Whether you use a traditional drip machine or a fancy espresso maker with a milk steamer, this
contraption is our daily link to sanity. I use a Keurig® with my own grounds and let me tell you,
that thing gets pretty messy and I only drink 2 cups a day! Keeping it clean helps the coffee not
only taste better but can prevent some oogie-boogies from forming…it is a warm moist
environment after all. Just sayin’.
All coffee makers have a water reservoir, so let’s start there.
1. If you can, remove the water container and empty it. Take a sniff. Does it smell like
pond water…a little green, maybe? This is mold. Not all mold is “black” mold…so don’t
It’s just a moist setting and it’s normal for mold to form. That’s why we’re cleaning it.
Get some hot soapy water in there to soak for a minute. Add a little white vinegar to the
water to kill the mold in nooks and cranny’s you may not be able to get to. If you did
nothing else to your machine, this would help the flavor tremendously. Get in there with
a clean dishrag and wipe down all the sides and bottom areas. Use an old toothbrush
for tight spots. Rinse thoroughly and let air dry.
2. Remove the filter basket or grounds cup. Under hot running water and a clean used
toothbrush (no soap), remove the residue in and around it. I don’t recommend soap as
any remaining deposits can immediately be tasted in your next cup. Plastic, as most of
these parts tend to be, is notorious for absorbing whatever it comes in contact with, so if
you do use dish soap, super-duper rinse it well. If you’re unsure, soak it with a weak
vinegar and water solution. It is likely that this part will be stained, as coffee does, but
don’t let that bother you.
3. Now the area where the filter basket fits into and where the water is streamed into the
ground coffee. Using a clean wet rag (but one you don’t mind getting stained,
because…coffee, wrapped around your finger or the toothbrush, dig all around in that
area changing spots on the rag often. Places you didn’t know the coffee got to, right?
Rinse and repeat until the rag comes out clean when you wipe it.
4. While the carafe (if you have one) seems obvious, if you only rinse it out between pots,
the oils that naturally occur in coffee will coat the glass. Hold it up to the light…does it
seem cloudy? You can put this in your dishwasher if you like, but if you’re washing by
hand, add a little baking soda to the soapy water. This will help remove that residue.
5. The trays. Whatever your machine, there is usually a removable drip tray sometimes
with several different parts. Take this apart and either put in the dishwasher (top rack) or
with soapy water again. It doesn’t matter if you don’t rinse this super well…none of
these affect your drinkable cup.
6. Last, we have the parts that we can’t scrub. The pump and lines that get the water from
the reservoir TO the coffee. Add 1 cup white vinegar to your reservoir or carafe and fill
with water, like you’re making a full pot or multiple cups of coffee. Run this through a
complete cycle. If you use a Keurig® like mine, keep making cups until the tank signals
it needs more water. Run another full pot or tank of plain water through until you don’t
smell vinegar in the brew anymore. This could take a couple more full cycles.
This thorough of a cleaning should be done about once a month if you use your machine daily.
It will extend the life of your coffee maker and give you that great cup of “ahhh” every morning.