Cleaning a coffee maker is not a difficult task, but most people don’t know how to do it properly. So I’ve put together this guide on how to clean a coffee maker with vinegar to help you maintain your coffee maker and give you tips on how to clean it regularly.
I remember the first time my cup of coffee tasted bitter, and displeasing. It would take forever to brew. That sight is not something you want to see when you’re making your coffee.
Fortunately, I was able to clean my coffee machine using this simplified guide and with regular household items such as vinegar.
Why Cleaning With Vinegar?
First, let’s agree that coffee machines are one of the germiest places in our homes. Why? Because of the moist, warm atmosphere and oils in the coffee beans that won’t easily wash off with just water.
Over time, your coffee pot and brewer will be covered in minerals and sludge. This will form stains and make your coffee bitter.
That’s why we need vinegar as a cleaning substance due to its acidic nature. The acetic acid in vinegar kills bacteria, fungi, germs, and viruses, making it an effective cleaner.
Note: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration reports that those with mold and yeast allergies may experience sensitivity and even illness as a result of consuming food contaminated with these organisms.
When To Use Vinegar?
Vinegar is mainly used for deep cleaning your coffee machine and when to use it depends on whether you’re a regular or an occasional coffee drinker.
A short answer could be 1 month for a regular coffee drinker or 3 to 6 months for an occasional one.
There are signs though that your coffee maker needs a deep clean with vinegar.
- The coffee is taking longer to brew than usual.
- When your cup is not as full as it should be.
- Grains or grounds left in your coffee.
- Minerals have been building up on the machine’s visible parts.
Now, let’s go through the cleaning process. However, always check the cleaning instructions in your manual to ensure that it’s OK to use vinegar as a cleaning substance.
How To Clean a Coffee Maker With Vinegar?
What you will need:
- Soft Cloth
- Dish Soap
- Paper Filters (optional)
- White Vinegar
Part 1: Machine Preparation and Vinegar Solution
1- Wash all the removable pieces with soap and water
Prioritize cleaning the removable parts first when deep cleaning your coffee equipment. These components include:
- Coffee pot
- Filter bed
- Permanent Filter
- Reservoir lid
Note: some parts may vary depending on the brand of your coffee maker. Alternatively, you can put these parts in the dishware if that’s an option available to you.
2- Make your vinegar solution
Browse your manual and check if your coffee machine already has a prescribed amount of vinegar cleaning solution.
Otherwise, people generally follow the standard of diluting vinegar with water at a 1:2 ratio.
Transfer the mixture straight into the coffee pot. Create a sufficient solution to fill the water reservoir of the coffee machine.
Part 2: The Cleaning Process
1- Run a cleaning or half-brew cycle
Start a cleaning cycle once you pour the vinegar solution into the carafe.
The automated clean cycle function allows the machine components to soak in the cleaning solution. However, not all models have this feature.
If this feature is not available, you will manually start a half-brew cycle with the vinegar solution.
Keep an eye on the coffee maker as it brews to prevent it from finishing its cycle.
Halfway through the process, you may turn off the machine.
2- Allow the solution to settle for an hour before starting another cycle
Let the solution sit in the coffee maker for an hour to give it time to break down the mineral and mold deposits.
After an hour, start the brewing process again. You can use the rest of the remaining solutions in this cycle.
You may notice brown or white particles in the water. That means the vinegar solution was able to descale and rid your coffee maker of nasty leftovers.
Part 3: Rinsing and Reassembling
1- Drain the vinegar solution
Empty the vinegar solution from the carafe. Don’t worry if there are traces of the solution left in the coffee maker.
You can use warm water and soap to clean the carafe. It’s up to you whether you prefer to use a sponge to scrub the carafe or simply swish the soap water around.
2- Start two brewing cycles with fresh water
After a quick rinse, fill the carafe with clean water.
Fill the coffee machine up to the maximum water capacity, then repeat the brewing cycle twice. Let the brewing process complete.
Give your coffee maker a three-to-five-minute cooldown interval after every cycle. If you can still detect a vinegar flavor, try brewing it for an additional minute or two in warm water.
3- Clean the coffee maker’s exterior, then reassemble it
Scrub the coffee maker’s exterior with soap and water.
Use a drop or two of liquid soap and a microfiber cleaning cloth to wipe down the entire outside of your coffee machine.
Give everything a last rinse with fresh water to wrap the cleaning process up.
Put your coffee maker back together. See if any mold or mineral deposits are left behind. You can start making coffee anytime now.
Maintaining a clean coffee maker is easy if you wipe it down after each use and never reuse the same filter or coffee grounds.
Taking these precautions before brewing coffee can mean the difference between a delicious cup and one that’s too bitter or, worse, contaminated.
Maintaining your coffee maker regularly and giving it a thorough cleaning once a month will ensure that it lasts for many years and continues to provide tasty coffee.