How To Clean And Descale Your Espresso Machine

Espresso machines require a bit of maintenance to brew at their best. But a little bit of patience and work can ensure that you get that perfect cup, every time. So, how do you clean your espresso machine? How often should you be cleaning it? If you find yourself asking these questions, rest easy, you’ve come to the right article. So, let’s jump right into it – how to clean your espresso machine.

Just about any coffee connoisseur will tell you that espresso is one of the more favorable ways to enjoy the delectable beverage. Not only does it have a bold and vibrant flavor, but it also gives you a bracing shot of caffeine, giving you the energy that you need to get through your day. 

But, unlike regular coffee machines, espresso machines have a more complex brewing process. This means that it also has pieces and parts that can collect oils and dirt a lot more easily than your standard coffee maker. All that being said, your espresso maker might be suffering and that delicious cup of espresso might not taste as good as it could.

The first thing you want to do is get to know your espresso machine a little bit. Much of the maintenance will require you to take certain pieces apart and clean them. So, let’s get acquainted with your machines and its accessories a little bit.

Portafilter: The cup-like reservoir with a long handle.
Group: The round receptacle on the top of your machine. It connects to the portafilter.
Group Gasket: A round, rubber gasket on the group.
Group Screen: The fine mesh that is inside the group.
Basket: The removable disk/cup with tiny holes. It helps ground the beans.
Blind Basket: The basket with no holes. This part is used for cleaning.
Carafe: This is the glass container that catches the brew.
Reservoir: This is the small tank that holds the water to be used to brew your espresso.
Dip Tray: The metal grate that supports the carafe.
Steam Arm/Nozzle: The tubes through which steam is forced through.

Get to know a little bit about each part and know where they are located in your espresso maker. This will make the cleaning and maintenance a lot easier.

clean espresso machine

1. The Simple, Once A Day, Cleaning

Your espresso maker should be given a quick cleaning, at least once a day. This is basic cleaning and will help your machine to run at its best.

Clean The Basket:

The first thing you do is make sure that after every shot, you knock the used espresso grounds into the trash and give the basket a good rinse.

Dry It:

Then you simply dry it off with a cloth.


After you’ve done these things, you attach the portafilter to the group and rinse with fresh water for a few seconds.

It’s easy and it only takes a minute or two. It might seem like small and insignificant measures, but your espresso machine will thank you for it and you’ll notice that the taste and quality of your espresso are top-notch.

how to clean an espresso machine

2. Deep Cleaning Your Espresso Machine

Simple, daily maintenance is great for your espresso maker. But once a week, you should take the time to deep clean your machine. Especially if you are using it daily, deep cleaning will help keep your machine healthy and working at it’s best. Deep cleaning is a little more elaborate than the simple daily cleaning. But, not to worry, we’re going to walk you through every step.

Make A Solution:

The first thing you want to do is make a cleaning solution with the espresso machine cleaner. Every cleaning product is different, so you’ll have to make sure that you measure it correctly. Do not use any other types of chemicals in your espresso machine. This could damage it or even make you extremely ill if the chemicals are not rinsed properly and thoroughly.

Wipe It Down:

Then, you want to use a nylon brush or a cloth and wet it with the cleaning solution. With your dampened cleaning rag or brush, you then clean the portafilter, the basket, and the group gasket.


Once these items are cleaned well, you rinse them off, thoroughly, in some warm water.

Scrub The Screen:

Then you want to take a screwdriver and remove the screen from the group. Using the same brushes and/or cloths with the cleaning solution, make sure to scrub both sides of the screen, as well as the inside of the group.

Backflush The Unit:

Then you want to backflush the unit by running it, as though you were making a shot of espresso, but put some of the cleaning solutions inside.

Rinse Well:

Run clean water through it a few times afterward, to rinse the solution out.

Sanitize The Steam Arms:

Then you want to sanitize the steam arms by wiping them off and running hot water through them. Make sure you dry them off, thoroughly.

Remove Dip Tray:

Then you want to remove and clean the drip tray.

Wipe Down Tray:

Lastly, you wipe down the exterior with a clean cloth or towel.
It might take a few minutes, but this deep cleaning will help your espresso maker work at its best and keep it running healthy for a long time to come.


Now, you may or may not have issues with scaling in your espresso machine. Scaling is when you use water with high mineral content. It can cause a limescale build-up inside of your machine. If you’re uncertain, just take a look inside. If you see a white or filmy looking substance, then you should descale your machine, to get it back up and running in top-notch again.

Create Your Solution:

The first thing you want to do is buy a descaling espresso machine product and create a water/chemical mixture. Dilute it just a little bit.

Soak It:

Let this descale cocktail sit inside of your espresso maker for 10-20 minutes. Let it break through the limescale and the film.

Run It Through:

Then you turn on the machine and let it work its magic.

Rinse It Well:

Make sure to run fresh water through it a couple of times afterward, to ensure that the chemicals are all rinsed thoroughly.


1. Can I Use Vinegar to Descale my Machine?

A commonly asked question is whether or not you can use vinegar to help descale your espresso machine. The answer is, yes! You can use either a descaling agent or a distilled vinegar. Experts recommend diluting the vinegar with water, creating a mixture that is about half and half of each.

2. How Often Should I Descale my Machine?

If you typically use your espresso maker once a day, then you want to clean it around once every month or so. If you use your machine more frequently though, you can descale it a little more often. If you use it very rarely, then you can go a little longer. You can base your judgment on how it looks on the inside.

3. What Happens When You Don’t Descale Your Espresso Machine?

If you typically use your espresso maker once a day, then you want to clean it around once every month or so. If you use your machine more frequently though, you can descale it a little more often. If you use it very rarely, then you can go a little longer. You can base your judgment on how it looks on the inside.


And that’s all there is to it. Now you know everyting how to clean an espresso machine. It’s easy peasy and because we love our espresso, making sure our machines are clean and maintained are worth that little extra effort.


Ignatius is the Editor of Best Coffee Hut, who considers himself as a coffee lover. He is passionate about learning the art of brewing amazing coffee since he has the most experience as a barista. He would love to help you to make a better cup of coffee every single time.

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