Coffee Maker Maintenance Tips

Like any kitchen appliance, coffee makers require routine cleaning and maintenance. Not only does cleaning maintain coffee machine performance, it helps ensure that the coffee you're drinking tastes its very best. Regularly scrubbing down coffee makers gets rid of any build-up and keeps them sanitary. Keeping coffee makers in tiptop shape extends their lifespan, because they'll break down sooner if they aren't cleaned.

Neglecting the cleanliness of coffee machines can result in poor performance, because foreign build-up can affect the pressure needed to brew. The unsavory deposits affect the flavor, making coffee taste bitter, sour, or rancid. Regularly cleaning your coffee machine, about once a month, will ensure that your coffee tastes fresh and full-bodied.

What You're Cleaning

Drip coffee makers quickly accumulate hard mineral deposits in the water tank and filter basket. Mineral scale looks like a layers of white chalky dust. Additionally, spare coffee grounds can make their way from the filter into other compartments of coffee makers. Coffee oils get engrained within the internal components of coffee makers, causing a greasy, bitter build up. Cleaning away these various deposits from your coffee machine goes a long way towards superior coffee.

Daily Maintenance of Your Coffee Machine

Do your best to rinse out the carafe right after you've poured all of the coffee. This ensures that coffee residue doesn't dry onto the inside of the coffee machine carafe, leaving a tricky-to-remove crust along the bottom. Dispose of the leftover filter and used coffee grounds as soon as they're cool enough to touch with your hands. Leaving the grounds inside coffee makers can cause them to mold, a taste-altering—and disgusting—nuisance. Also, periodically wipe down the outside of your coffee maker with a towel or wipe.

To clean difficult muck off of coffee makers, using a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser can scrub away encrusted coffee residue or other substances from your coffee machine. If you notice any corners or tight spots haven't been cleaned thoroughly in your coffee machine, use a chopstick with a cloth on the end to reach.

Chemical Cleaning

There are various cleaning solutions, solvents, and tablets designed for cleaning coffee makers. These work efficiently and typically require less elbow grease than using at-home cleaning remedies. It's best to see what your manufacturer recommends before embarking on a cleaning spree. Some brands make their own line of cleaning products designed for their coffee machines specifically. Keep in mind that usually special cleaning compounds usually contain inorganic materials and chemicals. If you're very sensitive to chemicals or prefer to use natural cleaning techniques, it might be better to use something natural.

Natural Cleaning: the Tried & True Method

One of the most common home remedies for cleaning coffee makers uses completely natural components. Pick your poison: lemon juice or white vinegar.

  1. Mix up a cleaning solution. Use equal parts boiling water and lemon juice, or use boiling water and vinegar in a 1:2 ratio. 
  2. Turn on and let the coffee maker run a full cycle. 
  3. Allow the coffee machine to sit for 20 minutes so the cleaning solution has time to work. 
  4. Repeat 2-4 times if necessary, until the coffee machine is residue free.
  5. Run coffee machine cycle with clean water for a few cycles to remove the cleaning solution

Be Safe

Be sure to clean brand new coffee makers right out of the box! For coffee machines with glass carafe, it's important to never drastically change the temperature of the vessel. If the temperature of the glass changes from very cold to very warm suddenly, the coffee machine could explode and possibly injure you.