Regular cleaning and maintenance is important for any vending machine, regardless of what products it dispenses. Failing to do so may result in poor quality and taste, and impaired functionality. Vending machines should therefore be thoroughly cleaned on a regular basis.
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Vending Machine Settings
Some modern coffee vending machines may feature specialist cleaning settings in their digital programming. An example of this is a bowl rinse, in which the machine will rinse the internal mixing bowls with water.
These cleaning settings may only be accessible to certain authorized individuals. This is in order to avoid the accidental selection of a cleaning setting by an ordinary customer. Nevertheless, in order to thoroughly clean the internal systems of the machine, certain systems may have to be removed and manually cleaned.
Read more: How do coffee vending machines work?
To protect against accidental spillages and overfills, the majority of coffee vending machines feature an in-built tray underneath the cup dispenser. In the event of spillages, the coffee will collect in this tray, rather than overflowing out of the machine.
Consequently, it is important to regularly remove, empty and wash this tray. Warm soapy water, in addition to disinfectant sprays/wipes, should be sufficient.
With regular use, the internal mechanisms which come into contact with water will accumulate hard water deposits known as limescale. A substantial build-up of limescale can seriously impair the functionality of the machine, therefore it is important to descale the affected components regularly.
Dedicated descaling products specifically designed for use in coffee vending machines are available. Alternatively, traditional homemade cleaning solutions, comprised of one-third white vinegar and two-thirds water, are also an option.
When descaling the machine, cleaners should refer to the machine's user handbook for advice on where to deposit the appropriate cleaning solution.
Read more: How to descale a coffee machine
In order to prevent overheating, coffee vending machines will feature cooling fans, usually located at the rear of the machine. With use, these fans can accumulate particles of dust and dirt which, if left untreated, may prevent the fan's operation, seriously damaging the machine.
Cleaning the fans is relatively straightforward; simply unscrew and detach the protective cover, and manually remove the dust and dirt deposits.
Machine components coming into contact with liquids have the potential to harbor the growth of mold and mildew. It is therefore important to incorporate a disinfectant product into the cleaning schedule. This sometimes requires the disinfected elements to be rinsed with water afterwards (to prevent any unpleasant aftertaste).