to 10 ratio with water in jug. Eg. if jug can hold 500 ml, pour 50 ml of milk cleaner into jug and fill the rest of the jug with warm water. Operate steam wand several times in jug filled with solution, then let steam wand and any other milk accessories you’d like to clean sit inside jug with solution for about 20min. Take steam wand out of jug and wipe down with a damp cloth. Then thoroughly rinse jug and other accessories and fill with clean water. To rinse, operate steam wand in clean water several times. This will ensure your one-way valve stays clean, protecting your boiler and getting rid of milk deposits inside steam wands which can cause blockages. The milk system cleaner also contains a sanitizer for a hygienic clean.