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How to Clean Your Coffee Maker in Just 30 Minutes | Architectural Digest


The average person has three cups of coffee a day, reports the National Coffee Association. That means you better know how to clean a coffee maker. Americans may like smudge-free, stainless steel appliances, but they don’t particularly like to clean the one that wakes them up in the morning. Think about it: You likely wash dishes, shower, and brush teeth either right before or after you use your coffee machine to make a cup of joe, so it makes sense that you don’t want to be bothered with even more soapy water. Before you dismiss regularly cleaning a coffee maker as unnecessary, know that your unwashed brew buddy can get pretty disgusting. An often cited study by NSF International found that half of these caffeine incubators contain yeast and mold because of its “warm and moist environment,” which can heighten the bitter taste of your brew at best and spur allergic reactions at worst. Alongside sponges, the study found that coffee makers are among the top 10 germiest places in a home.

Don’t toss your coffee maker in the garbage just yet. Once you take the time to run the coffee maker under clean water, you won’t have to worry about the not-so-appetizing coffee residue that can ruin an otherwise perfect cup of joe. Christopher Peacock, founder and CEO of an eponymous design firm in New York, starts his day with an Americano—black, no sugar— and then an espresso in the afternoon, and knows a thing or two about cleaning a coffee maker regularly. “For a regular drip coffee maker, I clean it with hot water and dish soap after each brew,” he says. 

Read on for more simple tips on how to clean your coffee maker’s removable parts, filter, and exterior, so that each cup of coffee is truly a boost of energy, not a dose of germs. 

What is the best way to clean the inside of a coffee maker?

Every coffee maker comes with its own instructions from the manufacturer, so if you still have the manual booklet, start there. For those sans paperwork, Peacock recommends a daily cleaning with fresh water form the faucet’s hand spray, a soft brush, soap, and a clean cloth. Once a month, a cleaning solution of distilled white vinegar deep cleans to nixing mineral deposits.

How do I take the coffee machine apart? 

After you’ve finished your coffee for the morning—because you know the coffee maker doesn’t get cleaned until after you’re fully awake—remove parts of the machine from the base: the carafe (or coffee pot), lid, and filter. Wipe down the base and the warming plate, clearing any drips that may cause coffee stains. Next, pour out the bulk of your coffee grounds from the filter basket into the trash or compost, and then rinse out remaining grounds and oily residue in the sink. Wash out the coffee pot and lid with dish soap and water, and let both air-dry. Note: If washing your coffee maker daily seems like too much of an ask, stick these parts in the dishwasher for a whirl. Just make sure the coffee pot is dishwasher-safe.

How many times should I run vinegar through my coffee maker?

A warm and moist environment is the breeding ground for icky bacteria and mold, and a monthly rinse with white vinegar or lemon juice can keep your coffee maker from becoming one of the germiest places in your kitchen. But that’s not the only reason to use white vinegar. Mineral buildup of hard water and calcium can clog the coffee machine over time, affecting how quickly it drips coffee into the coffee pot. To ensure your machine is here for the long haul and not competing with a Keurig and K-cups, put this deep clean on your calendar.

How much vinegar do you use to clean a coffee maker?

To begin, fill the water reservoir with equal parts plain water and distilled white vinegar to make a vinegar solution, and then place a paper filter into the basket. Place the pot on the burner, and set the machine to its brew cycle. Once the solution has gone through a brew cycle halfway, turn the machine off, and let it sit for 30 minutes. Turn the machine back on to finish the brewing, and then dispose of the vinegar-and-water solution. You only have to do this once! Finally, place a new paper filter in the basket, fill the water reservoir with water, and brew the pot. That way, you can be sure that no vinegar remains, and you can reassemble the coffee machine. 

What can I clean my coffee maker with besides vinegar?

If you’d rather not use white vinegar for mineral buildup, try lemon juice. Alternatively, a flush with warm water and a quarter cup of baking soda can make your java pot as good as new. For a coffee machine that is particularly dirty, Amazon has a bevy of descaling products that works equally well on a coffee maker and a Keurig.

“Don’t overthink it, scrub the old grounds off and rinse,” Peacock says. With that kind of confidence in mind, follow in Peacock’s lead to have a clean coffee maker each day. In no time, this cleaning cycle will surely make your cup of coffee taste better.



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