It’s one thing to make an awesome coffee with a coffee maker, but it’s another thing to do it consistently. This is because most people do not clean their coffee maker correctly, and this will result in residue coffee finding its way into your coffee mug! If you’re someone who is experiencing that sour taste in your coffee then carry on reading as today, I am going to educate you on how to clean a coffee maker without vinegar.
The reason we are looking at methods without vinegar may confuse some, as that is what most recommend. However, there are a plethora of different methods out there on cleaning your coffee maker. So, let’s jump right into covering the methods and why it’s essential.
Importance of Cleaning Your Coffee Maker
Firstly, I’d like to state, if you use your coffee maker every day, which I do without fail, you should clean your coffee maker once a month.
We all know that coffee is an acidic drink, picture the residue that gets left around your coffee maker from all that acid. Over time, this is going to severely affect and change the taste of your coffee in an awful way.
Also, something worth mentioning here is limescale, which is something that builds up around a lot of kitchen and bathroom appliances. You can google what limescale is, and it’s not something you want hanging around your coffee maker.
The last reason you should be cleaning your coffee maker is to improve its longevity. If you let either or both above build-up, it is going to slow down your coffee maker but also increase the chance of it breaking. You wouldn’t want to wake up one morning and find out your coffee maker is broken because you let residue coffee build-up, right? I don’t know how I’d finish my morning routine if that happened to me.
Before reading the below methods, I’d recommend removing the filter and letting it sit in hot soapy water for 20 minutes for an extended clean.
1 Cleaning Your Coffee Maker With Dish Soap
The first method is also probably the most obvious alternative to vinegar, which is dish soap. Something all of you should have around your house; otherwise, what are you washing with?
Firstly, start by dissembling your coffee maker and soaking the filter in hot soapy water for 20 minutes. I wouldn’t recommend any quicker as the filter is the part of the coffee maker that will have a lot of acids stuck to it and old coffee particles that you need to get rid of. Once this has soaked, make sure you give it a gentle scrub with a sponge or anything soft like a cloth and rinse it thoroughly under warm water to remove any soap that is left.
For the interior of your coffee maker, start by mixing warm water with soap and pushing this once through your coffee maker slowly to ensure it takes any residue off the sides. Once you’ve done this, repeat this process once or twice with just warm water and no soap to remove any excess soapy water left in your maker.
2 Cleaning Your Coffee Maker With Denture Tablets
Denture tablets are powerful, dissolving tablets that aid in cleaning stubborn stains and surfaces, maybe like a coffee maker with acid around it? You can find these at most supermarkets or a drug/chemist/health store like a Boots or Superdrug in the UK.
Denture tablets work by combining anti-bacterial properties from sodium bicarbonate (think baking soda) I’ve used baking soda before to clean things as it is, and it works a treat.
The beauty of denture tablets is their ease of use as the tablets dissolve for you, due to their strength, you don’t even need to take the filter out. Simply fill up your coffee maker with warm water, drop 2 denture tablets in and wait until they’re dissolved. Once fully dissolved, press through your coffee maker. To finish, press 2 cycles on just warm water through your coffee maker to get it back to a neutral taste.
Another thing to add as a positive to denture tablets is that they’re unscented, which is a massive bonus over something like vinegar, which you’ll smell on your hands for days.
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3 Cleaning Your Coffee Maker With Salt
Salt is widely used throughout the cooking industry for flavouring, food preservation, and as a binding material. Sodium, funnily enough, is what will allow the salt to clean, much like the tablets mentioned above.
For this method, you’ll also be needing ice. Yes, you read that right, ice. Crush up your ice and add it to your coffee maker. Next, add salt and mix until you can see the ice and salt coming together. You’ll quickly see how this combination cleans the inside of your carafe.
Once you’re satisfied, just like the methods above, complete 2 rounds of warm water through your coffee maker just to ensure there is no residue salt inside.
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4 Cleaning Your Coffee Maker With Lemon Juice
Lemon juice is an excellent alternative to vinegar, and you may find it smells nicer as well, you’d be surprised how well this fruit can clean things like a coffee maker. It caught me by surprise!
Firstly, mix warm water and lemon juice in a jug and pour into the carafe of your coffee maker, let this mix sit in the coffee maker for 15-20 minutes to ensure the lemon juice mix takes all of the residue acid and coffee off the sides.
Once this has finished, yes, you’ve guessed it! Run your coffee maker twice with just warm water; otherwise, you’ll be having a zesty coffee for the next few brews!
5 Cleaning Your Coffee Maker With Baking Soda
We couldn’t have a guide on how to clean your coffee maker and leave off baking soda. The denture tablets above have bicarbonate sodium in them which, is baking soda! So why not use baking soda itself to clean your coffee maker.
If you could hazard a guess as to how we are going to do this method, you’d probably be right.
Mix warm water and baking soda and add to your coffee machine, let sit for 15 minutes so the soda can scrub the acid thoroughly off your coffee maker. Then, run this mix once through your maker.
To finish, complete 2 cycles with just warm water through your coffee maker to get rid of any residue baking soda, that would be an unpleasant taste in your coffee!
There are plenty of other alternatives to the above. Using the same method of mixing first and running through your coffee maker, you could use hydrogen peroxide, CLR, or muriatic acid. Remember, these are corrosive elements, so make sure you keep away from children and try to wear kitchen gloves for safety purposes. Always mix acid into water and not the other way around.
The acids mentioned above will be beneficial to use if your coffee maker is looking horrific, and the previously mentioned methods aren’t working. Having said that, if you clean your coffee maker once a month as mentioned at the start of the blog, I don’t think you’d ever find yourself in a situation where you need to use muriatic acid to clean your coffee maker. These methods carry more risk to you and your coffee maker than using something like lemon juice or salt.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Is it Just as Important to Clean the Outside of my Coffee Maker?
In short, no, it isn’t as important to clean the outside of your coffee maker. However, I’d still recommend you do this.
The methods above which clean the inside of your coffee maker are vital to do if you care at all about how nice your coffee tastes. This is because these methods are cleaning the parts of your coffee maker that your coffee runs through directly.
For me, cleaning the outside of my coffee is more of a regular habit and something I do for the aesthetics of my coffee maker. If you have guests over and they see your coffee maker from the outside has stains and looks dirty, I don’t think they’d feel comfortable drinking one of your awesome brews, even if you have cleaned the inside with baking soda or any other method above.
I’d recommend using warm soapy water and a cloth just to give your coffee maker a once over to make sure the outside is clean. I usually do this once a week, or if I notice any spillages or stains on my coffee maker, they need to go instantly.
Will my Coffee Taste Bad After Using any of the Above Methods?
On all the above methods and even if you use another cleaning method, always, and I mean always, run warm water through your coffee maker twice to ensure you remove any excess cleaning products from the inside.
The whole reason we clean our coffee makers is that the acid from coffee will stick to the sides and eventually build up. The same can happen when using something like salt or baking soda, which, as you can imagine, would result in one horrible tasting cup of coffee.