How to Clean a Breville Espresso Machine: The Dirty Details!

How to Clean a Breville Espresso Machine: The Dirty Details

How do you clean a Breville espresso machine? Well, it’s actually a remarkably simple process. In fact, most Breville espresso machines have cleaning instructions printed right onto the water tank.

Not only are the instructions usually printed on the unit, but they often include all the necessary cleaning agents and tools for making your machine sparkly clean!

In this article, we will show you how to clean a Breville espresso machine properly, the process, the timing for when to clean which parts, and the differences between vinegar and espresso cleaning tablets.

We will also go over why you need to clean your espresso machine because no, hot water doesn’t sterilize your machine.

So if you haven’t bought your machine yet and want to know the dirty details, or if it’s been a year since you bought your machine and are just now getting to cleaning- worry not!

Why should I clean my Breville espresso machine?

Daily cleaning of your machine is important to avoid mold, bacteria, and nasty grime buildup.

Especially with your drip tray and steam wand.

People often forget that these things need cleaning, so unless you want cheese in your coffee, remember to clean daily.

Espresso extraction

The descaling/deeper cleaning cycle will remove mineral buildup and also remove all the oils from the inside of the machine to prevent clogging.

Not only will it help your machine run smoothly but machine cleaning is also super important for great-tasting coffee.

Without the removal of all those great coffee oils, they can start to go rancid and affect how your macchiato tastes in the morning.

In summation, the biggest reasons you need to clean your espresso machine are :

  • To prevent making steam wand cheese.
  • To prevent mold and spillage from the drip tray.
  • To prevent mineral deposit build up on the inside of the machine.
  • To remove all oils from the machine to reduce clogging and improve taste.

How often to clean a Breville espresso machine

We know for sure that the Breville barista express has a cleaning guide on the water tank but it doesn’t say when to clean, just how to do it. Before we get into when you should clean your machine, you should know what to do it with.

Cleaning tools are included with the barista express machine and with many of the other Breville espresso machines. This includes:

  • Cleaning tool/brush
  • Cleaning tablets
  • Cleaning disc
  • Allen key

Other required tools for cleaning that are not included with the espresso machine:

  • Nylon scrub brush
  • Large container for catching liquid on empty cycles
  • Soft cloth

Daily Cleaning

Every time you use your machine, or at least daily, there are a few pieces you should clean to avoid the dreaded steam wand cheese and mold throughout the machine.

Drip tray

This is one of the easiest parts of the machine to clean.

There is a handy “empty me!” tab that pops up when the drip tray is full and all you need to do is slide it out and dump it.

Every time you use your machine, or at least daily, there are a few pieces you should clean to avoid the dreaded steam wand cheese and mold throughout the machine.

We would also recommend giving it a good rinse and scrub to avoid any bad smells or mold growth.

Steam wand

The steam wand requires more attention as it deals with more “spoilable” ingredients.

  1. With the tip of the wand directed to the drip tray, switch the dial to the steam position and run it to clear the tube after each use.
  2. Ensure the machine is in stand by, allow it to cool, then wipe down the wand.
  3. If the steam wand is still blocked then clean the tip with the included cleaning tool.
  4. If it is still blocked then you can unscrew the tip (froth enhancer) of the wand with the tool and soak it overnight in a cleaning solution.
Steam wand

Here is a great video with instructions for cleaning your steam wand properly:

Coffee grind bin

This is the little bucket that you dump your used grounds into after you make your espresso.

Simply dump and rinse this bucket daily to avoid any growth inside of it.

Filter basket

After you make your drink, it’s important to clear the filter baskets to avoid blockages.

  1. Tap out the basket into the coffee grind bin and rinse the basket with water.
  2. Wash the basket with soap and water daily to avoid oil buildup.
  3. If the basket is clogged, use the cleaning pin to unblock the filter holes.

Monthly Cleaning

Your daily machine cleaning will help to ensure that nothing unsavory happens with your morning coffee but it is also important to clean the pieces of your machine that do all the background work.

Every few weeks it’s important to clean the following pieces of your coffee machine.

Brewing head/group head/portafilter

Periodically, you should run water through the machine with the portafilter in place to dislodge any trapped coffee and to rinse out the units.

Should the parts become clogged you can follow these steps:

  1. Place the filter into the portafilter and run it once with no coffee grounds.
  2. Use the pin cleaning tool to clear blockages from the filter holes.
Brewing head

To maintain the cleanliness of the filters you can run a cleaning cycle with everything in place.

Water filter

Yes, your espresso machine has a water filter and it does need cleaning about every 2 months. First, remove the filter from the filter holder and soak it for about five minutes, then rinse it thoroughly. Reassemble the unit and then make sure to set the dial for two months. Once it is all back together clip it back into the filter holder.

Bean grinder/hopper

Every few weeks you should give your bean hopper a rinse and the burr grinder a brush to remove any coffee grounds that may be able to block the blades.

This part of machine cleaning will also ensure that your beans stay fresh by removing any oil trapped in the hopper and grinder.

Cleaning cycle

Your espresso machine likely has a small “clean me” light that will come on when it is time to run the cleaning cycle.

  1. Once the light comes on, or about once a month, run a cleaning cycle.
  2. First run and empty cycle to flush any product out of the machine.
  3. Put the one cup filter in the portafilter and add in the cleaning disc.
  4. Then put a cleaning tablet in the middle of the disc and attach the unit to the group head.
  5. Press and hold the power button, one and two cup buttons at the same time until the cleaning light flashes to run the clean me cycle.
  6. Wait for the backflow cycles to finish. Only a small bit of water will come out as the cleaning disk is forcing water back through the system. You will know it’s working properly when you drip tray begins to fill up.
  7. Empty drip tray as it will be quite full.
  8. Run one empty cycle to flush out any cleaning products left behind.
  9. Don’t forget to empty your drip tray again.

Here is a great video by me showing you how to run the process on the barista express machine:

What can I use to descale my Breville espresso machine?

When talking about machine cleaning products, it is important to make sure that the product you are putting into your shopping cart will not harm your machine.

The safest bet is for you to call or email the Breville service center for more espresso machine cleaning tablets or sachets.

However, there are certainly some Breville safe methods that you can try out on your coffee machine.


You can descale your Breville coffee machine by using a mixture of water and vinegar. For every cup of vinegar, use 1 cup of water and put it into the water tank.

Run a few cycles with no coffee and flush the system with the solution.

Espresso Cleaning Tablets

Cleaning tablets are seriously the easiest way to clean your Breville machine. We like this brand. Nothing beats just popping a tablet into the cleaning disk and pushing the correct buttons.

Descaling Powder/Liquid

Descaling powder or liquid descaling solution can be dissolved in the water tank and then run one cycle to clean and one to flush. We like this eco-friendly brand for powder, and for liquid.

Check out my guide on how to descale a Breville Espresso Machine here for detailed instructions.


We can guarantee that your espresso machine will last you many wonderful years with regular cleaning.

Whether you choose to use cleaning tablets or switch it up with regular store-bought vinegar for your descaling process won’t matter too much.

You are likely to have a great cup of espresso to your name if you follow proper cleaning procedures and timing.

Sure! Here’s an FAQ on how to clean a Breville Espresso Machine:

How to Clean a Breville Espresso Machine: FAQ

Q: How often should I clean my Breville Espresso Machine?

A: According to Breville’s website, some parts of the machine should be cleaned every week if 2-5 cups of coffee are made per day. Additionally, regularly cleaning and maintaining your espresso machine will help it last longer.

Q: What is the process for cleaning a Breville Espresso Machine?

A: The process for cleaning a Breville Espresso Machine involves a few steps. First, remove all removable parts and wash them with warm soapy water. Then, run a cleaning solution through the machine, followed by a round of plain water to flush out the cleaning agent. Finally, run the machine’s built-in cleaning cycle using the cleaning disk and cleaning tablets it came with. For more detailed instructions, check out this step-by-step guide from Breville.

Q: Can I use vinegar to clean my Breville Espresso Machine?

A: Yes, you can use vinegar to clean your Breville Espresso Machine. You should mix water and vinegar in equal parts and pour the mixture into the unit’s water reservoir. Then, activate the brewing cycle and run it until the water reservoir is empty. Refill the reservoir again, but this time with clean water.

Q: Why is it important to clean my Breville Espresso Machine?

A: There are two main reasons to keep your machine clean. First, coffee made in a clean machine will taste better. Second, regularly cleaning and maintaining your espresso machine will help it last longer.

2 thoughts on “How to Clean a Breville Espresso Machine: The Dirty Details!”

  1. How do you remove coffee stains from splashes on the exterior finish of the machine without scratching finish? It’s like its gone right into surface finish and i can’t remove by hard rubbing with soap and water or a grease solvent.

    1. Hi Sue, Sorry for the late reply. Which Breville machine do you have? If you have a stainless steel exterior machine, maybe try stainless steel cleaner if the stains are as bad as you say. LMK

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