No matter what type of coffee maker you use, it is producing heat and moisture each time you use it and unfortunately, those are the ideal breeding conditions for bacteria and germs, so it’s important to keep your machine clean.
Washing all the removable elements with warm water and soap will help to reduce the number of bacteria building up in your machine on a regular basis. But there is another element that builds up in your machine and can stop it from working altogether.
Limescale build-up from the water you put into it can block the pipes and reservoirs, making it impossible for the water and coffee to get through. This will impact the quality of your coffee and eventually cause your machine to break down.
How Do I Clean My Coffee Maker?
There are two routines you need to adopt when it comes to keeping your coffee maker clean. The first is washing what you can, every time you use the machine.
After you have used your coffee machine, and it has cooled down, take all the removable features, such as the coffee pot, the filter, and anything else that can come out of the machine. Empty them out so they are free of water, coffee, and grounds.
Then you can wash them all with warm water and washing up liquid and leave them to dry out. Some can even be run through the dishwasher if you have one, but make sure you check that before going ahead.
Another tip for getting your coffee machine clean and free of germs is to leave the lid open after you have finished using it, so it can dry out rather than staying wet and providing the perfect home for germs.
How Do I Descale My Coffee Maker?
The second routine which you need to adapt to make sure your machine is working properly is to descale it every month or two. If you don’t descale your coffee maker regularly, minerals from the water will build up and your machine will become slow and struggle to work properly.
The easiest way to descale your coffee maker is by using white vinegar, although you can buy specific descaling solutions if you prefer. Just make sure you buy one that is approved to use with your machine.
All you need to do is fill the water holder with half vinegar and half water. Then put a paper filter into the machine but no coffee and just run the coffee machine. Once it has got halfway through the brewing cycle you should turn it off.
Let the coffee machine sit with the vinegar and water mixture in place, for around half an hour, then turn it back on and finish the cycle. Once it has completed you can discard the water and vinegar mixture and your machine should be clean.
You don’t want your next pot of coffee to taste vinegar though, so you need to refill the machine with pure water, add a clean filter and run the brewing process again, to make sure all the vinegar has been rinsed out.
It is advisable to do this twice, before using your coffee maker, just to fully flush out the limescale and vinegar, as you don’t want any of that to end up in your morning brew.
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How Do I Clean My Coffee Carafe?
Over time and use the coffee carafe that comes with your coffee maker will start to get stained and look dirty. Debris can build up as well so it’s important to wash it well after every use. However, to remove stubborn coffee stains, there is a trick you can try.
Fill the carafe with warm water and washing up liquid and then add a handful of dry rice to the water. Use a scrubbing sponge to clean all the sides and the rice will help to clear any remaining debris from the glass as you do so.
Rinse it out and tip away from the rice, swirl it with clean water to get rid of any remaining soap suds, and dry it thoroughly before putting it back into your coffee maker ready to make your next batch.
How Do I Know if My Coffee Maker Needs Cleaning?
Ideally, you should clean your coffee maker regularly, rather than waiting for signs that it needs cleaning or descaling. However, if your coffee starts to taste bitter it could be a sign that your machine is dirty and needs to be flushed out.
Unfortunately, the reservoir and the coffee filter area are all prone to bacteria and germs building up, including mold and yeast, and this can cause allergies and sickness over time, so it’s important not to reach this stage so your morning coffee isn’t making you ill.
Don’t forget to regularly clean the outside of the machine and the area under the carafe where drips and spills can build up, providing another perfect home for germs and bacteria to breed unnoticed.
How Do I Know if My Coffee Maker Needs Descaling?
Again, ideally, you should be descaling your coffee maker every one or two months whether there are any signs, as often, once the build-up starts affecting your coffee maker’s performance, it is too late and it can’t be descaled successfully.
Regular descaling will avoid you reaching this point and having to throw out your coffee machine. But if you notice any of the following signs, it could be time to do a thorough descaling process:
If your coffee machine starts taking longer than usual to brew your coffee, or you notice it is not producing the same amount of coffee, it could be blocked somewhere with limescale or a build-up of debris.
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These are both signs that your coffee maker needs cleaning, and if you ignore them, not only will your coffee be bad, but your machine could be at risk of breaking down and needing to be replaced completely.