How to Clean a Coffee Machine (And Why You Should Do It More Often)
Your espresso taking a long time to come through? Coffee tasting bitter lately? You can give calcium build-up the big send-off with this quick, easy method for cleaning a coffee pod machine with just vinegar and water. Soon you'll be getting the optimal taste from your Espressopedia pods.
“When was the last time you cleaned your coffee pods machine?” is a question I frequently ask Espressopedians and I am always surprised by the answer. Usually “never” but often annually, but it doesn’t have to be an expensive and onerous task. Plus a little effort frequently can save on costly mechanical problems in the future. Some of the warning signs of a dirty coffee pod machine are clear: oily sludge and mineral build-up eventually form on your coffee maker, creating stains, and more importantly affecting the dispensing process, resulting in a slow run through or the pod not being released into the capsule drawer. Preventing limescale will also improve the performance as the machine as it will take less time to heat up.
The good news is that you can learn how to clean a coffee pod machine to look sparkling and (nearly) new in just a few easy steps with some kitchen cupboard staples - vinegar and water.
No matter which kind of coffee maker you have, (Dolce Gusto, Lavazza A Modo Mio, Nespresso, Senseo or Verismo) you'll need to set aside a little time to allow the vinegar to work, so don’t do it right before hosting any coffee-loving guests. Post lockdown of course.
How to Clean a Coffee Pod Machine
Don’t worry; cleaning your pod machine doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive - distilled white vinegar and water is your go-to cleaning solution.
What You Need
- Your beloved coffee pod machine
- Washing up liquid
- Tea Towel
- White distilled vinegar
- Empty mug
Step 1: Wash Coffee Machine Exterior
Before you begin to unclog or descale your coffee machine, you should give the exterior a good scrubbing. The reservoir, drip tray and its cover, and the holder place them in a sink filled with hot water and about 1 tsp. (5 mls) of washing up liquid. Let them soak 15 minutes, then rinse well and towel dry.
Step 2: Clean the Coffee Machine Interior
While the removable parts are soaking, take a clean toothbrush and gently brush out any stuck coffee grinds in the capsule insertion space. While you’re in there, use a damp cloth to remove any build-up. Finish the job by wiping the exterior with a cloth dampened with a kitchen cleaner.
If you notice any limescale deposits (white crusty build-up), simply soak part of your cloth in white vinegar, apply it to the affected area, and let soak for a few minutes. Wipe again and the white marks should disappear before your eyes. Finish by re-assembling the coffee maker.
Step 3: Run Vinegar Solution
Before you start cleaning your coffee maker, make sure it has no pods in it. Place a large empty mug on the drip tray. Empty any water from the reservoir and remove the water filter if you have one. Refill the reservoir to the maximum line with a solution of distilled vinegar and water in a 1:1 ratio. Turn on your coffee maker, select the largest cup setting, and allow the vinegar solution to run through the machine as many times as it takes for "More/Add Water" to come on. And remember to empty out the hot liquid from the mug!
Step 4: Let Sit and Rinse Reservoir
Let the coffee maker sit for at least 30 minutes. When time's up, take out the reservoir and rinse it with water to get rid of any vinegar residue. You may have to rinse a few times.
Step 5: Run with Water
Repeat Step 3 but with plain water to rinse out the vinegar from the machine. Again, place an empty mug on the drip tray. Pour water into the reservoir up to the maximum fill line. Use the largest cup setting and allow the water to run through the machine as many times as it takes for it to empty. Now you have a clean machine ready to go and a satisfying glow.
Step 6: Use a Descaling Solution (Optional)
If the mineral build-up in your coffee maker is particularly heavy or taste doesn't improve, repeat the process with a manufacturer-approved descaling solution. Most manufacturers recommend descaling every 3-6 months (depending on usage) for best results.