Coffee Machines 101: Best Ever Maintenance Tips And Tricks

March 5, 2024 - 4 min read

All hail coffee! For without our daily mug of get-up-and-go the world would surely stop. At least it feels that way, and that’s why having your home coffee machine operating at full capacity is so important. Not only will a well-maintained machine make a barista-quality brew, it’ll also ensure it keeps up with your multiple-cups-a-day demands, saving you money on cafe takeaways. If you’ve been neglecting the miracle worker/joy bringer/kick-starter in your kitchen, this guide is for you. Here’s everything you need to know to keep your coffee machine pouring like a pro.

Want to learn more about the different types of coffee machines? Check out our Coffee Machine Buyers Guide HERE

3 ladies sitting around a kitchen table drinking coffee

Why Cleaning Your Coffee Machine Is Important

Whether it’s a quick wipe over for sparkling, hygienic surfaces or a deep clean to remove built-up oils and residues, caring for your coffee machine will prolong its life. But perhaps more importantly, a thorough clean means a consistently better tasting brew, according to Elixir Coffee co-founder David Narciso.

“For the best cup of coffee at home, start with reliable equipment and regular cleaning,” he says. “Unmaintained machines will create a bitter, burnt, sour or even salty flavour from coffee and calcium build-ups. Even a well-roasted specialty coffee will dramatically lose its characteristics in a dirty machine.”

Signs Your Coffee Machine Needs Some Love

Don’t ignore these cries for help! It’s time to schedule a deep clean when:

  • Your coffee tastes bad – burnt, bitter or just not right.
  • Your machine is not pouring coffee at the right temperature (often too cold).
  • Your machine is making strange noises when you use it.
  • The pour is slower than normal.

How To Maintain Your Coffee Machine

Manual, automatic and capsule coffee machines all need a bit of TLC every now and then. Follow these simple maintenance steps to make the most of what you’re working with.

A lady cleaning out her coffee machine


Frequently cleaning the most-used parts of your coffee machine will save you a ton of elbow grease later on.

  • Remove and clean the drip tray with warm water and detergent.
  • Refill the water reservoir with clean, room temperature water.
  • Wipe down the steam wand (aka milk frother).
  • Wipe down all external parts with a damp cloth.


Add a coffee machine spruce-up to your weekly whole-house clean then treat yourself to a frothy cappuccino for your efforts.

  • Empty then rinse the capsules/pod receptacle (on a pod machine).
  • Empty used grounds from the knock box (on a manual machine).
  • Run a cleaning powder through the group head on your manual machine.
"Add a coffee machine spruce-up to your weekly whole-house clean then treat yourself to a frothy cappuccino for your efforts."


It’s time to get beneath the surface for a deeper clean of the inner workings.

  • If your machine has a cleaning cycle, use it now.
  • If not, backflush your manual/espresso machine using a coffee-machine cleaning solution. Repeat with clean, warm water to flush out the chemicals.
  • Clean any grime build-up from the shower screen (the part that diffuses the water flowing from the group head so it spreads evenly over the coffee grounds in the filter basket.


If you're a keen bean when it comes to keeping your coffee machine thoroughly clean, consider upping the frequency of this clean to twice or three times a year (we see you, coffeeholics!).

  • Descale with the recommended cleaning solution following your user manual.
  • Soak the group head, shower screen and portafilter in cleaning solution.
  • Wipe out the on-board hopper (it holds the pre-ground coffee beans) with a damp cloth.
  • Brush loose grounds from the grinder.
  • Polish stainless steel parts.
A lady making a coffee in her manual coffee machine

Can I Use Vinegar To Clean My Machine?

Yes, you can substitute cleaning solutions for a mix of hot water and vinegar; however, most coffee machine brands recommend using their tried-and-tested cleaning agents for best results.  

How To Get The Most Out Of Your Coffee Machine

Now your machine is in top nick, it’s time to make sure you’re using it to its full potential. Or maybe you’re looking to upgrade and want a model that makes cleaning a breeze.

 “If adding another cleaning chore to your list makes your head spin, let your coffee machine do the thinking for you,”  says Tania Grillinzoni, The Good Guys Buyer – Portable Appliances.

“The latest models will alert you when they need descaling, refilling or rinsing so you don’t waste time and energy scrubbing more often than necessary.”

Top Easy-Care Coffee Machines

The AquaClean filter on the Philips 2200 Series LatteGo Gully Auto Espresso keeps residue build-up to a minimum.

product image of the Philips 4300 Series LatteGo Fully Automatic Espresso

Shop The Philips 2200 Series LatteGo Gully Auto Espresso


The DeLonghi La Specialista Maestro Premium Manual Pump Machine Metal has an internal, mess-free tamping system, a descaling alarm, one-touch descaling function and dishwasher-safe parts.

DeLonghi La Specialista Maestro Premium Manual Pump Machine Metal

Shop The DeLonghi La Specialista Maestro Premium Manual Pump Machine Metal


Take cleaning beyond your own four walls with any Nespresso capsule machine. Their capsules are recyclable at your nearest Nespresso boutique for a greener planet.

Product image of the Nespresso DeLonghi Citiz Solo Capsule Machine

Shop The Nespresso De'Longhi Citiz Solo Capsule Machine


Is it coffee time yet? Now that you know how to maintain and clean your coffee machine, it's time to check them out. Visit us in-store or online for a huge range of coffee machines and accessories.

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