How to Clean an Old Moka Pot (Cool Facts)

Last Updated on August 23, 2023 by Barry Gray

If you’re a coffee enthusiast, you already have a Moka pot. However, if you don’t have one and love coffee, I highly recommend trying it. It’s a fantastic and affordable tool that consistently produces espresso-like coffee at half the usual cost. 

It’s also easy to use, and that ease of use extends to cleaning it.

A Moka pot comprises three chambers, a base, a boiler, and a top chamber. When cleaning the pot, you must always disassemble the three parts. Never use a strong detergent; warm water will do. Use a little distilled vinegar in the Moka Pot if your Moka is old and stained and bicarb if it has accumulated limescale. However, please read the care instructions; not all pots can withstand vinegar; if this is so, get a commercial cleaner specially made for your Moka pot. There is a big difference between daily cleaning and deep cleaning your Moka Pot. Moka pots should be a little dirty. 

There are really only a couple of steps you need to follow in order to correctly care for your Moka pot. If done correctly, it should last for years while still being capable of producing some stunning coffee in the process.

how to clean an old moka pot

Moka’s Have Gotten Fancier 

I use my trusty traditional Moka pot on the gas stove, but you can get electric Mokas now.

They all do the same thing, boil the water in the base chamber, sending it up to the top chamber. The water passes through the grounds under pressure, producing good coffee with an authentic taste. 

They have an exciting history, and it is incredible how a simple gadget can change things for decades, including making a great cup of coffee.

But here’s a tip, I recommend getting the steel heat resistance ring to place your Moka pot on top of. This way, you are not having to balance the pot, which can be frustrating and a bit nerve-wracking. 

Also, the plate stops you from having your Moka pot sitting directly on the heat. It offers better control over the heat and leads to better coffee.

Do Moka Pots Get Dirty?

how to stop your moka pot getting dirty

I clean my Moka pot by running all of the parts under hot water, making sure to dislodge any debris, coffee grinds, and oils.

I use filtered or bottled water to make the coffee; this cuts down on the buildup of limescale. Some swear by cleaning the parts with bottled water too. It’s up to you. 

I won’t pass clear water through daily, but I recommend this additional step several times yearly.

Coffee contains oils, and water contains minerals, and they do build up over time. The last thing you want is for your coffee to taste odd, which will happen if you clean the valve infrequently. 

How To Clean Your Moka Daily – It’s So Simple 

  1. Disassemble the Moka pot and rinse all of the parts with hot water. This will remove any loose coffee grounds or debris. Giving your Moka a good rinse will dislodge any coffee granules and buildup. Use quite hot water as this will dissolve oils. You can use your finger or a toothbrush to scrub the grids and uneven areas if needed. 
  2. Make a pot of coffee using only water. Now and then, you can boil clear water in your Moka, clearing any scale or other buildup in the pot. Boiling water will also remove away bacteria and other nasties. You don’t have to do this every time but do it often. It keeps the valves clear. 
  3. Scrub the parts with hot water and a small brush or cloth 
  4. Rinse the separate pieces with warm water. 
  5. Dry the parts thoroughly before storing them. I use a microfibre dish towel to dry gently. Once it is dry you can reassemble the parts. If you are unsure if it is dry enough, do what I do. I rinse it well at the end of the day, dry it off, and leave it open on the kitchen bench to air dry. 

Always check the valve. Any buildup will cause problems in the pot and also cause shards of old stuck coffee to shoot into the top chamber. Not a great idea.

Your Moka Pot is better off being under-washed, but keep an eye on the valves. They can get clogged. 

Deep Cleaning A Moka Pot 

how to clean the different parts of a moka pot

If you follow the proper procedures, your Moka will always stay in mint condition, which means tasty coffee. Refrain from overwashing your Moka, as this can lead to issues with the pot.

Using hot water and a few tools is the best way to go. If you use bottled water, you will help your Moka pot live longer without issues. 

Once dismantled, follow these instructions.

Check the plate for debris; you can use a brush to scrub the plate under hot water or even use a needle to clear stuff away from the tiny grids. 

Rinse the Moka pot thoroughly in hot water, then add water and two teaspoons of vinegar or lemon juice to the base. Brew this mixture on the stovetop. It will clear your valves and get rid of any germs. 

Remove the gasket and wipe it all over with a damp cloth. 

You can also soak the parts in bicarb, lemon juice, vinegar, and water to knuckle down on limescale

See, I told you it was easy to keep your Moka pot in pristine condition.

But What Is A Moka Pot?

how to use a moka pot

But if you have come across this post and wonder what I’m talking about, here’s a quick explanation regarding a Moka pot.

A Moka pot is a stovetop coffee maker that produces a robust and concentrated coffee similar to espresso. If you cannot afford the fancy espresso machine right now, give the Moka pot a go. It really can change your coffee-drinking experience. 

It comprises three parts: a base, a boiler, and a top chamber. The base holds the water, the boiler has the coffee grounds, and the coffee is collected in the top compartment.

When the Moka pot is heated, the water in the base boils and creates steam from pressure buildup. The steam rises through the boiler, forcing the coffee grounds to filter into the top chamber.

The coffee in the top chamber is then ready to be enjoyed.

The Bialetti Moka Pot – The Original

Did you know that Alfonso Bialetti invented the Moka pot, a stovetop coffee maker in Italy, in 1933? Interestingly, the name “Moka pot” derives from the Yemeni city of Mocha, a significant coffee producer.

The story goes that Bialetti was inspired by his wife doing the laundry. They say it is the simplest moments that can create eureka moments, and this, indeed, was one!

She would boil a bucket of water and then use a tube to spray the hot water over the laundry. Bialetti thought that this same principle could be used to make coffee.

Bialetti’s first Moka pot was made of aluminum and had a straightforward design. It consisted of three parts: a base, a boiler, and a top chamber. 

The Moka pot was an instant success in Italy. It was seen as a way to make espresso at home, previously only available in cafes. The Moka pot also became popular in other parts of Europe and the world.

Today, there are many different brands of Moka pots available. They are typically made of aluminum, but stainless steel models are also available. Moka pots can be used to make different types of coffee, including a form of espresso, ristretto, and lungo.

The Moka pot is a simple yet effective way to make coffee. It is a popular choice for home baristas and coffee enthusiasts worldwide.

Some Cool Facts About a Moka Pot

  • The Moka pot was initially called the “Moka Express.”
  • The Moka pot was first patented in Italy in 1933.
  • The Moka pot was first exported to the United States in 1950.
  • The Moka pot is still manufactured by Bialetti today.
  • The Moka pot symbolizes Italian culture and is often given as a gift.

Moka pots are typically used to make espresso-style coffee; they can also brew other types of coffee.

My Conclusion

Cleaning an old Moka pot is easy to do, and to make your life even simpler, make sure you keep on top of the maintenance to prevent any coffee grounds build-up.

Rinsing after each use makes a huge difference. However, you need to periodically use either a vinegar or lemon juice mix and boil that to give your Moka pot a better clean.

Removing all signs of the old coffee grounds will prevent the grounds from affecting the taste of your new coffee, as the old coffee will be stale and rancid. Considering the delicate nature of the coffee used in a Moka pot, anything that can taint the taste should be avoided, so make cleaning your pot a priority.