A Clean Coffee Maker Makes For Better Tasting Coffee

May 10, 2001

The Bottom Line Clean your coffeemaker regularly for better tasting coffee. Vinegar works wonders!

Have you ever noticed that sometimes your morning cup of coffee tastes absolutely horrid? Does a bitter taste sometimes creep into your favorite coffee? How long has it been since you last cleaned your coffeemaker? Yes, coffeemakers need cleaning just like anything else. There are commercial kits that you can buy specifically for certain brands of coffeemakers but you really donít need those. All you need is plain simple vinegar to
get that coffeepot clean.

How To Get Your Coffeemaker Like New Again

Lime deposits and other gunk will build up inside your coffee machine over time. If you notice that your coffee starts tasting really bitter it is probably time to clean your coffeemaker. Some models have an indicator that tells you when your coffeemaker needs cleaning but most donít. If you read the ownerís manual it will probably recommend that you clean your machine once a month. You may have to clean it more often if your coffee
machine gets a lot of use, like if you use it everyday. Also, if you live in an area that has particularly hard water then you may have to adjust accordingly.

To clean your coffeemaker first you need to put a filter into the filter basket. If yours is the kind that doesnít take paper filters disregard this part. Then pour an entire pot of vinegar into the pour spout where you usually would pour the water. Turn your machine on. If yours has a ďcleanĒ setting use that. Wait for all the vinegar to drip down then pour it out. The vinegar will also act as a deodorizer for your drain. Next run two pots of water through to flush all traces of vinegar out. You will notice a definite difference in your next pot of coffee!

Most coffee machine models will have specific instructions listed in their ownerís manual for cleaning but the directions Iíve listed above are general and that is what I always use.

Donít Forget the Outside!

Itís not a bad idea to wipe down the outside of your coffeemaker as well, especially if yours is white! White coffeemakers really show the coffee stains. Donít forget to wipe down the part where the coffee drips out of the machine into the pot. It is easy to forget this because you have to get down low and look up. Itís like the cleaning the inside ceiling of your microwave. This part of your coffee machine can get really icky because grounds
can stick and really make a mess!

The filter basket and glass carafe need regular cleaning as well. I run mine through the dishwasher at least twice a week because we use our coffeemaker every day. Lime deposits can form on the inside of your carafe. Usually I can scrub them away but for really stubborn stains or burned coffee pour table salt and let it stand for a few minutes. The burned crust will usually come loose and you can wash the pot clean. (From In the
Kitchen With Heloise
, Perigee Books copyright 2000).

The Benefits of Auto Shut-Off

I highly recommend buying a coffeemaker with an auto shut-off feature. We all get busy and forget to turn things off. In the morning rush it is easy to forget your lunch, important papers, your cell phone, whatever. Why not buy a coffeemaker that shuts itself off? That way you have one less thing to try to remember to do before you head out the door.

Most brands are programmed to shut off after a set time, usually 2-4 hours. This helps to save your coffeemaker. A machine that is left on all day long will not last as long because sooner or later the heating element will burn out. Also, a glass carafe on a warmer plate that is left on all day is more likely to crack and break, especially if it is empty!

Closing Words

In conclusion, coffee machines arenít meant to last forever but if you take proper care of your machine it could last you several years or more. Like with cars if you use it more often you will still have to replace it more often but with proper care you can extend the life of your investment.

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