I don’t know about you guys, but I’m always more concerned about getting a cup of coffee in the morning than about anything else. Honestly, I’m not usually awake enough to even think about cleaning my coffee machine when I’m cradling that first cup of goodness.
I just have a small espresso machine and a French press. They’re all I have room for in my tiny kitchen, TBH. Truthfully, during the day I don’t spend a lot of time cleaning them, apart from rinsing out the press and giving the espresso machine a wipe-down.
When I do finally get around to deep cleaning, I usually don’t think about the days or weeks that have gone by. But — spoiler alert — it’s real important to keep track of how often you clean your coffee machine and to clean it as frequently as it needs it.
Here’s why you should be cleaning yours, whether it's a small coffee maker or a larger filter coffee maker — and how often you should be doing it…
Why should you clean your coffee maker?
Hands up who uses their coffee machine all the time? Same. It’s basically part of my daily routine at this point. “Chances are that those who have a coffee maker in their homes use it at least once a day,” says Michael Rubino, founder of home health company HomeCleanse. This frequent use and the type of features a coffee machine has creates the perfect little environment for bacteria to multiply. “Other factors such as high humidity, spills, pooled water, and faulty equipment can also create moisture-rich situations that can allow for growth.”
This means that they can get seriously gross, seriously fast. So basically, every time you take a sweet sip of coffee from your machine or maker, it has more than just coffee particles in it. “It also has microscopic particles which could include mold spores, fragments, and bacteria,” Rubino adds. Ew. No one wants to be drinking those.
How often should you clean your coffee maker?
This varies between different makers — some need to be cleaned every day, while some only need weekly or even monthly cleans. Each maker and machine has its own set of needs, so scroll on through to find out how often you should be cleaning yours.
Depending on the type of machine, it can be between once a day to once a week. “If you're using a manual machine, it's a good idea to ‘retire’ the group heads individually after a day of use, even if you've only pulled a shot or two,” says Sahand Dilmaghani, founder of coffee hardware company Terra Kaffe, which makes espresso machines like this sleek and swish TK-01.
In terms of cleaning, he likes to use a wire brush, powder-based espresso cleaner (such as Urnex’s espresso machine cleaning powder, which is Amazon’s Choice), and a cleaning portafilter. “Soak the used portafilters in a solution of boiling water and dissolved espresso cleaner for about 20 minutes," explains Dilmaghani. "As for the group head, run some hot water, get every nook and cranny with the wire brush, and finish with a closed portafilter.” From here, he recommends putting the espresso cleaner into the portafilter, locking into place, and running for 15 seconds. Then, turn on and off for one minute before removing and giving a final brush and rinse.
Most pour-overs only have one or two pieces, which should be rinsed before and after each use with hot water to keep them clean. “After about two weeks or any noticeable buildup, I chuck it in the dishwasher, assuming it's either all-glass or at least dishwasher-safe,” Dilmaghani adds.
While the French press is a fairly simple maker, its filter can get coffee grounds stuck between the layers of the stem, wire filter, and frame, meaning cleaning after each use is ideal. Dilmaghani explains, “I like to disassemble it, usually by unscrewing the filter from its stem, separating the layers, and soaking in warm water with a little mild dish soap.” If it's been too long between cleans, a good scrub with a dish brush will also do the trick. "Barkeepers Friend, which you can buy from Amazon, is my secret hack for removing stains and tarnish.”
These types of coffee makers should be rinsed with water alone at least once a month. “Never use soap, as this can get caught in the crevices of metal and impact the flavor of your coffee," Dilmaghani says. Any stubborn coffee residue can be wiped away with a damp paper towel if need be. After rinsing, ensure all pieces are dried completely before reassembling.
Just once a month is perfect for cleaning pod machines, which we absolutely love here at Real Homes as they’re so low-maintenance. Clean the pod holder with a small brush, like Oxo Good Grips, which is Amazon’s Choice, and comes in a handy set of two. Then, flush out the machine with a mixture of part vinegar, part water. Super simple.