Coffee is a staple for most of us, and it’s hard to imagine making do without it.
Owning an automatic coffee maker is amazing because of the convenience it offers, but it’s important to keep it clean at all times. Failing to clean it will leave you with coffee that tastes less than ideal, and it may even set your machine up for a shorter lifespan.
If you’re wondering just how you should clean your coffee maker, read the instructions below and you’ll realize that it’s not so hard to do.
How Often Should I Clean My Automatic Coffee Maker?
Your automatic coffee maker has some removable parts, and these should be cleaned after each use. These include the filter basket, lid, and pot, which you can put on the top rack of your dishwasher or scrubbed with hot, soapy water. A baby bottle brush will help you reach every corner and some salt or baking soda can give you extra power for scrubbing.
To consistently enjoy the perfect cup of coffee each morning, it’s advisable to deep clean your drip coffee maker at least once a month if you use it daily. If you don’t use it often, you can clean it once every three to six months, or as soon as you notice buildup around the basket or pot or a strange taste in your brew. Keep in mind that you should schedule some extra time and not start deep cleaning it right before you want to get your daily dose of coffee as it will take some time.
Can a Dirty Coffee Maker Make You Sick?
Apart from brewing a cup of coffee that tastes nowhere near as awesome as you would like, a dirty coffee maker can make you sick.
As the grime and deposits accumulate in your carafe, portafilter basket, brew chamber, and on the heating element, they create an environment in which germs, bacteria, mold, and even yeast can thrive. They will feed on the oils and other dirt and create a thriving colony which can easily come into contact with your coffee when you consume it.
It’s important to clean your coffee maker because of this, as the heat from the brewing process is not enough to keep it free of contamination by these illness-causing organisms.
Should I Use a Coffee Cleaner Solution When Cleaning My Coffee Maker?
When you get to cleaning your drip coffee maker, there are a number of solutions available to you. These include vinegar, baking soda, and coffee maker cleaning products in powder, capsule, liquid, or tablet form. Depending on the state of your coffee maker, you may need to use only one of these methods, or combine a few of them.
The easiest method out of all of these is using coffee cleaner products. This is because they are a one-stop solution, and for a majority of them, you don’t have to measure out and mix different ingredients. These products are also manufactured in the right concentrations to get rid of any stubborn buildup when used according to the instructions.
What Can I Use Besides Vinegar to Clean My Coffee Maker?
If you’ve tried using vinegar to clean your coffee maker but have had no luck or you simply prefer not to use it, there are a few other things you can try as listed above.
- To get rid of dirt and residue outside of your coffee maker, in the pot, or around it, you can use regular liquid dish detergent. Some elbow grease will help you remove mild stains on the outside of your machine.
- To remove stains inside of your drip coffee maker, you can use baking soda and a soft sponge. Moisten the baking soda and let it soak for a while, then use a soft sponge to scrub off visible stains that your hand can comfortably reach.
- Lemon juice is another product that works like vinegar, so you can substitute vinegar with half a cup of lemon juice. Top the rest of the volume up with water and brew the solution, then rinse your coffee maker.
- Hydrogen peroxide from the first aid section can also be used in place of vinegar. Simply get the 3% concentration and add a cup of it to the machine’s reservoir, filling the rest up with hot water. After brewing this, you can finish the cleaning up with plain water.
- Finally, you can use borax. Two tablespoons of borax and hot water in your reservoir will leave you with a machine that’s not only clean, but decalcified as well.
There are a number of solutions you can use to keep your coffee maker in a sparkling state, so use whichever method you feel will work best for you. Most of these products are easily available in local stores and you can try them out, then settle for the one which works best for you.
Whichever one you use, make sure to give your machine a thorough rinse after you’re done so your next cup is pure and clean.
What is the Difference Between Descaling a Coffee Maker and Cleaning a Coffee Maker?
Cleaning a coffee maker is not to be confused with descaling it. Cleaning is simply removing the buildup of dirt, germs, bacteria, and the oily residue of coffee. This should be done often because these things accumulate very quickly and in a short time. A simple solution of dish soap and water is enough to leave your coffee maker in a great state.
Descaling, on the other hand, is removing the buildup of minerals like lime, magnesium, and calcium. These collect over time from the water you use to brew your coffee, as most public water supplies have these minerals in them. These minerals usually accumulate in the tubes and carafe, and also on the burner. Failing to remove them can give your coffee a bad taste, make it fail to reach the optimal brewing temperature, or even prevent your coffee maker from working. You should descale your machine once every three months if you have soft water, but as often as once a month if you have hard water, as you will have more buildup in a shorter time.
Can You Run Soapy Water Through a Coffee Maker?
While it’s okay to use soapy water to clean your coffee maker’s removable parts and the outside, you should not run soapy water through the system.
Most manufacturers of coffee makers include instructions that state to avoid running soapy water through the machine. This is because it’s hard to get all the soap out once it has gotten into the system, even if you rinse it multiple times. If you do run soapy water through it, you will likely have to contend with a few soap-flavored cups of coffee (as if drab and under-heated wasn’t bad enough). Follow the instructions that came with your machine, and if they say you can do a hot water rinse, then this should be enough between deep cleans.
To make sure you enjoy great coffee every single time, follow the cleaning tips above and you should be okay. Note that if you have hard water in your area and drink a lot of coffee, you can try to get less buildup in your machine by using filtered water. Also, leave the lid open after you brew or clean so that air can circulate freely inside and you will have fewer issues with bacteria and mold.
Remember that all it takes to keep your automatic coffee maker clean for tasty coffee is a few ingredients you probably already have around your house and some time!