If you’ve been noticing a funky flavor in your coffee lately and you’re sure it’s not your coffee grounds, there’s a big chance it’s the 8-week-old residue in your coffee maker that’s been lending your cup of joe that weird wet sock taste. Add to that the added flavor of yeast and molds that thrive in your coffee maker’s warm and damp environment and you’re in for a unique coffee profile that’s surely unlike any other. Doesn’t sound very enticing, does it?
Coffee makers that are not regularly cleaned and decalcified are home to germs and bacteria and other organisms that could eventually cause sickness to you and your family. Studies even discovered that on average, reservoirs are actually dirtier than toilet seats and bathroom door handles. Nasty, right?
Apart from this quite revolting discovery, mineral buildup could also keep your coffee maker from functioning properly. Some of the best indicators that it’s in dire need of cleaning include things you would easily notice; like how it takes longer for you to brew a pot or how it doesn’t brew but is making weird or loud noises, and how it sputters coffee all over your counter.
To make sure your daily dose of caffeine does not include any “live” ingredients, and to keep your coffee maker at its maximum brewing performance, you’ll have to clean it regularly. Give your carafe, lid, and filter basket a gentle wash every day, and decalcify it every one to three months, depending on the kind of water you have—shorter intervals if you use hard water, longer if you have soft water at home.
Daily cleaning and decalcifying are not complicated processes, but if you’ve never done it before, let us show you how to clean coffee maker like a boss.
How to Clean Coffee Maker the Right Way
Wash the removable parts with soap and warm water. This is something that you should do every day to get rid of coffee, oil, and grinds that are left behind. You can either hand wash or throw them in the dishwasher. They’re usually dishwasher safe, but always double check to make sure you don’t ruin any parts. When the carafe is looking less than sparkly, fill it with warm, sudsy water, and add half a handful of uncooked rice, then swirl. Don’t use abrasive materials like scouring pads or wire mesh scrubbers when washing any parts of your coffee maker. Use a soft sponge instead. Don’t forget to wipe the outside of the coffee maker with a damp cloth.
Decalcifying removes mineral buildup in your coffee maker. To do this, remove coffee and coffee grounds from the basket and carafe, rinse, and then put them back. Fill the water reservoir with one part hot water and one part white vinegar. This solution will loosen and remove buildup inside the coffee maker. Run a half brew cycle. Turn the coffee maker off midway through the cycle and let it sit for about an hour.
When one hour is done, turn the coffee maker back on and let it finish the cycle. Discard the water-vinegar solution and fill the reservoir with clean water and run a new brew cycle. Repeat this cycle two more times to remove any trace of vinegar from your machine. Finally, wipe down the exterior of your coffee maker.
Your coffee maker should now be running smoothly and making better-tasting cups of coffee!