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Mar 26, 2009 07:28 AM

How to clean a coffee maker

My coffee maker has been overflowing recently and I think it's due for a deep clean. Isn't there a method of using white vinegar to accomplish such a task? Many thanks.

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  1. Yeah - you can use vinegar. Or there are coffee pot cleaner chemicals (99.9% of them are non-toxic so when I say "chemicals" don't be scared) at the grocery store that you can buy. Look over in the cleaning aisle or maybe the hardware section of any major grocery store.

    1 Reply
    1. re: HaagenDazs

      citric acid will do a better job than vinegar since you can make a stronger acid if you want and it has no odor. I use to take me a lot of rinsings to get the vinegar smell out of my coffee maker.

    2. Vinegar is the way to go. You can get lots of links from google, but this one looks good to me:

      There was a post on about this, but it links to a bad URL. Still, the long discussion in the comments section might be helpful:

      Just don't use any soapy cleaners! Its a pet peeve of mine. When soap goes up against stubbornly oil-encrusted coffee equipment, the coffee oils win and you end up with a soap film ontop of your old rancid coffee oils. Not good.

      1. There are two things that need to be cleaned. One is the old coffee oils and the second is lime deposits from the water. A product like Urnex Cleancaf
        has surfactant cleaners to cut through the coffee oils and citric acid to remove the hard water deposits.

        If you have a safe degreaser like Simple green you can use that to remove old coffee oils. Too bad they add fragrances to this product. It was originally designed to remove coffee oils from drum roasters. Now sold as a general degreaser. I buy citric acid to descale my coffee maker and espresso machine. The Cleancaf is a good all around product that is made to clean all types of coffee makers

        3 Replies
        1. re: scubadoo97

          Are the scaly mould like growths on the lower water container of my Bialetti espresso maker caused by lime in the water? (we actually have a lot of iron in the water, which leaves a reddish deposit on everything) Can those be avoided by using filtered water? If so I'm so glad cackalackie started this thread, and I will try out the vinegar/lemon/cleancaf methods.

          1. re: cassis

            Unless you've got a reverse osmosis filter, you're not going to filter limescale out of the water. A water softener will take it out, of course, at the expense of adding sodium to the water. Filters work better on iron, though. A water softener can also remove iron, depending on what else is in the water.

            1. re: cassis

              My understanding is that the mold like growth on the inside of aluminum moka pots is aluminum oxide and should be left alone.

          2. White vinegar in a 50 percent solution will remove mineral deposits. If what is overflowing is the part that you only put water in, the reservoir, it is probably this. Clean or rinse the filter as well.

            On the other hand, if you see dark stains and the problem is in a part of the coffee maker in which coffee passes through, such as the plastic filter holder, it is oily residue from coffee. I recently cleaned what I thought was a permanently stained stainless-steel lined coffee mug, an expensive model from Starbuck's, using Oxy Clean laundry powder. I dissolved a tablespoon in the bottom of the mug, filled it with water to the brim and let it sit for a short while. A quick wipe with a soft sponge removed all of the dark gunk and revealed a beautiful, shiny interior that had previously resisted normal soap and water scrubbing, White vinegar hadn't made a dent in it and Oxy Clean tore right through it. If the problem is in the plastic part that holds the filter, Oxy Clean will work, but I would hesitate to use Oxy Clean anywhere else in an automatic drip maker out of fear that it wouldn't rinse out well, so don't put it in the water reservoir. In that case, use one of those special cleaners, which are made of similar materials and are designed for food surface use. A mug is a far simpler item to clean.