How to Clean Your Coffee Machine | HappyCleans

a person using the coffee machine

Posted on January 10th, 2022

We’ve been getting started, and keeping going, thanks to coffee for hundreds of years.  If you are a coffee lover (and who isn’t, right?!) then keeping your machine in tip-top condition can help you to benefit from consistently great Americanos, espressos, cappuccinos, or your brew of choice.  Keeping your coffee machine clean doesn’t need to be complex, or difficult.  With a few clever know-how tips, you can ensure you keep your coffee machine clean and functioning for many brews to come.

We’ve come a long way since we first started drinking coffee and now benefit from the convenience and reliability of coffee machines to produce quality, delicious beverages without the faff.  21st Century coffee frequently comes from one of the many popular coffee machines, such as Nespresso – the leader in home coffee machines.  In 2020, 40 percent of US households owned a single-cup coffee brewing system, benefiting from the simple single portion home brewing process at the touch of a button.  With eco-friendly options available, offering sustainable biodegradable and compostable coffee pods, it seems there’s no stopping the rise of the coffee machine.

So, cleaning your machine?  For many people, the light on the machine that suddenly appears indicating descaling is needed is the first-time real thought is given to cleaning the machine.  For Nespresso machines, you’ll see a red or orange light.  Yet, cleaning your coffee machine regularly helps you to maintain the machine and get plenty of brews to come.  It also helps ensure consistency of taste with the coffee itself.   So – the how, when and the why of cleaning your coffee machine?  Let’s consider how you can do the necessary without stress.

Why clean your coffee machine?

Leadership expert and motivational speaker, Simon Sinek, advises “start with why” to increase motivation to tackle jobs you might be avoiding.  In terms of cleaning your coffee machine, reasons include:

  • Cleaning, descaling and generally maintaining your coffee machine will keep it functioning for longer.
  • Cleaning your machine will ultimately save you from needing to buy a new machine because your old one is now clogged up and malfunctioning.
  • Cleaning your coffee machine will help you to enjoy great-tasting coffee, without the contamination from mineral deposit build-ups.
  • Cleaning your machine is straightforward and will give you the feel-good factor without fuss.

Lots of reasons to get down to cleaning your coffee machine.  But, how often is it advisable to clean the machine?

When to clean your coffee machine?

What sort of time frames are we looking at when it comes to cleaning your coffee machine?  Well, once the machine is indicating that descaling is needed, you need to act.  Depending on how often you use the machine, that’s likely to be between every three to six months.  But cleaning the coffee machine is more than descaling. You’ll want to remove dirt, grime, and greasy residue build-up from the exterior on a weekly basis.   Ideally, removable parts can be cleaned after every use – which, if you are anything like us, is a daily affair. Aside from that, you should also do these daily chores to keep your home clean.

How to clean your coffee machine?

Let’s consider the logistics of how to clean your coffee machine:

A quick wipe down of the exterior:

To remove dust and fingerprints from the sleek exterior, a microfiber cloth is your go-to. Microfiber cloths use static to attract dust with a simple wipe, and without the need for any toxic chemicals or cleaning fluids that can damage the finish.  Simply use a damp microfiber cloth and wipe over the surface.  You can then buff the exterior with a dry cloth for a shine.  If you notice the exterior has greasy residue – for example, if it is kept close to the hob and has been splashed with oily residue – then you can use a simple soapy, warm water solution, before buffing dry.  Microfiber cloths have many other cleaning uses around the house too.

Cleaning internal parts:

Look to clean internal parts regularly.  This needn’t be a complicated task and is likely to be less hassle than cleaning any other type of coffee pot that you might use on the stove.

  • Begin by removing the drip tray and water tank and wash in warm, soapy water. Rinse thoroughly and allow to air dry.  We usually recommend doing this when you wash up the evening dishes, so the parts have time to air-dry overnight.
  • Use a damp microfiber cloth to clean the inside of the capsule container. Again, leave to air dry.  Do not use any harsh or toxic polluting cleansers.


When it comes to descaling, you going to be running the machine without any pod or capsule, but with the addition of some type of solution added to the water tank that removes any mineral build-up within the pipes and inner workings of the machine.  Water contains minerals, such as lime. It’s likely you’ve heard of limescale, and may notice limescale build-up around faucets, and sinks in the house.  You’ll be used to the idea of cleaning to remove limescale build-up.  The process is similar for your coffee machine.  Over time, mineral deposits begin to line the innards of your machine in a process known as scaling.  Much like a blocked artery, the furring of the pipes (scale) leads to damage when liquid can no longer flow freely through the machine.  The goal is to remove the scale in the inner workings of the coffee machine.

Whilst Nespresso recommends their own branded descaler, there are also non-branded options, including environmentally friendly products, such as Ecozone.  Check the terms of any warranty on your coffee machine to help you decide which type of descaler you wish to use:  some warranties are invalid if you use anything other than the manufacturer’s recommended products.  Whichever descaler solution you choose, leave the formula for the specified time to soak in the machine before then rinsing the machine through.   Rinsing is essential.  Check the details of the specific product you are using – it is likely you will need to run the machine through 3 or 4 times to clear out any residue before brewing your next cup of coffee.

With these simple cleaning tips, it should be easy enough to wake up and smell the coffee!  Let us know how you get on.