Why You Should Never Wash a Moka Pot With Soap

I would argue that every household in Italy has at least one Moka pot. The 8-sided coffee maker is iconic because it is simple but so very good at making strong, stove-top coffee. Most households have more than one! A small two-shot Moka for single servings, going up to 8- or 12- for when you need to make coffee for a full table after a big homecooked meal. But every Italian also knows that you never wash a Moka Pot with soap.

Of course, you want to keep your Moka Pot clean so you should thoroughly rinse all three pieces and set them to dry separately after every use. Leaving coffee or grounds sitting in the Moka will lead to lots of residue, which is harder to get off when soap is out of the question. If you leave old coffee oils in the Moka, it can also make all the coffee you brew from there on out taste rancid. Gross.

coffee at home on a table

But caustic soap will discolor the outside of the aluminum coffee maker, leaving spots that are nearly impossible to remove. What is worse, the chemical soap smell is likely to stick around for several batches, changing the flavor of the coffee. Naturally, this means that you don’t want to put your Moka in the dishwasher either – this is a handwash-only situation!  You can use a soft cloth instead of a sponge to be sure you don’t damage the finish.

If you really want to be able to use soap on your Moka pot, be sure to buy a stainless steel model instead of the traditional aluminum pot. With the case of stainless steel, you can use mild dish soap when you handwash.

If you do use soap accidentally on your Moka, be sure to wash it with lots of fresh water and dry it immediately. Then let it sit disassembled in order to be sure it is very dry. Don’t drink the first coffee you brew in the Moka post-soapy wash. You want to throw that batch away because it is the most likely to have tainted flavor from the suds.

In fact, you also want to throw away the first couple of brews you make in a brand new Moka pot as well.

Here are some more tips from Bialetti, the most famous Moka brand (and the inventor of the coffee maker style).

Interested in more Italian food tips? Well, you should never put fresh mozzarella in the fridge! And if you really want to cook pasta like an Italian nonna, here are the 10 commandments to keep in your kitchen. Don’t even think about putting salad cream in your Bolognese recipe.

*Yes, that is my Moka in the main photo. My husband is not a coffee drinker and put it in the dishwasher. I have come to terms with it.

I love coffee and tend to drink it out in Rome whenever I can. Here is my guide to the best coffee in the city.

17 thoughts on “Why You Should Never Wash a Moka Pot With Soap

  1. Greg Speck says:

    Moka does the job. Bought one for our RV as I do not want to use an electric espresso maker due to its size. It is perfect on the road. I got the stainless steel one and I am very pleased with the brew.

  2. Gabriella says:

    If you were to ask Italians on the reason why they prefer not to wash their Mocha with soap, you would find that it has nothing to do with staining the aluminium on the outside, which is what it quickly becomes regardless, but more to do with building up a patina, for a lack of a better word, like a seasoned cast-iron grill, that makes for a better flavoured coffee. If you don’t believe me, go ahead and do a little survey of your own.

  3. Jeff says:

    Only the bottom of my stainless moka pot is magnetic. The rest is not magnetic. Most stainless steel is not magnetic they will not work on induction. Stainless is usually shiny aluminum dull.

  4. Howard says:

    Beware! Not all stainless steel pots are magnetic. Depends on the type of steel used If the pot is sold as suitable for an induction hob then it will certainly be magnetic.

  5. Francis says:

    I have one stainless steel after few years to use the aluminum one. Neither stainless steel or aluminum to work with magnet. One way to know if it is stainless steel , t is heavier and outside finish is very shiny like chrome.

  6. Tech_bender says:

    This is so blatantly wrong. Wash your damn moka pots people! Do you also not wash your plates or throw the first couple of dinners out for fear of suds in your other foods? It also does not mention anything about the Moka pot gaskets that need to be replaced periodically. There is nothing wrong with aluminum. The oxide on aluminum forms a protective layer, nothing related to soap is going to do anything to the metal. This is so wrong and not helpful!

  7. Nicholo John Sartor says:

    The only issue with the aluminum MOKAs is that they won’t work on an induction stove. In a pinch you can use another pan on the stove and then put the MOKA in the steel pan. Or get one of the official “induction plates” to use for non ferrous pans. They now make MOKAs that will work on induction but you’ll have to buy a new one.

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