How to Clean a Coffee Maker- A Step-by-Step Guide

Wondering how to clean a coffee maker? We’ve got your back. This article explains how to clean a coffee machine step-by-step. Besides, you will learn how to clean different coffee machines.

Coffee makers are suitable appliances that can provide you with your morning kick start (a hot cup of fresh coffee). Given that the preparation of coffee involves a high level of moisture, coffee makers can easily house mold and bacteria.

The result?

Your next day’s coffee will taste bad or you might think that your coffee is burnt. Yes, of course, this is caused by a dirty or a coffee maker that hasn’t been cleaned the right way for a longer period.

Well, there are other types of coffee makers that require deep cleaning after use or even monthly, for instance, Drip filter coffee makers, while others need regular cleaning, especially if you make coffee every day.

If you fail to clean your coffee maker regularly, then rest assured of dealing with yeast, mold, and bacteria. You need to show your coffee brewing machine some love by cleaning it the right way.

There are quite several types of coffee makers out there and apart from making coffee differently, they are also cleaned and maintained differently.

In this article, we will learn how to clean 4 types of coffee brewing machines namely Espresso machine, French Press, Drip coffee maker, and Percolator. Note that you can use some of the methods to clean other types of coffee makers as well, but ensure to read the manual that came with your type of coffee maker first.

But first…

3 Reasons to Clean Your Coffee Maker Regularly

For coffee lovers, a morning started with a freshly brewed pot of coffee is a morning well started. Think of the aroma. It can wake you up even before you take that cup of coffee. And that’s the main reason why coffee lovers invest in a coffee maker.

Unfortunately, only a few coffee enthusiasts take their time to clean their coffee machines properly and that can lead to the growth of mold and bacteria. Even though you are living a busy life, if you use your coffee maker regularly, you should take the time to clean it both internally and externally.

And if you are not convinced why you should clean your coffee maker regularly, we explain the three main reasons why you should add cleaning your coffee maker to your daily routine.

  • Dirty Coffee Machine Equals Bad Coffee Taste

Yes, the dirty the coffee maker, the bad the taste of your coffee. It’s as simple as that.

Figure out this: You buy fresh, good quality coffee beans, coffee brewer, and grinder to make sure you enjoy good tasting coffee. Why should you ruin the taste of your coffee by failing to clean your coffee machine properly?

As you know, coffee beans contain natural oils and during the roasting process, the oils are produced. These oils lead out of the cell walls. The more you leave the oil to build-up on the inside of your coffee machines the more you continue ruining the taste of your coffee, hence the number one reason to clean your coffee machine.

  • A Dirty Coffee Maker Harbors Mold and Bacteria

As you know, bacteria breed in a moist and warm environment and your coffee maker makes the perfect thriving environment for molds and bacteria.

A study conducted in 2011 by NSF international where a number of coffee makers were tested found that almost half of them had molds and yeast thriving in their reservoir. Another survey suggests that the coffee reservoirs harbor a higher germ count than the toilet seat, bathroom door, or even the door handle in your home.

Mold and bacteria growing in your coffee machine can cause allergies. If you always wake up feeling headache, sneezing, with nasal congestion or having watery eyes, then chances are that the coffee you drink could be invaded with mold and bacteria. Clean your coffee maker regularly to avoid these allergy symptoms.

By just dipping your coffee maker in the dishwasher, you can’t remove mold and bacteria; neither can hot water get rid of them. A good rule of thumb is to use vinegar to decalcify and get rid of the calcium and other minerals that build up from tap water.

  • Your Coffee Maker is an Investment that You Must Protect

Although some coffee makers are pocket-friendly, some are costly. Like your other appliances, buying a coffee maker is an investment that you must protect.

Considering the amount you can spend on your coffee machine and how it helps you kick start your day you owe it some love and the only way to show your machine that you love it is to clean and maintain it regularly. This way, it will continue delivering tasty coffee for a longer period.

Powerful Methods for Cleaning a Coffee Maker

Your coffee maker is perhaps the most used kitchen machine. You use it to make a cup of coffee in the morning and in the evening when you get back from work. The more you continue using it the more it becomes vulnerable to bacteria and mold. You need to keep it crystal clean every time.

Although bleach is powerful to kill most germs, it can be damaging to some parts of the brewer since it has a corrosive effect. You need to clean your coffee maker with methods that use natural ingredients. Here are four effective methods for cleaning a coffee maker.

  • Clean Your Coffee Maker With Baking Soda

Baking soda is the best solution when it comes to getting rid of coffee stains and bad odor. It contains natural ingredients and can effectively clean your coffee machine.

Add a quarter cup of baking soda to the container plus warm water then stir the mixture together until the baking soda is liquefied because the machine may get clogged if the mixture hasn’t dissolved.

Turn on your coffee maker to run the mixture in a cycle. Well, baking soda is naturally rough but safer than harmful cleaners and so it can get rid of coffee stains that have stuck on the coffee pot and the machine.

  • Use Denture Tablets

This is a method of cleaning coffee makers that is not known to many. With this method, you put two to three tablets in the container, add water and wait for the mixture to dissolve before you turn on your machine. After that, add a tablet on the coffee pot and two cups of water then clean the interior and exteriors of the machine with a soft toothbrush.

Denture tablets are useful when it comes to eradicating stubborn minerals that have stuck to the surface of the container and the coffee pot.

  • Use Lemon Juice

Another powerful method to effectively clean your coffee maker and leave it sparkling clean is lemon juice. Lemon juice is acidic similar to vinegar and will not leave a strong smell after cleaning, unlike vinegar. Fill the container to one-third with lemon juice and add water. And run a brew cycle. Once done, run another brew cycle with water alone.

  • Use White Vinegar Mixtures

A mixture of white vinegar and water can clean and descale your coffee machine. Vinegar can also get rid of stubborn minerals accumulating from tap water.

There you have it. Although all these methods are effective to clean your coffee maker, choose one that works for you. Once you have cleaned your espresso machine with any of these methods, rinse it with water before you make another fresh cup of coffee.

Remember to disassemble the coffee maker by taking apart the coffee pot, the brew basket and any other detachable parts then clean them one by one.

Having said that, let’s get into the real cleaning of each type of coffee maker we have mentioned above.

…And our first one is…

How to Clean a Coffee Maker- French Press

How to Clean a French Press

Although it can be a difficult task to clean a French Press, keeping it clean means that you will enjoy great tasting coffee every time. Some people use a spoon to clean the bottom of their coffee maker which is very wrong. To clean your French Press, you need a spatula, dish soap, water, sponge and/or bottle brush, baking soda, and vinegar. The last two items are optional though.

This is how to do it:

  1. Ensure there is no coffee left inside and the French Press is cold
  2. Use your hands or a spatula to remove the grounds. Don’t use a metal spoon though since the glass is fragile. You can also take out the plunger from the inside of the machine, then add lukewarm water to the container and shake the container to loosen the coffee grounds so that you can take them out easily. Avoid pouring the water on the sink since the coffee grounds can cause blockages.
  3. Add soap and lukewarm water and then use a brush to scrub the inside of the machine to get rid of all residues that might have build-up on the surface. You can also add a few drops of liquid dish soap to the container with water and then plunge the plunger up and down until the mixture gets bubbly.
  4. Pour down the soapy water and then rinse the machine by plunging it again. Use a sponge or bottle brush to scrub the inside of the container and rinse it again until it’s completely cleaned on the inside.
  5. Dry the French press with a soft piece of cloth.
  6. For a deeper clean, once you have followed the above steps, you need to take the machine apart, clean the parts separately with a mixture of water and baking soda and in case of water build-up, use a mixture of water and vinegar to scrub the inner and outer parts, rinse it until no dirt is left behind
  7. Wait for it to dry before you reassemble it to make a fresh coffee again.

How to Clean a Drip Coffee Maker

How to Clean a  Drip Coffee Maker

Although cleaning a drip coffee maker could be a hectic task, it’s important to deep clean it at least monthly to get rid of water and other mineral build-up and to prevent your coffee from tasting bad.

Although it will never get as bright and shiny as when you first purchased it, using this method could leave it clean and sparkling.

To clean a Drip Coffee Maker, you need white vinegar, damp cloth, lukewarm water, dish soap, and a brush.

Follow the steps below to clean your Drip Coffee Maker.

  1. Use a damp cloth to remove all the residue inside the container. A long brush could also help to on areas where your hands can’t reach.
  2. Create a cleaning solution of a few cups of water and vinegar and then brew the mixture for some few minutes by turning on the machine. Once done, turn off the machine.
  3. Leave the mixture inside the coffee maker for at least 20 minutes, then turn on the machine, and brew the mixture for the second time.
  4. Dump out the mixture and add lukewarm water and some liquid dish soap to scrub the interior of the machine thoroughly.
  5. Repeat step one with clean water to rinse out the vinegar completely
  6. Clean the outside of the machine with the damp cloth to get rid of all stains and oils that could have build up.

That’s it. You have cleaned your Drip Coffee Maker.

How to Clean an Espresso Machine

How to Clean an Espresso Machine

Did you know that every time you make a shot of espresso or froth milk you leave build-ups of a layer of milk proteins, espresso debris, mineral deposits, and oils?

Although it is recommended to clean a coffee machine after every use, you must chemically clean it weekly to get rid of the accumulated espresso debris.

You want to get the finest quality of coffee from your Espresso Machine and therefore, cleaning it regularly should be your priority. After all, if you fail to clean it regularly, you risk experiencing technical problems which can lead to future damages.

Follow these simple steps to clean your Espresso Machine. Or watch this video

  1. Detach the Basket and the Filter: Coffee grounds stuck in these areas. The more they get stuck the more your coffee will continue to taste bitter and worse of all, they will cause rust. Use hot water to rinse the basket and the filter completely. Avoid using the dishwasher here.  Once done, use a towel to dry them or leave them on the side of the sink to dry.
  2. Scrub the Seal: The seal also known as the gasket connects the basket and the filter to the entire coffee maker. It’s the one that holds the two parts you unscrewed. Use a small silicone brush; rotate it around the dents in the gasket, you can use a clean towel instead. Once you have removed the debris, press the button to run water through the gasket so that anything left can be dissolved.
  3. Take Apart the Small Sieve: It is usually tightened with a screw. Take it apart so that you can remove the sieve and use your brush or a clean cloth to wipe the inner part. Pass water through the screen or sieve to get rid of all coffee grounds.
  4. Screw the Parts as it was: We assume all the parts have dried out. Tighten them back and don’t make coffee yet. Switch off the machine and pass water for some few minutes, at least two to remove grime that could have been left on the machine. Turn off the water.
  5. Clean the Steam Wand: Turn on the wand for some seconds and then wipe it with a dry soft cloth or towel to make sure there is no milk trace left.
  6. Wipe the whole coffee maker. You must refer to the manual to know the recommended solution for wiping. And that’s all.

How to Clean a Percolator

How to Clean a Percolator

Percolators are perhaps the easiest, low maintenance, and eco-friendly coffee makers out there. If you want to enjoy a quality cup of coffee, you need to clean your percolator regularly.

You will need white vinegar, percolator, water, brush, and baking soda.

Follow these steps to clean your Percolator.

  1. Add several cups of lukewarm water to the filter inside the percolator
  2. Add baking soda in it –three teaspoons are enough
  3. Run through the mixture on the coffee maker for a while
  4. Stop the machine and let the water to cool down
  5. Scrub the interior of the machine using the brush
  6. Dump out the water completely
  7. Add white vinegar and water to the percolator and shake it then pour out the mixture.
  8. Add more water to get rid of loose residue from the inside of the percolator.

Having gone through this step-by-step guide, you think you are done with cleaning of your coffee machine?

Well, you are not done yet.

Cleaning the coffee maker alone isn’t enough. There are other accessories that come with it and they need regular cleaning as well- the grinders. Although you don’t need to clean them as thoroughly as you did to the coffee machines, you must clean them.

Use a scrubber and liquid dish soap to clean them after every use.

What did you think about this step by step guide on how to clean a coffee maker? Was it helpful? Let us hear your thoughts and cleaning experience in the comments section.

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Happy coffee brewing!