Your coffee machine's a germ breeding ground – here's how to clean and descale it

Cleaning a coffee machine properly is a must – find out how AND discover our favourite descaling product, too

Is coffee bad for you?
(Image credit: Getty)

When your morning coffee doesn’t taste like it should, and it’s brewing coffee at such a snail’s pace you suspect it of being worse in the mornings than you are, it probably isn’t kaput. It’s just crying out for our cleaning hacks. 

Over time, the oils from the coffee which get left behind compromise the machine’s performance as well as affecting the flavour of your brews. Limescale can also build up and slow the brewing process up or make the coffee tepid. The other big incentive to get cleaning? Coffee machines can be a breeding ground for bacteria thanks to the warm damp environment inside. 

Want more tips? Read our full guide on how to clean a coffee machine. Yours given up the ghost? Don't miss our list of the best coffee machines 2020 for a new pick that's perfect for you.

How to clean a coffee machine 

There’s no getting away from it. Cleaning all the removable parts each time you make coffee is a must-do to keep your brews tasty – and to avoid that build up of bacteria we mentioned. 

If the instructions say so, you can put the parts in the dishwasher, otherwise wash up by hand. Wipe the outside of the machine, too, and the warming plate. Let all the parts dry before you put the coffee machine back together – the damp is a great breeding ground for germs.

How to clean a coffee machine with a descaler – or vinegar

You’ll either need a specialist coffee machine descaler – we really rate HG's Descaler for Espresso and Pod Coffee Pod Machines

Or, if the manufacturer doesn’t say it’ll invalidate the warranty, vinegar is your go-to. Use a 50:50 vinegar and water solution in the reservoir and run a brewing cycle. 

If you’ve neglected this task for a while and your machine is particularly clogged up with limescale, you can pause the cycle half way through and leave it for half an hour before setting it going again.

Run two cycles with plain water afterwards to give the machine a thorough rinse.