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How to Clean a Coffee Machine & Keep Nasty Mould at Bay

coffee maker with ground coffee on the floor

More often than not, your everyday cup of coffee in the morning is made in hurry, consumed in a hurry, and before you know it, you’re out the door, leaving the coffee maker used and dirty. The next day, you’re likely to toss the grounds from the brew basket only to make yourself another hurried cup, and the cycle continues! Now, the question is how often should you clean your coffee maker? 

Well, to understand how and when you need to clean your coffee maker, you will first need to assess the condition. Is there mould inside? Does it require descaling to remove mineral deposits? Are there stubborn stains in the carafe? For coffee makers that haven’t been deep cleaned recently, the answer to all of these questions is more than likely to be ‘yes’! Nevertheless, whether it’s basic cleaning or deep cleaning that your coffee maker is in need of, Maid For You has got you covered. Read on to find out how to deep clean and maintain your precious coffee maker for the perfect brew!

Step 1: Clean the Basket & Filter

coffee filter being cleaned in a bowl

Take out the brew basket, empty out old coffee grounds, and discard the used filter. If you are using a permanent filter basket, hold it upside down and tap the bottom and sides to remove as much of the dried grounds as possible. Clean these removable components with dish soap and water using a non-abrasive scrubbing tool. For the filter basket, you might find a soft brush to be more effective in dislodging grounds stuck in the mesh.

The carafe will also require a thorough clean but not just yet; we will get to that a little later. For now, simply rinse it out and put it back. After you’ve cleaned the basket and filter, wipe them dry and replace them.

Step 2: Prepare the Cleaning Solution

bottle of white vinegar sitting on a table with other cleaning equipment

Coffee makers typically come with a user guide that specifies the type of cleaning solution required for the model, and the instructions to go with it. If you can’t find this in your user manual or anywhere online, the safest (and effective) cleaning solution to go with is one consisting of white vinegar and water. Find the ratios below:

  • 1 part white distilled vinegar
  • 4 parts filtered water

NOTE: Always use filtered water to deep clean your coffee maker as it eliminates the possibility of mineral deposits being left behind after the cleaning is complete.

Step 3: Start a Brew

coffee maker brewing fresh coffee in a white tea cup

Now that your vinegar-based cleaning solution is ready, pour it into the water reservoir until it reaches the recommended full capacity. The key to a thorough, deep clean of your coffee maker is to allow the cleaning solution enough time to descale and tackle stains in the appliance. To achieve this, start a brew and stop it midway. 

Let the cleaning solution sit inside for at least 1 hour. This amount of waiting time is highly recommended for coffee makers with mould as the heat and vinegar content will kill spores and other bacteria during this time. While you wait for the 1-hour mark after stopping the brew halfway, prepare the cleaning solution required for the rest of the appliance (exteriors). In a spray bottle, mix 2 cups of water and 1-2 tablespoons of dish soap. Shake the bottle well and keep aside.

After 1 hour, finish off the brew and move on to the next step.

Step 4: Rinse the Reservoir

coffee reservoir being cleaned

When the cleaning solution is transferred to the carafe after the brew is complete, you will be able to see all the nasty stuff that’s been living inside the coffee maker! Pour the dirty water down the sink and rinse the carafe with water.

To ensure that there are no traces of the water-vinegar solution left in the reservoir, refill it with plain water (to its full capacity), and start another brew -- a continuous one this time around. Once it is complete, check for a lingering vinegar smell. If it persists, another brew with plain water should do the trick to get rid of it.

Step 5: Clean the Carafe

coffee carafe being used to brew coffee

Finally, it’s time to clean the carafe! While dish soap and water will suffice for a basic clean of the jar, if you are dealing with stubborn coffee stains, the use of baking soda and water is advised. Simply add 1-2 tablespoons of baking soda to the carafe, mix in just enough water to make a paste, and then scrub the jar clean. Rinse it out thoroughly, clean the exterior of the carafe, and leave it to dry.

It is also advisable to wash the basket and filter once again since they have been used during the cleaning process of the reservoir. Use dish soap, water, and a sponge for this.

Step 6: Wipe Down the Exterior

modern all red coffee machine

That simple cleaning solution you made to clean the exterior of your coffee maker can be put to use with the help of a clean, microfibre cloth. Simply shake the bottle, spray the cloth to dampen it, and wipe the entire exterior of the appliance. Bear in mind that a heated cleaning solution is more effective in removing stubborn coffee spills while a room temperature cleaner (like the one you are using) will suffice in wiping up mild stains.

How to Keep Mould at Bay in Your Coffee Maker

modern black coffee machine with coffee pods

Keeping your coffee maker clean is important for many hygienic reasons, as well as the overall performance of the appliance. Here are some key tips to maintain a clean coffee maker:

  • Clean the carafe and basket/filter every day or after every use.
  • Every 2-3 weeks, make it a point run a plain hot water brew; this will help kill bacteria including mould spores.
  • Avoid keeping the reservoir wet for long periods.
  • After washing or rinsing the coffee maker components, dry them completely before replacing them. This includes the water reservoir; allow it to dry before replacing the lid.
  • Use the cleaning method above to deep clean your coffee maker once a month.

A custom graphic summarising the article on how to clean your coffee machine

Don’t wait till you or anyone in your house starts questioning the coffee brewing in your coffee maker; give it a deep clean today, and enjoy a perfectly brewed cup in a perfectly clean coffee maker!

Adriana Aziz is the operations manager at MaidForYou. With over 6 years of experience managing cleaning operations, she knows all the best hacks when it comes to cleaning residential and commercial buildings. With expert experience in managing house cleaning operations, interior design and logistics. She spends her free time with her family and as a freelance food critic.

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