How To Clean a Coffee Maker

Cleaning Lessons from The Kitchn

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My coffee-guzzling husband looked me in my non-coffee-guzzling eyes and stated with disgust, "Honey, this cup of coffee tastes like a foot." Now, I’m not a coffee drinker, but I know a few things. One of these things is that coffee is not supposed to taste like feet. I think that’s a basic principle, right?

When the coffee you brew starts to taste bitter and funky it’s time to give your coffee machine a little extra love. A simple cleaning will help maintain freshness, remove hard water spots from the carafe, and prevent staining. It will also remove mineral buildup and clean out the coffee oils that get left behind and turn rancid. The best news? It’s easy to do and you probably have everything needed to freshen up your machine at home!

When my husband pronounced that his coffee tasted like a foot, I made my way over to our machine to check out its condition. The situation was not good. I asked him when was the last time he cleaned his machine. The response was an unintelligible mumble while avoiding eye contact. I took that as a bad sign.

I could see the hard water buildup in the carafe and some mineral deposits on the inside of the machine (not to mention its outward appearance lacking shine). So I took it upon myself to be his coffee hero. I can fix this, I thought. Pass me some vinegar, it’s time to get serious.

How to Clean The Coffee Maker

What You Need

Materials
Coffee maker
Water
White vinegar (enough to fill up half your carafe)
Hot soapy water
Sponge
Damp dish towel
Dry dish towel

Instructions

  1. Empty the carafe: Empty and rinse the carafe and dump out any coffee grounds left in the filter.
  2. Make a solution of water and vinegar: Fill the water chamber to its full capacity with equal parts white vinegar and water. I used the carafe to measure equal parts of each.
  3. Run a half brew cycle: Start a brew cycle. Midway through the brew cycle, turn off the coffee maker and let it sit for an hour.
  4. Finish the brew cycle: After an hour, turn on the coffee maker and let the brew cycle finish.
  5. Discard the vinegar-water solution and run a fresh water cycle: After the brew cycle has completed, pour out the vinegar-water solution and fill the water chamber with fresh water (no vinegar). Run a whole new brew cycle just with the water. Repeat two more times, allowing your coffee maker to cool slightly between brews.
  6. Wipe down your coffee maker: Wipe down the exterior of your coffee maker, and wash the carafe and filter basket in hot, soapy water.
  7. Reassemble: Reassemble and brew a great cup of coffee!

(Image credits: Gina Biancaniello)