How to clean a commercial coffee machine

If your office coffee machine is one of the most precious pieces of equipment to both you and your employees, the last thing you want is for it to get clogged and broken due to a lack of cleaning and maintenance. 

While it’s easy to get swept up in the day-to-day tasks, forgetting to clean your coffee machine can lead to its overall breakdown. Office coffee machines need a fair bit of care and maintenance to ensure that it keeps producing delicious-tasting beverages. Here, we’ll explain, step-by-step, how to clean and descale your commercial coffee machine and how often.

Cleaning your Commercial Bean-to-Cup Coffee Machine

Bean-to-cup coffee machines are extremely popular in offices. With their range of speciality and regular coffees, user-friendly interfaces and barista-quality drinks, it’s no wonder why they’re so loved. But, every coffee poured will leave a residue behind that builds up day after day. If this isn’t cleaned, your machine can become damaged with blockages, and the taste of the coffee can be affected too.

While most bean-to-cup coffee machines have an automatic cleaning process that takes around 10-15 minutes, it’s still important to manually clean the machine – especially if your machine has milk containers. Otherwise, you could end up with a bacterial build-up making employees unwell.

Below are 5 steps on how to clean your office coffee machine.

5 Steps for Cleaning your Office Coffee Machine

1. Follow the Appliance Instructions

Every coffee machine is different and will have its own method for how to be cleaned. Make sure you read the instructions fully, as this will give you more detail on how and when to clean your coffee machine. Bean-to-cup coffee machines often need a little more TLC as they grind the beans and make a fresh batch of coffee every time you use them.

2. Use the Cleaning Programme at the End of Every Day

When the working day ends and everyone is leaving, run the cleaning cycle on your coffee machine. Typically, this will force hot water through the machine and flush out any blockages. Most machines have an automatic cleaning feature that you can set up when you get it. They’ll also flash a notification, reminding you when it’s time to clean the machine.

3. Clean the Water Tank

Every coffee machine will have a water tank, and if you’re leaving water there for days, it could lead to limescale build-up. So, ensure you thoroughly clean the water tank and rinse it well. We’d recommend doing this every morning and filling it with fresh water.

4. Wash the Drip Trays

The drip trays can very quickly build up with coffee residuals, excess water, milk and loose coffee grounds. To clean them:

  1. Empty the trays and let them soak in warm soapy water. This should be done at least once a week.
  2. After a few minutes, wipe them down with a damp microfibre cloth and wipe over the coffee machine, too, getting rid of any splashes.
  3. Dry them with another dry, clean microfibre cloth and then put the trays back.

5. Clean the Milk Tank

At the end of each day, you should also clean the coffee machine’s milk tank to prevent milk from building up inside, which can cause a sour taste and even illness. Detach the milk compartment from the machine and soak it in warm, soapy water. Then, wipe it down using a microfibre cloth to remove any stubborn build-up. Dry the tank off with another cloth and replace it back onto the coffee machine, ready to be filled with fresh milk the following morning.

How to Descale a Commercial Coffee Machine

If you find that your machine is leaking, dripping excessively, fails to heat up, has a reduced flow or is making unusual noises, then you’ll likely need to descale it. Regularly descaling your coffee machine is essential for keeping it in top condition.

To descale your machine, first, turn it off and take the water tank off. Clean the water tank as described in the steps above or in your user manual. Then, fill the tank with water and add a descaling tablet. Once the tablet has fully dissolved, attach the tank back to the machine and turn it on. Your coffee machine should have an automatic descaling program, so allow this to run for about 15 minutes.

Keep running the program until the water tank is empty, and then give the tank another clean and rinse.

How Often Should a Coffee Machine be Cleaned?

How often you clean your coffee machine depends on how often you use it. As most office coffee machines are used every day, we’d recommend a deep, manual clean at least once a week. Every Friday afternoon/evening, spend some extra time cleaning the machine following the steps above or in the instruction manual to ensure it’s fresh and ready to use on Monday. You should also run the machine’s cleaning programme at the end of every day.

What Happens if you Don’t Clean and Descale your Coffee Machine?

If your office coffee machine is left for months without cleaning or descaling, employees will quickly start to notice a difference in the taste of the coffee. Since coffee beans contain natural oils, it leaves behind a residue every time you use the machine. Eventually, this residue can go stale and make your coffee taste bitter while also producing a strong acrid smell. 

Coffee residue, old milk and stale water can also clog the machine, creating blockages and limescale, which will wear the machine down until it’s no longer usable.

Can you use Vinegar or Citric Acid to Descale a Coffee Machine?

Yes, you can use both vinegar and citric acid to descale a coffee machine. However, they won’t do as thorough a job as a commercial descaling product, and, over time, they can cause a different type of build-up in your machine. While vinegar and citric acid are both inexpensive and a quick and easy way to descale your machine, we’d always recommend using the official products for the most effective method. 

Wondering which coffee machine would be best for your office? At Officeology, we work with leading suppliers to give you and your employees the perfect coffee. Take a look at our office coffee machines for more information.

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