Cleaning a drip coffee maker

Drip coffee makers come in all shapes and styles; from inexpensive models up to models up in the hundreds of dollars.

One thing these different machines have in common though, is that they need to be descaled and deep cleaned every so often to ensure the quality of coffee is always high.

If a coffee brewer isn’t cleaned, it runs the risk of negatively impacting the flavor of the coffee, or just flat out breaking if the heating element is clogged with hard water buildup.

Step by step cleaning method

The first, and easiest, part of cleaning a drip coffee brewer, is to remove the glass / stainless steel carafe, as well as the brew basket. Wash these two pieces in hot soapy water, taking great care to to scrub every inch.

If coffee had been left to sit in the carafe for an extended period of time, it might be difficult to completely remove the scent. If this is the case, adding a bit of distilled white vinegar with some hot water, and leaving it in the carafe for an hour or so, will help eliminate the stale coffee scent.

If the scent is still there after treating it with vinegar, there are a few different products available on the market that can help, such as Urnex, a product cafes are known to use to deep clean their commercial style urns. This should be done as needed, but if the brew basket and carafe are rinsed out thoroughly with warm water directly after use, this procedure won’t need to be done as frequently.

One of the more difficult parts of cleaning a coffee brewer, is descaling it. Descaling is the process in which an acid is run through the brewer to clean out any hard water deposits or buildup. Doing this will ensure that the inside of the coffee machine stays clean and functional. While the frequency at which the machine should be descaled at depends on the local water quality and how often it is used, descaling at least every 3 months is a good way to go.

There are several products that are used to descale a coffee machine, such as vinegar, lemon juice, as well as the tried and true liquid descaling products available at supermarkets. While these three products differ greatly in their chemical composition, they are both used essentially the same.

First, start off by filling the water reservoir with water, and then, depending on what you’re using as a descaler, add a certain amount to the reservoir as well. If using vinegar or lemon juice, the amount needed will be higher than the amount of liquid descaler needed, as it isn’t as concentrated as a marketed descaling product would be.

After that, simply run the full batch of water through the brewer. Doing so will flush all the deposits out of the machine’s internals, effectively cleaning it.

After the initial flush, you’ll need to run plain water through the machine a few times to clean out any residue left from the descaler used. For the most part, 2-3 flushes with clean water should do the trick, but it doesn’t hurt to do more just to be on the safe side.

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