The coffee maker is an understandably essential part of most people's morning routines. Without thorough cleanings, however, you may start to notice remnants of past brews. Far too many coffee lovers make the mistake of rinsing out the carafe and calling it a day, but a deep cleaning should be regularly performed.
Consider this: A 2011 NSF International study found that as many as half of all coffee makers contain mold and yeast. The same study also ranks coffee reservoirs as the fifth most germ-ridden area of a home. Not only is that guaranteed to kill the flavor of your coffee, but it also presents serious health concerns. To maintain the flavor and freshness of your daily brew, disinfect your coffee machine on a regular basis.
Consider the following tips to keep your coffee machine running like new.
Though coffee makers won't always require a deep cleaning, they should receive a basic surface cleaning after every use. First, fill the carafe with hot, soapy water, and scrub the inside thoroughly. Rinse it out with warm water, making sure to remove all traces of soap.
Next, empty the brew basket, and clean it with hot, soapy water. Be sure to clean the lid thoroughly as well. After all parts have had the chance to dry, reassemble the coffee maker. It's now ready for tomorrow's brew.
About once a week, the carafe will require a deeper cleaning. Consumer Reports recommends filling the carafe with two parts water one part baking soda and leaving it to soak overnight. Finish by emptying the remains and rinsing the carafe as you would after a normal cleaning.
No matter how frequently and how diligently the coffee maker is cleaned, mineral deposits will accumulate. The real challenge is cleaning the interior of the coffee machine between the brew basket and the carafe. If the coffee machine isn't decalcified on a semi-regular basis, it may stop functioning properly.
About once a month, run a full brew cycle using equal parts water and white vinegar. Make sure to stick with regular white household vinegar, as other vinegars (including apple cider vinegar) contain much higher concentrations of acetic acid and may damage the machine. After running the water/vinegar cycle, let the mixture remain in the carafe for about 30 minutes.
Empty and rinse the carafe, and then complete two more brew cycles using just water. This will flush out any remnants of vinegar.
Consult the Documentation
These tips should suffice for most classic and single-brew coffee makers, but some machines have special instructions that must be followed. Make sure to consult the manual to determine if special cleaning considerations are required. Failure to do so may damage the machine and void any warranties.