Cleaning a Coffee Maker

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Coffee is what gets us going in the morning and helps us stay alert as we accomplish all the day's tasks – from work assignments to household chores. But if you consider your coffee maker your resident cheerleader, it might be easy to forget that there are begrudged chores that go with maintaining even it. In fact, coffee makers are one of the most difficult items in your kitchen to clean. Well, it may not be so much that they're a special challenge. What's more likely is that people neglect cleaning their coffee maker to a point where it eventually does become quite a bothersome task.

But if you want to keep that coffee brewing fast so that you can get out that door fast, then you better take the time out to clean your coffee maker. But how? It's really pretty simple. However, it does take a a decent investment of your time. And for those on the run, who down four cups of coffee or more a day, time is indeed precious. This is why it's important you know how precisely to clean your coffee maker, so that one time's a charm (at least for a while).

Okay, enough with the suspense. Here is a step-by-step guide to cleaning your coffee maker. Each individual coffee maker is unique so keep in mind that you might have to improvise a little bit. However, the basic technique shouldn't change much.

If you use dispensable coffee filters, go ahead and get rid of that used filter. Now, get out that coffee pot (or look into that “water reservoir”) and instead of pouring water into it like usual, fill it up with vinegar about a fourth of the way. Then you can fill the rest up with water.

Now, run the coffee maker. After doing this, switch the coffee maker off and let it sit with the power off for a good ten to fifteen minutes. You want it to have some time to cool. Repeat! That's right, you want to brew some more vinegar and water and then let the machine cool off for another 10 minutes.

After this, repeat the last step again, except this time, don't include the vinegar. Use plain old water – fill it to the top of the water reservoir (or pot, which you then pour into the reservoir) – run it through the coffee maker and then again, let the coffee maker stand, turned off, for 10 minutes (preferably even longer).

You can manually wash the coffee pot and filter basket in the sink. Use warm, soapy water. Depending on what kind of dishwasher you have, you can even stick the coffee pot (or carafe) in there for a spin.

Since you want your coffee to taste like coffee and not vinegar, make sure you keep rinsing until there is no sign of vinegar left! No one wants their morning coffee to have a hint of vinegar in it.

So, all you need is some vinegar, soap, and water, and about an hour to spare to get your coffee maker in good shape and ready to brew. But beyond that, how often should you go through this laborious, tedious process?

Drip coffee makers should be cleaned about once a month. This ensures that your coffee isn't tainted by bad-tasting (and even unhealthy) hard water deposits and leftover oils. If you maintain your coffee maker consistently, you can keep your coffee tasting nice and flavorful and also make it easy on yourself when it does come time to give it a nice, good cleaning. The less buildup, the less likely it will be that you'll have to rinse your coffee maker a fourth or fifth or sixth time.

So if you want to wake up to a nice, warm pot of brewed coffee every morning, you have to make sure that coffee is coming from the purest place possible.

An important thing to note, however, is that espresso machines are a whole other animal. They require much more intense cleaning! Still, some coffee makers can be more difficult to whip into shape than others, depending on the type and design. You might want to look up how to clean other parts of different coffee makers, too, like the percolator and the vacuum brewer.

Another piece of advice: if you're getting ready to tackle the dirt of your coffee maker for a good hour, why not brew a fresh cup of coffee first to get you energized for the annoying chore?

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