Clean water and a clean coffee maker are essential to a successful home brewing experience. Here’s how to clean a coffee maker so you can enjoy the freshest tasting coffee possible at home!
You see, I ran a branch of a certain super popular coffee shop for about 9 years. During that time, I was super-insistent on really high cleanliness and organization standards at all times. I went to other stores to help them improve their own cleanliness. In fact, one of the people that I hired and trained went on to the national Barista championships (yes that’s a thing) and got the top marks in the country for cleanliness and organization. So I know about this stuff.
But my own coffee maker at home? I bought this one about 4 years ago and have not really “cleaned” it since.
For real. Shameful.
I rinse it out and all if I really need to.
But that’s about it.
So today I’m cleaning this thing out and I’m taking you along with me!
How to Clean a Coffee Maker
The first thing you need to clean out is the “inside” part. A lot of people have a problem with scale build up in their machines. You can buy fancy descaling powders, but the first thing I’ve always recommended to try is vinegar and water. That should really take care of the cleaning and the descaling for you in most instances.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret though. You really shouldn’t have any scale build up at all. I don’t in my machine and here’s why: Coffee is 98% water. The water that you use to make your coffee matters. We’re on well water here so we have one of those dispensers with the big blue bottle of filtered water and that’s what I use to make my coffee. If you’re wondering why your coffee at home tastes so different from the coffee at your favorite coffee house, first clean your machine, but the next main thing you should do is change to using filtered water. There are other factors of course, but try those first.
So let’s clean this thing out!
Start with a mixture of about 2/3 water to 1/3 vinegar.
Pour it in the top where you usually put the water.
Let that sit for about five minutes and then turn your machine on and let it run through the brew cycle. Once the water has come out the bottom into the carafe, turn the machine off and let everything cool down completely.
Here’s what came out of my machine! Fun!
You can run through this cycle 1 or 2 more times and then brew a cycle with just water. Don’t worry about any remaining vinegar after-smells. They’ll dissipate quickly and will actually remove the stale coffee smells from the inner workings of your machine as well!
Open up the compartment where you put the filter and grinds in and clean any removable parts in hot soapy water.
If you’ve got any staining or build up on your carafe, a little sprinkling of baking soda should make that pretty easy to scrub out and further help remove any stale coffee flavors.
If you (or I) complete this cycle about every 2-4 weeks, everything should stay in good working order and your coffee should keep tasting great.
Keep it Clean
There are also a couple of spots that can really affect coffee flavor that you should wipe down every week or so.
Just use a clean damp cloth to wipe the spray heads that sprinkle the water onto the coffee grinds….
Now all you need to do is polish up the outside and make everything look pretty!
It doesn’t hurt to take care of any situations like this as well:
Hey, I told you it was shameful! The good news is that it’s not anymore!
Thanks for coming along with me on this coffee maker cleaning adventure, now you know how to clean a coffee maker! It definitely makes such a difference so I plan on keeping up with this from here on out!
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Courtenay Hartford is the author of creeklinehouse.com, a blog based on her adventures renovating a 120-year-old farmhouse in rural Ontario, Canada. On her blog, Courtenay shares interior design tips based on her own farmhouse and her work as founder and stylist of the interior photography firm Art & Spaces. She also writes about her farmhouse garden, plant-based recipes, family travel, and homekeeping best practices. Courtenay is the author of the book The Cleaning Ninja and has been featured in numerous magazines including Country Sampler Farmhouse Style, Better Homes and Gardens, Parents Magazine, Real Simple, and Our Homes.