That first cup of coffee brewed fresh in a new coffee maker is rich and fulfilling. After a few pots of dark brew have passed through the filters and sat idle in the coffee carafe, the oils and impurities in the water can build up. This can affect the taste of that morning wake-up fuel.
Cleaning out the coffee maker regularly can keep your brew tasting as good as the first batch. A quick run with hot water won't do it. The coffee pot needs a thorough cleaning to remove stubborn oily residue and hard water deposits.
Why Clean the Coffee Maker?
A coffee maker that's running a few times a week, or a few times a day, should be cleaned from the inside out about once a month. Impurities in the tap or even bottled water can form deposits that build up and eventually affect how well the coffee pot works. Ground coffee beans have natural oils that cling to the sides of the carafe and filter basket after each brew.
Damp areas can attract bacteria and mold in the water reservoir as well as the tubing that pipes the water through the grounds. The hot water doesn't kill the bacteria, nor does the acidic coffee. The coffee maker and carafe need a good acidic cleaner that's natural and gentle to remove these stains and impurities.
Cleaning a Coffee Carafe With Baking Soda
Baking soda works well to take down stains and odors. Pair a good dose of the natural cleaner with lemons and a slow pour of white or apple cider vinegar and you'll not only clean the coffee carafe but disinfect it as well.
Cleaning a coffee carafe with baking soda will naturally scrub away and rinse out the natural oils from the beans. It works well for the interior and exterior of the coffee pot. Martha Stewart recommends that you sprinkle the bottom of the pot with the baking soda and scrub it with a nylon sponge before rinsing dry.
Natural Cleaners for Coffee Makers
There are other ways to naturally clean your coffee maker and carafe using household items. To clean a coffee maker with apple cider vinegar, simply fill the carafe with warm water up to about 6 cups. Add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, two for really stubborn stains, to the water and pour it into the unit. Run the unit with the apple cider vinegar solution and then flush it twice with clean water.
To clean the coffee maker with lemon juice, gather a few cut lemons and fine-grain salt. Layer the bottom of the carafe with the salt. Add a lemon cut into four or more pieces and swish the pieces around the pot. Let it sit overnight before rinsing out the carafe and allowing it to dry.
The experts at Coffee Area recommend using concentrated lemon juice if you're out of the fresh variety. Mix equal parts of tepid tap water and lemon juice and pour it into the machine. Let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes before running the machine. Rinse and repeat the process with plain water before brewing.
Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing for a variety of clients, including The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal Home section and other national publications. As a professional writer she has researched, interviewed sources and written about home improvement, interior design and related business trends. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her full bio and clips can be viewed at www.vegaswriter.com.