Troubleshooting Guide: Breville Cleaning Cycle Not Working

If you’re a proud owner of a Breville appliance, you’re likely familiar with the convenience and quality it brings to your kitchen.

Breville’s cleaning cycles are designed to simplify the maintenance process and keep your appliance in top-notch condition.

However, encountering issues with the cleaning cycle can be frustrating.

In this blog post, we’ll explore common reasons why your Breville cleaning cycle may not be working as expected and provide practical troubleshooting steps to help you resolve the problem.

Get ready to bring back the efficiency and cleanliness to your Breville appliance in no time!

Understanding the Importance of a Cleaning Cycle in Breville Appliances

A cleaning cycle is a specialized feature found in certain coffee makers, including Breville appliances, designed to effectively clean the internal components.

It is a programmed sequence of operations that aims to remove residue, buildup, and impurities that accumulate during regular use.

The cleaning cycle typically involves a combination of water, cleaning agents, and specific actions to dislodge and flush away dirt and debris.

By running a cleaning cycle regularly, users can maintain the performance, functionality, and hygiene of their appliances, ensuring they operate optimally for an extended period.

How To Run A Cleaning Cycle On A Breville Espresso Machine

To run a cleaning cycle on your Breville espresso machine, you can follow these steps:

  1. Make sure the machine is turned off and unplugged.
  2. Remove the portafilter and any remaining coffee grounds.
  3. Insert the cleaning disc into the portafilter and add a cleaning tablet.
  4. Lock the portafilter into the group head.
  5. Place a large container under the group head to catch the cleaning solution.
  6. Turn on the machine and run the cleaning cycle according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  7. Once the cycle is complete, remove the portafilter and rinse it thoroughly with water.
  8. Run a few cycles of clean water through the machine to flush out any remaining cleaning solution.

It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific model of Breville espresso machine.

Some models may have different steps or require different cleaning products. You can refer to the instruction manual or contact Breville customer support for more information.

Possible Reasons Why Your Breville Cleaning Cycle Is Not Working

A Breville cleaning cycle that refuses to function properly can be frustrating for any user.

Fortunately, understanding the potential causes behind this issue can help you troubleshoot and resolve the problem efficiently.

In this subsection, we will explore some common reasons why your Breville cleaning cycle may not be working as intended:

1. Improper Cleaning Solutions

Using the wrong cleaning solution for your Breville machine can have detrimental effects on its functionality and the quality of your beverages. By following these guidelines, you can avoid the pitfalls of improper cleaning solutions:

  • Use recommended solutions: Always opt for the cleaning solution recommended by Breville or the manufacturer of your machine. Choosing an off-brand alternative may result in damage to the internal components and leave residue or films on your appliance.
  • Remove build-up effectively: Select a cleaning solution specifically designed to address the type of residue or buildup in your machine. For instance, if your machine accumulates coffee residue, opt for a cleaning solution formulated for coffee buildup removal.
  • Thorough rinsing: After completing the cleaning cycle, ensure you rinse the machine thoroughly with clean water. This step eliminates any remaining cleaning solution and residue, preserving the taste and quality of your beverages.

2. Clogged Spray Head

A clogged spray head can hinder the proper functioning of the cleaning cycle. Follow these steps to address this issue:

  • Remove and clean the spray head: Take out the spray head and clean it thoroughly. Mineral buildup from using hard or high-mineral content water can cause clogs. If this is the case, soaking the spray head in a solution of equal parts white vinegar and water for approximately 30 minutes can help. Rinse it thoroughly with clean water afterward.
  • Regular descaling: To prevent mineral buildup in the spray head and other internal components, regularly descale your Breville machine using a descaling solution recommended by the manufacturer.

Here are some steps to clean the group head of a Breville coffee machine:

  1. Group head purge: This is the first step in cleaning the group head. To do this, touch the ‘Brew’ button and allow hot, clean water to flow into the group head for five seconds. Then, touch the ‘Brew’ button again to stop the flow of water.
  2. Remove the shower screen: The shower screen is the metal disc that sits on top of the group head. To remove it, use a flathead screwdriver to gently pry it off.
  3. Soak the shower screen and portafilter: Soak the shower screen and portafilter in a solution of hot water and espresso machine cleaner for about 20 minutes.
  4. Clean the group head gasket: The group head gasket is the rubber seal that sits around the edge of the group head. Use a brush to clean it thoroughly.
  5. Reassemble the shower screen and portafilter: After soaking, rinse the shower screen and portafilter with clean water and reassemble them.
  6. Run a blank shot: To flush out any remaining cleaner, run a blank shot of water through the group head.

3. Faulty Sensors

Malfunctioning sensors can disrupt the cleaning cycle. Consider the following steps to address sensor-related issues:

  • Cleaning the sensor: Regularly clean the sensor to remove coffee oils and debris that can accumulate over time. Refer to your machine’s manual or consult a professional technician for specific instructions.
  • Resetting the machine: Unplug the machine and plug it back in after a few minutes to reset the sensor. Sometimes, this simple action can resolve sensor-related issues.
  • Seeking professional assistance: If the sensor is damaged or worn out, it may need to be replaced. Contact a professional technician or refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for further guidance.

4. Back Flush Disc Problem

Using an incorrect or incompatible back flush disc can result in poor cleaning performance. Take the following steps to address this issue:

  • Choose the right size and type: Ensure the backflush disc you use matches the diameter of your portafilter. Modern Breville brewers require a blind disc, while older models may have discs with holes in the center. Consult your machine’s instruction manual or contact Breville’s customer support for guidance on the appropriate disc type.
  • Match the disc and portafilter diameters: Using a backflush disc that is too big or too small can impact water pressure and flow, leading to an ineffective cleaning cycle. Select a backflush disc with a diameter similar to your portafilter for optimal performance.

5. Damaged Valve

The solenoid valve in an espresso machine controls water flow, making it crucial for a successful backflushing process. Look out for the following signs of valve issues:

  • Buzzing or chattering noises
  • Leaking
  • Lack of distinct clicking sound when operating (indicating the valve isn’t opening)

Valves can become worn out, damaged, or clogged with coffee grounds over time, especially with frequent or rough usage.

Regular cleaning is essential to prevent valve clogs and maintain proper water flow. Here’s how you can address valve-related problems:

  • Descaling solution: As a first step, use a descaling solution to clean the valve. This can help clear any clogs caused by coffee grounds and restore normal water flow.
  • Replacement: If the valve is worn out or damaged beyond repair, you may need to replace it. Regular maintenance and descaling can help prevent severe valve issues from occurring.

Performing routine maintenance, including regular descaling, is crucial in preventing valve problems. Descaling every three to four weeks in areas with hard water or every three to four months in soft water areas will help maintain optimal performance.

6. Malfunctioning Pump

A malfunctioning pump can also affect the cleaning cycle of your Breville machine. Follow these steps to troubleshoot pump-related issues:

  • Test the pump: Remove the pump and run the cleaning cycle. If water flows through the machine as expected, the pump may be the source of the problem.
  • Clogged pump: Clean the pump to remove any debris or mineral buildup that may be causing a blockage. Refer to the user manual provided by Breville for instructions on how to clean the pump properly.
  • Damaged pump: Inspect the pump for signs of damage, such as cracks or leaks. If the pump is damaged, it may need to be replaced to restore proper functioning.
  • Regular descaling: To prevent mineral buildup and potential pump issues, regularly descale your Breville machine using the descaling solution recommended by the manufacturer.


If you’re facing issues with your Breville cleaning cycle, it’s essential to identify the root causes and take appropriate actions.

From using the right cleaning solution to addressing valve or pump problems, following these troubleshooting steps will help you restore the effectiveness of your cleaning cycle.

Remember to prioritize regular maintenance and proper care to keep your Breville machine in excellent condition and enjoy uninterrupted brewing for years to come.


How long does a Breville cleaning cycle take?

According to the Breville website, a cleaning cycle typically takes about five minutes.

What is the difference between cleaning and descaling a Breville?

Cleaning or backflushing removes coffee buildup from the machine’s group head, improving water flow and shot quality. Descaling focuses on cleaning the water tank by breaking down mineral buildup using descaling solutions made from citric acid.

How often should you run the Breville cleaning cycle?

Breville recommends running a cleaning cycle every 2-3 months or after brewing approximately 200 cups of coffee. The espresso maker will also notify you, usually with a “Clean Me” light, when it requires attention.

How often should you backflush your espresso machine?

For home machines, backflushing with plain water once a week is generally sufficient, although it won’t harm your machine to do it more often or with cleaners. Adding backflushing to your daily cleaning routine is recommended for optimal results.

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Jacob Harris

Jacob is a coffee enthusiast who turned his passion into a career. As the owner and editor of Karma Coffee Cafe, he shares his extensive knowledge and recommendations, captivating fellow coffee lovers.

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