Best Ways to Clean a Coffee Maker

There are many ways to make coffee. A simple pot for pour over coffee as well as an Ibrik for Turkish coffee, a ceramic pot for café de olla, a large pot on the stove for egg coffee, a French press, or a percolator for making commercial quantities. The best coffee beans make the best coffee and the best coffee deserves a clean coffee maker. Here are the best ways to clean a coffee maker so that your just ground, whole bean coffee from Colombia is always the best possible.

When Should You Clean Your Coffee Maker?

Don’t wait until your coffee is getting bitter to clean your coffee maker. You can see when your coffee maker is getting mineral buildup and accumulation of oily sludge in the coffee pot and maker. However, germ buildup happens before you see any evidence of a problem. National Sanitation Foundation International, which helps set food safety standards in more than 170 countries says that your coffee maker is the fifth worst reservoir of germs in your entire home. Half of all coffee makers tested by them had mold, yeast, and bacteria buildup. So, a routine schedule of cleaning is a good idea rather than waiting for the bitter taste or signs of mold growth!

Best Ways to Clean a Coffee Maker - Mineral Buildup Results
Coffee Maker in Need of Cleaning

How to Clean Your Coffee Maker

Simple coffee making gear can get by with simple cleaning. But, home coffee makers, Keurig coffee makers, and large restaurant percolators need a bit more attention.

What You Need to Clean a Coffee Maker

To do a good job cleaning your coffee maker you need water, white vinegar, and a coffee filter.

First Step:

Fill the reservoir of your filter with half water and half white vinegar. Go heavy on the vinegar if you have obvious signs of mineral buildup. The vinegar not only kills germs but also dissolves minerals.

Step Two:

Put a filter in the basket and turn the coffee maker on just like you would to make coffee. Let it “brew” for about half the usual time and then turn the coffee maker off to let the vinegar solution soak in the reservoir and carafe. Let it sit for half an hour to an hour. And, let it sit longer with more vinegar if there is a lot of obvious buildup.

Third Step

Turn the coffee maker on again and run the rest of the cycle. Discard the vinegar and the filter paper. Then fill the reservoir with fresh water, add a filter to the basket and run another brewing cycle. Discard the water and the filter and repeat the process. After the second “water cycle” use a clean cloth to wipe down the coffee maker and pot.

How to Clean Your Keurig Coffee Maker

A Keurig coffee maker may appear more formidable when it comes to cleaning but the process is the similar with water, white vinegar, a toothbrush and liquid dish detergent.

First Step

Clean the exterior of the coffee maker with a damp cloth and detergent if needed. Put the drip tray, cover, and reservoir lid in the dishwasher or let them soak for fifteen minutes in the sink with hot water and a teaspoon of dish detergent. Dry with a towel when done.

Second Step

While the parts that you can remove are soaking or in the dishwasher, use a clean toothbrush to clean up any coffee grounds that are stuck in the K-Cup holder. Remove any mineral or oily buildup with a damp cloth. Then give the exterior one more wiping down with a damp cloth and all-purpose cleaner.

For stubborn mineral buildup soak a corner of your cloth with white vinegar and scrub, soak for a few minutes, and scrub again. You should be able to watch the mineral buildup disappear. Dry everything with a soft cloth and put the coffee maker back together.

Step Three

Make sure there are no pods in the coffee maker. Then put a large mug in the tray and fill the reservoir half and half with fresh water and white vinegar. Use the setting for the largest cup and run the cycle as many times as it takes for the More/Add Water light to come on. Dump the vinegar water from the mug after each cycle.

Fourth Step

Now leave the remaining liquid in the reservoir for thirty minutes. Then empty the reservoir and rinse multiple times with fresh water until any odor of vinegar is long gone.

Fifth Step

Now, just like with the standard coffee maker, run the coffee maker with just water in it. Fill the reservoir with water, use a large mug, make your “water coffee” and throw out the water until the reservoir is empty.

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