If you have been googling ‘how to clean a coffee maker with bleach,’ then let us make one thing pretty clear: cleaning coffee maker with bleach is not the smartest thing to do. Bleach is a strong chemical that is highly toxic. So, using bleach in coffee maker would be risky as it might get into your coffee if you fail to wash off the residual bleach.
That said, bleach is one of the most powerful detergents out there. If your coffee maker gets way too grimy and moldy, then chances are, bleach is your last resort. In this article, we will break down how to clean coffee maker using a bleach solution. And, of course, we will tell you about the safety precautions you should take while doing so.
What’s The Best Bleach To Clean a Coffee Pot?
Many people believe that bleach is a chlorine-based compound. In reality, that’s not true. Bleach is a group of chemicals that has oxidization properties. Non-chlorine bleaches use oxygen instead of chlorine to dissipate dirt particles. However, it is not as strong as chlorine, which is a more progressive oxidizing agent.
Non-chlorine bleaches are milder than chlorine ones. These are basically used on clothes so that they do not harm the fabric and keep the color intact. But, the health risks are somewhat the same. It would have been great if we could use a non-chlorine bleach to wash our coffee pots since they are less abrasive.
But, unfortunately, non-chlorine bleaches are not up for the job. There are non-bleach cleaning agents that can do as well as or even better than oxygen bleaches in washing coffee makers. As we had already said, bleach has to be your last option. You would only opt for bleach when you have exhausted all other possibilities.
Eliminating coffee maker mold is quite a tricky challenge. So, when you have failed to get rid of mold using safer alternatives, you will have to bring out the big gun. Chlorine-based bleaches are capable of making the most resilient of mold and germs go away. So, chlorine bleaches are the best to wash a coffee pot.
When Is The Right Time To Clean Your Coffee Maker?
If you have been waiting for a pungent, acidic taste to kick in before taking your coffee maker for a wash, then you have been waiting far too long. The change in taste results from the mineral deposits and the germ colony that has grown inside the coffee maker. In more serious cases, you could also find fungal growth, which would require a good deal of effort to remove.
If you don’t want to find yourself in a similar situation and want to have a clean coffee maker all the time, then you must clean it regularly. Think of it like dental flossing. You need to do it more often than you think you need to do. Planning an extensive washing regimen depends on the intensity of your use, but you should do some cleaning after every use.
After every time you use the coffee maker, take out the filter, and dump the old grounds to your knock box or garbage bin. Take a piece of fabric and soak it in water. Then, gently rub the basket and reservoir clean. After you are done wiping, leave the basket and reservoir in the open air so that they can dry off.
If you want, you can schedule a daily cleaning session for your coffee maker. It would save you the trouble of using harsh chemicals in the future and nip problems like mildew in the bud. Disassemble the machine and wash its components in hot water and liquid soap. Then, leave them overnight to dry off.
If you want to wash the coffee maker once a month, then you might need something more advanced than warm soap water. You can try vinegar, baking soda, alcohol, and other household options to wash it. If all of those attempts prove futile, then you should use consider bleach and other chemicals.
Safely Use Bleach To Clean A Coffee Maker
As we keep on saying, we don’t recommend using bleach. That might have felt weird to read in an article entitled “How to clean a coffee maker with bleach.” But, we don’t want any of our readers jeopardizing their health using bleach, where it is not absolutely necessary. However, when you have no other option but to use bleach, you should take precautions.
Follow these steps while using bleach in coffee maker–
- Never use bleach directly on the machine. You have to dilute it to minimize its potency. Take a cup of water and add two or three tablespoons of bleach into it. Remember, this solution is still capable of doing serious harm to the human body. So, make sure there are no children around while you are working with bleach.
- Pour the solution into the decanter and then switch on the machine. Run a full cycle.
- As soon as you are done, dispose the bleach solution. If you keep it too long it could damage the machine.
- Wait till the pot returns to normal temperature. Now, take clean water into it and run the machine. Run a few cycles and then pour out the water. Repeat this process a few times, to make sure no traces of bleach remains left over in the machine.
- Dry all parts properly before using again. Remember moisture promotes mold growth and also creates a perfect environment for microbes. So, it is imperative that the components get completely dry after every use.
Want to find out for sure that there is no bleach residual in your machine? You can purchase bleach test strips to check whether your machine still has remnants of bleach or not. Take water into your coffee pot and dip the strip in it. Compare the color change of the strip with the chart provided with the kit to know the results.
Why Do Coffee Makers Need To Be Cleaned?
You would be quite surprised to know that an NSF International survey found the coffee maker to be the filthiest object in a household. Yes, you read that right! If you don’t know how to clean a coffee maker or you have made no attempts in washing it, then chances are, your toilet is more hygienic than your coffee maker.
Over repeated use, coffee makers accumulate minerals emitted from coffee grinds. The mineral deposit builds up and leaches into the drink. This compromises the ingenuity of your coffee and makes it susceptible to leave an unpleasant aftertaste in your mouth. The damp and humid interior of a coffee maker also makes it the perfect candidate for becoming a germ sanctuary.
Therefore, regular cleaning is coffee maker maintenance 101. If you don’t wash it regularly, then it would become incredibly unhygienic over time. Drinking coffee from such a machine could lead to digestive and respiratory illnesses or aggravate existing health conditions. Hence, you should make an effort to keep your coffee maker as clean as you can.
Can You Clean A Coffee Maker With Bleach?
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, let us remind you of the fact that bleach is one of the most poisonous chemicals there is. Keeping that in mind, you should keep bleach as far as possible from kitchen appliances. However, you would need to use bleach in some extreme scenarios. If proper caution is maintained, bleach could be used to clean a coffee maker.
Ingesting bleach could lead to a variety of health complications, including nerve damage. If you inhale too much of it, it could make your lungs collapse. Bleach could also trigger skin irritations and damage your eyes if those get exposed to it. For all these reasons, you can’t leave any residual bleach after cleaning your coffee maker.
Cleaning the outside of your coffee pot and the rest of the machine with bleach is relatively safe. But, it’s the inside of a coffee maker that requires bleach intervention. In such cases, you would have to wash the machine repeatedly with clean water after washing it with a bleach solution. Test with a bleach test strip afterward to ensure the unit is completely bleach-free.
Safe Ways To Clean Your Coffee Maker
If you are convinced that a milder, but safer detergent would be sufficient to clean your coffee maker, then we would like to suggest you two no-risk alternatives to bleach-vinegar and baking soda.
How To Clean A Coffee Maker With Vinegar?
Vinegar, white vinegar, in particular, is an inexpensive, safe, and effective alternative to bleach. It can decalcify the machine and eradicate other forms of dirt inside the reservoir. If you do fail to wash away all the vinegar you had used, it will pose no threat to your well-being. However, the smell and sour taste might not be of liking to all.
Follow these steps to clean a coffee maker with vinegar-
- Take a 1:1 solution of water and vinegar. The concentration of water and vinegar in the mixture should be equal.
- Pour the mixture into the coffee machine decanter.
- Switch the machine on. Complete a full cycle.
- Leave the mixture inside the decanter for 15-20 minutes.
- Throw out the mixture and then refill the decanter with clean water.
- Complete the cycle a few more times with clean water. Keep on repeating this until the vinegar taste exists.
How To Clean A Coffee Maker With Baking Soda?
Baking soda is a common household pantry item. So, it is highly likely that you can find a box of baking soda in your house. Besides baking mouth-watering cakes, you can also use it as a non-toxic detergent to clean your coffee maker. Moreover, you can buy it for a very low price.
Follow these steps to clean a coffee maker with baking soda-
- Take baking soda up to 1/4th of a cup and fill it with water.
- Transfer the mixture to the coffee maker pot.
- Run a brew cycle.
- Throw away the mixture and refill the pot with water.
- Repeat the cycle a few times to wash away the baking soda. One or two cycles should be enough to remove all traces of baking soda. There is no need for concern if some baking soda does end up staying in your coffee maker. It will not compromise the machine’s performance nor will it do any harm to your body. Unlike vinegar, there will be no distinct smell and flavor as well.
Additional Coffee Maker Cleaner Options
Besides bleach, vinegar, and baking soda, there are a lot of other options for you to consider when it comes to coffee maker cleaning substances. You can use other household options like salt, ice, alcohol. Or, you could try some different chemicals in the forms of borax, muriatic acid, and CLR.
You can also use some commercial formulas to clean your coffee makers. We have tried out some of the top-rated coffee cleaner offerings in the market and compiled our own list of recommendations. If you decide to go for a commercial coffee maker descaler, then you can consider trying out the following products:
De’Longhi Descaler Ecodecalk DLSC500
De’Longhi is one of the most prominent names in the world of coffee makers. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they would manufacture premium quality coffee descalers as well. The De’Longhi Descaler Ecodecalk DLSC500 is compatible with both espresso and coffee machines.
It has been formulated to specialize in clearing up mineral build-up inside the coffee machine. You can expect three times the result using this solution than applying run of the mill techniques to eradicate calcium and deposit of other minerals. You can also expect results much faster than other cleaning agents.
The De’Longhi Descaler Ecodecalk provides excellent value for your money. The half-liter bottle is capable of executing a minimum of five to six deep cleanse of your machine. There are volume markings on the bottle, which allows you to keep track of the exact amount you pour each time and also to check how much you have left after a certain period of usage.
If we state the amount of expected time you would need between two purchases, it would be easier for you to realize the economical value this De’Longhi descaler offers. A bottle would serve you six to twelve months subject to the hardness of the water. This longevity makes the De’Longhi Descaler Ecodecalk DLSC500 exceptionally cost-efficient.
If you happen to own a Lavazza A Modo Mio coffee machine, then the Lavazza descaler would be your go-to commercial descaler to clean it. Coming in a 250ml bottle, the manufacturer recommends it for single use. It guarantees to remove the faintest hint of limescale mark from your machine upon each application.
The single-use limitation and the high price might sound offsetting at first, but if you need to make sure that your favorite A Modo Mio pod machine remains in tiptop shape 24/7, then you have to go with this option. It is very easy to use, which adds another arguing point in favor of purchasing this item.
Another strong argument for buying this descaler is that it is suited to the delicacy of pod machines. Unlike conventional coffee makers, coffee pod machines need to maintain a pinpoint level of water pressure. Otherwise, the coffee would not spill out of the pod. Therefore, it is very important to use a cleaner that caters to the sensitivity of these machines.
Using non-specific cleaners might not yield satisfactory results in the case of coffee pod machines. So, the Lavazza Descaler is a safe bet to ascertain the optimum hygiene of your unit. Dip it inside the water and run a brew cycle- that’s all you need to do. It also has food safety clearance, so no reason to sweat over residuary amounts.
Oust Powerful All Purpose Descaler
Oust is a brand that needs no introduction in the world of descalers. It is one of the most trusted names in the market, and the Oust descaler in question has what it takes to take on any descaling challenges thrown at its way. It works on anything that needs decalcifying, and yes, the application range includes coffee makers too.
You might feel a bit reluctant about this since it is not a formula that solely focuses on coffee makers. Won’t you be better off buying something that comes specified to tackle coffee maker mold and other issues? We want to assure you that it would do as good of a job as any other best-rated coffee maker descaler.
What we like about it most is the versatility of this product. In this three mini-pack package, you would get cleaning solutions for all of your household appliances. You won’t find many descalers that can work better in all apparatus than this. Oust Powerful All Purpose Descaler operates with the same level of effectiveness, regardless of the appliance.
Apply it, wait for ten minutes, and see it work its magic! Within the said amount of time, you would find your coffee maker as neat and clean as the day you had bought it. However, we don’t believe it would be a good fit for larger machines. Pod machines and smaller filter coffee machines should be perfect for this.
If your only complaint about vinegar cleansing was the smell, then HG Descaler is the perfect commercial descaler for your coffee machine. Similar to vinegar, this is also a citric acid formulation. But, the best part is, there is no need to wipe the machine till your arms ache to remove the smell.
Lack of unpleasant smell is not the only perk you can expect to enjoy using the HG Descaler. It would also improve the internal mechanics of the coffee maker and make it function better. If your machine shows signs of slowing down, give it a full brew cycle of this liquid, and notice the improved performance immediately.
You can administer the solution no less than six times, which roughly translates into a maximum use cycle of 18 months. It is a biodegradable formula, so it is 100% environment-friendly. It conducts a deep sweep inside the coffee maker reservoir and alleviates mineral clusters, germs, and other undesirable presences.
Compared to vinegar, this delivers a more powerful cleanse. The citric acid base gives this solution spectacular cleaning properties. This particular product is aimed at coffee pod machines and smaller coffee machines. If you have a compact coffee maker in your house, the HG Descaler could be a great pick for it.
Can A Dirty Coffee Maker Make You Sick?
We have already mentioned how convenient it is for bacteria, mold, and other not so friendly microbes to find a welcoming home in a dirty coffee maker. Drinking coffee from an unhygienic coffee maker would put your health at severe risk. Here are some of the red flags that would indicate your health is being compromised by your coffee maker-
- A bitter taste in your coffee might be normal after cleaning the coffee maker with vinegar. However, if you haven’t cleaned it for a while, then the taste signals the presence of harmful debris and bacteria.
- Mold infestation in your coffee maker would trigger skin irritations and other allergies. Headache and eye irritation are also a sign of mold-induced allergies.
- If you have been suffering from constipation, belching, and acidity problems lately, there is a strong possibility that your coffee could be responsible.
- The bacteria and mold inside your coffee maker can cause sinus infection, bronchitis, and other respiratory problems.
- Mold infection can damage your memory and make you forget things more often.
Hopefully, reading our article has given you a clear idea of how to clean a coffee maker with bleach. We have also tried to make you conscious about the perils involved, so that you can practice appropriate caution while administering it. You can also consider the alternatives we have mentioned if you feel bleach would be an overkill for your cleansing goals.