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How to Clean a Coffee Maker for the Best-tasting Brew

May 21, 2019

How to Clean a Coffee Maker for the Best-tasting Brew

Keep your coffee maker brewing like it's brand new by cleaning it out regularly with this simple method.

Many people consider coffee makers to be sort of like a bar of soap: self-cleaning. After all, hot water runs through it every morning to make your coffee, so how dirty could a coffee maker be? The truth might disturb you.

This study from NSF International says 50 percent of coffee makers contain mold and yeast, which makes it dirtier and more germy than an average bathroom sink faucet handle. According to the study, 9 percent of brewing machines even have coliform bacteria, which is a family of bacteria that includes Salmonella and E. coli.

That's enough info to make us hightail it into our kitchens and get our cleaning gloves out to scrub these beloved appliances from top to bottom.

How to clean a coffee maker with vinegar

You can easily clean out the interior of your drip coffee maker with two simple ingredients: white vinegar and water.

  • Pour white vinegar into the water chamber until it's halfway full.
  • Add water to fill it up the rest of the way.
  • Put a coffee filter in the grounds basket to pick up any debris or hard water deposit that's loosened during the cleaning cycle.
  • Turn on your coffee maker, and brew half of the water-vinegar solution. Turn off the machine to allow the mixture to soak inside the interior vessels of the coffee maker for about 30 minutes to an hour.
  • Turn the maker on again to finish brewing the water and vinegar.
  • Refill the chamber with only water, swap out the filter for a fresh one, and run another full cycle to flush the vinegar out the system.

How to clean a Keurig coffee maker

Keurig coffee makers are a little different, since they take coffee pods rather than loose coffee grounds in a paper filter. But you can use white vinegar to descale your Keurig just like a regular coffee maker.

  • Unplug the Keurig.
  • Take off the water chamber, lid, mug stand, and K-cup holder to clean them. Wash them in warm, soapy water using our natural dish soap, then dry them thoroughly before replacing.
  • Wipe down as much of the machine as you can get to with a clean and dry cloth.
  • Fill the water chamber with half white vinegar and half water.
  • Run the machine with no coffee pod in the K-cup holder. Repeat until the water-vinegar solution is gone.
  • Fill the water chamber with water only.
  • Run the machine with no coffee pod in the K-cup holder. Repeat until the water is gone to rinse out the system and remove any remaining vinegar.

5 tips for cleaning coffee makers for great-tasting coffee

No matter what type of coffee maker you have, it's super important to clean it regularly to keep harmful germs out of your daily brew. These simple tips will make cleaning your coffee maker a breeze every time.

  1. Clean your coffee maker every month. Think about it. The inside of your coffee maker is dark, damp, and warm — the three favorite characteristics for germs to breed and multiply. Keep it clean by routinely descaling it every few weeks.
  2. Wash removable parts after every use. The coffee pot itself and other removable parts garner leftover coffee grinds, liquid, and oil after each use. Wash them in warm, soapy water to remove those remaining residues and allow each pot of coffee to taste fresh and vibrant. Some parts may even be dishwasher safe, so check your maker's manual.
  3. Use filtered water. Tap water can have calcium and other minerals in it, and the amount of chemicals varies from place to place. To avoid an influx of calcium deposits in your machine, use filtered water to make your coffee. This will also make it taste better!
  4. Leave the water chamber lid open. When you're not using your coffee maker, leave the water lid propped open to allow moisture to escape and evaporate. Germs love dark wetness, so keep this area open to allow it to dry out between uses.
  5. Rice is the secret recipe to a sparkling pot. That's right. Even if you clean your carafe every time, it can become dull after several uses. Fill the coffee pot with warm water, a squirt of gentle dish soap, and a bit of rice. Give it a good swirl, and scrub it with a sponge to unlock any grime before rinsing it well with clean water.

Now that you know all the essentials to getting a sparkling coffee maker inside and out, you should be able to enjoy delicious, germ-free coffee every day. With a few simple household ingredients, including white vinegar, water, dish soap, a cloth, and rice, you'll have all the tools to efficiently clean your coffee maker on a regular basis. To keep chemicals away from your brewer, try using Puracy Natural Dish Soap for washing out any removable parts. It's made entirely of potent but gentle plant- and mineral-based cleansers for natural, effective cleaning.