How to Clean a Coffee Maker: (Vinegar, Baking Soda, Lemon or Bleach)

How to Clean a Coffee Maker
  1. Why should I clean coffee maker?
  2. How to clean a coffee maker?
  3. Conclusion

Everything needs to be taken care of. You can not get the best results from anything forever until it is looked after. And the same is the case with your coffee maker; your coffee starts tasting nasty if you don’t go for a major cleaning process every 2 – 3 months. But don’t be afraid; major cleaning doesn’t mean that it is something challenging. It just means a different cleaning process compared to how you wash your carafe and filter daily.

You might think, I always clean my carafe and filter every day after the brewing is done. What else can I do? and How to clean a coffee maker in a different way to get its original taste and performance back. Well, several easy methods will take anywhere between 15 minutes to an hour, and your coffee maker will be clean as new.

Why Should I Clean my Coffee Maker?

When you use your coffee maker for months, minerals and other substances from water deposit in your water reservoir and many other parts used in the brewing process. The same happens to your ground coffee; along the way, when brewing is happening, some elements stay there, and they make layers of deposits. This, in turn, makes your coffee tasteless or unpleasant. And this is the time when you really need to clean your coffee maker, for which you need to know how to clean your drip coffee maker.

Well, there is no special item involved in the cleaning process of the coffee maker. Everything that is needed for this process, you will get at your home. It will take an hour at most, depending on which method you use. The most common method people go for is cleaning their coffee maker with vinegar. Still, some people do not like its odour afterwards and the fact that it sometimes affects the taste of coffee. Then there are other methods like using lemon juice, baking soda, bleach or some cleaning agents which are particularly made for cleaning coffee makers. So here, we will go through all the methods for cleaning your coffee maker, one by one. These methods are simple, do not require special items and are good enough to clean your coffee maker nicely.

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How to Clean a Coffee Maker?

As mentioned earlier, these are simple methods. And here, we are going through 4 most prominent and effective methods i.e. with vinegar and without vinegar (lemons, baking soda or bleach).

How to clean a coffee maker with vinegar?

The most common way of cleaning your coffee maker is with vinegar. Most people prefer this method because it is effective, easy, and cheap. Almost everyone will have household vinegar at their home, you just need to use it for cleaning of your coffee maker. However, some people still don’t like this method due to some reason. First, the smell of it may still remain in the coffee maker for a few days. Secondly, if not done properly, there might remain some traces of vinegar in the coffee maker. And your coffee might start tasting like vinegar, which you definitely do not want.

using vinegar for cleaning coffee maker

But, these issues can easily be controlled. All you need to do is to take care of certain things:
You need to make sure that the vinegar you use is ordinary diluted white household vinegar. If you think that vinegar is powerful, you can add water to it.
You can simply place your coffee maker and its accessories out in the sunlight to dry after the cleaning is done.
You need to ensure that you have added and removed enough water after vinegar once the cleaning is done (this point will be made clear when you know the process below).
Now, without wasting any more time, let’s dive into the step by step process of cleaning your coffee maker with vinegar.

Things you will need: white vinegar, soapy water, sponge, towel for drying

  1. First of all, you need to empty the water reservoir, carafe, and filter basket if it still contains the previously used coffee grounds.
  2. Next, wash your filter basket, filter (if you have a permanent one) and carafe with running tap water.
  3. Now pour 3 – 4 cups of diluted white vinegar into the carafe. If you know that the vinegar you are using is strong, make sure you add water to it.
  4. Pour the diluted white vinegar out of the carafe into the water reservoir of your coffee maker and place the carafe back below the filter basket.
  5. Insert a paper filter into the filter basket or the permanent filter if you use any.
  6. Now turn ON the coffee maker to start the brewing cycle and switch it OFF when you know that half of the vinegar has been poured out to the carafe.
  7. Leave your coffee maker idle for the next 25 – 40 minutes. (anything more than this may, later on, affect the taste of your coffee).
  8. Now, start the brewing process again and make sure all the vinegar is poured out of the filter. And then throw the vinegar out of your carafe.
  9. Wash your carafe with tap water, fill it with water and pour the water in the water reservoir of your coffee maker.
  10. Next, turn ON the coffee maker and let the water pour into the carafe to wash out all the remains of vinegar in the machine.
  11. Repeat step 10 multiple times so that there is no vinegar left out. A minimum of 3 – 4 times is recommended.
  12. Wash all the accessories with soapy water.
  13. Finally, dry all the accessories of the coffee machine with a towel and then put everything in the sun for the next 30 minutes. This will make certain that no odour or taste of vinegar is left behind in the coffee maker.
  14. Put everything back in place, brew your cup of coffee and make sure that your first sip is a small one just to check if the taste is fine. That’s it, you are good to go. Now you can offer some of the nicely brewed coffee in a new coffee maker to your friends or family.

How to clean a coffee maker without vinegar?

It is not the last method for cleaning a drip coffee maker for those who do not like to clean their coffee maker with vinegar. You could go for other methods which are more natural and won’t bother you. Out of all other methods besides vinegar, lemon juice and baking soda is what will give you effective cleaning results. Additionally, people also use bleach for cleaning purposes. It can be very effective in the cleaning process, perhaps best among all. But the bleach cleaning process needs to be done with care.

Using Lemons

Lemons are an excellent alternative to use instead of vinegar. They work almost the same as vinegar, and the good news is that you won’t have any issues with the smell which vinegar leaves behind. Because lemons will not be leaving any taste or odour in your machine.

using lemons for cleaning coffee maker

Things you will need: Lemon juice, soapy water, towel for drying

  1. Remove any coffee grounds or previously used paper filters from your coffee maker.
  2. Add plain water to the tank, run the brew cycle, then throw out all the water poured into the carafe.
  3. Squeeze 3 – 4 lemons into a cup and add a half cup of water into it. Pour this solution into the water reservoir and let the machine idle for the next 10 minutes, then run the brew cycle and pour out all the solutions you have in the carafe. Do not forget to put a filter in the filter basket depending on what you use, either a paper filter or the permanent one.
  4. Add clean water to the reservoir and run the brew cycle 3 – 4 times by adding clean water every time.
  5. Take all the accessories and wash them with soapy water.
  6. Dry all the accessories and the coffee maker using a dry towel. Then place everything separately in the open air before putting it back together.
  7. Finally, put everything together, and you are ready to brew your coffee using your new like cleaned coffee maker.

Using Baking Soda

Baking soda, by nature, is a cleaning agent. Besides, it is not toxic, so you don’t need to worry about anything wrong happening to your coffee. Plus, it is something that will be easily available at home.

using baking soda for cleaning coffee maker

Things you will need: Baking soda, soapy water, dry towel

  1. First and foremost, make sure to remove the filter from the filter basket. This method won’t work if you do not remove the filter because the solution would not pass through the filter.
  2. Add 1 – 1/2 cup(s) of water into the carafe, make sure the water is warm.
  3. Add a quarter cup baking soda into the warm water and mix it well.
  4. Add this solution into the water tank of your coffee maker and run the coffee machine for one complete brew cycle. Then let the machine idle for the next 10 – 15 minutes.
  5. Remove all the solution poured back into the carafe and wash your carafe with running tap water.
  6. Add clean water into the tank, rerun the brew cycle so that all the traces of baking soda are poured out to the carafe. Repeat this step multiple times unless the water pouring out is clean and clear.
  7. Wash all the parts with soapy water and then dry them using a clean, dry towel.
  8. Let all the accessories disassembled in the open air for 10 – 15 minutes and then put them back together. That’s it, you are good to go.

Using Bleach

Bleach is something that will quickly and effectively clean your coffee machine. Perhaps, it will bring the best results of all. But it is highly corrosive and if used in higher proportion, it can damage your coffee maker or even you yourself. But people use it commonly at their home for cleaning purposes, which is why most people know how to handle it with care. So, here is how to clean a coffee maker with bleach.

using bleach for cleaning coffee maker

Things you will need: Bleach, soapy water, towel for drying

  1. Add 1 – 2 tablespoons of bleach to 4 cups of water. Stir the solution well and poured it into the carafe of your coffee machine.
  2. Pour the solution into the water reservoir and leave the machine idle for the next 10 minutes.
  3. Run the machine for one brew cycle so that the solution passes through the machine and pours back into the carafe. Make sure you also add a filter into the filter basket.
  4. Pour out all the solution from the carafe, clean and fill it with clean water. Then pour clean water into the water tank and rerun the brew cycle.
  5. Repeat step 4 multiple times until clean water starts pouring out, leaving behind no traces of bleach.
  6. Wash all accessories with soapy water and dry them using a towel.
  7. Put all accessories, including the machine, in the sun for around 30 minutes. Then put together everything, and you are good to go

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All the methods for cleaning the coffee maker mentioned above are effective and common in the household. The steps they involve are straightforward, and everything used in them is always available in most homes. It is good to do a major cleaning of your coffee maker every 2 – 3 months. This will increase your coffee maker’s lifespan, and the taste of your coffee won’t change. You will always get the best coffee for yourself, friends, and family.

Additionally, suppose you want to save yourself from all the hectic work and use something specifically made for cleaning coffee makers. In that case, you should go for coffee maker cleaning agents. These are not very expensive, and one supply of these will be enough for around a year or two because you will be using them in intervals of 2 – 3 months.

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