Cleaning Stainless Steel Espresso Machines

To maintain the Finish of your Steel Espresso Machine

These cleaning tips cover both Satin and Mirror finish machines (Including the in between finish such as found on Izzo machines)

I never thought about doing a Wiki article on such a seemingly simple and basic subject as cleaning, but after seeing the question come up numerous times in forums and seen/heard of people damaging the finish of their machines, I finally thought a short article would be a good idea.I have reviewed many espresso machines for Bella Barista in the UK and when I have completed a review I always want to return the machine looking like new. As you may have already found out, cleaning bright steel is not easy and often fingerprints or smears can remain now matter how hard you try. The new machine when you initially got it didn't seem to lose it's lustre as quickly as after you cleaned it for the first time and it puzzles you as to why they get dirty quicker after their first and subsequent cleans.

First some warnings to prevent damage to the machines finish:

  1. Never use a metal polish or other abrasive product, including abrasive pads on the finish (this includes chrome cleaner and other bright steel cleaners for saucepans/sinks etc..)
  2. Don't try and rub hard to remove marks
  3. If you get a mark/scratch, live with it, trying to polish it out will usually make things worse.

I use a product available in the UK, perhaps available in Other countries…I'm not sure. It's called Tableau Stainless Steel Cleaner see link below. Unfortunately postage from the manufacturer is quite expensive. Other sources include high street chains such as Robert Dyas, but stock is not always available and you may be lucky to find a can. If you find it any, even if it's slightly more expensive than the price on the Tableau website, it's worth paying the extra, because at least you have it and 1 can will last many years. I use it because it's only fractionally abrasive, enough to bring up a real shine, it removes dirt and stains really well and leaves a protective silicon oil coasting. 1 can lasts absolutely ages (years).

At the time of writing Bella Barista sell it at just under £5 and usually have plenty of stock

How To Use

I realise that there will be instructions on the can, but for a espresso machine this is the method I have found works best. I use this technique to clean all machines I review before sending them back and it ensures they "look like new" again.

  1. 2 golf ball size sprays are enough to clean a machine, place each one on a damp cloth (j-cloth type cloth is best), clean the machine and then repeat, for a large or very dirty machine a third golf ball sized spray may be required..
  2. Wipe over machine in circular motion, don't rub too hard
  3. Rinse the cloth well in warm water, wring out till damp and wipe off, rinse it out regularly in water and wipe the machine all over, machine will look a mess but don't worry
  4. Use a dry, preferably microfibre cloth to finish off. If the machine is still too damp for this, quickly wipe mostly dry with a cotton tea towel or similar first. It's important that the machine is not bone dry for the microfibre cloth to work well and buff out any smears.

I use the large Microfibre cloths commonly sold for automotive cleaning/polishing, these can be obtained cheaply from any supermarket e.g. Tesco

Note: The areas to avoid are the underside of the group head and the steam/hot water wands, to prevent this product getting on any part of the machine in contact with the coffee you drink.