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Thread: Cleaning the shower screen - tips?

  1. #1
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    Cleaning the shower screen - tips?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hey all. I'm not sure if this is covered elsewhere, but here goes.
    I find that even if I backflush, I eventually have to remove the shower screen to clean it. I've tried soaking in a few different things (including my backflush powder), but nothing really dissolves coffee oil gum and manually cleaning is a right pain in the arse - gum gets stuck in the little holes and you have to clean each individually with a toothpick. Slow work!
    The other day I hit on the idea of using my Karcher high pressure spray, which did a great job, but then I was left with a clean spot on the concrete and ended up taking another few hours doing the patio and surrounding block work - didn't really save myself any time in the end :-)
    Are there any products or techniques that I'm missing that might do a better job of cleaning the shower screen without resorting to the Karcher?


  2. #2
    Senior Member noonar's Avatar
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    A HOT Cafetto soak does the job for me, then a quick blast with the steam wand with the screen in the bottom of a milk jug. Sparkly. :-) I use an IMS screen though, so a different design to the one pictured.
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  3. #3
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    The best tip here is Don't foul the machine in the first place...!
    Search on here for the - '5 cent test'.....A One off evaluation / measurement / recording
    of the Maximum Puck Height available with your machine / basket combo.
    Tip - use a good prof tamper as the guide to how far it needs to be 'into' the basket
    when your finished tamping a dose ready for the shot.
    i.e. shoulder of the tamper in relation to the sealing face of the basket.

    Also suggest you remove your GH Seal and clean it and the grouphead
    they'll likely have a 'bucketload' of old rancid grinds left there.

    You don't mention your machine / model but the pic of the shower screen
    with a tapered center retaining screw might be a Bezzera or even a Rancilio?
    58 mm group?

    GL
    EA
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Espresso Adventurer is spot on, don't allow it to reach that condition in the first place.

    Once you have it clean, water back flush after each session and remove and clean the screen weekly, then back flush with Cafetto or similar.

    Should also improve the quality of the coffee not having to flow over all of that crud.
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  5. #5
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    Noonar mentioned an IMS shower screen. I too use one of these and found that it reduced the build-up on top of the screen considerably, and when I remove it after a regular chemical clean it is remarkably clean. I don't need to clean it separately. There's also less sediment build-up in the drip tray. It is much better than the stock screen it initially replaced in those regards. Some stock screens are undoubtedly better than others, and so YMMV.

  6. #6
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    If you backflush properly and regularly with Cafetto or similar, then the Shower Screen will remain in almost pristine condition for the life of the machine.

    Mal.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member artman's Avatar
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    Agree with above re water backflush after each session and chemical once a week or two depending on use.

    The IMS screens being a single layer are much easier to clean as no way of any residue hiding. Also, the silicone group seals work a treat and tend to stay soft and not bake on.

    Cheers

  8. #8
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    Thanks for the advice guys. I concede I got a bit slack with the backflushing this year - which also coincided with the wife making more coffees at home on her days off and exacerbating the problem.
    I'm generally leaving as much space as possible between the screen and the top of the grounds - any more and the tamper (Pullman) hits the slope of the basket as it tapers towards the bottom. The following photo shows a small
    Indentation from the screw, which probably protrudes about 3mm under the screen. Ignore the lose grounds please.

    I have just changed the group gasket, as the old one was getting stiff and inflexible so wasn't sealing as well as it could.
    While I don't backflush as often as I should, every coffee (or two when I'm making for both of us) is followed by running some water through the group to flush away oils and/or lose groups.
    You're right, the clean shower screen and new group seal have improved my shots.
    I'll try caffetto instead of my current cleaner and will also try the steam cleaning idea.
    The machine in question is a Brugnetti Simona Top HX.

  9. #9
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    I use a mixture of technologies and vary them to keep grounds under control. Having a twin showerscreen setup means it seems to clog up a bit faster (with more "superglue" in the SOBs) than the single showerscreen setups.

    1) Ultrasound "jewellery cleaner" bath. Very good for minor clogs, doesn't really attack the hard core stuff well. I generally start with this and then check with a magnifying glass to see if anything is left.
    2) White vinegar. My "go to descaler" for use in the machine. I find it works better than most commercial cleaners and the residual taste doesn't persist for as long.
    3) Overnight soaking jars of (in no particular order) CLR, meths, toluene, full strength dishwasher detergent. Be careful with flames and ventilation with the meths and toluene. BTW, toluene is the best chemical cleaner I know for steam wand crud (or laminex for that matter, which seems to be its main use these days outside petrol).

    Hope this helps


    TampIt

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by TampIt View Post
    I use a mixture of technologies and vary them to keep grounds under control. Having a twin showerscreen setup means it seems to clog up a bit faster (with more "superglue" in the SOBs) than the single showerscreen setups.

    1) Ultrasound "jewellery cleaner" bath. Very good for minor clogs, doesn't really attack the hard core stuff well. I generally start with this and then check with a magnifying glass to see if anything is left.
    2) White vinegar. My "go to descaler" for use in the machine. I find it works better than most commercial cleaners and the residual taste doesn't persist for as long.
    3) Overnight soaking jars of (in no particular order) CLR, meths, toluene, full strength dishwasher detergent. Be careful with flames and ventilation with the meths and toluene. BTW, toluene is the best chemical cleaner I know for steam wand crud (or laminex for that matter, which seems to be its main use these days outside petrol).

    Hope this helps


    TampIt
    Good idea re the ultrasonic. I have one I use for cleaning watch parts.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by TampIt View Post
    3) Overnight soaking jars .... toluene,..... is the best chemical cleaner I know for steam wand crud.Hope this helps....TampIt
    Note - the above quote is heavily redacted. Read the post in its entirety.

    To the OP and anyone reading this in the future...

    I am open to being corrected, however I have severe doubts as to the efficacy of using Toluene (Toluol, a Methylbenzene derivative) on food machinery or any where near foodstuffs for human consumption.

    It may be that the exsperts are currently undecided upon this fluid as to whether it is cancer causing or not (see search below) However my exposure to this fluid and its nasty cousin Xylene was that I was and still am never going near it again.
    And this was as a thinner in a concrete / driveway 'wetlook' sealer. And even applied with an industrial quality respirator on, the after effects were - nasty.

    https://www.google.com/search?q=tolu...obile&ie=UTF-8


    I know Tampit that you give your knowledge freely and respond often and in good kind. And it may be that I am wrong or misguided in my current opinion. However to leave the above post up for the OP or other members here to read now or into the future and for them to go forth and unknowingly use this fluid in a food environment .....well I can't let that be without an alternate view.

    Of course it may also be that the damn txt editor changed the product / item that you were trying to type etc etc.


    PS whilst in a devilish mood I don't agree with your post a few weeks back on the SJ Grinder either.
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  12. #12
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EspressoAdventurer View Post
    Note - the above quote is heavily redacted. Read the post in its entirety.

    To the OP and anyone reading this in the future...

    I am open to being corrected, however I have severe doubts as to the efficacy of using Toluene (Toluol, a Methylbenzene derivative) on food machinery or any where near foodstuffs for human consumption.

    It may be that the exsperts are currently undecided upon this fluid as to whether it is cancer causing or not (see search below) However my exposure to this fluid and its nasty cousin Xylene was that I was and still am never going near it again.
    And this was as a thinner in a concrete / driveway 'wetlook' sealer. And even applied with an industrial quality respirator on, the after effects were - nasty.
    I know Tampit that you give your knowledge freely and respond often and in good kind. And it may be that I am wrong or misguided in my current opinion. However to leave the above post up for the OP or other members here to read now or into the future and for them to go forth and unknowingly use this fluid in a food environment .....well I can't let that be without an alternate view.

    Of course it may also be that the damn txt editor changed the product / item that you were trying to type etc etc.


    PS whilst in a devilish mood I don't agree with your post a few weeks back on the SJ Grinder either.
    My thoughts exactly, leave the toluene alone, there are better/safer alternatives.
    Dimal likes this.

  13. #13
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    In the mid ‘70s when I worked for a cabinetmaker (unofficially pre health and safety days) we used toluol to remove the contact cement overspray from the gloss laminex vanity units that were the style of that time.

    There was nothing like it for removing glue. One wipe and it was gone. Turps couldn’t match it.

    It was potent and by the end of the working day the effects were ........highhh.........

    I used it daily (no masks) for about three years and surprisingly I’m still here, although my wife would contest that.

    The only way I would consider using it as suggested earlier, is if it was followed by a session in the dishwasher to remove all traces of toluol.

    Caffeto would be safer........

  14. #14
    Senior Member Lyrebird's Avatar
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    It is toluene in English: there's no -OH group so the -ol suffix is incorrect.

    It's toluol in German but unfortunately that's also a synonym for a bunch of related chemicals.
    Last edited by Lyrebird; 3rd January 2019 at 07:23 PM.

  15. #15
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    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    One or two soaks in a near boiling strong solution of cafetto has never failed to remove all coffee residue for me.

    Sometimes using a steel wire brush and applying pressure whilst making small circular motions can break up the worst of the stuff.
    Generally though if it's that bad, just replace the screen, they're not very expensive.
    Dimal, Stan and tristanp like this.



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