How to clean a pod coffee machine: 5 quick and easy tips

Keep your pod coffee machine sparkly, clean and working effectively with this easy-to-follow cleaning guide

How to clean a pod coffee machine
(Image credit: Nespresso)

It’s safe to say that the best pod coffee machines have changed the way many people make their morning cup of coffee. This style of coffee machine has become extremely popular, as they offer barista-style coffee quickly, easily and in a way that requires minimal effort and action from you – all you have to do is pop in a pod, flick the switch and you’ve got your coffee!

But as you should with all your kitchen appliances, it’s important to keep your pod coffee machine clean so it continues to work effectively and so it doesn’t negatively impact the way your coffee brews, tastes or smells. With this in mind, here’s how to clean a pod coffee machine, including a five step tutorial and maintenance tips.

How to clean a pod coffee machine: the tutorial

Before we get into the tutorial, it’s important to note that the best way to clean your pod coffee machine is by following your manufacturer’s instructions. How you’d clean a Nespresso machine will differ from how you’d clean a De’Longhi or Dualit model, so make sure to check the cleaning instructions from your brand of choice first.

In general, the following tutorial is the best way to clean a pod coffee machine.

Flush your pod coffee machine

After you make your coffee for the day, you should flush your coffee machine with water to remove any lingering drink residue. To do this, remove your used pod from the machine (unless it has a capsule chamber which we’ll get to below), put the pod holder back in place and turn on the water flow by pressing a button or flicking a switch – different models have different controls.

Let the water run for a few moments before turning it off. Not only does this keep your pod coffee machine clean but it makes it easier to switch between dairy and non-dairy milks to avoid cross contamination, and prevents your next coffee from getting a funny aftertaste.

What is the best pod coffee?

(Image credit: Sage)

Empty the water tank and drip tray

Next, empty the water tank and drip tray. This should be done after every few uses so the water your pod coffee machine uses is fresh and so your drip tray doesn’t overflow. If you’re not descaling your pod coffee machine, you can put the tank and drip tray back into place after you’ve cleaned them with soapy water.

But if you are descaling your pod coffee machine, fill the water tank with a descaling solution (more on this below) and reattach it. Make sure to keep the drip tray removed for the next step and place a bowl where it would normally be instead.

Go through the descaling process

Running a descaling programme sounds a lot more complicated than it is, and it doesn’t take too long to do either. Descaling your pod coffee machine is something you should do regularly to avoid limescale or mineral build-up and ensure the heating elements and pipes stay in good condition.

To start the descaling process, use a descaler or create a descaling solution with a 1:1 ratio of water and vinegar. Put this into your water tank and with a bowl in place of the drip tray, run your coffee machine so the descaler flushes and cleans the pipes to remove any residue. This step can be done a couple of times if your pod coffee machine is particularly grimey.

Following the descaling process, let your pod coffee machine sit for up to an hour before emptying the tank and giving it a thorough clean. Fill the tank up with water and flush your machine again to get rid of any leftover vinegar. Empty and refill your water tank again before putting it and the drip tray back into place.

Remove and clean the capsule chamber

Pod coffee machines have a capsule chamber to catch your used pods so you’re not constantly throwing out pods after every use. But when the chamber gets full, make sure to remove the used pods – most pods can be recycled – and dump out any water or coffee residue. Clean the chamber with warm soapy water and a cloth before putting it back into place.

Wipe down the exterior

To remove any stains or fingerprints from the outside of your pod coffee machine, take a damp cloth and wipe down the exterior to give it a quick shine and polish. And you’re done!

Best coffee machine: espresso, pod, bean-to-cup, drip, pour over, press, single serve, filter

(Image credit: Sage)

How often should I clean my pod coffee machine?

Ideally, you should be cleaning your pod coffee machine every three months. This refers to a thorough cleaning and descaling like the tutorial listed above. But after every few uses, you should be replacing the water in the tank, dumping out the residue from your drip tray and recycling your empty pods.

How long should my pod coffee machine last for?

The average pod coffee machine should last between 5-10 years. However, this depends on the manufacturer and model that you have, and how often you use your pod coffee machine. Most manufacturers offer extensive warranties so if your machine breaks, you should be able to replace its parts or get a complete replacement.

If you’re a bean-to-cup owner, make sure to check out our tips for how to clean a bean-to-cup coffee machine

Bethan Girdler-Maslen
Home Editor

Beth is Home Editor for T3, looking after style, living and wellness. From the comfiest mattresses to what strange things you can cook in an air fryer, Beth covers sleep, yoga, smart home, coffee machines, grooming tools, fragrances, gardening and much more. If it's something that goes in your house, chances are Beth knows about it and has the latest reviews and recommendations! She's also in the know about the latest deals and discount codes from top brands and retailers.

Having always been passionate about writing, she’s written for websites, newspapers and magazines on a variety of topics, from jewellery and culture, to food and telecoms. You can find her work across numerous sites, including Wedding Ideas Magazine, Health & Wellbeing, The Bristol Post, Fashion & Style Directory, TechRadar, CreativeBloq and more. In her spare time, Beth enjoys running, reading, baking and attempting craft projects that will probably end in disaster!