How to Clean a Coffee Maker?
We’ve all been there. You open a bag of coffee for the first time and are at once engulfed by the aromatic and potent smell of coffee and smoke, and cherry, and all the little eccentricities that the beans have to offer. And you know that nutty, flowery, and herby smell will only intensify once the beans are ground and brewed.
But what’s this?
Once the coffee is brewed all of that wonderful aroma and taste is either completely lost or has been submerged in a wash of meh-Starbucks-Esque coffee taste (you know, the kind that feels the coffee beans were charred by a flamethrower from the Second World War).
As the tang of bitterness sets in (and kills half of your taste buds), it hits you;
You’ll have to chug a few gallons of this java if you want to get the engines running. Alas, your coffee maker has failed you. Or… have you failed your coffee maker?
It’s true that thanks to the miracle of modern science (but mostly miracles!), you can now satisfy your coffee cravings with a simple touch of a button.
But even you know better than to run those coffee beans into a dirty coffee maker that’s laced with coffee grounds from a packet you picked up at the flea market last year, driveway gravel, and insidious black mold.
Besides, you wouldn’t drink Isabella’s Islay whisky from a used bowling shoe, or have Grand Velas Tacos after it has passed through the intestinal tract of an Asian palm civet, now would you?
It’s time to pay your coffee beans, and their maker, the respect they rightfully deserve. And you can start by giving that old coffee maker a good rub down.
The good news is, even if you’ve been asking yourself, “how do I clean my coffee maker?” or “How to clean a drip coffee maker?” The idea is pretty much the same – to get rid of that nasty-looking patina and bland taste.
So, if you’ve been wondering about how to clean a coffee maker, this is going to be a guide on how to clean a coffee maker with vinegar, and other quick and dirty secrets.
Firstly, though, you will need to get familiar with your coffee maker, mainly because it takes more than just a bag of Nicaraguan Arabian coffee by Lifeboost Coffee to get that perfectly balanced, full-flavored taste; you will need to make sure the coffee maker is clean too.
The main components of a modern coffee maker include the coffeemaker water reservoir and cover, showerhead, control panel, carafe, water filter holder, water filter, heater plate, filter basket, and cord storage.
Obviously, when it comes to how to clean a coffee machine, not all of these components will need cleaning. Here, we’ll stick to the main components of the coffee maker. Now that we’re familiar with the main components of a coffee maker, time to answer the question of “how do you clean a coffee maker?”
How to Clean the Coffee Maker?
Some of the tell-tale signs that your coffee maker needs cleaning are a bland taste and build-up of oily sludge that gums up the brewing process. If your coffee has been tasting a little too bitter lately, it’s time to bring out your cleaning gloves.
When it comes to cleaning a coffee maker you’ll have two options; cleaning the coffee maker with water or cleaning it with vinegar.
Since the latter is considered to be a more thorough cleaning option, let’s start with how to clean a coffee maker with vinegar, and answer some of the most pressing questions related to this option, such as:
- How much vinegar is needed to clean a coffee maker?
- What type of vinegar to use?
How to Clean The Coffee Maker with Vinegar?
Before you use this method, it is recommended that you check the user manual to ensure it’s safe to use vinegar to clean the coffee maker.
While this is a well-known way of cleaning coffee machines, not all brands advise it, depending on the model, type, and materials that have been used during the manufacturing process of the coffee machine.
To be on the safe side, it’s always best to check the user manual that came along with the coffee maker.
The things you will need to clean the coffee maker with vinegar will include water, a coffee filter, a soft cloth, and of course, vinegar. When it comes to how to clean a coffee pot with vinegar, the first question that most people ask is, what type of vinegar should be used for the cleaning process.
Since there are quite a few options when it comes to vinegar, that’s a valid question. If you were wondering the same thing, then the answer is - white distilled vinegar should always be used for cleaning a coffee maker.
Mix the Vinegar with Water
To begin the process, you will have to dilute the white distilled vinegar with water. This is done by filling the reservoir of the coffee maker with equal parts of water and vinegar. However, the ratio of the water to vinegar will depend on the condition of the coffee maker.
If your coffee has a particularly nasty taste, then it is recommended to add a bit more vinegar to the mix. You can mix the vinegar and water by pouring equal parts into the chamber itself, or mix the two beforehand and just pour the mixture into the chamber.
Vinegar is great when it comes to cleaning a coffee maker not just because it helps clean out any mineral deposits that have accrued over time, but it also helps sanitize the coffee maker and the carafe.
Remove the Parts for Cleaning
Remove the carafe, permanent filter, and carafe from the coffee maker and clean thoroughly with hot soapy water. It is recommended to only remove the water filter if you can do so as per the user manual. Now replace the empty carafe and the filter basket.
Brew and Soak
Place the filter into the basket and switch on the brewer. It is important to note that halfway through the brewing process, turn off the coffee maker so that the solution of water and vinegar soaks in the reservoir for a while. Let the solution soak in the reservoir for around an hour or so, depending on the condition of the coffee maker. Good results can also be achieved if you let the solution soak in the reservoir for half an hour.
Now, turn the coffee maker on again so that it can complete its brewing cycle. You can toss in the paper filter if you have one for the coffee maker. If you use a paper filter, be sure to place one in the brew basket.
After the brew cycle has finished, discard the solution from the carafe and replace the filter if you used one. Now that you have poured out the water and vinegar solution, you will need to get rid of the distinct vinegar odor and taste.
Run the Cycle with Water
To do this, fill the water chamber of your coffee maker with clean water and start another brew cycle. This will help to flush the taste and smell of the vinegar from the coffee maker.
You can repeat this process twice by discarding the clean water and filling the reservoir with more fresh water and then starting the full brew cycle again for the second time. Running the brewing cycle twice with clean water should be more than enough to get rid of the smell and taste of vinegar from the coffee maker.
Wipe it Down
Now that the process is complete, make sure to wipe down both the coffee maker and the carafe properly using the soft clean cloth.
The final step of the cleaning process is an optional one and includes a descaling solution (but more on that later).
Don’t Forget the Exterior…
You’re not done yet. There’s still the exterior that needs to be cleaned. For this, use an old soft toothbrush (or any soft brush) and give the exterior of the coffee maker a nice scrubbing. Be sure to clean the reservoir, the drip tray, and the cover.
You can toss the funnel and holder in the dishwasher for thorough cleaning while you focus on the exterior of the coffee maker. That said, it is advised not to place the lid of the reservoir into the dishwasher. The best way to clean the reservoir lid of your coffee maker is by placing it in the kitchen sink filled with hot water and a dash of liquid detergent and letting it soak for 20 minutes before rinsing and drying.
…And Interior of the Coffee Maker
With all the excitement of seeing the exterior of your coffee maker sparkle again, you might forget about another important part of the coffee maker that needs the same level of attention - the interior.
While all of the removable parts can be taken out to ensure they are thoroughly cleaned, you can gently brush off any coffee grinds or dust particles that may have lodged in the nooks and crannies of the coffee maker. While you’re at it, also clean the carafe and the brew basket if it's removable. Changing the water filter can be a good idea if the brewer has one.
You can finish the job by cleaning the interior of the coffee maker with the help of a damp cloth and the exterior with a damp cloth and a drop of all-purpose cleaner, to help it get that shine back again.
If you notice a build-up of any white crusty particles, that’s limescale deposits and is a common find on coffee makers. All you have to do is simply soak the soft cloth in some white vinegar and apply it gently to the affected area; wait for 10 minutes and wipe again with a fresh, dry cloth, and Bob’s your uncle!
How to Clean a Coffee Maker with Soap and Water?
Another hassle-free way of cleaning a coffee maker at home is by using good ol’ soap and water. Here is a quick breakdown of what you need to do.
Remove the Filter and Brew Basket
First, carefully remove both the brew basket and the filter from the coffee maker, and discard any grounds along with the paper filter (if that’s what you use).
- Use the Water and Soap Solution - You can either fill up the kitchen sink or any other suitable container with some hot water and a few spoons of dish-washing liquid. When choosing a dish-washing liquid specifically to clean a coffee maker, it is advised to go with one that has been specially formulated for the removal of oils and other stubborn stains from dishes.
- Clean the Permanent Filter and Brew Basket - Place both the brew basket along with the permanent filter if you’re using one in the soapy water and allow it to soak for a while. Then wash them thoroughly with a soft cloth or sponge to remove any built-up residue.
- Wash the Carafe - You can rinse the carafe with warm water. Add some of that soapy water and clean the carafe thoroughly with the help of a sponge.
- Rinse Well with Water - Be sure to use lukewarm water to rinse the carafe, brew basket, and permanent filter before wiping them clean with a dry cloth.
Clean the Coffee Maker - You will also need to make sure that the main unit of the coffee maker is also clean. For that, wipe down the coffee maker with a soft clean cloth or a paper towel using soapy water.
Be sure to run the cloth or towel around the outer lid and inner lid, along with the brewing area so that any residue that has built up over time will be removed. To wipe away the soap residue, use another fresh dampened cloth on the main unit.
- Put it Back Together - Now that all of the components of the coffee maker have been cleaned and dry, reassemble the coffee maker.
- Never use scouring agents or any harsh cleaners on any component of the coffee maker.
- Never immerse the base unit of the coffee maker in water or any other liquid.
- Use regular soap and water to clean any fingerprints or blemishes that appear on the main housing unit of the coffee maker.
- Never dry the interior of the water reservoir with a cloth, as this could cause the lint to get stuck inside.
- Always use demineralized water when brewing coffee.
- Clean the carafe with hot, soapy water to fill the water reservoir.
- Never leave any used or dump coffee grounds in the coffee maker since it could lead to the build-up of mold or bacteria.
- Make sure all of the soap and water spots are removed from the equipment when put in the dishwasher.
Daily Cleaning Tips
You can also make sure your coffee maker is running at an optimal level every time by cleaning your coffee maker daily. Since bacteria thrive in damp, warm environments, like a coffee maker, it’s best to clean it after brewing.
To make sure you don’t burn yourself, allow the coffee maker to cool down first. This is a good idea since some coffee makers use carafes that are made of glass, which can crack if taken from a high to low temperature. It is recommended to enjoy your cup o’ Joe first and clean the coffee maker out once you’ve finished. This will give it a good 20 minutes to cool off, which is more than enough to make sure you are safe.
Coffee Maker Descaling: Explained
Descaling is the process of removing any calcium deposits that build up over time and usually appear on the metal components of a coffee maker. To descale the coffee maker properly, you must first determine the number of minerals in the water that you get in your area. This is because calcium deposits (scale) may build up in the coffee maker if the coffee maker is used regularly.
While the scale is not considered to be toxic, it does have a negative impact on the overall performance of the coffee maker.
Monthly Cleaning Tips
Since you have been keeping your coffee maker in good shape by maintaining it on a regular basis, you won’t have to worry about brewing a bland-tasting “battery acid,” or “belly wash.” However, there is one more step that is recommended by the experts when it comes to cleaning a coffee maker. You can use the aforementioned tips to give your coffee maker a good cleaning at least once a month.
Depending on the brand or type of coffee maker you’re using, it is advised to descale the coffee maker when the built-in indicator signals that it’s time to do so, which helps to protect the heating element, along with other components that come into contact with water.
Most modern coffee makers have a CLEAN indicator which illuminates when the coffee maker needs descaling. However, this should be carried out every 3 to 6 months to ensure the optimal performance of your coffee maker.
How to Use an Espresso Machine Cleaner
If you’re looking for a more thorough cleaning, then why not try a specific coffee machine cleaner, such as Cafiza, or the many others that are available in the market today. Cleaning a coffee maker with a specialized machine cleaner is pretty straightforward, and requires the following steps:
- First, insert the blind basket and add 1/2 tsp. of the powder.
- Replace the portafilter in the machine.
- Start the brew head like you would when pulling a shot (it is important to maintain this position for at least a few seconds before turning the brew cycle off).
- Repeat this step at least five times or until the cleaning solution that’s being drained into the drip tray turns from an amber hue to clear liquid.
- Now, replace the blank basket with a regular set and run hot water through the portafilter to remove any remaining cleaning solution.
If you want to steer clear from that dreadful vegetal tea flavor whenever you prepare a cup of Joe, then you should use these tips to make sure your coffee maker is clean. In case you were wondering, the highest quality coffee beans are those that grow at high altitudes such as, Nicaraguan Arabian coffee, mainly because the high altitude helps ripen and develop the flavor of the coffee beans.
A higher elevation also means the coffee beans are able to absorb more nutrients and antioxidants, which allows you to get the most out of your coffee. When purchasing premium quality Nicaraguan Arabian coffee by
Lifeboost Coffee, you don’t have to worry about quality, which means, all you have to bother about is cleaning your coffee maker… the right way.
This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Dr. Charles Livingston nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content.
All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.