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If you want to have a great-tasting, fresh cup of coffee every day, you need to regularly clean out your coffee maker. Unfortunately, not all of us remember to clean them as often as we should. In fact, studies show that as many as half of all classic coffee makers have mold and yeast growing in their reservoirs. Even if your coffee pot doesn’t have mold, it almost definitely has a buildup of coffee residue and mineral deposits that are affecting the flavor of your coffee.

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How often to clean it

Generally, you should be rinsing as many parts of your coffee maker as you can after each use. This doesn’t need to be an in-depth scrubbing, but you should make sure to clean obvious residue. Deeper cleaning is necessary at least once every three months. If your area has hard water, meaning water with high mineral content, you probably need to clean your coffee pot once a month. For those who happen to have a newer coffee maker, it may tell you exactly when you need to clean it.

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Signs you need to clean it

You are probably wondering if there are signs that it’s time to clean your coffee pot. There are, and some aren’t as obvious as you may think. Of course, you need to clean the machine when there are notable stains or residue. Other signs you need to clean it include:

  • Coffee tastes odd
  • The coffee maker makes noise but doesn’t start brewing
  • Coffee maker spills coffee everywhere
  • It takes longer to brew
  • The process is louder than it used to be
coffee maker spill Bill Varie / Getty Images
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Reasons you need to clean it

Bacteria love coffee pots. After all, coffee makers are warm and damp, making them basically the perfect bacterial environments. Over time, water can leave a coating of minerals like calcium, sodium, and magnesium. Eventually, these minerals clog up the coffee maker and can dramatically alter the taste of an otherwise perfect cup of coffee. While it may seem like a hassle to regularly clean your coffee maker, it’s worth it to avoid putting mold, bacteria, and mineral residue in your body.

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Supplies

Thankfully, you don’t need very many items to properly clean your coffee maker. You require:

  • Dishwashing soap or liquid
  • Sponge or sponge brush
  • Vinegar
  • Soft cloth

If you like, you may also choose to use a descaling product or a specialized coffee maker cleaning kit. However, these aren’t usually necessary because vinegar and soap are usually incredibly effective.

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Rinsing it

For your daily clean, you should remove all the components you can. Usually, this is the basket and the pot. Simply run them under warm water for a short period and then give them a gentle scrub with your sponge and dishwashing soap. During this easy cleaning, you should leave the top of your coffee pot open. This allows the inside of the reservoir to dry out and prevent any mold growth. If you need a little more cleaning power, sprinkle some salt or baking soda into the pot before you scrub it.

rinsing coffee pot karpix / Getty Images

The vinegar solution

Once every few months, you need to perform a deep clean. This begins by combining white vinegar and hot water in equal parts. If your coffee maker has a particularly nasty level of buildup and grime, you can increase the ratio of vinegar to water. Together, these two will loosen and remove any residue or mineral building inside the coffee pot. Simply pour the mixture into the reservoir and let it sit for a few minutes.

vinegar soap water belchonock / Getty Images

Cleaning with vinegar

Before starting a brew with your vinegar mixture, make sure to place a filter in the basket. This will catch any larger bits of residue during the cleaning. Turn the brewer on and wait. Around halfway through the brewing process, turn off the coffee maker. Let the vinegar mixture soak in the carafe, reservoir, and pot for around 30 minutes to an hour. The dirtier the machine, the longer you should let it soak. After it soaks, start the machine again and let it finish.

coffee maker cleaning brew aydinynr / Getty Images

Following up

After brewing with the vinegar mixture, you’ll need to clean it out with water to ensure none of the vinegar or remaining grime slips into your next cup of coffee. Pour out the vinegar solution and throw away the filter you were using. Let the coffee pot cool off before you continue cleaning it. Place a new filter in the machine and fill the reservoir with normal water. Run through a full cycle with just the water. Once that’s done, repeat this step. Afterward, clean the removal parts with hot, soapy water.

coffee pot brew water filadendron / Getty Images

Using rice

If you’re having difficulty cleaning out some of the nasty layers coating your carafe, you can use a little bit of rice. Just fill the carafe with warm, soapy water and a little bit of uncooked rice. Swirl the mixture to loosen anything that may be coating the sides. Pour out the mixture and continue washing the carafe with hot, soapy water. You can use a scrub sponge or similar tool to thoroughly scrub out all of the gunk.

scrub sponge dishes MoMo Productions / Getty Images

Warnings

While washing a coffee pot may seem simple and straightforward, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. Primarily, wash all parts at the same time. If you don’t, you’re just moving grime from one section to another. Some people may feel the need to use steel wool or another harsh abrasive to clean their pot. This can damage the glass and could potentially lead to breakages. Additionally, unplug the coffee pot when cleaning the exterior and the main structure and never submerge the actual coffee maker under water.

coffee maker k cup StefaNikolic / Getty Images

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