When was the last time you cleaned your coffee maker?
Personally, we’re guilty of occasionally letting that particular task fall to the bottom of our to-do list, and there’s no shame in it, but it definitely takes a toll on our morning brews.
If you’re a little guilty of that too, you might want to look for the tell-tale sign of a grubby coffee maker: nasty sludge and mineral buildup on your coffee maker and pot. This can make the machine visibly gross, but the germs and bacteria you can’t see might be a bigger problem.
In a study by NSF International, an independent public health organization, they determined coffee makers to be the fifth germiest place in your home, even half of the reservoirs they tested actually contained yeast and mold. Ew?! These disgusting organisms can actually cause allergic reactions or even infections, so without proper and regular cleaning, your coffee maker could ruin your mornings even more than just bad-tasting coffee.
With all of that being said, we do have some good news: cleaning your coffee maker won’t even take you hours to accomplish.
By following our little guide below, you’ll find out how to clean your classic drip-style coffee maker in just a few steps. So without any further ado, let’s get started!
How to Clean a Coffee Maker
If you use your coffee maker daily, you should probably plan to clean the machine at least once a month. However, the occasional coffee drinker may only have to do this about every three to six months.
As a rule of thumb, whenever you notice visible buildup around the pot or basket, or if your coffee tastes off, it’s likely past time to clean your coffee maker.
1. Fill the Coffee Maker with Vinegar and Water
When cleaning your coffee maker, you should start by filling the reservoir with an even solution of white distilled vinegar and water. If your coffee maker has a particularly stubborn amount of buildup, you can add more vinegar and less water to the solution.
The vinegar will work to not only sanitize the coffee maker and carafe, but it can also dissolve any accumulated mineral deposits.
No matter which kind of coffee maker you have, you’ll need to set aside some time for the vinegar to do its thing, so don’t clean your coffee maker right before you need to brew a fresh pot.
2. Brew and Let it Soak
Add a filter in the basket, and turn the machine on to start brewing. Then, about halfway through brewing, turn your coffee maker off, and leave the remaining vinegar solution to soak in the carafe and reservoir for about 30 to 60 minutes, based on how much buildup you need to clear away.
3. Finish the Cycle and Flush with Water
After allowing the solution to soak, turn the coffee maker back on and allow it to finish the brewing cycle. Next, toss the paper filter, and pour out the vinegar solution. Now you’ll want to flush that strong vinegar scent and taste from your coffee maker.
Fill the reservoir with clean water, add a filter to the basket, turn the coffee maker on, and let it complete the brewing cycle. Once it’s done, remove the filter, pour out the water, and repeat the process with some fresh water.
You can repeat the process until the scent has faded and then clean the pot and reservoir with some soap and water. Remember to rinse!
Do You Have to Use Vinegar?
The short answer here is: nope!
There are actually specifically formulated products for cleaning and sanitizing your coffee maker. These products can target tough minerals and scale buildup and leave your coffee maker running like new when used properly. Just remember to always read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and rinse your machine thoroughly after using any pre-formulated products.
Is cleaning a coffee maker with vinegar harmful to the machine?
Nope! Vinegar is actually recommended by several manufacturers for cleaning coffee makers.
Are there alternatives to vinegar that you could use to clean a coffee maker?
Baking soda is a good alternate choice. Just mix 1/4 cup of baking soda with a cup of warm water and run the coffee maker. Then, flush out the baking soda mixture by running clean water through the coffee maker once or twice.
If I use vinegar to clean my coffee maker, will my coffee taste like vinegar after?
Any trace of vinegar should be rinsed out by the time you’re done. The taste and scent of vinegar can be eliminated if you run clean water through the machine once or twice after cleaning.
Does a specialty coffee maker cleaner work better than vinegar?
You can definitely use a pre-formulated descaler to clean your coffee maker if vinegar doesn’t work. However, for your moderately dirty coffee makers, vinegar should usually do the trick.
Looking for more tips, tricks, and cleaning guides straight from your favorite professional cleaning services in Boston? Check out our blog, or contact us today to find out how we can help you keep your home happy and healthy all year long!