Your trusty ol’ basket-and-carafe coffee maker has probably been serving you for a while, brewing up delicious cups of coffee when you need them most! Now, the question is, how often do you clean this frequently used kitchen appliance? No, we’re not referring to just the carafe (pot) and filter basket; this goes beyond those easy-to-clean parts, to an area that is prone to mould and the likes. The component in question is the coffee maker’s reservoir chamber that is seldom cleaned by homeowners. Perhaps, this is the number one reason as to why mould and yeast tend to grow in this space, i.e. lack of cleaning and maintenance. Having said that, weather conditions and changes in temperature can also cause mould to grow in your home, including various household appliances such as a coffee maker. Therefore, it’s advisable to inspect the reservoir of the machine frequently to ensure that it is clean and sanitary.
Now that you’re aware of what may be hiding in your precious coffee maker, let’s walk you through a step-by-step process to clean the appliance thoroughly, inside and outside. Read on!
Step One: Empty the Basket & Carafe
If there are coffee grounds left in the basket, empty it out and dispose of the filter. Empty and rinse the carafe with plain water, or give it a quick scrubbing with a sponge and dish soap if it has been sitting dirty for too long. Rinse the pot thoroughly before you move on to the next step.
Step Two: Wash the Basket
As you wash out the filter basket, you may notice coffee grounds stuck in the mesh. Scrubbing the basket with a sponge alone may not dislodge the grounds around the entire basket; therefore, as an alternative, we suggest using a clean, soft toothbrush along with a mild solution of warm water and dish soap for a thorough clean. Scrub the mesh to create suds before rinsing the basket out completely. Leave it to dry on a rack and put in a new filter thereafter.
Step Three: Make a Vinegar-Water Solution
Depending on the type and model of your coffee maker, the strength of the vinegar-water solution will differ. Refer to the user manual regarding suitable cleaning methods and products to be used for your specific model. Typically, basket-and-carafe coffee makers can be cleaned with a mixture of 1 part vinegar and 2 parts water. If you cannot find a recommended dosage of vinegar for your coffee maker, mix 1 part vinegar with 3 parts water (to be on the safe side). Use white distilled vinegar and warm filtered water to make this solution. Avoid using tap water as unfiltered water generally contains mineral deposits that you do not want in your coffee maker when cleaning it.
Step Four: Fill Up and Brew Halfway
With the vinegar-water solution, fill the reservoir up to the maximum level and start brewing. Allow it to brew halfway before switching your coffee maker off and leaving it for about an hour. During this time, the vinegar will work to kill bacteria and mould spores within the reservoir of the appliance. While you’ve got time to spare, pour a cap of dish soap in a bowl of water and mix well; this will be used later to clean the exteriors of the coffee maker.
Step Five: Resume the Brew
After an hour has passed, continue brewing until the cycle has finished. By now, the heated cleaning solution will have served its purpose and can be discarded as soon as the brew is over. Observe the water before you get rid of it to see what’s been hiding inside your coffee maker all this while!
Step Six: Wash the Carafe
Since the carafe had been holding dirty water during the brew, it will require thorough cleaning with soap and water. Rinse it out with fresh water before scrubbing the pot with a sponge and dish soap. Clean the exteriors of the carafe, give it a thorough rinse, and then refill it with water.
Step Seven: Refill the Reservoir
The fresh water from the carafe can now be poured into the reservoir (without any vinegar) and brewed once again. Make sure that it is filled to the maximum and allow the cycle a continuous brew. After it is done, pour out the water and check if the reservoir and carafe have a vinegar smell. If so, use warm water and run 1-2 more cycles. Remember to rinse out the coffee maker with fresh water after each brew, as well as to give it some rest in between.
Step Eight: Wash Basket and Carafe Again
After the coffee maker has been rinsed out with a couple of brews, allow it to cool down before washing the filter basket and carafe again. This is required as remnants from the cleaning process may get trapped in the basket or make its way to the carafe during the rinse cycle. Clean these components in the same manner as we mentioned earlier. Leave them to dry while you move on to the next step.
Step Nine: Clean the Exteriors
Now, it’s time to make use of the cleaning solution that was made earlier (refer to step four). Cleaning kitchen appliances is a must as grease and stains tend to discolour the exteriors if left dirty for too long. To clean the outer surface of your coffee maker, dip a microfibre cloth in the bowl, wring it, and wipe down the exterior parts of your coffee maker. If needed, use a little extra dish soap and elbow grease to remove stubborn stains. After you’ve scrubbed the appliance, wipe over it with a clean damp cloth to remove as much of the cleaner as possible. Rinse out the cloth and repeat until you have thoroughly removed the soapy solution.
Tips to Prevent Mould in Coffee Makers
Now that you’ve learned how to get rid of mould in your coffee maker, make sure you keep it that way by following the tips below:
- Rinse out the basket and carafe after every use
- Run a plain water brew on the hottest cycle at least twice a month to kill bacteria and flush out mineral deposits
- Allow the components to air out and dry completely after washing or brewing
- Store the machine in a cool, dry area when not in use
- Avoid keeping water or liquids in the coffee maker overnight, or for long periods of time
- Deep clean the appliance using the method above (with water and vinegar) every month
We often wonder about that sanitary conditions of public coffee machines and appliances that prepare our coffee on-the-go; well, you’ll never have to worry about that when you brew up a cup at