Moka pots get dirty with use just like anything else. Can you clean it in the dishwasher or should you use another method?
Aluminum moka pots should not be cleaned in the dishwasher. It can cause staining, pitting and corrosion. Stainless steel moka pots can be put in a dishwasher although there could be some negative taste effect by doing so. Just cleaning the moka pot with warm water and a non-abrasive pad is enough.
Stainless steel moka pots aren’t usually more expensive than aluminum. You can get a reasonably priced one from Bialetti that is dishwasher safe. Click here to find it on Amazon.
Why can’t you clean an aluminum moka pot in a dishwasher? How can you clean it properly? Find out below.
Can You Clean a Moka Pot In The Dishwasher?
Most moka pot manufacturers advice against putting a moka pot in a dishwasher. They wouldn’t all advice against it if there wasn’t a good reason. So let’s dive into why there seems to be a consensus that putting your stovetop espresso maker in the dishwasher is a bad idea.
First, you have to know there are two different types of moka pot. Or better said, they are generally made out of two different materials;
- Stainless steel
That’s important to know because the material your moka pot is made out of decides if you can put it in the dishwasher or not.
The vast majority of moka pots are made out of aluminum. It’s by far the most common type. It’s the traditional material and there are many, many millions of them. If you don’t know what your moka pot is made out of, it’s likely aluminum.
Aluminum is why you shouldn’t put it in a dishwasher. And there are two reasons for this;
Bare aluminum that is exposed to certain minerals, chemicals (that are often found in detergents) and heat can discolor and even oxidize aluminum. You might see white spots and a dull surface, possibly darker than before. It can even cause pitting and corrosion.
Suggested: Best Moka Pots To Buy
Maybe once or twice won’t cause severe issues but over time, you will degrade the surface of your moka pot to a degree that can have adverse effects.
The second effect is that you wash off the coffee oils that coat the insides of the pot. While you might not think it, there are some natural oils in oil. When brewing, these oils come out of the grounds. They then cover the aluminum with a thin film. This film creates a barrier between your brew and the metal. In this way it prevents metallic tastes and particles from getting into your cup.
Besides cosmetic effects and possible corrosion in your coffee, what is the problem with these effects? Well, it can have some adverse health effects.
Aluminum is not a good material to get into your body. Brewing coffee with aluminum particles and taste is not healthy nor does it taste good.
That’s why cleaning your aluminum moka pots in a dishwasher is not a great idea.
Want a complete guide on how to brew tasty coffee with a moka pot? Click here?
A few stovetop espresso makers are made out of stainless steel. This is much less common than aluminum. They often have a different design than the aluminum ones.
Stainless steel moka pots are generally dishwasher safe. Stainless steel doesn’t have any of the problems with detergents that aluminum does.
Stainless steel is an alloy of iron and at least 10% chromium. Other elements like nickel, carbon, silicon and manganese are also added to create different grades and types of stainless steel. Stainless steel forms a hard film of chromium oxide on the surface that protects the surface underneath.
Of course there are many different grades of stainless steel. Not all of them have the same resistance to corrosion and chemicals. However, the vast majority of food grade stainless steel is perfectly fine to put in the dishwasher.
There also isn’t the danger of aluminum transfer because there isn’t any. You might still want to leave some of the coffee oil film intact because of taste reasons however. So that means there are no negative effects to the moka pot by putting it in a dishwasher. There might still be some taste effects though.
How to properly clean a moka pot
So if the dishwasher is not an option to clean your aluminum moka pot, how can you?
Quick wash after every use;
Take the moka pot apart and rinse with warm water. There will be some residue building up over time and that’s not a bad thing. That residue will actually improve the taste of your coffee. You can clean the outside a bit more thoroughly if you want to keep it looking clean.
Dry off with a cloth and store in a place with some airflow. Leaving water could lead to mold. Make sure there is no debris in the safety valve and in the screw threads.
More in depth cleaning;
Sometimes it’s necessary to clean a little deeper. The easiest way to do this is to just boil the moka pot with water but without coffee. If you want to get rid of all the residue and maybe some white spots. Do the same but add a tablespoon of vinegar in the water. If you use the vinegar, you’ll have to go through the break in process again.
On the outside you can use a very mild soap and carefully dry off after washing.
How to fix your moka pot after it’s been in the dishwasher
Maybe you googled this after you put your moka pot in the dishwasher and it didn’t come out as good as it went in. What can you do to restore it to its former glory?
The most likely effect is some discoloration, especially if you don’t put it in the dishwasher very often. Either white spots or some darkening.
There are a few things you can try;
If you’ve got white spots (aluminum oxidation), an acid will help you get rid of it.
The first thing to do is to disassemble the moka pot, and put all the parts in a pot big enough to fit all the parts. Cover the parts with water and then add a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice or vinegar. Boil for 10 minutes, rinse with fresh water and then dry with a cloth. Don’t let the parts air dry.
If you still have some white spots or maybe some dark discoloration, make a paste of baking powder and white vinegar. Spread the paste everywhere and let it stand for about 5 minutes then wipe it off. You don’t have to scrub with the steel wool except for any spots that don’t come off easily. After removing any paste, rinse everything off and dry with a cloth.
Steel wool combined with the paste will do the trick but will also scratch the surface. So minimize using it as much as possible.
Keep in mind, after doing this, you want to go through the break in process again. Because the natural coating inside the moka pot was probably already stripped off by the dishwasher but going at it with vinegar and other acidic things will definitely do that. By brewing a few batches of coffee you throw out immediately, you get a new layer of coffee oils to cover the bare metal. You might have to throw out some coffee but in the end it will yield better results.
Favorite Moka Pot Products
You don’t need many things to brew good coffee with a Moka pot. Here are the few things you need to make the best possible coffee.
- Moka Pot: Just buy a high-quality Moka pot from the get-go. The cheaper ones can be messy when brewing. Bialetti is the original and still one of the best with its classic looks. They cost a bit more than the cheap ones but these can last for decades and the parts that wear out are easily available for the Bialetti Moka pots. The 3-cup size is good for a single person (Amazon)
- Beans: Good coffee starts with good beans. You can’t make bad beans taste good. Espresso roast beans are good for a Moka pot and will get you closer to that typical espresso taste. Peet’s Coffee does a great 100$ Arabica espresso roast. Give it a try, you can get it here on Amazon
- Grinder: Using whole beans means you need to grind them at home. This improves the taste because the grounds are much fresher. A Hario Slim (Amazon) is a great starting point for the starting home barista. If you want a good hand grinder for a good price, check out the TimeMore C2 (Amazon)
- Scales: To get consistent results, a set of accurate scales is essential. Check out this Apexstone scale (Amazon). I’ve been using it for more than a year and while it doesn’t look the sleekest, it’s cheap and just as accurate as more expensive coffee scales. It just reacts a little slower.