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Cleaning the inside of copper pipes and components
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brookshirej
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brookshirej
Joined: 6 Jun 2013
Posts: 4
Location: Boone, NC
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Le'lit PL041
Grinder: Le'Lit PL53 doorless...
Posted Sun Apr 6, 2014, 11:09am
Subject: Cleaning the inside of copper pipes and components
 

Hello,

I recently aquired a ECM Sorrento Michelangelo A2 from a yard sale that had been sitting in storage for who knows how long.  I have given the copper and brass components a citric acid bath and let them soak then scrubbed them clean with very fine steel wool as instrusted, but I have noticed the inside of the pipe remains very dirty.  This is obviously the most important part of the pipe to clean and I was wondering if there is an easy way of cleaning this? I took the pipes out after 30 minutes of soaking if fear of damaging them. Should I soak them overnight?

Any ideas are welcome. The only thing I can come up with is meticulously cleaning the inside with brass pipe cleaners, but I figured there must be a more efficient solution.

I assume that the usual fix to this is descaling the machine, but since mine is disassembled I can not do that. I guess I could soak them in some espresso machine cleaner with hot water or maybe just descale it once I reassemble.

Also is someone just has an idea or can direct me to a forum on how to clean/polish copper pipes that would be much appreciated

Sorry if this is a noob question.
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brookshirej
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brookshirej
Joined: 6 Jun 2013
Posts: 4
Location: Boone, NC
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Le'lit PL041
Grinder: Le'Lit PL53 doorless...
Posted Sun Apr 6, 2014, 11:11am
Subject: Re: Cleaning the inside of copper pipes
 

I am trying to get a picture up asap.

I apologize. This is my first post.
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calblacksmith
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calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,670
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Mon Apr 7, 2014, 6:54am
Subject: Re: Cleaning the inside of copper pipes and components
 

Hi and welcome to the board.

I suppose if one likes it, polished outside of the tubes is pretty, but for me, the inside is what counts!

A good descale solution will do the job and will not hurt the copper tubes. A ultra sonic cleaner gets the job done much faster as it vibrates the tube at the same time as the solution is working but one large enough to do some of the longer tubes runs a good bit of change.

I bought one from a store called Harbor Freight, I don't know if there are any where you are but they are quite common and are widely known as the sellers of cheep (not inexpensive but low buck china import) tools. They had a heated ultra sonic cleaner that was large enough to do the parts of my single group machines not counting boiler, for around $100 and was on sale for less. It will clean the parts in minutes, 5 or 6 to be exact but an over night soak or two will do a pretty good job too for a lot less money.

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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brookshirej
Senior Member
brookshirej
Joined: 6 Jun 2013
Posts: 4
Location: Boone, NC
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Le'lit PL041
Grinder: Le'Lit PL53 doorless...
Posted Mon Apr 7, 2014, 9:02am
Subject: Re: Cleaning the inside of copper pipes and components
 

]]Thanks you for your help calblacksmith! I have ordered some Cafiza and plan on giving all of my boiler parts an overnight soaking. I have looked into the ultrasonic cleaners and that my be an option for some of my smaller components.

Click Here (i1331.photobucket.com)


Here is a picture where I stuck my pinky in an wiped some of the crap off. This picture was taken post citric acid bath.

Click Here (i1331.photobucket.com)

The outside of all of my brass/copper components look wonderful with a "brand new" type of shine. I was confused as to why the inside did not clean up at all. I will keep you all updated with some before and after pictures.
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calblacksmith
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calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,670
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Tue Apr 8, 2014, 10:49am
Subject: Re: Cleaning the inside of copper pipes and components
 

The thread for when I cleaned the M32 is here.
"Someone, stop me please!    Now also M32 rehab  AND NOW ALSO WITH PICS!"

I used Calcinet to descale, it works very well.
Click Here (espressocare.com)

This is the ultrasonic cleaner working on the inside of the tube, note the bubbles as it scrubs the inside.

calblacksmith: soniccleanerandscale.jpg

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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brookshirej
Senior Member
brookshirej
Joined: 6 Jun 2013
Posts: 4
Location: Boone, NC
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Le'lit PL041
Grinder: Le'Lit PL53 doorless...
Posted Wed Apr 16, 2014, 5:28pm
Subject: Re: Cleaning the inside of copper pipes and components
 

I descaled the pipes with some Urnex Dezcal and hot water for about 30 mins. It worked great. Just be aware that hot water=more aggressive reaction. The dezcal did leave a strange discoloration which I polished out with steel wool.

Post-soak, Pre polishing
Click Here (i1331.photobucket.com)

Post-polishing
Click Here (i1331.photobucket.com)

I also gave the boiler a soak in citric acid and I need some advise. I used a weak ratio (1tbsp to 1 liter) in cold water and hoped that wouldn't damage the chrome plating (could be stainless steel), but after 20hrs if started to come off. I read of people soaking their boilers in weak solutions for up to  4 days before so I thought I would take a chance. Now I am contemplating just soaking it until all of the plating has come off then polishing the brass underneath. Is this a horrible idea? I feel the aesthetics of the boiler don't matter, but since I am most likely planning on selling this machine I don't want it to scare off potential buyers. The inside of the boiler cleaned up nicely so I fear that I will permanently damage to boiler if I decide to soak again. also what if all of the chrome doesn't come off? Does anyone have experience with this? Any advice will help.

Click Here (i1331.photobucket.com)
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,670
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Thu Apr 17, 2014, 9:46am
Subject: Re: Cleaning the inside of copper pipes and components
 

I highly suspect that the brass used in your machines boiler is just fine for contact with water, cleaning the rest of the chrome off should not hurt anything. Some people are concerned about the contact but brass with lead in it has not been used in food contact equipment for a long time. Some boilers are never plated and are bare brass from new, others are made from SS and still others are plated like yours.

The copper tube looks perfectly normal for post cleaning.

If the inside of the boiler is clean, I would just leave it as is but YMMV.

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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