A multitude of people kick-start their day with a steaming cup of coffee. A hot brew, fresh from the coffee maker, fuels them for a new day. But coffee brewed in a moldy coffee maker is hardly an appealing thought, is it?
The warm and moist environment inside a coffee maker is ideal for superfast growth of yeast, mold and bacteria. A 2011 study conducted by NSF International found that at least 50 percent of the classic coffee maker reservoirs were hot spots for germs.
A dirty coffee maker not only results in mold-laced coffee but also makes it taste bitter. Consuming mold through coffee made in a dirty coffee maker can give rise to various health concerns like diarrhea, aggravated asthma, fatigue, cramps, appetite swings and vertigo.
Mold is not the only concern for a dirty coffee maker. Over months of use, mineral deposits from water can build up and clog the inside of your coffee maker, which can affect its performance and brewing time.
The natural oils present in coffee grounds also leave an oily residue in your coffee maker that turns rancid with time, affecting the quality of the subsequent batches brewed. Besides, making coffee in a dingy, dull and sad-looking coffee maker is not very appealing in itself.
While you should clean the carafe, filter basket and lid after every use, you should also schedule a regular deep-clean regime for your coffee maker like the one described in this article. For regular cleaning, thoroughly clean all the parts of your coffee maker that come in direct contact with the coffee to remove the residual coffee oils.
The best way to clean the inside of your coffee maker is to brew a vinegar solution in it. This method is endorsed by many reputed coffer maker brands, as vinegar is one of the few cleaning agents that are safe to ingest. When a hot vinegar solution passes through the interior mechanisms of the coffee maker, it efficiently cleans all the inner parts of the appliance.
The vinegar solution will also decalcify the inside of the coffee maker by removing the mineral deposits. If you have a hard water supply in your area, you should deep clean your coffee maker with a vinegar solution once a month. For those with a soft water supply, deep cleaning every two to three months is sufficient.
The mineral deposits, the rancid oils from the residual coffee along with the mold can result in a really bad-tasting coffee. To restore the flavor of the brew and enjoy a perfect cup of steaming coffee, here's how to clean a coffee maker with step-by-step real photos.
- Steps to Deep Clean Your Coffee Maker
- Step 1. Empty the filter and carafe
- Step 2. Make a vinegar solution & pour it into the reservoir
- Step 3. Brew the vinegar solution
- Step 4. Pour plain water into the reservoir
- Step 5. Brew the plain water
- Step 6. Clean the carafe, filter and filter basket
- Step 7. Rinse and dry the carafe, filter and filter basket
- Step 8. Wipe the exterior with a damp cloth
- Step 9. Reassemble the clean coffee maker
Steps to Deep Clean Your Coffee Maker
Things you’ll need:
- White vinegar (removes mineral deposits)
- Dish soap solution, hot
- Household sponge
- Kitchen towel
Step 1. Empty the filter and carafe
- Disassemble the coffee maker by separating the filter, filter basket and carafe to prepare them for cleaning.
- Discard any used coffee grounds in the filter.
- Dump out any coffee remaining in the carafe.
Step 2. Make a vinegar solution & pour it into the reservoir
You can make the vinegar solution in the carafe for easy measuring.
- Fill ¼ of the carafe with distilled white vinegar.
- Pour in an equal amount of water, so that the carafe is half-filled.
- Pour this vinegar solution into the water reservoir of the coffee maker.
Step 3. Brew the vinegar solution
- Assemble the coffee maker and switch it on to run the brew cycle.
- Pause the brew cycle halfway through and let the vinegar sit for about 1 hour. This will allow the hot vinegar solution to clean the inside of your coffee maker.
- After an hour, resume the brew cycle and let it finish.
- Discard the vinegar solution collected in the carafe.
Step 4. Pour plain water into the reservoir
- Fill the carafe halfway with plain water.
- Pour the water from the carafe into the water reservoir.
Step 5. Brew the plain water
- Run a brew cycle with the plain water to rinse the inside of the coffee maker.
- Pause the brew cycle halfway through.
- Let the water sit for 30 minutes before resuming the brew cycle.
- When the cycle is complete, discard the vinegary water collected in the carafe.
Repeat Step 4 and Step 5 again, even up to 3 times, to completely rinse the residual vinegar out of the coffee maker.
Step 6. Clean the carafe, filter and filter basket
- Dip a sponge into a hot dish soap solution made by diluting liquid dish soap with an equal amount of hot water.
- Clean the carafe with the sudsy sponge to remove the coffee residue and stains.
- Clean the filter and filter basket with the soapy sponge as well to get rid of stale coffee grounds.
Step 7. Rinse and dry the carafe, filter and filter basket
- Thoroughly rinse the carafe, filter and filter basket under running water to wash off the dish soap.
- Proceed to dry the carafe, filter and filter basket with a clean and dry kitchen towel.
Step 8. Wipe the exterior with a damp cloth
- Dampen a clean kitchen towel with a little water.
- Wipe the exterior of the coffee maker clean with the damp towel.
Step 9. Reassemble the clean coffee maker
Reassemble the coffee maker and brew yourself a much-needed cup of the perfect coffee you’ve been waiting for!
- Lemon juice is the most effective alternative to vinegar when it comes to cleaning coffee makers. However, store-bought lemon juice can be a comparatively costly option. Hand-squeezing lemons to get the required amount of juice can also prove to be labor-intensive.
- Baking soda can be used to clean hard water spots on the carafe every now and then.
- The filter, filter basket and carafe should be cleaned after every use with dish soap as described. You can also put the carafe and filter basket on the top rack of the dishwasher to clean them with your next load.
- The exterior of the coffee maker should also be cleaned every other day.
- While deep cleaning, continue with the rinse cycles until the vinegar smell disappears from the brewed water. Allow your coffee maker to cool off between the cycles.
- Never use bleach to clean the inside of your coffee maker. Bleach is corrosive and can damage the inner mechanisms.
- If your coffee maker sits unused for more than a week, run a few brew cycles to clean the residual water inside the internal tank before you make yourself a pot of coffee.
Summary of How to Clean a Coffee Maker (with step-by-step real photos)
Download this infographic.