Cleaning Guide: Home Espresso Machine

Cleaning Guide: Home Espresso Machine

Posted by Miranda Haney on

When was the last time you cleaned your espresso machine? Actually - don’t answer that. Let’s let bygones be bygones and start fresh. 

Home espresso might be your only espresso these days, and we’re here to help you replicate the cafe experience as close as possible. Step one? A clean machine. Coffee is an oily substance by nature, and those oils can build up and be tough to remove. A regular cleaning schedule not only keeps your machine in tip-top shape, but it’ll keep your espresso tasting smooth and balanced. 

We know it can seem like a daunting task, but our technician, Dorian, is here to make it easy peasy lemon squeezy. In just a few steps, you’ll be well on your way to barista greatness.


What You'll Need:

Espresso Cleaning Solution (Cafiza)

Milk Cleaning Solution (Rinza)

Non-abrasive Pad 

Small Screwdriver

Cleaning Brush

Dry Towels

Vessel for Soaking

Step 1: Soak the Milk Pitcher and Steam Wand

Place one tab of Rinza into your milk pitcher. Fill the milk pitcher with hot water, about a finger’s length below the spout. 

Soak your steam wand in that solution. Leave for 15 minutes. 

Step 2: Disassemble and Soak Portafilter

Take apart your portafilter, being careful not to damage or misplace any parts. Depending on your machine, you will have a portafilter handle, basket, spout, and spring. 

Add a small spoonful of Cafiza to a small container. Add hot water. 

Soak all parts in this solution. 

Step 3: Disassemble and Soak Group Head

Take apart your group head, being careful not to damage or misplace any parts. Depending on your machine, you will have a small screw, screen, and a brass or steel plate. 

Soak group head parts in the same solution as your portafilter. 

Step 4: Rinse and Scrub

Using a non-abrasive pad, scrub each part and rinse with hot water. 

Step 5: Inspect

After you’ve scrubbed each part, dry them completely and inspect for damage. Like any machinery, espresso machines tend to wear and tear over time. 

The one piece you may have to replace from time to time is your group head screen. Look for any damage or dents in the mesh. You can easily order these through your manufacturer. 

Inspect your portafilter basket for any damage or clogged pores. 

Be extra careful not to lose the screw. These are difficult to replace. 

Step 6: Rinse and Purge Steam Wand and Milk Pitcher

Remove the milk pitcher. Use a towel to catch any solution that comes off the wand. Use this time to inspect the holes of the steam wand for any clogs. 

Face the wand away from you and purge by opening the knob. This will remove any excess cleaning solution. 

Use a wet towel to wipe off the exterior of the wand. 

Dump the liquid from your milk pitcher into any other container you use to store milk. This will release any proteins that build up over time. 

Rinse and scrub your milk pitcher with the non-abrasive pad. 

Step 7: Clean the Group Head on the Machine

Some machines come with a blank portafilter basket for backflushing. Others do not. Be sure to reference your manual for instructions. 

Add a scoop of Cafiza to the blank basket (if using; if not, a small dish will work) with a little bit of hot water and combine with the brush.

Use the brush to scrub the group head. Be sure to clean the wings and the gasket thoroughly. 

Run fresh water through the group by pressing the brew button.

After scrubbing, take a clean cloth with a little water and scrub in all the nooks and crannies of the group. Be careful - it will be very hot.  

Step 8: Reassemble and Backflush

*Some machines do not have backflushing capability

Carefully reassemble your group head and portafilter. 

To backflush, place your blank portafilter with the cleaning solution into the group. 

Close the group and turn the machine on for 5 seconds, then off again. Do this 2-3 times. 

Dump the solution and repeat the process 5 times with water.


How often should I clean my machine? Remove the spent espresso from your portafilter and wipe and purge the steam wand after each use.

A full cleaning with Cafiza should be done once/week. Once/month, check the water tank for chemical build up and descale as needed. 

Where can I get the cleaning solution? You can buy Cafiza and Rinza, as well as a variety of other cleaning supplies, from Urnex. We sometimes have this in stock at our cafes, but it is a good idea to call ahead. 

How do I clean the outside of my machine? A simple wet towel will do the trick. For milk proteins and other oil build up, combine a small amount of Cafiza in hot water and apply with a towel or sponge. 

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