Anyone who knows me will attest to the fact that I’m an avid coffee drinker. I love anything that has to do with coffee. But what I don’t love is when the coffee pot starts to back up with residue and gunk, making my coffee brew slowly and taste horrible. For a long time I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with it. But then a friend told me that coffee makers need to be cleaned out periodically. I did some research and tried a technique using just vinegar and water, and it works like a charm. Here is my quick and easy guide to cleaning your coffee maker out with vinegar.
Empty the Coffee Pot
Your first step is to rid the coffee pot of everything. Dump out excess coffee and clean out the actual pot, dump out the grounds, and make sure the coffee pot is just like it would be if you were going to make coffee.
To Filter or Not to Filter
You can do this process with a filter or without a filter. Personally I like to use a filter, but I don’t think it really makes any difference. I think using a filter is more like the actual process you’d use to brew coffee, so it makes sense to me to do it that way. I don’t think anything bad will happen to your coffee maker if you don’t use a filter, but why chance it, right?
The first thing you’ll want to do is fill the coffee maker with water as you would if you were going to make coffee. Then, turn it on and let it run through as though there were coffee grounds in the machine. Make sure the pot is there to catch all the water. You’ll likely end up with a less-than-clear watery pot full of gunk.
Cool, Then Vinegar
Let your coffee pot cool for awhile so as not to overheat it. Then, go back and do the same exact process, but fill your coffee maker with vinegar and water instead. You can use vinegar alone if you have a really serious case of backup. For instance, one time my coffee maker wouldn’t brew anything, it just filled the grounds basket with water and overflowed because it was that backed up. I used straight vinegar on the second round for that one. But you can fill about a quarter of your machine with vinegar and fill the rest with water if you’re just doing regular maintenance. Run the solution through the coffee maker.
After letting the machine cool repeat the entire process once more with water. This will wash out all the vinegar taste and make everything crisp and clean. You might want to wash the pot out by hand to rid it of all the vinegar flavor, as well. I thought it would be very difficult to get rid of the vinegar flavor in my coffee maker after doing it this way, but it really wasn’t at all.
After you go through this process your coffee maker should work like a charm, you should get your coffee pot filled much faster, and your coffee will taste much better. It’s easy to tell when your coffee maker needs to be cleaned because your coffee will start having a slightly metallic or bitter taste that almost no amount of cream or sugar seems to cover up. If that’s the case, it’s time to wash it out. I like to repeat this process every week or two just to keep my coffee maker clean and functioning properly, but I make coffee several times a day. If you only use your coffee pot once a day you can probably do it once every three to four weeks and be fine. Hopefully that helped you clean out your coffee pot and enjoy a tastier cup of Joe in a shorter amount of time.