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Is your steam wand not producing enough steam, or are you getting tasteless coffees? Or the steam wand is looking dirty? These can happen if you don’t clean the steam wand regularly. Clean it regularly to get delicious coffee every time. But how to clean a steam wand properly?
You can clean a steam wand using a cleaning solution by mixing cleaning tablets/powder with water. Steam the solution with the wand for a few seconds. Then purge to clean the inside and repeat the process a few times to complete the process.
But what cleaning kit do you use or what else do you need to do for proper cleaning? Stay tuned till the end to find the answers. I will also discuss the process of cleaning clogged wand and milk frother.
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How to use a steam wand?
Most coffee machines today come with a steam wand. You can use it to froth or foam milk to make a perfect latte or cappuccino. You will need a metal pitcher and half a cup of cold milk for the process.
If you don’t have a pitcher, you can get the Adorever Milk Frothing Pitcher, which is durable and available in different sizes and styles.
Pour the milk into the pitcher and place it underneath the steam wand. Insert the steam wand into the milk and start it. Move the pitcher up and down and around the wand to get a better texture. Once the foam fills the pitcher, turn off the wand and move on to preparing a delicious cup of coffee.
Steam Wand Cleaners
You may find plenty of steam wand cleaners available in the market. But not all of them are good or safe. Here are two of the best steam wand cleaners:
Urnex Rinza Alkaline Formula Milk Frother Cleaner
Urnex Rinza Alkaline Formula Milk Frother Cleaner is one of the best cleaning liquids to clean milk build-up from any surface. It breaks down the milk protein buildup on the steam wands pretty efficiently and keeps it clean.
It can even clean sticky milk residues too. The bottle will last around 30 to 35 uses. Compared to other steam wand cleaning products, this is quite budget-friendly.
Urnex Espresso Machine Cleaning Powder
If you want something else other than the liquid, you can use the Urnex Espresso Machine Cleaning Powder. It’s not a complete kit but is excellent for cleaning steam wands.
This steam wand cleaning powder will help you clean residues from all different parts of the machine. It is made of organic materials, so, completely safe for use on coffee machines.
How to Clean a Steam Wand: Step-by-Step Guide
You should clean milk steam wand after usage by wiping the wand with a towel. But even after doing that, oil and particles will build up around the wand. That’s why you often also need to clean the wand properly.
Here’s the step-by-step guide on the best way to clean a steam wand:
Step 1: Prepare a cleaning solution
Firstly, you need to prepare a steam wand cleaning solution using the cleaning liquid or the powder. You can use the products I mentioned earlier or go for the Nespresso Cleaning Pods. This nespresso wand cleaning tool basically consists of environment-friendly cleaning capsules.
Take a mug or the pitcher and fill it in half with water. Then pour the liquid or the powder into the warm water and mix. Now, place it below the steam wand for cleaning.
Step 2: Clean steam wand
Now put the steam wand into the cleaning solution and start steaming. Do it for around 5 to 7 seconds and turn it off. It will clean the particles and dirt built up around the wand.
Be careful while doing this step as it is heating the water. After turning off the steam, move the pitcher aside.
Step 3: Purge out and repeat
When you are steaming with the wand, it creates a lot of pressure and passes air through it. This is how the wand heats and creates foam. But in the process, a few particles may get stuck inside the wand.
That’s why after cleaning with the liquid solution, turn on the wand again to purge that out. Keep it on for a few seconds to allow the air to clean the inside and turn it off.
After that, repeat the whole process a few times. Finally, use clean water to steam to remove everything from the wand. Wipe it with a dry towel, and the steam wand is now totally clean.
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How to clean a clogged steam wand?
There’s another problem you may have is the steam wand is clogged. If the particles are stiff, they may not get off with cleaning solutions. Sometimes you may also see that the wand is not producing enough pressure. That’s mainly because the holes in the wand are clogged.
You will need a steam wand tip cleaning tool that has a tip like a needle for cleaning clogged steam wand. First, remove the tip from the wand and then insert the cleaning tool through the holes, and anything stuck in there will come out.
Caution: If you are doing this directly after frothing milk or cleaning the wand following the instructions above, the tip will be hot. Let it cool down for a few minutes, or use a towel to unlock the tip.
The Breville Cleaning Assembly Kit comes with all the necessary tools to clean an espresso machine, including the tip cleaner. You also can go for the Cafemasy Espresso Brush Machine Cleaning kit. It has several brushes for cleaning espresso machines with a wand tip cleaner.
How to keep a steam wand clean?
If you follow some tips, you can keep the steam wand clean for longer, and the requirements to clean the wand with cleaning solutions will be less.
After every time you use the steam wand, wipe it with a towel to clean the milk that is stuck around the wand. Then, turn on the steam wand again for a few seconds to purge it out.
It will keep your wand clean for longer, but not completely. You will occasionally need cleaning solutions to clean the build-up properly. Now your curious mind may want to know how often to clean a steam wand?
The particles that build up in the steam wand can affect the taste of the coffee, and that’s why I recommend cleaning the steam wand at least once a month. If you steam too much milk with the wand, it’s better to clean it once every 15 days.
How to clean milk frother wand?
Milk frothers are handheld utensils for frothing milk. It does almost the same job as the steam wand but is not attached to the coffee machine.
After you froth milk with the milk frother, insert it into a mug with clean water and turn the frother on for a few seconds to clean the wand. Do this every time after using, and once a month, clean it with the wand cleaner solution.
Prepare the wand cleaning solution following the exact same method I explained above. If you clean the frother after every use with water, it will not require much cleaning like the steam wand.
Have Any Questions?
How to clean a steam wand espresso machine?
You can clean an espresso machine that has a steam machine by making a solution of cleaning liquid or powder and warm water. Insert a portion of the solution into the brewer and process it like you make coffee for cleaning the brewer.
Then steam another portion of the solution with the wand to clean it. Plus, wipe the whole espresso machine with a towel dampened with the solution. Finally, do the same things with clean water to finish cleaning.
How do you get burnt milk off a steaming wand?
If burnt milk gets stuck in your steaming wand, you can use baking soda to clean it immediately. Mix a spoonful amount of baking soda with one-third cup of water in the pitcher. Then steam the mixture, and it should break the burnt milk to get them off the wand.
What happens if you don’t purge the steam wand?
If you don’t purge the steam wand, it will build milk and scale deposits inside the wand. It will affect the wand’s functionality. You will not get enough pressure, and the taste of the coffee won’t be good either. Plus, it will reduce the lifespan of the wand.
This guide above shows how to clean a steam wand perfectly. However, you may have some difficulties with how much liquid or powder you should mix with the water to make the cleaning solution. That completely depends on the product you are using. You will find the instructions on the package body. Happy cleaning!