In general, the average person looks at a coffee maker and only thinks about the cup of coffee they’re going to drink with it and not how to clean the coffee maker to make sure they have they best tasting coffee each and every time they use it.
Since coffee makers are not as clean as you might imagine and simply just washing it out with water from the sink, just won’t do. Therefore, in this article I am going to go over the essentials on how to clean 6 of the most popular coffee brewers out there.
The Basics on Cleaning A Coffee Maker
So one should ask themselves, what happens after the coffee brewing is finished and it’s time to clean up? Do you know the cleaning process to make sure your coffee brewer stays clean and in good shape for years to come? Do you know what to avoid so the coffee doesn’t taste bad?
There are so many things to think about and most people just go through the motions when it’s time to clean up. Therefore, I have come up with some of the best ways to clean 6 different types of coffee makers according to industry experts and some personal experience.
Before looking at different types of coffee makers and how to clean them properly, I have found that it’s always best to learn some general tips at first that will help in all coffee cleaning situations regardless of which brewer you use.
- Read the Manual ( who does that?)
- Always Start with rinsing with water
- Set a Consistent Cleaning Schedule to increase the life of the coffee brewer.
- Be Thorough when cleaning
- Pay Attention to How the Coffee Maker is Running (Including, the tough part, routine Taste Tests!)
- Focus on the Materials and Not the Brand (i.e. Aluminum vs. Steel vs. Rubber)
With these tips in mind, it doesn’t matter which coffee maker is being cleaned because if job will be done well, you will consistently have good coffee and you are going to be well on your way to a beautiful and clean coffee maker and better tasting coffee!
What Do You Need to Clean a Coffee Maker?
Regardless of how you make coffee their are some core essentials you will need to clean a coffee maker. These are:
- Water and White Vinegar
- Generic non scented soap
- A Soft Brush
- A Toothbrush (for the smaller areas)
- A Dish cloth
To find out more about the details of cleaning a coffee maker and being able to do it like a pro, continue reading!
How to Clean 6 Popular Coffee Makers
1. Chemex Coffee Maker
Even though Chemex coffee makers have been around for awhile they have recently gained a resurgence in popularity as world-class brewing machines and that are easy to clean, so what exactly does it take to keep them clean?
Start preparing to clean the Chemex by getting together a collection of “ingredients,” which will be used as the main cleaning solution. It’s a short but essential list: you are going to need:
- Ice-cold water
- Salt (2 Tbsp.)
- Dish soap
Try make sure you have the right amount of salt and dish soap because, not, you will get some strange tasted if the coffee maker isn’t cleaned thoroughly or you use too much. Therefore, It is best to take your time with the getting everything together with the right amounts of each ingredient while preparing the cleaning solution!
Now that you have the ingredients and are ready to go, it is time to mix them together in a separate bowl. You will want to make sure you mix them together thoroughly before using them on the Chemex. Once the mixture is ready, you can add it to the Chemex and move around for at least 2-3 minutes. Then simply just rinse and dry.
This is will make sure any coffee residue buildup is removed and that your Chemex is back to how it is supposed to be. Make sure to do this as often as you can so the Chemex doesn’t fade with age as that can happen in some circumstances. If you would like to try a Chemex out, you can find a current pricing on Amazon
2. Keurig Coffee Machine
This is probably the most common as well as one of the most popular coffee makers among the bunch, especially in office settings. It is sold worldwide and is a remarkably popular option for contemporary coffee aficionados looking for a quick way to get a good cup of coffee.
When it comes to the cleaning process, you are going to want to follow a strict setup that is organized from top to bottom. The reason has to do with the multitude of parts that are at play with the Keurig. (more commonly referred to as a K-cup machine)
It is not a brewer that is going to be cleaned with just a bit of soap and water on the outside! I mention this because I think that alot of people seem to do the do the bare minimum, which over the long term damages the machines and how it will works.
To do this properly, you are going to want to first take apart the machine (removable parts only of course!) and clean them one by one. The main parts that have to be removed would include the general reservoir and of course the drip tray.
You will want to wipe outer parts clean in order to get rid of the initial residue and also work away at the main needle with a small needle. It can help get rid of “gunk” that settles on the surface that happens after continuous use.
Then what you want to do is take some distilled white vinegar and put it into the water reservoir and fill it to the “max fill” line and put a large coffee mug underneath the spout where the coffee cups out.
Than without putting a pod in, run the machine using the largest brew cycle option. Due this repeatedly until there in no more vinegar in the reservoir.
Then you will need to fill the reservoir with filtered water and run the cycle over again so that you get rid of any vinegar residue that may remain.
To be extra thorough you can take out the reservoir and rinse with water over the sink and refill and put it back in its place.
As long as you do it correctly and do this on a regular basis, your Keurig machine should continue to work well and give you great tasting coffee for a long time to come. .
Please note, you don’t have to clean your Keurig every week! You can get away with using it quarterly assuming you are not drinking say 10 cups a day! If you do this, you’re going to keep that Keurig machine of yours looking beautiful year-round! If you don’t have one, you can check current pricing out on Amazon
For information on the difference between a Keurig and pods check out this post.
3. Moka Pot
Do you have a Stove top Espresso maker or what sometimes is known as a Moka Pot coffee maker at home?
If you do you have probably noticed, its a unique piece of machinery that requires some basic cleaning in order to keep it working properly.
Before I go into detail on how to clean it, let me say just one thing! I highly recommend that you never put into a dishwasher! If you do you will damage the aluminum and therefore the coffee
Now with that out of the way, you will take it apart so you have 3 sections:
- the top where the coffee goes into and where most of the buildup will settle.
- the funnel where you put the coffee
- the base where the water goes into
Once apart you will want to take a bit of water, vinegar (1 Tbsp.) and lemon juice (2 Tsp.) and clean each of the 3 parts well to remove any buildup.
Then with the mixture filled up to the overflow valve, put the moka pot back together and to a “test run” without any coffee in the filter. Similar to the Keurig, do this once with the cleaning mixture and then once or twice with just distilled water.
This is going to make sure the reservoir is back to how it was straight out of the box. When you are running the mixture through the reservoir, it is best to let it settle for at least 2-3 minutes so it can work away at the mess inside. If you do this often enough, the reservoir is going to look and smell amazing right away!
Please note: there is never a good time to use dish soap with this coffee maker as it is going to get into the actual coffee that is brewed! You should keep this in mind or you are not going to be a happy person when it is time to brew that next cup of coffee.
This is one of those amazing coffee makers that has won alot of awards and even has its own championship contests. If your interested, you can check out more about that here.
Bottom line, an Aeropress is a wonderful piece of equipment that has quickly become the “go to” coffee brewer for many coffee aficionados, Especially for those that travel alot or are avid hikers as it is known all around the world because of how versatile it is. However, what are you going to have to do so it is back to 100% in terms of cleanliness?
With the Aeropress, you are going to find it to be quite easy to clean as long as you use the following directions:
- Separate the 2 main pieces
- Remove the cap and get rid of any coffee grounds
- Throw away any previously used paper filter
You will then simply just want to wash the pieces it under hot water and clean away any remaining coffee grounds paying particular attention to the rubber areas as this is where the grounds seem to stick to the most.
For most people, this simple cleaning method is going to be more than enough and it will be back to how it was before use. For daily users, you want to do this every single day as it really doesn’t take a long time nor is it going to damage the Aeropress in any way.
You have a French Press and want to keep it looking great and working its best?
You are going to love the coffee it makes but the cleaning process is far more delicate and requires a bit more effort ( really not much more) than either the Aeropress or Chemex. This means you will have to take a little more time out of the day to settle in and work away at the cleaning process.
To do this the right way, you will want to start by taking apart the filter so you are able to get to the screen. This is going to be near the bottom of the French Press and will have to be detached before you are able to clean it thoroughly. Once it has come apart, just scrub the parts with either a sponge or brush and then run hot water over the parts so any left over coffee buildup is removed.
For the actual glass beaker (yes, glass is better then the plastic versions), I would recommend using just some soap and hot water. You could use baking soda instead of soap if you want but in either case, rinse completely so you don’t get any of that taste in your coffee.
After that, just let it air dry before putting it away.
If you are consistent with your cleaning and use a small bowl of water and soap/baking soda (1 Tbsp.),you will do wonders for your press and you will always be sure the glass beaker is in good shape for the next time you use it.
6.Drip Coffee Maker
This is a coffee maker that has become the “go to” solution for millions of homes for a long time now.
When it comes to Drip Coffee Makers, even though you may love the coffee that it brews but what about the cleaning process? In short, you will want to start with a simple cleaning solution (i.e. white vinegar + water) and it will help take away the buildup.
This is somewhat similar to the cleaning of the Kuerig that I wrote about earlier. What you want to do is use equal parts vinegar to water and put it in the brewer just as if you were brewing a fresh pot of coffee but, of course you won’t add any coffee or filter when doing this.
At this point all you want to do is just press that brew button and let the machine do its thing and have the cleaning mixture brew right into that coffee pot. Depending on how much coffee you brew in between these cleanings you can do this once or twice.
Regardless of how many times you do it, you will need to do a final rinse (or 2) of just water to make sure you remove all the cleaning solution.
Since you are brewing right into the coffee pot you are in essence cleaning 2 things at that same time as your coffee pot is getting cleaned at the same time. Make sure you rinse your pot completely before using for actual coffee.
After this is done and in most cases, you are going to be good to go and the coffee maker will look brand-new again. Do this every month and your machine will be well worth the price and the consistently great tasting coffee!
Final Thoughts on Cleaning Coffee Machines
At the end of the day, it’s important to take in all of this information and decide the best way to integrate the cleaning process and schedule into your coffee brewing.
You want to be able to rely on the machine for a long time to come and that begins with a good cleaning setup and a well-designed cleaning plan can go a long way in extending your coffee brewer’s lifespan.
While none of the above cleaning techniques are difficult or that time consuming to do, it is important that you clean your brewer consistently because if you do you will always be able to enjoy the flavors and nuances of a cup of fresh roasted coffee.
Keep this information handy and go brew some coffee.. What are you waiting for?