Cleaning your coffee machine is vital for its lifespan, and the quality of coffee you drink. Here are the mistakes to avoid when cleaning these specific types of coffee machines.

Cleaning Coffee Capsule Machines

Avoid using vinegar when descaling a coffee capsule/pod machine, such as a Nespresso® coffee machine. Vinegar leaves a smell behind, and it doesn’t effectively remove limescale build-up. Learn about proper descaling, and how you can achieve it.

Additionally, you need to flush out your machine to clean the parts where the coffee pours out. However, a common mistake made when doing this, is only running hot water through the machine.

Flushing the machine with water doesn’t effectively remove old coffee oils and residue build-up, not to mention the bacteria. See how a Caffenu® cleaning capsule thoroughly cleans a coffee capsule machine.

Don’t forget about cleaning your machine’s capsule basket and drip tray, which also requires frequent soaking. Simply use the solution after using a cleaning capsule to soak your drip tray and capsule basket, scrub gently and rinse.

Cleaning Espresso Machines

A common mistake with cleaning espresso machines is not cleaning their parts often enough. You should flush the group head each time you brew an espresso shot, and wipe the portafilter down as soon as you can.

Avoid using steel wool or a metal sponge on steel surfaces like the steam wand and group heads. Doing this will make scratches without actually cleaning the parts. Use a gentle wipe such as microfiber.

Use a fast-acting cleaning powder to remove old coffee oils & build-up from your espresso machine’s group heads & valves, great for backflush routine. Soak removable parts: portafilters, filter baskets & shower screens.

Clean your espresso machine’s steam wand, or any steam wand for that matter, with a milk system cleaner. The milk system cleaner removes all milk solid build-up, and clears blockages.

Lastly, you also need to descale your espresso machine, to remove limescale from the machines heating source. Espresso machines which have a removable watertank can use a simple liquid descaling solution.

Cleaning Filter Coffee Machines

One mistake made here is only cleaning the coffee pot/carafe. All removable parts of a filter coffee machine need to be cleaned. Clean the pot and funnel using a Caffenu® cleaning tablet.

A filter coffee machine can also be descaled, as it builds up limescale. You can use a simple liquid descaling solution that you run through your filter coffee machine every 3 months for best results.

Overall

Use the right tools to clean your coffee machine. And ensure to clean all parts of it, not just the ones you can physically see. Send us a question if we can help in any way on what the best way is to clean your coffee machine!

Proper descaling and maintenance of your coffee machine is vital for its lifespan and the quality of coffee it brews. All coffee machines with water reservoirs build up limescale and calcium deposits in their heating components, like the element, thermoblock and piping. The question that remains is: What should I use for proper descaling? And can I use Vinegar to descale my Coffee Machine?

To answer this question, it is important to understand what descaling means and which build-ups you are trying to remove from your coffee machine when descaling. Limescale is one of them.

Limescale in your coffee machine

Limescale comes from calcium and mineral deposits present in water, especially municipal water. This build-up forms on your coffee machine’s internal parts, causing weak machine performance. Colder, poorer-tasting coffee comes with that poor performance.

There is ways to minimize the amount of limescale that builds up inside your coffee machine. For example, you can consider using fresh filtered water in your machine, as it keeps the build-up to a minimum, learn more here. However, the best and only solution to preventing and especially for removing limescale, is through proper and also regular descaling.

What is descaling?

Descaling is the act of removing the above-mentioned deposits from your coffee machine, to remove limescale and rust from the internal elements and heating elements. But what you use to descale can make a big difference. We have all heard of a few ways to “descale” a coffee machine, and vinegar seems to come up a lot as a recommendation.

Can I use vinegar to descale my coffee machine?

Some articles likely mention using common household vinegar to descale, which unfortunately does not turn out to be very effective. Vinegar is very weak and mild acid which is not effective to remove limescale or rust. Plus, you run the risk of leaving a vinegar taste in your machine. Vinegar has a potent smell which can take ages to get out of the pipes of your machine. And coffee and vinegar taste is not a good combination for your next cup.

Proper descaling with lactic acid

A premium and food safe way to ensure the proper descaling of your coffee machine is using a lactic acid based descaling solution. Lactic acid is used in many detergents and soaps due to its natural antibacterial properties. Lactic acid effectively removes limescale build-up from a coffee machine’s internals, while leaving little to no residue behind. It is also very effective in the removal of rust.

Our recommendation: An eco-friendly yet effective Descaler

Our recommendation is to look for a lactic acid based solution (not to be confused with citric acid, as it is less effective) that is good to the environment as well. Our Caffenu® Eco Liquid Descaler is an eco-friendly, phosphate-free solution that uses a food safe, high-grade lactic acid from Europe which effectively removes any build-up that may hinder the performance of your coffee machine, be it a household or commercial machine. Additional additives have been added to assist in the breakdown of the deposits. It has naturally antibacterial properties for a hygienic rinse and provides a sanitising action for all your machine’s internal components. Most importantly it has no smell and leaves zero taint or stains ensuring you get the best coffee out of your coffee machine.

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, home espresso and filter 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.

Caffenu milk system cleaner for all coffee machines and dairy equipment product displayOptional Step 3: If your coffee machine also has a steam wand, 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. 

Caffenu milk system cleaner for all coffee machines and dairy equipment product display

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:

The Caffenu Group Head Cleaning Brush is a multi-functional tool designed with an ergonomic handle and unique water deflector fins which keep your hand safe from hot water while cleaning your group head, shower screen and group seal. It also has an integrated measuring spoon for easy and convenient dosing of cleaning powder.

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

Caffenu milk system cleaner for all coffee machines and dairy equipment product displayTake 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.

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