A Guide to Cleaning Coffee Makers

When it comes to cleaning, we’re all guilty of neglecting our everyday appliances. Sure, we remember to wipe down the stainless steel refrigerator when there are handprints and water stains, but the coffee maker…well, who has time for that? After all, when you see something every day, you tend to look right past its flaws. 

But what if we told you that you’ve been ingesting hidden dirt and grime every single morning for the past few years (even where you can’t see it)? Super gross, right? 

Surprisingly, you could be putting your health at risk for that much-needed cup of coffee. Without regular upkeep of your machine, you’re basically mixing your steaming cup of Joe with sugar, creamer, and bacteria. That coffee maker might look clean to the naked eye, but it’s likely filled with hard water deposits. There might even be mold lurking on the bottoms and sides. (Note: We know that hard water isn’t just found in your coffee makers. If you are having trouble with hard water throughout your home, check out this article on how to remove it!)

While there are numerous different types of coffee makers. We’re going to hit the most common types. And with many of them being so similar, the same methods will apply. Putting things back together can sometimes be tricky, so we recommend you take photos of the process to make things easier when it is time to reassemble. 

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What you’ll need:

  • Vinegar
  • Descaler
  • Dawn® Dish Soap
  • Bleach
  • Scrub Brushes or Sponges
  • Cloths (Preferably ones with texture, such as microfibre)
  • Weiman® Stainless steel polish (optional)
  • Carbon / polish cloth

Important: We don’t mess with mold around here. If you come across any mold in your machines, bleach it!!! DO NOT, however, mix Vinegar and Bleach!

French Press / Pour Over / Aeropress:

French presses, Pour overs, and Aeropress are fairly easy to clean. They have fewer nooks and crannies for harmful mold, bacteria, and deposits to hide out. You can usually get away with taking them apart and running them through the dishwasher, but if the dishwasher isn’t getting all of the hard water deposits or stains, you may need a deeper clean. For a deep clean on these coffee makers, follow these steps:

  • Start by taking them apart to the best of your ability. 
  • Now, soak all parts in a bowl of vinegar for a minimum of 1 hour.If the hard water deposits are really bad, try soaking overnight. This helps to loosen hard water deposits and dissolve them.) 
  • After soaking, wash all the parts in your sink with warm, soapy water, or throw them in the dishwasher and run a hot cycle. 
  • Let the parts dry completely, and then put them back together following the pictures you took earlier.

Drip Makers:

Drip coffee makers are a bit different but similar in concept. Because of the different parts, you have to be even more diligent with how you clean these small appliances. Here’s how we do it:

  • Fill the water reservoir with equal parts water and vinegar, and then run that through your machine by brewing a pot of coffee (without the coffee). 
  • Repeat this process a few times with clean water to get rid of the vinegar’s taste and smell. If you find that your reservoir still has hard water deposits, you may want to run the vinegar cycle again, and you can let the vinegar sit in the reservoir for an hour or so to soften those deposits (Just don’t forget to run clean water cycles again to get rid of the vinegar taste!)
  • Carefully take out all the removable parts, such as the filter basket and carafe, and soak in vinegar for an hour or so to dissolve the hard water deposits (if there are any), then wash in warm soapy water, remembering to rinse well. 
  • Finally, it’s time for a full wipe-down before it is back in working order. Wipe the outside of the machine down with hot soapy water and a textured cloth. Make sure you cover all of the exterior, and don’t forget underneath the machine too, where drips and bacteria can hide. If there are any parts of your machine that are looking a little bit dull, you can use a bit of Weiman’s Stainless Steel or a polishing cloth to return its shine! 

Single Serve Makers / Espresso Machines:

Descaling is the name of the game for these machines. Make sure to follow the instructions on the back of your descaler, but it will most likely look like this: 

  • Start by filling your reservoir/water tank with water and the suggested amount of coffee descaler (Alternatively, you can use a mix of 50/50 white vinegar and hot water if you’re desperate enough.) 
  • Run this mixture through your machine by “brewing” cups of coffee without the coffee. If you have an espresso machine, make sure to use your steamer wand to run this mixture through it, and use the hot water function as well. Most manufacturers recommend you do this every 3-6 months. 
  • Once you’ve used up your whole water tank, give it a good rinse, and then run clean water through the machine in this manner as well to get rid of the taste. You will need to repeat this upwards of 3 times to make sure it is thoroughly cleaned out. 
  • If your machine still seems to be running slow after descaling, it’s time to get inquisitive. Take the removable parts out of your machine for washing. Every model is different, so you may need to look up your model online or refer to your user manual to see what can all be taken apart. There’s commonly a drip tray, filter, reservoir, and possibly some wands. Take these off of the machine and soak them in a bowl of vinegar for a minimum of one hour (preferably overnight) to remove any remaining hard water deposits. Rinse well.
  • Once you’ve gotten rid of all the hard water, wash everything in soapy water, rinse, then put your machine back together, referring to the pictures you took earlier if needed. 
  • Wipe the exterior down with a wet cloth, and don’t forget to get underneath the machine.
  • Polish time! Use some Weiman® stainless steel or a polish cloth to shine it up. Now, you can enjoy a beautifully clean machine and a well-deserved, steaming cup of joe.

Cleaning your well-loved appliance does more for you than you think. When you do it regularly, it becomes so much easier to do the next time around. Think of how much better you’ll feel and how great your fresh cup will taste without the runoff of buildup in it! 

Want More Great Cleaning Tips?

If you’re looking for more tips, recipes, and simple processes that can be used to clean everything from coffee makers and appliances to carpets, upholstery, walls, and countertops, we’ve got you covered! Check out our YouTube channel or Instagram.

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