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How to Clean a Coffee Maker: Pro Tips

Written by The Kitchen Hand on . Posted in Coffee Machines

Do you know how to clean a coffee maker? Cleaning a coffee maker became the hustle for me when I went away from home a few years back.

Coffee makers are simple, super-automatic latte machines that perform the entire process of brewing a fresh cup of coffee from coarsely ground beans within a fraction of seconds.

An espresso machine puts technology to the best of its use for caffeine fans; it brews coffee with the use of dual or single boilers.

This type of machine extracts a predefined amount of coffee and milk every time, giving you a consistent, mesmerizing taste that tickles your taste buds and energizes you as well. A more advanced coffee machine makes frothing simple with the help of steamers that create the aeration of milk.

By using only the best quality espresso machines, you can stay caffeinated while expecting a perfect taste in every single serving.

Little did I know how to clean a coffee maker when I first shifted to my new place. When I arrived, my would-be roommates were having their final rounds of coffee that evening (I would get to know much later their typical coffee habits).

A new boarder back then who was completely unaware of the hostel life, I soon discovered the nonchalant yet ornery ways of my roommates.

After so many years, it seems quite funny to me.

But, six years back, when they entrusted me to clean a coffee pot, I was distraught. First of all, I had no idea how to clean a coffee maker. Secondly, their coffee-guzzling eyes stating discontent in my every movement seemed quite scary.

I believe that was a turning point in my life, as they helped me a lot to become what I am today. My roommates were the ones who became my family in those days when I was missing warm family moments. And yes, they made me learn about cleaning coffee makers and a lot of other things.

Well, Jane was the coffee snob of the group, and she was the one who taught me a lot of things. Today, when I’ve got the perfect occasion to recount my learning sessions six years back, why not start here?

When Your Coffee Maker Deserves a Thorough Cleaning?

“Of course—when your coffee tastes like feet.” This was Jane’s reply to my question about when one should go about cleaning coffee maker machines.

We all know that coffee naturally tastes slightly bitter, but then there are times when it tastes too bitter to gulp it down. That’s the time you need to show your coffee machine a little extra love. Cleaning will help remove hard water spots from the carafe and prevent bad staining, thus helping maintain a freshness next time you brew.

While eliminating the mineral buildup, it also cleans up the coffee oils that are often left behind, which turn rancid over time.

The best news? It’s so easy that you can do it yourself at home without too much effort. So, let’s just get into the point.

Best Way to Clean a Coffee Maker

Clean with Vinegar

Vinegar is widely used, as it’s a wonderful cleaning agent when it comes to cleaning coffee tables. Its acidic nature not only helps in cleaning out the excess mineral oil, but it also helps you take out the bad stains easily. In fact, for the basic level of cleaning at home on a regular basis, there’s no better option than vinegar.

Materials

  1. Water
  2. White vinegar (enough to fill up half your carafe)
  3. Hot, soapy water
  4. Sponge
  5. Damp dish towel
  6. Dry dish towel

Instructions

Carafe Must Be Unfilled: Unless you detach the carafe from the coffee maker, you can’t clean it thoroughly. Take out the leftover coffee grounds in the filter and rinse the carafe with plain water first.

Make a solution of water and vinegar: Once you are done with water cleaning, fill the water chamber with the solution made of water and vinegar (make sure that each of the ingredients is equally proportioned before mixing). We made the solution before we started the cleaning.

Get a half brew cycle: In that condition, start a brew cycle. Midway through the cycle, simply turn it off and run the coffee maker, letting it sit for an hour.

Finish off the brew cycle: After an hour passes, it’s time to start the machine once again to finish off the brew cycle.

Dispose of the solution: After the brewing is over, dispose of the vinegar-water solution and fill the water chamber with fresh water. Make sure that no vinegar remains in the water at this phase. Once done, run a fresh brew cycle again. Repeat this twice, but allow some time in between for cooling off. Don’t run the brew cycle repeatedly when the water inside is still hot.

Wipe off the dirt: A complete cleaning is done when you clean coffee maker inside out. After cleaning inside, wipe off the dirt and grime that usually deposit over the coffee maker after a period of using it. Also, wash the carafe and filter basket in hot, soapy water.

Reassemble the Pieces: Once done, reassemble the parts and brew a great cup of coffee.

And this time, it won’t taste like feet, as Jane said.

This is a pretty basic coffee maker cleaning technique that you can perform at home on a regular basis. There are other types of coffee makers with completely different methods of cleaning, and this tutorial would be incomplete unless we talked about those.

Cleaning Different Types of Coffee Makers

So let’s take a quick look at the types of Coffee Makers

  • Drip Coffee Maker
  • Coffee Percolator
  • French Press
  • Glass Pour-Over (i.e. Chemex)
  • Aeropress

1) Clean Drip Coffee Maker

In spite of the growing popularity of single-serve coffee makers, drip coffee makers still serve as an antique piece in many households. Even my in-laws have one in their possession, and my mother-in-law uses the following technique of cleaning it. Here’s what she does to clean a drip coffee maker:

Materials

  • A wet cloth
  • A little bit of water
  • High-quality white vinegar
  • Paper coffee filters
  • Dish soap (choose something with a de-greasing effect)
  • Dish or bottle brush, which is often called a Chemex Brush (accumulate everything from the hardware store)
  • Small grout brush

Instructions

Wipe Off the Dirt & Grime: Over a period of time, using the coffee maker can deposit dirt and grime inside the coffee maker. Also, there are coffee stains and deposited coffee and other debris, which I managed to clean with a damp cloth.

This way, you will be able to do away with loose grounds that got deposited there. Scrub away the coffee debris from the corners with a brush. For the hard-to-reach spaces, use a small grout brush.

Use the proportionate amount of vinegar and water solution: Pour the water-vinegar solution into the coffee maker’s water chamber.

Use a Paper Filter: Place a paper filter inside the coffee maker so that it can properly soak the hard water deposits and the deposits that might get loosened after the water-vinegar solution is poured into it.

Run a half brew cycle: After pouring the vinegar, simply run a half brewing cycle and leave it that way. Keep it that way for an hour minimum.

Run the rest of the cycle: Switch on the coffee maker and allow it to finish off the brewing with a water-vinegar solution.

Change the filter: After the brewing is over, make sure to refill the water chamber with fresh water. Change the paper filter to finish off the brewing. It lets you rinse the system thoroughly.

Eliminate the leftover vinegar stain: Vinegar, being acidic in nature, can end up leaving stains. When you are cleaning it, make sure to rinse it a second time so that there’s no persistent vinegar scent or taste.

Use warm water & dish soap: To scrub inside the carafe, you have to use warm water and dish soap. Also, avoid using anything abrasive outside the coffee maker as it will tarnish the smooth surface, affecting its look.

You can use a dampened cotton cloth or a sponge to clean the outside. Check if there are any markings on the outside of the carafe. Markings usually appear, so don’t skip this step.

Wipe down the outside: Remove dust and mineral oils with a damp cloth. A wet cloth helps to eliminate the dirt build-up of your coffee maker, removing dust and oils.

Get rid of the Calcium Deposit: There might be a calcium deposit on the surface when you wipe off the water inside. Make sure to descale the product so as to avoid problems in the long run.

2) Clean a Coffee Percolator

A coffee percolator is one of the most eco-friendly coffee makers—it hardly needs any high-level maintenance. Also, it’s quite handy and occupies a little amount of space in your kitchen. And, the best part is, you can clean it right at home with easy and effortless techniques.

Percolators usually last for years if you take proper care of them. All they need is a quick hand washing after each use. But, like any other type of coffee maker, it will also start getting tough stains inside the percolator that just won’t go. Well, a few powerful tools can help you get rid of these. Here’s what I usually do with the coffee percolators at my place.

Materials

  • Preferably a coffee maker cleaning brush or an all-purpose brush (make sure that it reaches the difficult ends)
  • Water
  • Baking Soda
  • White vinegar

Instructions

Make use of water: Fill your percolator properly with water. Get fresh tap water for this purpose.

Get Baking Soda: Add three tablespoons of baking soda into each percolator filled with water.

Run a Cycle: Turn on the switch to run a brew cycle. This will loosen the dirt, grime and the tough stains sitting on the walls of the percolators. Once loosened, you can easily wipe them off.

Allow some cooling time: After an hour, when the water inside is cooled off, fetch a brush and scrub inside the coffee maker to remove the coffee stains and debris.

Dispose of the water: Once done, discard the water and rinse well. Make sure that no dirt or grime is left inside.

Pour the water-vinegar solution: After you rinse out the dirt and grime, pour in vinegar-water solution. In case there’s any residue left after cleaning it with water, this solution will remove it.

Run the third Brewing cycle: Run the third cycle of fresh water if brewing with the solution inside it. Once done, rinse the residue with clean water.

As mentioned already, percolators are easy to clean and they are quite a breeze to handle. Such a deep cleansing once a month will keep your percolators working in good condition for years. Simply make sure that you don’t neglect cleaning the build-up regularly.

3) How to Clean a French Press

Well, a French press coffee maker can give you the perfect coffee every time you brew one, but cleaning it is a real drag that demands a lot of toiling. The worst part is that simply rinsing won’t eliminate the dirt and debris from a French press coffee maker. You have to use a spoon to take out the coffee grounds deposited inside. Here’s an expert’s way of cleaning coffee makers.

Materials

  • Dish soap
  • Long brush
  • Soft cloth
  • Baking soda

Instructions

Dismantle the Coffee Maker: Detach the plunger and the French press and fill it with sufficient warm water. Slowly shake the coffee maker to loosen the coffee grounds. Use a spoon to take out the debris carefully.

Use the Mesh Strainer: Fetch the mesh strainer and place it on the kitchen sink. Quickly pour the water and the loosened grounds into it. While the water drains into the sink, the coffee grounds will drain into your strainer. Perform this task to make sure that the French Press gets absolutely empty.

Compost the grounds: Make sure that the coffee grounds do not end up clogging your kitchen sink.

Scrub the oils and stains: Once you take out the coffee grounds from the hard-to-reach ends of your French Press, it’s time to clean off the oils and stains. Use a brush, dish soap, and some warm water to scrub it down. To deal with the persistent coffee stains and residue, dab a little baking soda on the brush while cleaning it.

Rinse thoroughly: Once you successfully remove the oils and stains, it’s time to rinse it properly with fresh water. For better cleaning, you can resort to warm water, as it better cleans off the soap than cold water. Make sure that the next cup of coffee doesn’t have a soapy fragrance.

Wipe it Off: Dry the surface of the coffee maker with a soft, dry or damp cloth. If you are using a damp cloth, make sure to dry the coffee maker before using it.

While such a deep cleaning is recommended at least twice a month for a French press coffee maker, you can also perform it each time after using it. But if you are literally pressed for time, just fetch a damp cloth to wipe off the interior. Simply make sure to give it a proper cleaning when needed, and dry it well.

4) Clean a Pour-Over Coffee Maker

The most challenging part of cleaning a pour-over coffee maker is that your hands can’t go inside. But, those persistent coffee stains are a pain to see. However, my roommate Jane had a painless yet effective cleaning technique. That’s why I love her so much.

Materials

  • Ice cubes or some crushed ice (whatever you can arrange)
  • Lemon juice (optional but can work wonders if used)
  • Table salt
  • Water
  • Dish soap
  • A coffee maker cleaning brush, popularly called Chemex (otherwise, you can use a sponge as well)

Instructions

Fill with Ice Cubes: Before filling the bottom of the pour-over coffee machine with some ice cubes, make sure the coffee maker is at room temperature.

Add the cleaning agents: Make a solution with four teaspoons of table salt mixed with one tablespoon of lemon juice and water, respectively.

Toss in the mixture: Slowly whirl the mixture as it scrubs off the dirt as well as the dried-up coffee debris inside. Do it slowly, as the salt becomes coarse and leaves scratches on the surface. Once cleaned, you can see from outside whether the glass is too frosty.

Rinse the coffee maker: Rinse off the coffee maker with plain cold water after disposing of the saltwater solution. Avoid pouring hot water in the glass, as it might break it.

Use Chemex brush: Though quite unlikely, coffee residue might stick in there even after cleaning. That’s when you need a Chemex brush or any long handled brush to scrub off the coffee maker.

Pour-over coffee makers are easy to clean and if you do some normal cleaning after every use, you can easily do away with the coffee build up inside. Otherwise, stick to cleaning coffee makers twice or thrice a month.

5) Clean an Aeropress Coffee Maker

Aeropress coffee makers are quite popular these days because the brew time is quite low and cleaning it is such a breeze. The design of Aeropress coffee makers also makes the cleaning process a lot easier. The rubber seal that tightly squeezes the end actually prevents coffee debris from building up at the edge.

Materials that Come in Handy During Cleaning

  • A little dish soap
  • Adequate supply of water
  • An all-purpose brush

Instructions:

Dismantle the coffee maker: At the time of cleaning, unfix the cap and keep pressing the Aeropress as long as the filter and coffee grounds come out.

Rinse it carefully: Rinse the coffee maker with cold water and wipe off the rubber seal with a soft, dry cotton cloth.

Scrub off the residue: A proper rinsing can loosen the coffee grounds as well as the residue, which you can easily scrub off with a gentle brush and a little bit of dish soap. You can also put the Aeropress on the top shelf of the dishwasher, as it is dishwasher safe.

Carefully handle the rubber gasket: Make sure that the rubber gasket does not get any water build-up inside it. If this happens, dirt will build up in the gasket within a short time, which will make it even more difficult to clean.

6) How to Clean an Automatic Coffee Maker

  • Commercial Products

When it comes to cleaning automatic coffee makers, there are plenty of coffee maker cleaners available commercially. There are a number of commercial automatic coffee maker cleaning products on the market.

However, many people refrain from using these products due to the overuse of chemical substances in such cleaners. Most importantly, you will be brewing coffee after cleaning these, so a chemical-based cleaning product might affect your health.

Fortunately, there are a handful of products that are perfectly safe for human consumption, even if the residue is left behind. Again, with automatic coffee makers, you have limited capability to dismantle the parts of the coffee maker.

This isn’t to say that the commercial coffee maker cleaner should be discarded because you can make it totally safe for cleaning with your common sense and by adopting precautions whenever using it.

  • Natural Agent

Among the natural agents, white vinegar and baking soda are widely used. They help to remove the sediments and coffee debris in a smooth and seamless manner without causing any health threats.

Once done, you can easily rinse the coffee maker with cold, fresh water to do away with the odor of vinegar or baking soda, whichever you are using. Neither of these will leave its pungent taste in the machine once it has been a few hours after rinsing it off.

  • Avoid the Mildew Build Up

Keep in mind that water sits for extended periods of time in your coffee machine, so mildew and dirt are quite likely to build up. Moreover, the rubber gasket can attract dirt from coffee grounds easily. Make sure to give your coffee maker some deep cleaning as soon as the mildew starts building up.

In a recent study conducted by the food and beverage department, many people don’t consider that their coffee maker could be a breeding spot for mold and bacteria. However, the truth surprises them all, as it was recently revealed that some home appliances might have a higher germ count than the corners of your toilet.

To ensure your family stays healthy and does not gulp down bacteria or yeast along with their coffee, a weekly clean-up is essential to keep the appliance in check.

Pro Cleaning Tips

Usually, the parts of the coffee machine are dishwasher safe. It is best to clean the removable parts with a soapy solution after every use.

A scrubbing sponge works excellently with the delicate parts in helping you get rid of debris. Moisture tends to be an infamous breeding spot for germs; hence, it is essential to wipe the parts and dry them thoroughly to ensure they are entirely moisture-free.

Can’t Make Your Coffee Like Your Favorite Coffee Shop?

If your home brew isn’t as good as the coffee outlet you crave, chances are you may not be making it right. Let your coffee maker satisfy your taste buds with these top tips that can help you make a perfect coffee. By following the below steps, you can bid farewell to bitter cups of stale coffee and enjoy the energetic and creamy texture you get from your favorite cafe.

  1. Use cold water every time you prep to prepare your mug of coffee.
  2. Use freshly ground coffee for its mesmerizing smell and tasty brew. Old grounds give your coffee a stale taste, so you’ll want to avoid those.
  3. If you go by the coffee experts, you should be using 2 and a half tablespoons of coffee grounds for every 5 to 6 ounces of water.
  4. The oily residue left behind by your previous brew can quickly spoil the taste of the fresh one. Hence, make sure you clean the exposed parts of the coffee maker well to avoid any mix-up of flavors.
  5. As an ardent fan of coffee, you might be stocking up on pods or capsules, but this should be avoided for longer intervals. The taste and aroma of coffee can degrade over a period of time, however vacuum sealed the container might be. Stock up for no more than 3 to 4 months.
  6. Many people leave the leftover coffee in their carafe for too long which promotes deposition and leaves a grimy layer. This will be difficult to remove and gives a stale taste to the next brew.
  7. The recent models of coffee makers have a steam nozzle that is used to produce frothy milk to prepare the picture-perfect cappuccinos. The nozzles can easily clog if left uncleaned and may even cause the milk to curdle up. You can clean the nozzles using hot water and a fresh cloth.
  8. If the coffee maker has been out of use for more than a couple of days, run a few cycles to swirl and clean the internal tank from the leftover debris.
  9. If the machine is used several times in a day, chances are (if not maintained well) it could wear out sooner than expected. Hence, it is crucial to provide proper maintenance to guarantee a supreme quality drink and a machine that performs well even after a year of usage. Doing so will save your hard-earned money from buying a new one.
  10. Lastly, take some time to read the manual—know your machine well.

The smell of a fresh-brewing mug of coffee can surely make you jump out of bed and give a good head start to your mornings. Caffeine not only gives you a boost of energy but also helps your skin regenerate. And let’s not forget, it is zero calories.

A good cup of espresso is an excellent fix to almost all your problems, and with an espresso machine, you can get it right every time so that you never have to be disappointed by a lousy cup of coffee.

Enjoy the coffee shop taste of the perfect espresso from the comfort of your very own home with the best espresso machine for homemade lattes, which can make brewing your favorite beverage as simple as clicking a few buttons.

An espresso machine is all a coffee lover could aspire for—a barista-quality latte in the comfort of your cozy bed and relaxing pajamas. We bring you the best way to clean a coffee maker that will make your investment last for a healthier and more gorgeous you, all thanks to the best espresso latte maker.

A coffee machine can deteriorate rapidly if not used with care. This delightful appliance can save you considerable time and money, giving you a picture-perfect coffee every morning.  Cleaning it regularly can make a world of difference, adding years to the machine. A coffee machine is an expensive investment to make.

Hence, it is vital to keep and maintain it well so that you get the best out of your investments. You may as well check espresso maker reviews and make your decision to choose the best machine that will make everyday cleaning and maintenance easier.

Last but not least, I must finish off this account by thanking my roommate Jane. Had she not helped me that day to learn how to clean a coffee maker, I wouldn’t be the pro I am today!

The Kitchen Hand

The Kitchen Hand

Your Personal In-House 'HOW TO' Gastro Master. From Slicing up A Pig for Christmas or Selecting Your Organic Ingredients for that Super Vegan Juice, The kitchen Hand Knows More Than You Might Think .
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