Sipping a freshly brewed cup of joe is the highlight of any coffee drinker's morning. Your day may get off to a rocky start if that coffee suddenly starts tasting funky or, worse, your coffee machine refuses to work at all. Coffee makers don't seem like they should get dirty. After all, you just put water and coffee beans in them. But hard water deposits, impurities and coffee oil residue can build up and interrupt your daily brewing session. Keep your machine dripping with daily cleaning and a monthly deep clean.
How well do you clean the filter, carafe and other removable parts on a daily basis? Many people give the parts a quick rinse, if anything at all. But a light rinsing can't get rid of the oils and residues that build up in the machine.
Give yourself a little extra time in the morning to give your coffee maker a thorough cleaning. Pull out the filter compartment and carafe. Wash them in warm, soapy water. A grease-cutting detergent can help remove the oils left over from the coffee. Rinse everything well so you don't have a little extra foam in your coffee the next day.
Keep the outside of the machine clean with a daily wipe down. Use a soft, damp cloth to clean off the dirt, coffee and other splatters that end up on your coffee maker.
Once a month, you need to go a little deeper. Whether you call it descaling, decalcifying, or simply deep cleaning, this coffee pot maintenance gets rid of all the gunk that collects inside the unit. All you need is everyone's favorite natural cleaner: vinegar. Stick with plain white vinegar for the job.
Mix equal parts of vinegar and water. You need enough to fill the machine's reservoir. Pour the mixture into your coffee pot just like you do with water when you're brewing your favorite beans. Turn on the machine so it starts brewing the vinegar and water mix. When it's about halfway through the process, shut off the machine. Give it at least 30 minutes to sit so the vinegar can go to work on all the mineral deposits and other gunk. Turn it back on to push the rest of the vinegar mix through the machine.
When the cycle ends, toss out the vinegar water. Now, you need to clean all the vinegar out of the machine unless you want some unique-tasting coffee. Run the brew cycle at least twice with plain, fresh water. If it still smells like vinegar, run more water through the machine.
You enjoy every last drop of your coffee, but some of it gets left behind in the carafe. Brown residue from all those pots you brew makes the carafe look unattractive. It can affect the flavor, too. Sometimes a quick wash in soapy water helps. Other times, you need a little extra oomph.
One option is using baking soda to gently scour the pot. It's safe, and you probably already have some in your pantry. Let a mixture of two parts water and one part baking soda soak in the carafe overnight, then rinse it out. If you still have stains, make a paste of baking soda and water. Use a soft sponge to scrub the stains with the paste.
Another technique uses rice in a mixture of hot, soapy water. Swish the carafe gently so the rice moves around and loosens the gunk. You may need to scrub a little before rinsing. Keep up with washing your carafe so the brown stains don't stick around long.
Shelley Frost combines her love of DIY and writing in her freelance career. She has first-hand experience with tiling, painting, refinishing hardwood floors, installing lighting, roofing and many other home improvement projects. She keeps her DIY skills fresh with regular projects around the house and extensive writing work on the topic.