About once I week I switch the tamper from normal to Cleaning Mode which commands the drive motor circuit to slowly extend the tamping piston.
Then, I clean off the grinds and switch the tamper out of Cleaning Mode and test it's double-tap tamp by depressing the portafilter contact switch from the side so I don't get a finger between the tamping piston and the portafilter rail.
I've removed the tamping piston several times over the last six months but there is never more than the equiv of a small fraction of a gram of grinds.
Just wipe it with a towel now and then. Unless you have a porous or rough base for some reason the coffee oil transfer is minor (or use dark oily roasted coffee). I just wipe it with a towel when i do my weekly backflush. I have polished the bases on my stainless tampers, even took one my by buffing wheels to mirror finish it. It makes no difference.
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