how to clean a popcorn machine

How to Clean a Popcorn Machine

Whether you’re running a movie theater, a food stand, or simply enjoying the luxury of having a popcorn machine at home, the maintenance and cleaning of the popcorn machine is critical.

Regular cleaning ensures the machine functions properly and the popcorn it produces is fresh, delicious, and safe to eat.

This comprehensive guide will take you through the necessary steps to clean a popcorn machine.

Importance of Regular Cleaning

Regular cleaning of your popcorn machine not only enhances its performance but also prolongs its lifespan. Residue from oil, butter, and popcorn can build up over time, potentially causing the machine to function less efficiently. Moreover, this residue can also affect the taste of your popcorn and could even become a breeding ground for bacteria if left unattended.

Benefits of a Clean Popcorn Machine

A well-maintained popcorn machine delivers fresh, tasty popcorn every time. Additionally, a clean machine is more appealing to customers in a commercial setting, demonstrating your commitment to hygiene and quality. Not to forget, regular cleaning prevents unpleasant odors from old oil and popcorn residue.

Safety Precautions

Ensuring the Machine is Powered Off and Unplugged

Before starting any cleaning procedures, always ensure that the machine is powered off and unplugged. This is vital to avoid any risk of electric shock or damage to the machine.

Wearing Protective Gear

Wearing protective gloves can safeguard your hands from potential chemical irritations caused by cleaning agents. If you’re using sprays, wearing eye protection can also be beneficial.

Cleaning Supplies

Gathering the Necessary Materials

You will need the following materials: a mild detergent or a popcorn machine cleaning solution, warm water, a soft cloth, a soft brush, and a dry towel.

Choosing the Right Cleaning Agents

Always choose non-abrasive cleaning agents for your popcorn machine. Harsh cleaners can damage the surfaces and components of your popcorn machine. It is generally recommended to use a mild dish soap or a commercial popcorn machine cleaner.

Cleaning the Exterior

Removing Excess Popcorn and Debris

Start by removing any leftover popcorn and debris from the exterior of the machine. Use a soft brush to gently sweep away the debris.

Wiping Down the Surfaces

Next, dampen a soft cloth with warm soapy water or cleaning solution and wipe down the exterior surfaces of the machine. Rinse with a cloth dampened with clean water and then dry with a towel.

Disassembling the Popcorn Machine

Unplugging and Disassembling the Machine

Before disassembling the machine, ensure it is unplugged. Remove the popcorn kettle, scoop, and any other removable parts according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Separating the Components

It’s important to separate all the components of the machine so you can clean each part individually and thoroughly.

Cleaning the Kettle

Removing the Kettle

Refer to your machine’s manual to properly remove the kettle. Generally, it involves detaching it from its hangings and unplugging it if it has a heating element.

Soaking and Scrubbing the Kettle

Soak the kettle in warm soapy water for a while. Then, using a non-abrasive brush, scrub the inside and outside to remove any oil or food residue. Rinse thoroughly and dry.

Cleaning the Hopper and Scoop

Removing the Hopper and Scoop

Carefully remove the hopper and the scoop, ensuring not to damage any parts.

Washing and Drying the Parts

Wash these parts with warm soapy water, rinse thoroughly, and dry.

Cleaning the Glass Panels and Doors

Removing the Glass Panels and Doors

If your machine allows it, remove the glass panels and doors for a thorough cleaning.

Using the Proper Cleaning Techniques

When cleaning glass, it’s important to use non-abrasive materials to avoid scratching the surface. Use a soft cloth and a gentle cleaner, wiping in circular motions. After cleaning, rinse with clean water and dry thoroughly to avoid streaks or water spots.

Cleaning the Filters

Locating and Removing the Filters

Filters are usually located at the base of the machine. Carefully remove them, ensuring you remember their original position for reassembly.

Washing and Drying the Filters

Clean the filters with warm soapy water, using a soft brush to remove any stubborn residue. Rinse thoroughly and allow them to dry completely before reinstallation.

Reassembling the Popcorn Machine

Putting the Components Back Together

Once all parts are clean and dry, reassemble the machine. Refer to the manufacturer’s manual or your notes from disassembly to ensure everything goes back in its correct place.

Ensuring Proper Fit and Functionality

After reassembly, ensure all parts are secure and fit properly. Check that doors open and close smoothly, and the kettle is correctly positioned and secured.

Cleaning the Popcorn Tray

Removing and Cleaning the Popcorn Tray

Remove the tray and wash it with warm soapy water. Scrub gently to remove any oil or popcorn residue. Rinse and dry thoroughly.

Drying and Replacing the Tray

Once the tray is dry, replace it in the machine, ensuring it’s properly positioned.

Final Touches and Maintenance Tips

Cleaning the Exterior Surfaces

Finally, give the exterior of the machine one more wipe down. This removes any fingerprints or smudges from the cleaning process, leaving your machine looking its best.

Regular Maintenance Recommendations

It’s best to clean your popcorn machine after every use if it’s used commercially. For home use, cleaning it after every few uses should suffice. Regular deep cleaning is recommended every three to six months depending on usage.


Regular cleaning of your popcorn machine is more than just an aesthetic requirement – it’s crucial for the machine’s performance, the quality of popcorn it produces, and its longevity.

By following these steps, you can ensure your popcorn machine remains in excellent condition, producing clean and delicious popcorn every time.

Enjoy your popcorn, knowing it’s made in a clean and well-maintained machine.

Share this post