Ultrasonic cleaning of puck screens?

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#1: Post by boren »

Is there any recommended ultrasonic cleaner that suitable for cleaning puck screens? It seems to me like an easier and a more environmentally friendly solution than soaking in Cafiza...

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#2: Post by baldheadracing »

I still use Cafiza or powdered dishwasher detergent (and hot water). For machines, get the biggest stack transducer in your price range. iSonic is a good budget brand.
-"Good quality brings happiness as you use it" - Nobuho Miya, Kamasada


#3: Post by Pressino »

I'd recommend Joe Glo followed by an ultrasonic rinsing bath of plain water. I have an ultrasonic cleaner and will try the experiment and report back.
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#4: Post by Marcelnl »

what works well for me is using a small container made of glass or metal (something that conducts US well) containing a solvent and putting that in the waterbath, that way I have used IPA to degrease parts of a turntable, triphosphate to clean espresso machine parts etc.
US rocks, even the cheap versions!
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#5: Post by Pressino »

I used my ultrasonic (a 4 liter Ottosonic model 4T.4C with 240W transducer power) to try cleaning my Normcore 1.7mm puck screen. I've been using the screen daily for about a month and had been cleaning it under running warm water.

I first ran a heated bath of clean water without any detergent for 10 minutes and noted that quite a bit of murky stuff came out into the bath, so I know that the mesh wasn't clean dispite rinsing it in the sink after each use. The ultrasound got a lot of that stuff out without any detergent. After 10 minutes stuff was still bubbling out, so I rubbed a pinch of Joe Glo over the disk, returned it to the bath for another 5 minutes until it looked like nothing more was emerging and drained the water, which was cloudy.

Refilled the tank with clean warm water and ran it for a good ten minutes. Nothing came out of the disk and the drained water looked clear, so I assume the disk was very clean. It was amazing how much grime was retained in the mesh despite what I thought was fairly vigorous rinsing under running water, but the mesh is pretty fine and does a decent job holding onto stuff, probably by capillary forces. The ultrasound definitely breaks it up, and some form of detergent quickens the process.

Whether or not such "dirty" puck screens adversely affect taste is another matter, and as yet I don't know the answer. I didn't really notice any problems in the month I'd been using the screen despite the fact that it was clearly grimy. I'll try it tomorrow, but doubt I'll be able to notice a difference...and even if I did it would not be a reliable test, since I know I'll be using a clean-as-new screen.
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#6: Post by slybarman »

Pressino wrote: Whether or not such "dirty" puck screens adversely affect taste is another matter, and as yet I don't know the answer.
i would bet the amount of built up oils in the screen are pretty insignificant compared to what is probably lurking under your shower screen - even with regular backflushing - at least based on my own experience. i wouldn't lose any sleep over it


#7: Post by Pressino »

Probably quite true, especially as stuff behind the shower screen would have been stewing there for some time!

One of the advantages of using a puck screen is that it also minimizes, if not prevents, the build up of grime in and above the shower screen. I've noticed this in that my back flushes after starting to use the puck screen have been much cleaner.

I just extracted my first espresso this AM since "ultrasonicating" my puck screen last evening, and the extraction did go a couple of seconds faster than yesterday. However, that may have been due to an extra post roast day of bean aging. Coffee tasted great (as usual). If cleaning the screen makes a difference in taste is still an open question. Ultrasonic cleaning is definitely effective at removing grime that ordinary soaking, even with detergent, leaves behind, but it involves extra effort and wasted energy and water--depending on the size of the ultrasonic that may not be worth it for whatever benefits are realized.


#8: Post by Pressino »

I was experimenting with other ways to clean 1.7mm puck screens as effective but less time consuming and cumbersome than resorting to ultrasonic baths. I found one that really does work and is quite easy to use. After each espresso extraction I dump the puck, remove the puck screen, quickly rinse the screen and portafilter basket under the faucet, then place the screen into the empty portafilter basket, sprinkle and rub a few (very few) small granules of Joe-Glo on top of the screen, insert the portafilter back into the group and run the pump for about 4 seconds. Then remove the portafilter, rinse off the residual Joe Glo under the faucet, replace into the group and flush 2 or 3 more times.

When you're doing this, you can put a clear glass under the portafilter. The first one or two flushes will be a bit grimy. The 3rd and 4th will be clear. If you then stick the screen in an ultrasonic, very little if any grime will emerge into the bath. This technique, while a lot quicker and easier than cleaning via ultrasonics, still takes time, especially if you do it after each shot.

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#9: Post by slybarman »

anyone tried the dishwasher? they are made from stainless, correct?

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#10: Post by Nunas replying to slybarman »

In another thread, someone mentioned that they do this routinely with good results.