How To Clean A Coffee Maker
If you can’t start your day without caffeine, then your coffee maker is probably the most over-worked appliance in your kitchen or office. You may rely on it each morning to provide you with the energy you need to power through your day. Like most small kitchen appliances, however, your coffee maker needs a little TLC to keep it running smoothly.
When was the last time you cleaned your coffee maker? We’re talking a full cleaning of all its parts—not just emptying out and washing the carafe. If it’s been awhile or if you can say you’ve never cleaned your coffee maker, now is the time to make it happen. Deep-cleaning your coffee maker is a lot easier than you might think, and it doesn’t take long.
The Importance of Cleaning Your Coffee Maker
There are so many reasons to clean your coffee maker regularly. For starters, traditional coffee makers that rely on a water basin can develop mold over time. Even once your coffee is brewed, excess moisture and water droplets remain in the basin of your coffee maker. Over time, this can become a breeding ground for bacteria, mildew, and mold. And of course, all of that ends up in your coffee the next time it’s brewed. Yuck.
Cleaning your coffee maker can also help prolong the life expectancy of this important appliance. When your coffee maker isn’t cleaned often, it can develop scale and other build-ups over time that can cause premature wear-and-tear. As a result, you may need to replace your coffee maker prematurely. And unless you’re buying a very basic coffee maker, you’ll probably be spending a pretty penny on a new one! In this sense, taking the time to clean your coffee maker can save you money.
Last but certainly not least, a clean coffee maker can result in better tasting coffee. If you’ve noticed that your coffee tastes a little “off,” there’s a good chance it’s in need of a cleaning. Contaminants from the unwashed water basin or other parts of the appliance could be making their way into your coffee and affecting its flavor.
How Often Should You Clean Your Coffee Maker?
In addition to basic cleaning after each brew cycle (emptying and washing the carafe, as well as cleaning out the filter), you should be deep cleaning your coffee maker fairly regularly. The frequency with which your coffee maker needs to be cleaned can vary depending on how often you use it. If you use your coffee maker daily, then a monthly deep clean is recommended. If you use it less frequently, then you may be able to get away with a deep cleaning every few months or every time you get an office cleaning service. Ultimately, you should use your best judgment here and remember that there’s no such thing as keeping your coffee maker too clean.
Signs Your Coffee Maker Needs To be Cleaned
There are also some specific signs you can be on the lookout for that may indicate your coffee maker is in need of a deep cleaning.
For starters, check the water basin for signs of mold or mildew. Is there a musty smell coming from the basin itself? Are there water droplets present even after your coffee maker is done brewing? If so, then there could also be mold or mildew in your coffee maker that will require a deep cleaning to get rid of. As you can probably imagine, ingesting mold spores along with your morning brew isn’t good for your health.
Another sign that your coffee maker needs to be cleaned is a build-up of scale or mineral deposits. Over time, these can affect the performance of your coffee maker if not removed. Scale and mineral deposits are most common if your home has hard water. You may be able to avoid future build-up by using distilled or purified water when making your coffee.
Finally, if you’ve noticed that your coffee tastes “off” lately, this is another sign that your coffee maker could benefit from a deep cleaning. This is especially true if you haven’t changed anything else about your coffee-making routine, such as the brand of coffee grounds you buy. Taking the time to clean your coffee maker can help remove impurities that could be affecting the taste and quality of your brew.
Cleaning a Coffee Maker: Step-by-Step
Ready to give your hard-working coffee maker the deep cleaning it deserves? You’ll need just a few supplies to get started. The good news is that you probably already have most (if not all) of these supplies on-hand:
- white vinegar
- a sponge
- a damp cloth or dish towel
- a dry cloth or dish towel
- a gentle dish soap
1. Empty and Clean Removable Parts
Start by emptying your coffee maker’s carafe and throwing out any used filters from the last brew cycle. Take some time to wash any removable parts, such as the filter holder and the carafe itself. If your coffee maker has a removable water basin, you will also want to take this out and wash it thoroughly.
If there is any heavy scale build-up, you may also want to use a clean toothbrush or other small scrub brush to remove it. Scrubbing gently in small, circular motions tends to get the best results.
2. Mix Up a Cleaning Solution
Next, it’s time to make your cleaning solution. All you have to do is mix one party warm water to one part white vinegar. The nice thing about this cleaning solution is that it’s completely safe and chemical-free, yet it is effective enough to completely clean out your coffee maker.
3. Fill the Water Chamber
Now that you have your cleaning solution, the next step is to fill up your coffee maker’s water chamber. Fill it completely, just as you would if you were brewing a full pot of coffee. The best way to ensure the right measurement here is to use your carafe as a measuring device. Fill it halfway with vinegar and halfway with water, then mix thoroughly before pouring into the water basic.
4. Start (And Stop, and Start) the Brew Cycle
Now that the water basin is full, it’s time to let your coffee maker take over and do a lot of the work for you. Start running a brew cycle, but shut it off halfway through. This will allow the vinegar cleaning solution to sit and work its magic, thoroughly cleaning all the internal parts of your coffee maker that you’d never be able to reach otherwise.
After about an hour, run the remainder of the brew cycle.
5. Run a Complete Water Brew Cycle
After the brew cycle with the vinegar solution is complete, your coffee maker will be cleaner than ever. However, you’ll still want to run a freshwater brew cycle before you make any coffee. This will remove any remaining vinegar that, while harmless, could affect the flavor of your coffee. You’ll also want to take the time to rinse and wash your carafe again.
If there is any lingering vinegar smell after you’ve run a water cycle, feel free to run a couple more cycles of just water through your coffee maker.
6. Enjoy Your Fresh Coffee!
You may also want to wipe down the exterior of your coffee maker once all the internal parts are cleaned. From there, your coffee maker should be good as new, and your coffee will likely be tasting better than ever. From here, just be sure to keep up with daily cleaning of your carafe and other removable parts. As needed, you can complete additional deep-cleanings to keep your coffee tasting its best and to prevent unnecessary wear-and-tear on this precious appliance.
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