If you are a coffee lover, there is a good chance your countertop coffee maker is the most heavily used appliance in your kitchen. Given how much people rely on their coffee maker to get their mornings started, it is surprising how few people take proper care of them.
Even if you only use your coffee maker on rare occasions, you would be surprised how filthy they can get over time. According to a 2011 study on household germs, coffee pots were amongst the dirtiest objects in the average North American home. Not only can coffee pots become stained with stale coffee residue from previous batches, but they can also become breeding grounds for bacteria, mold, yeast, and mildew.
If you want to enjoy fresh-tasting coffee and make sure your cherished coffee machine is safe and sanitary to use, you need to clean your coffee pot regularly. Luckily, cleaning a coffee pot is relatively straightforward, and you can do so with simple white vinegar and water!
Below, we will teach you everything you need to know about cleaning a typical coffee pot with vinegar and explain why you should do so regularly.
How to Clean a Coffee Pot with Vinegar
All you need to get started is standard white distilled vinegar that you can find on the shelves of any grocery store. You also need a disposable coffee filter and standard tap water.
Step 1. Mix the White Vinegar and Water
To begin cleaning your coffee maker, fill the water reservoir with a half and half mixture of distilled white vinegar and lukewarm water. Fill the reservoir as if you were going to make a full pot of coffee.
If your coffee maker and pot are particularly dirty, you can increase the ratio of vinegar to water to around two parts vinegar to one-part water.
The vinegar will sanitize the water reservoir as well as the interior of the coffee maker and the coffee pot. It also dissolves mineral deposits within the coffee maker, which can affect performance and alter the flavor of your coffee.
Step 2. Turn the Coffee Machine On
Now that the water reservoir has been filled with the vinegar and water mixture, add a filter and turn the coffee machine on.
There is no need to do anything special, just turn the coffee machine on the same way you would if you were making a pot of coffee and let it run though a brew cycle. Do not add coffee grinds unless you want to drink a pot of the most disgusting coffee you have ever had in your life!
Once the vinegar and water solution has worked its way through your coffee machine and is inside the coffee pot, let it sit for 30 minutes to one hour. The time should depend on how dirty your coffee pot was when you started. The dirtier the pot, the longer you should let the mixture sit.
Step 3. Soak and Scrub
Remove the coffee filter, which should have some residue on it from the mineral deposits the vinegar has broken up inside your coffee machine’s water reservoir.
You can now pour the vinegar solution out of the coffee pot. Unlike harsh chemical cleaners, it is safe to pour it directly down the drain.
While vinegar is safe to drink, it does have a scent and taste that can ruin the flavor of your next batch of coffee. This is why it is important to place a fresh filter in your machine and run a full reservoir of pure water through the machine. Again, simply fill the reservoir with water and run the machine as if you were making a full pot of coffee.
Once this is complete, dispose of the filter and pour the water out of the pot. If the water is cloudy and dirty, repeat the process for an additional cycle.
Once the pot is filled with clear water, you can begin the scrubbing process. By this point, you should be able to clean the interior and exterior of your coffee pot with a clean cloth and simple dish soap and warm water mixture.
You should also take this time to give the exterior of your coffee machine a quick wipe down and scrub until it looks as good as it did when it was new. You can do so with a dab of white vinegar on a clean cloth.
Why Do You Need to Clean Your Coffee Pot and Machine Often?
The most important reason to clean your coffee machine is safety. As mentioned, coffee machines, particularly pots, are breeding grounds for mold and mildew. A clean coffee pot makes a huge difference.
Leftover coffee residue and an environment that is both moist and warm presents the perfect conditions for the spread of bacteria. By cleaning and sanitizing your coffee pot with vinegar, you can make sure that you and your family do not consume harmful bacteria in your morning coffee.
Then, of course, there is a simple fact that a clean coffee machine produces better-tasting coffee. If you find that your morning coffee is bitter and unappetizing, there is a chance your coffee machine could use a thorough cleaning.
How Often Do You Need to Perform a Vinegar Cleaning?
Even though it is really easy to do, you only need to clean your coffee machine with vinegar about once every two months. Naturally, you should increase your cleaning schedule if you use the coffee maker on a more regular basis.
Vinegar decalcifies your coffee machine’s interior and the inside of your coffee pot. Removing mineral buildup makes your coffee machine look newer and ensures it performs better, which means better-tasting coffee.
If your coffee machine uses a reusable, mesh filter, you can take it out and soak it in a half and half mixture of vinegar and warm water. Again, this removes unwanted coffee residue and helps break up any mineral deposits that have built up in the mesh wiring.