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How to Clean a Coffee Maker?

If your coffee brew is tasting bitter of late, it’s likely that your coffee maker has developed mineral buildup. The easiest and quickest solution to this problem is cleaning the carafe and coffee maker with water and vinegar. That way, you’ll enjoy delicious and fresh-tasting coffee brews.

coffee maker pouring out coffee.

Although a coffee maker may look clean, that may not be the case. You can tell that it’s dirty through various warning signs. Mineral buildup and oily sludge may form in the coffee machine. Consequently, it’ll create stains and gum up the coffee brewing process. Thus, it’ll brew bitter-tasting coffee.

To make matters worse, the invisible bacteria and germs in a coffee maker can pose more serious problems. Studies show that coffee makers are among the items that contain the highest amount of germs in an average home. A huge number of reservoirs contain mold and yeast. These organisms have the potential of causing infections or allergic reactions. Thus, failure to clean the coffee maker properly can pose a health hazard.

Luckily, it’s possible to clean your carafe or coffee pot and give it a new, sparkling look. In this guide, you’ll learn more about cleaning a drip coffee maker using water and vinegar in a simple process. You’ll also learn more about descaling a Keurig. Cleaning a Keurig is also done with water and vinegar, but with a relatively different process.

Regardless of the type of coffee machine you have, all you need is water, vinegar, and some time. Thus, set aside enough time to clean it before inviting guests for coffee.


Cleaning a Standard Coffee Maker

Supplies Needed

  • Coffee filter
  • Water
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Coffee maker


Step #1- Make a solution of water and vinegar

First, fill the coffee maker reservoir with half water and half distilled white vinegar. You may adjust the ratio depending on the extent of the buildup. If there’s excessive buildup, use more vinegar and less water. Besides sanitizing the carafe and coffee maker, vinegar also dissolves any accumulated mineral deposits for a clean look.


Step #2- Run the coffee maker and soak it

Put a coffee filter in place. Turn on the coffee maker. Next, turn it off upon reaching halfway through the brewing cycle. Allow the remnant mixture in the reservoir and carafe to soak for about 60 minutes for the buildup to clear.


Step #3- Complete the cycle and rinse

Turn on the coffee machine. Let it run until it completes the cycle you started in the previous step. If there’s a paper filter in the coffee maker, throw it away. Next, pour the water and vinegar solution.

Once done, flush out the vinegar taste and scent left behind by rinsing it. To do this, fill the coffee machine reservoir with clean, fresh water. Place a coffee filter in place. Turn on the coffee machine. Let it run for a complete brewing cycle. Next, remove the coffee filter. Once done, pour the water. Repeat the process with clean, fresh water. Wipe the coffee pot and coffee maker with a dry, clean cloth.


Cleaning a Keurig

Cleaning a Keurig isn’t complicated. It’s easy to do it like a regular drip coffee maker. Just like with cleaning a regular coffee maker, you’ll need water and vinegar to clean your Keurig.


Supplies Needed

  • Keurig
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Water
  • Dishwashing liquid detergent
  • Empty mug
  • Towel
  • Toothbrush


Step #1- Clean the exterior of the Keurig

Before descaling or unclogging the Keurig, start with scrubbing its exterior thoroughly. You can wash the holder, drip tray, drip tray cover, reservoir, and funnel in your dishwasher. However, don’t put the lid of the reservoir in your dishwasher. You can also clean them in the sink. Just ensure you fill the sink with 1 teaspoon of dishwashing liquid detergent and hot water. Allow them to soak in the sink for about 15 minutes. Rinse them thoroughly and dry them with a clean, dry towel.


Step #2- Wash the interior of the Keurig

As the removable components of the Keurig are soaking or washing, brush out coffee grounds that may be stuck in the coffee pod holder with a clean, soft toothbrush. Get rid of any buildup with a damp, soft cloth. Next, dampen a clean cloth with a high-quality all-purpose household cleaner and use it to wipe the exterior.

If there’re any noticeable limescale deposits (crusty buildup), soak a section of a cloth in distilled white vinegar and place it on the affected surface. Allow it to soak for some minutes. Once again, wipe the surface until the whitish buildup disappears. Re-assemble the Keurig.


Step #3- Clean the Keurig with vinegar and water solution

Before cleaning your Keurig, ensure there’re no pods inside. Take a large mug and place it on the Keurig drip tray. Empty the reservoir into the mug. If there’s a water filter, remove it. Fill the reservoir with a mixture of water and vinegar in equal parts. Turn on the Keurig. Choose the largest Keurig cup setting. Allow the mixture to run several times through the Keurig. Pour the mixture that has dripped into the mug after every cycle.


Step #4- Allow the Keurig to sit for a while and rinse

Allow the Keurig to sit for a minimum of 30 minutes. Next, remove the reservoir. Rinse it thoroughly with clean water to clear any vinegar smell and taste left behind.


Step #5- Rinse the Keurig with plain water

Repeat the first step with clean, plain water. Doing so will rinse out any vinegar. Again, take a mug and place it on the Keurig drip tray. Again, choose the largest Keurig cup setting. Run water through the Keurig severally until it empties. By now, the Keurig is thoroughly clean and ready to brew tasty coffee.


Step #6- Clean stubborn buildup with a high-quality descaling solution

If deposits in the coffee maker are heavy or the taste of your brew hasn’t improved after following the steps above, repeat the cleaning process, but with a top-quality descaling solution instead of water and vinegar. It’s recommended to descale your Keurig every 3 to 6 months.


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