How to Clean an Old Moka Pot (Helpful Tips)

Rancid old oils and impacted grounds in your old Moka pot can affect the flavor of your coffee brews.  It is essential that you know how to clean your Moka pot properly and regularly. 

One proper way to clean an old Moka pot is by descaling, where you will be using vinegar or lemon juice and cream of tartar. This will help remove mineral build-up and coffee oils effectively.

If you want to preserve the flavors of your coffee brews, your Moka pot should be thoroughly clean.  In this article, we show you step by step how to clean your Moka pot correctly with some helpful tips.

How to Clean an Old Moka Pot

Cleaning an Old Moka Pot

Some people say you should not clean your coffee pots regularly, but old oils building up in the coffee pot can go rancid, giving your coffee a bitter taste.  You should at least give the old Moka pot a thorough clean and descaling now and then to maintain it and not influence your coffee drinking experience. 

Taking care of your coffee pot improves its safety and gets a better coffee flavor when you are taking care of it. Here’s how to clean that old Moka pot that wasn’t maintained properly:

Cleaning

  1. Start by dismantling the individual parts of the Moka pot and wash them thoroughly with a light detergent. Use a non-abrasive sponge while doing it.
  2. Remove the rubber gasket, filter plate, and small column and clean them thoroughly.
  3. If the old Moka pot has a large coffee oil build-up, it is best to you use a detergent specifically for coffee oil build-up.
  4. Once you have cleaned the Moka pot thoroughly with detergent, rinse well with warm, clean water until all traces of detergent are removed.
dismantle

Descaling 

The next step is to descale your old Moka pot to remove mineral build-up inside that also affects the flavor of your coffee brew. Descaling takes a few hours, so the best time to descale your Moka pot is overnight.

  1. Fill the lower chamber of the Moka pot with water to entirely cover the safety valve up to the bottom of the filter container.  This is more water than you would normally use when making coffee. 
  2. Add two tablespoons of white vinegar to the water.  If you don’t have white vinegar in your pantry, you can use two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar or strained lemon juice instead. 
  3. Assemble the Moka pot and let it sit overnight.  The acid in the vinegar will slowly break down the coffee oils and mineral build-up that are impacted on the inside of the Moka pot. 
  4. In the morning, pour a little bit of the acidic water out and then place the pot on the stove and run this acidic water as a brew just like regular coffee but this time without coffee grinds.
  5. The vinegar water will heat up and start to appear in the upper chamber of your Moka pot.
  6. When the vinegar water has completely gone through the small column into the coffee collector, remove the Moka pot from the heat.
  7. Once the Moka pot has cooled down completely, pour the vinegar water out and disassemble the Moka pot. 
  8. Thoroughly rinse every part of the Moka pot under hot running water. 
  9. After descaling and rinsing, you can brew 1 or 2 only-water cycles through your Moka pot; this will remove any smells that have remained.  
  10. Thoroughly dry each part of your Moka pot with a cotton kitchen towel before storing.
descaling

Cleaning the outside of the Moka pot

  1. Once you have thoroughly descaled the old Moka pot inside, start cleaning it on the outside. 
  2. Mix a solution of 50% white distilled vinegar and 50% water.
  3. Dip a cleaning cloth or non-abrasive pad into the solution and start rubbing it onto the discolored outside areas. 
  4. If you have impacted tough stains and don’t make any headway with the vinegar solution, another option is to mix 1 tablespoon of cream of tartar with a little bit of water, forming a paste. 
  5. Use a toothbrush and coat the paste over the discolored areas on the old Moka pot.
  6. Once you have coated the stained areas with the paste, let it sit for about ten minutes.
  7. If you do not have the cream of tartar in your pantry, you can mix ½ teaspoon of baking soda and lemon juice to make a spreadable paste.
  1. When ten minutes passed, wipe the paste off the Moka pot by using a wet cloth. 
  2. Thoroughly rinse the old Moka pot with warm water and dry it with a clean kitchen towel.
  3. A bit of polishing with a dry microfiber cloth will shine that old Moka pot up nicely again.

Daily Maintenance Cleaning

You should clean your Moka pot after every use.  It needs to be dismantled, and all the parts should be rinsed.  This doesn’t take a lot of time and can be done quickly.  However, it’s understandable if you wouldn’t want to do it every day, but it is necessary to maintain.  Cleaning your Moka pot after every use prolongs its life. 

Never place your Moka pot or any of its parts in the dishwasher; the detergents used in dishwashers are too abrasive for the aluminum material of the Moka pot. 

Also, never scrub the inside of your Moka pot with a scouring pad.  The smallest scratches caused by the abrasive scouring pad will trap micro coffee grounds and oils that can turn rancid. 

daily maintenance

For maintenance and daily cleaning, here’s how to clean your Moka pot:

  1. As soon as your Moka pot has cooled down, disassemble all of the parts.  
  2. Empty the coffee grounds into the compost or garbage can.  If you leave the coffee grounds overnight sitting inside the Moka pot for hours, it will build up unwanted coffee oils or even mold.
  3. Thoroughly rinse every part of the Moka pot with hot water. 
  4. Pay special attention to the areas around the coffee filter basket and safety valve.  It is not necessary to remove the filter plate and rubber gasket for daily cleaning after every use.  You can just thoroughly rinse the upper chamber with warm water.  Detaching the rubber gasket and filter plate can be done once a week as part of maintenance cleaning.
  5. Use a cotton dish towel to dry every part of the Moka pot before reassembling thoroughly.  Make sure you remove any water droplets from your coffee pot to avoid stains.
  6. Once a week, you should clean the small column in the coffee collector with a cloth wrapped around a knife handle and use it to wipe the inside of the small funnel clean.

Safety in Maintenance 

Your Moka pot is pressurized and has a safety valve that will prevent too much pressure from building up. But without regular cleaning, it can explode.  An explosion can happen when the release valve jams or stops working from limescale that has built up, coffee grounds that are too fine, or coffee packed too tight.

coffee making on stove top

It is unlikely that the whole coffee pot will explode. You are more likely to get an explosion of coffee shooting out of the top of the Moka pot as the pressure suddenly gets released rather than the pot blowing to pieces. 

Cleaning and descaling your Moka pot can prevent this easily and keep it in good condition.

Ensure you regularly check the safety valve for build-up on the inside, particularly if you live in a hard water area.  Without regular descaling, limescale can build up in and around the valve and cause it to clog.  When that happens, you should expect an explosion. 

Daily maintenance cleaning should be done after each use, but a deep clean and descaling should be done at least every two months, depending on how hard the water in your area is.

Tips

  • Used coffee grounds are great for enriching the soil of acid-loving plants. 
  • Use filtered or bottled water when brewing coffee, no matter what kind of coffee pot you use. For a good cup of coffee, you should never use regular tap water.  Tap water is high in dissolved minerals that build up limescale in your Moka pot quicker. 
  • If you don’t feel like the hassle of mixing descaling solutions yourself, a commercial Moka pot cleaning powder called Urnex Espresso Machine Cleaning Powder/ Cafiza can be bought online from Amazon.
Urnex Espresso Machine Cleaning Powder - 566 grams - Cafiza Professional Espresso Machine Cleaner
$6.49
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05/22/2022 12:08 am GMT

Conclusion

It’s ok to rinse out leftover coffee grounds after each use, but if you want to keep your Moka pot free from limescale and rancid coffee oil build-up and blockages that can cause an explosion, it is essential to descale and deep clean it now and then. 

We cannot stress the importance of a clean Moka pot more.  A clean Moka pot will provide coffee with the best aroma and flavor and extend the life of your Moka pot.