Most of us cannot completely wake up until we have had a large amount of caffeine in our blood. A couple of cups of coffee and we feel a bit productive and think we can work through the day. We use different kinds of coffee makers to make our delicious cup (or cups) of coffee.
Most people think that washing these coffee makers with warm or maybe soapy water can help remove all kinds of gunk and dirt and they would become squeaky clean. However, they are very wrong. A lot of studies, 2011 NSF study being one of them, have suggested that these coffee makers might get mold and bacteria in them which do not get cleaned out with a little hot or soapy water. The study indicated that a coffee maker’s reservoir has probably the most germs and dirt out of all the kitchen and maybe even the whole house’s appliances. This is because of the moist environment it offers, which helps the mold grow at a fast rate.
Cleaning out a coffee maker
While it is advisable to always wash your coffee maker after you have used it, cleaning the coffee maker might be a bit different for different coffee makers due to the different designs and properties they have. The terrible taste that you get is because of all the clog and mold remaining in the coffee maker. The oil that has been left when the ground coffee meets water becomes rancid and taste incredibly bad. Thus, at the first sign of drinking a slightly weird-tasting coffee, you should know it’s removing clogs time. It is signaling you to remove mold from it so that you can get that delicious coffee again in no time.
The best solution to this mold issue is using vinegar as a cleaner. Not only is it going to clean the coffee maker, but it can also be used as a disinfectant. Moreover, vinegar de-calcifies, which roughly means it breaks down the minerals and removes them from the tap water, thus converting it into soft water which can lather and, consequently, clean in a much better fashion than hard mineral-filled water.
The way to use vinegar and how often it is supposed to be used depend on the kind of coffee maker you have.
How often to clean
The frequency of cleaning depends primarily on the coffee maker you have. For example, if you make your cup of coffee with a classic coffee maker, what you need to do is wash it every day after use with soap and water and use vinegar to remove molds every month or two.
The usage of vinegar also depends on the type of water you get from the tap. If it is hard water, it is advisable to wash the coffee maker with vinegar every month. On the other hand, clogs can be removed every couple of months if the water is soft.
Cleaning drip coffee makers
The most basic and classic coffee maker that is widely used today is the drip coffee maker. It consists of:
- A reservoir where water can be stored
- A heating element
- A tube attaching the reservoir to the heating device
- A drip area
- A tube connecting the reservoir to the drip area
Using a drip coffee maker
- Fill the reservoir with water after putting the filter and ground coffee in.
- The water flows through and into the aluminum tube in the heating element.
- Once the switch is on, the heating element warms the aluminum tube, thus boiling the water.
- The water bubbles rise up into the second tube.
- The water flows up into the drip area, where it drips evenly on ground coffee.
- This flow of hot water through the grounds creates the most amazing cup of coffee.
How to clean a drip coffee maker
After you have had your cup(s) of coffee, the next thing you need to do is clean it completely. To do so, you need to:
- Empty your pot by dumping leftover coffee. Moreover, empty the filter of used grounds.
- It’s time to add water and vinegar. Fill the pot with three cups of vinegar and six cups of water.
- Pour the mixture into the reservoir of the coffee maker.
- Switch the coffee maker on to brew a pot. Once the cycle is done, turn the machine off and allow the solution to sit for fifteen minutes.
- After throwing away the solution, brew only water for a cycle or two to get rid of any vinegar taste that is remaining.
Cleaning single-cup coffee makers
If you have a single-cup pod coffee maker, these steps can be followed to get the same results. Just make sure there is not any pod in the machine while cleaning.
The steps that are supposed to be followed are:
- Empty the machine by making sure there is not any pod in the machine.
- It’s time to add water and vinegar. Fill the pot with a half cup of vinegar and 1 cup of water and pour the mixture into the reservoir, but keep the pod area vacant.
- Switch the coffee maker on to brew a cup. Once the cycle is done, shut the machine off and allow the solution to sit for 15-30 minutes.
- Brew only water in the pot for 2-3 cycles to get rid of the remaining vinegar taste (if any).
Clean coffee maker without vinegar
What if you wake up one morning and when you pick up that oh-so-delicious coffee, you taste that rancid flavor which clearly indicates that your coffee maker has gone rogue and you should be removing clogs from it as soon as possible. You then open the cabinet where you usually put your vinegar bottle and what do you see? NOTHING! The vinegar container is empty. What to do now? You also need to get to work soon or you would get late and without coffee, you will get all cranky and find it hard to focus on your work. Do not fear, as there are other ways to clean a coffee maker too. They might not be as effective as the vinegar solution, but you don’t have vinegar or the time to go to a grocery store so early in the morning and buy some vinegar to clean the coffee maker.
People usually have some fresh lemons in their pantry. Just get them quickly and slice them in half. Squeeze the juice out of them and make sure to get enough juice to fill at least half the coffee pot or maybe where the halfway mark is in the reservoir. The rest of the pot should be filled with water to dilute the lemon juice. Pour this mixture into the reservoir and turn the coffee maker on. Allow it to run until half of the mixture is emptied into the carafe. Turn the coffee maker off, and wait for one hour. Then turn the coffee maker back on, and allow the rest of the mixture to empty in the carafe. Empty the carafe, and repeat the process with water for a few times.
Another way to clean the coffee maker can be to use a dishwasher. Just run the coffee maker a few times through the dishwasher. However, if you do not have a dishwasher, a mild detergent can be used to wash it with hand. The most important thing to remember is that this might not be the most effective way, so be sure to wash the coffee maker in a dishwasher or by hands every day or after every use to ensure that removing molds and clogs can be done in a better way.
Coffee has become our life. We can’t even properly function until we have chugged a couple of cups of coffee down our throats. For something that is so important in our lives, we should look after it, so we should maintain and clean our beloved coffee makers to the best of our abilities. The tips and tricks discussed above can help you keep your precious clean and remove molds and clogs from it.