If you have a drip coffee maker or Keurig® machine, keeping them clean is probably not on your radar, but should be to keep your coffee tasting good and your family healthy. Natural tips and ideas for how to clean your coffee maker!
Machines that aren’t clean can contain yeast and mold, along with bacteria and scale or mineral buildup. These can be avoided, though, by using filtered water instead of tap water.
If you have city water, it’s treated with chemicals (usually chlorine) to kill bacteria that affects it’s taste. If you have well water, it tastes better, but can have sediment, iron, etc. that can build up in your coffee maker.
Unplug Your Coffee Maker
I KNOW, telling you to turn off the coffee maker seems like a no-brainer, but don't just turn it to the off position, make sure to unplug it from the wall!
Removable Parts & Outside
So, no matter the machine or method, start be cleaning the parts of the machine that are removeable in hot soapy water. This can include the filter basket or any other removable parts from the inside of the machine.
That will remove most, if not all, of the leftover grounds, coffee residue, oils and kill bacteria. Wipe the outside of the machine and the warming plate on non-Keurig machines with a damp cloth with soapy water or the water vinegar solution below.
Running Vinegar Through
The most effective way to clean either type of machine is to use a 50/50 mixture of vinegar and distilled water.
For coffee makers:
Fill the water reservoir with the water vinegar mixture. Put the carafe on the warming plate and run a cycle. Empty the carafe and run another until the reservoir is empty. Then fill the reservoir with filtered water and run cycles until its empty.
Cleaning Keurig Machines:
Pour the vinegar mixture into the reservoir until you reach the maximum filling line. If your Keurig refuses to run without a pod or K-cup in place, go ahead and put an empty one in the holder or use a refillable cup without any coffee in it.
Before you start the brew cycle, set a ceramic coffee mug in the middle of the drip tray. Then run a cycle, empty the mug and replace it, and repeat until the reservoir is empty.
Let the machine sit for a few hours, empty and left over vinegar mixture that may be in the bottom of the reservoir and rinse it well.
Fill it with fresh, distilled water and run cycles until empty to rinse the interior of the machine.
Cleaning Your Carafe
To remove stains from your carafe, you can use hot soapy water with a little rice. The rice helps remove the gunk and then scrub with a sponge and rinse with clean water.
Baking soda work very well. Sprinkle baking soda into the coffee pot, add enough water to make a paste and scrub the inside and outside. Rinse well and repeat if necessary.
When I was a waitress years ago we used ice cubes and salt. Put a handful of ice cubes in and then pour a good bit of salt in and swish it around!
If, for some reason, you don’t have or want to use white or apple cider vinegar, there are other natural methods to clean either machine. One of them is lemon juice as it has nearly identical acidity and ph levels of vinegar.
Lemon juice is also a great disinfectant and descaler for a deep clean. It won’t, however, break down the coffee oils. To do that you can use hot soapy water and a tooth brush, rinse well.