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Coffee Machine Steam Wand is Not Working

Alexis Labadie Profile image

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Updated August 24, 2022

At some point, you may go to steam your coffee only to find that your coffee machine steam wand is not working, but the pump and boiler are fine. Although many issues cause this occurrence, you likely need to clean and unclog your pipe.


  • If you haven’t cleaned your steam wand, it may not work correctly.
  • You should have milk wash, a pin, water, and your steaming pitcher anytime you clean your steam wand.
  • To determine the appropriate ratio of milk wash to water, check the back of your milk wash bottle.

To do so, you want a milk wash, a pin, water, and your steaming pitcher. The process takes about 20 minutes, and your kitchen appliance should be cleared of milk and dirt. The best coffee makers should undergo cleaning once every day or every other day, depending on how frequently you use them. Check out these coffee machine tips for additional information.

Fixing a Coffee Maker Steam Wand

When you troubleshoot your steam wand issues, you may check a few different things. The three most common causes for a steamless pipe are lack of water in the tank, steam dial on the wrong setting, and a clogged steam wand that reduces the power of the stream. All of these can be easily fixed.

Insider Tip

Make sure the milk wash and water combination becomes warm before soaking it.

If there’s no water in your coffee maker’s tank, add some. This is a good time to check your pump as well. If you hear the pump come on but no water comes out, your espresso machine pump may not be working. Likewise, check to see what setting the steam valve is on and adjust as needed to supply the pump. However, cleaning out dried milk residue from inside the steam wand takes more work. If you want to clean the rest of your machine while going through this process, check out how to clean a coffee maker with apple cider vinegar or white vinegar.


  • Tools Needed:
    • Milk wash
    • Needle, machine pin tool, pin, or safety pin
    • Water
    • Steam pitcher


Mix the hot water and milk wash. These cleaning solutions typically state the desired ratio for the mix. For most, you need about one ounce of milk wash to a liter of water. However, you should only use this ratio if you cannot find it on the bottle. Instead, use your steam pitcher as a container.


Purge the steam wand if you can. This step helps to prepare the steam wand for the mixture and eliminates loose build-up first. Then, you only need to run it without a cup or pitcher for a few seconds.


Place the pitcher under the steam wand and aerate the solution. Make sure that the liquid reaches high temperatures as this happens to help soak whatever calcium and milk are inside the steam wand.


Leave the tip of the steam wand sitting inside the mixture when you turn it off, allowing the steam wand to suck up some of the cleaning solution. Let it sit for about five minutes, though some people prefer less time and repetition.


To loosen any dirt or dried milk, insert the pin that comes with the product. Take a look at the steam tip on the end of the wand. This part features multiple holes that can get clogged up. If you don’t have the pin from espresso machines, you can use a sterilized needle or safety pin.


Reattach the steam tip before purging the steam wand again. This time, you need to purge it into the drip tray or air. By doing so, you prevent anything from getting sucked in when the pressure changes.


Clean off the outside of the steam wand and tip. You don’t want any cleaning solution getting stuck inside your coffee machine or in your morning cup of coffee. After this step, you can brew your coffee as you normally would and feel comfortable aerating your milk.


The ratio of milk wash to water does not stay the same between brands, but you can find it on the back of the bottle.


Why is my steam wand not frothing the milk?

You may have a clog in your steam wand, no water in your steam boiler reservoir, or the steam dial set incorrectly.

How do you turn on a steam wand?

To turn on the steam wand, adjust the steam valve found on the side of the machine. You want it to be on and in steam mode. When you use it, pull down on the pump or press the buttons of the espresso coffee machine.

How do you clean a steam wand?

To clean a steam wand, you must aerate a milk wash and hot water cleaning solution and eliminate any leftover milk or dirt from the steam tip holes. Also, you should keep your steam wand clean by wiping off residual milk on the outside.

STAT: The steam wand should always be cleaned after texturing milk. Wipe the steam wand with a damp cloth. (source)

Alexis Labadie Profile image