We’ve all read somewhere that you don’t need to (and shouldn’t) clean your moka pot but come on – after you’ve used it for a week or two having only rinsed the thing out the temptation is there to give it a good scrubbing under the sink with soap and water.
You shouldn’t though.
How to Clean a Moka Pot
I know the temptation is high but the only time you really should give it a scrubbing is when you’ve let it sit dirty for far too long and the oils are starting to obviously go bad. They can smell, catch dust, in some cases even grow mold. This rancid stuff is what you want to clean away.
If however you do use your moka pot on a consistent basis and you do rinse it out after each use (I tend to rinse mine out immediately under cold running water so I can take it apart right after pouring my cup.) then you shouldn’t have to worry about these oils going bad. The constant use will keep them from turning and the oils will keep your moka tasting it’s best.
This advice of course is all geared towards aluminum stovetop espresso makers. Aluminum stovetop moka pots are the most common units available and they can leave a metallic taste in your coffee if you keep them scrubbed clean.
If you have a stainless steel espresso pot then sure, go ahead and scrub it to your hearts content. You could send it through it in the dishwasher if you wanted but even then I would say it’s best to just give it a light hand washing every now and then.
Remember stovetop pots are the method many Italians have been making espresso from the home for a hundred years. Their method is very good. They don’t have to worry about moving parts, descaling, having working electricity, or getting the pressure wand just right. Don’t reinvent the wheel here and don’t overthink it. Your moka pot will be just fine if you only rinse it and your coffee will taste better because of it.