If youre talking about cleaning flushes, I usually use my Pallo Coffee tool to brush the grounds off the gasket, then lock the dirty portafilter back in, brush away the grinds then use my rag to go over the countertop and the drip tray.
Before making a shot, it is necessary to activate the heating element to temperature surf, so I put my cup under the portafilter and run water through it until the element turns on. This warms up the cup, starts my temperature surf and flushes an unbelievable amount of gunk out of the portafilter ... essential step, if you ask me. I dont want those old, rancid oils around ...
I used to do step three when I had a spare portafilter for the blind basket, but I like my new regime more.