No matter how good of a coffee maker you buy, if you don’t clean it frequently, it won’t be able to give you that perfect smack you are so desperately looking for. While vinegar is the most common cleaning agent for coffee makers, you might not like the aftertaste it leaves.
Want to know how to clean coffee maker without vinegar? You are in the right place.
Why You Need To Clean Your Coffee Maker Regularly
Before you learn how to clean a coffee maker, it is imperative to know why you should clean it in the first place. Think of the most germ-infested area in your house. Are you picturing your toilet? If you are, then you would feel awestruck to learn that it is your kitchen that is the germ sanctuary of your humble abode.
In a 2011 study conducted by the ever-reliable National Science Foundation (NSF), the kitchen turned out to have the densest germ concentration in a regular household. The moisture and temperature inside a kitchen are ideal for mold and bacteria reproduction. Once you realize that, the abundance of bacteria in your kitchen won’t come to you as much of a surprise.
You might be thinking that you have a clean coffee maker. It looks spotless from the outside, so you are confident there is no hygiene issue there for you to worry about. Hate to burst your bubble, but if you haven’t cleaned your coffee maker for a while, we guarantee you its filthy on the inside even though the exterior looks neat and clean.
Coffee makers were found to be one of the grimiest kitchen appliances in the NSF study we had mentioned earlier. More than half of the coffee makers examined had mold and bacteria inside. What bacteria are we talking about? To keep things simple, let’s just say you would find most of them living in your colon. Makes you feel like throwing up, doesn’t it?
The bacteria and mold build up inside your coffee maker pose some serious health risks. It’s contaminating your coffee, and from every sip, you are exposing your body to harmful microbes. Long term exposure to these might cause or worsen existing gastrointestinal and respiratory conditions.
The necessity of regularly cleaning your coffee maker extends beyond health hazards. The coffee beans have natural oils which cater to the sophisticated palate of a coffee aficionado. However, the accumulation of leftover natural oils in your machine will deteriorate the taste of your cup of Joe.
On top of all that, a coffee maker clogged with residue will increase your brewing time. How, you ask? The internal buildup will hinder the water flow and bring down brewing temperature. And lower brewing temperature means you will have to wait longer for your coffee to get ready. So, clean your coffee maker routinely so that it can maintain efficiency.
The Magic Of Vinegar
As we had said earlier, vinegar is the go-to substance, when someone wants to clean his/her coffee maker. Before we discuss the negative side effects of vinegar cleaning, we would like to tell you about the positives. We would like you to be able to weigh the pros and cons yourself, and side with the cleaner you find best for your coffee maker.
So, what makes vinegar so great? First of all, the acidic composition of vinegar comes quite handy in eliminating mold and bacteria. With the pandemic going on, you would be relieved to hear that vinegar can kill viruses too. It attacks the protein portion of viruses and makes them inactive.
It works wonders in cleaning out the mineral build-up from tap water as well. Tap water contains several minerals, especially calcium. Vinegar proactively reacts with all these elements and makes the interior of your coffee maker mineral free. Moreover, vinegar is a cooking ingredient. Therefore, you would face no health problems if you ingest vinegar.
Affordability is also a great benefit of using vinegar. Unlike commercial formula, vinegar is quite cheap. You can use as much vinegar as you want without having to worry about the cost. It is also available in any grocery store. So, you won’t have to spend hours looking for it in the supermarket.
The Cons Of Cleaning With The Vinegar Method
Since vinegar offers so many utilities, why consider alternatives at all? Why waste your time googling “how to clean coffee maker without vinegar’’? Unfortunately, the vinegar cleaning method has its fair share of inconveniences. However, if you feel you can bear with these problems, you can still stick with vinegar cleaning.
Vinegar is produced through the fermentation process of starch and sugar, which is responsible for its highly acidic nature. Vinegar is basically a diluted version of acetic acid, aka ethanoic acid. It is very difficult to rinse off. So, it will leave a bitter, acidic taste and a strong odor. This will take away the natural flavor of your coffee.
Vinegar is cheaper than commercial descalers, but it is not as effective at descaling your coffee maker as other cleansers. Also, some coffee makers like Nespresso and Cuisinart might not function well with vinegar exposure. Is your Cuisinart coffee maker vinegar friendly? Look up “how to clean Cuisinart coffee maker” to be 100% sure.
How To Use Lemon Juice For Cleaning Coffee Maker
If you are reading up on the internet about how to clean coffee pot without vinegar, you must have already come across lemon juice as a vigorous substitute. It is almost a like for like substitution for vinegar because it has a high acidic concentration. Vinegar has acetic acid, while lemon juice is rich in citric acid.
Citric acid does one better as a cleaning agent than acetic acid. Besides its powerful cleaning property, it has an aromatic scent that will add an extra tang to your coffee. Unlike vinegar, the smell is far from unpleasant, so no need to worry about getting rid of it. You can squeeze lemon with your hand, or buy bottled lemon juice from the market.
The downside is, you would need a few lemons to get it done. If you choose to manually squeeze them into the pot it could be an exhausting endeavor. You can make some lemon juice by blending some lemons, and then pour it into the pot. Commercial lemon juice offerings are also an option. However, lemon juice cleaning is quite expensive.
How to use lemon juice for cleaning coffee maker (Step by step)
- Wash the interior of your coffee maker with clean water.
- Take half cup of water and then pour lemon juice in it.
- Pour the lemon juice-water mixture into the water tank of your coffee maker. Leave it for 15 minutes.
- Attach a clean filter and switch on the coffee maker. Complete a brew cycle with the limewater solution.
- Empty the tank and then fill it with clean water. Repeat the cycle a few times to wash out the lemon juice properly.
- Soak a sponge in lemon juice and scrub it inside the coffee carafe.
- Don’t use lemon juice in removable parts. Wash them with soap water instead.
How To Clean With Baking Soda
Baking soda is a common sight in our kitchen shelves. If you love baking, then you always have a sufficient stock of baking soda at your pantry. It is impossible to bake a soft and jiggly cake without baking powder-we all know that. But, did you know you can use baking soda to clean coffee maker?
The alkaline nature of baking soda makes it a good choice to clean grease and dirt. Since it is a natural cooking ingredient, it is completely free of toxins. That said, many people find baking soda more effective in cleaning the outer part of coffee makers. For inner mechanisms, it might not be the best cleanser to pick.
How to clean coffee maker with baking soda (Step by step)
- Take off the coffee filter.
- Take ¼ cup of baking soda and mix it with lukewarm water. The soda needs to get totally dissolved in water. So, stir the solution for a minute or two.
- Switch on the coffee maker and complete a cycle.
- Take out the solution and fill the tank with clean water.
- Run the cycle once again. If the water still has dirt in it, you would need to run more cycles. Repeat cycles as long as you don’t get clean water.
How To Clean A Coffee Maker With Bleach
If your coffee maker accumulates too much grime over time, you might need something with an extra edge to get it cleaned. Given the hazardous side-effects, bleach has on the human body, it doesn’t sound smart to clean your coffee maker using bleach. However, you can apply bleach safely to clean your coffee maker if you follow the right precautions.
Apart from the health risks, bleach can damage your machine since it is aggressively corrosive. So, use in moderation is of utmost importance in this regard. You must dilute it considerably before application. Bleach is a thorough cleaner that can be successfully implemented to clean the dirtiest of coffee makers. But, you must make sure to leave no residual bleach afterward.
How to safely clean coffee maker with bleach (Step by step)
- Add 2 tablespoons of bleach in 4 cups of water. This concentration has to be strictly maintained to alleviate the possibility of any undesired side-effects.
- Attach a new coffee filter.
- Fill the coffee maker tank with bleach solution. Add more water to dilute it even more.
- Switch on the coffee maker and let it run for a couple of minutes.
- Throw out the bleach solution and flush the inside of your coffee maker repeatedly with clean water. Keep on washing with water as long as you are not convinced the bleach has completely washed away.
How To Clean Coffee Maker With Hydrogen Peroxide
If you are willing to use a non-organic cleaning substance to clean your coffee maker, then hydrogen peroxide deserves a shout out. It is a disinfectant, so ingesting it would not bid well for your health. In spite of that, it is possible to use it in a responsible manner to clean your coffee maker.
Hydrogen peroxide is a hydrogen-oxygen compound that has a chemical formula of H2O2. It can descale your coffee pot and kill the harmful germs and mold that has been growing in it. But, you must ascertain the coffee maker remains H2O2 free once the cleaning is done. After cleaning, rinse the machine at least twice with water.
How to clean coffee maker with hydrogen peroxide (Step by step)
- Take your coffee carafe and pour a cup of hydrogen peroxide in it.
- Now mix it with water and then transfer the solution to the coffee pot.
- Assemble the machine and switch it on. Run a full cycle.
- Empty the pot and refill it with clean water. Then run the cycle at least twice to eliminate all traces of hydrogen peroxide.
How To Clean A Coffee Maker With CLR
Calcium, Lime, Rust (CLR) is a chemical formula that is widely used in households for removing stains that refuse to go away. You can purchase CLR in many formulations. It might include water, gluconic acid, glycolic acid, sulfamic acid, propylene glycol, etc. CLR is quite proficient to eradicate piled up calcium and rust inside your coffee maker.
How to clean a coffee maker with CLR (Step by step)
- Make a 1:8 CLR-water solution.
- Rinse the coffee pot with clean water before putting the CLR solution in it.
- Switch on the coffee maker and complete a cycle.
- Take out the CLR solution and refill the reservoir with fresh water. CLR has a strong odor. So, you need to flush the inside of your coffee maker a few times to do away with it.
How To Clean Coffee Maker With Muriatic Acid
Muriatic acid is a toned-down form of hydrochloric acid. Hydrochloric acid is one of the strongest acids there is. Muriatic acid, which comes in handy in many DIY and cleaning projects in regular households, is not as strong as hydrochloric acid, but it can still do some serious damage.
We would only recommend using muriatic acid if trying to clean with other substances has already gone to vain. If the mold refuses to go away, then you can use muriatic acid to take care of it. You need to wear hand gloves while using it. You must also cover up your face and your eyes.
How to clean coffee maker with muriatic acid (A step by step guide)
- Wear protective face mask and goggles before handling muriatic acid. Don’t forget to wear hand gloves as well.
- Make a 1:4 diluted muriatic acid solution. You will damage your machine if you don’t water down the acid adequately.
- Put aside the muriatic acid packet as soon as you are done making the solution. It is a hazardous chemical, so keeping it far away from your workstation when you are not needing it, is a wise decision to make.
- Take off all detachable parts of your machine and put them all together in the solution.
- Prepare a baking soda solution separately.
- Take out the coffee machine parts from the muriatic acid solution and relocate them to the baking soda solution.
- Take the parts out and rinse them thoroughly in running water.
How To Clean Coffee Maker Using Alcohol
Alcohol offers a very convenient way to clean your coffee maker. If you use the likes of vodka to clean it, you won’t be spending much, and it will not mess up the ingenuity of your coffee since vodka is odorless and tasteless. You can also use other forms of alcohol, but vodka is the most appropriate one for this purpose.
We often see movie characters sterilizing gunshot wounds with alcohol. It is done because alcohol exhibits antiseptic characteristics, and can serve as a makeshift substitute for more traditional forms of antiseptics. Using alcohol can be a fantastic and cost-effective process to disinfect the inner mechanism of your coffee maker.
How to clean coffee maker using alcohol (Step by step)
- Make an alcohol solution with 75% water and 25% alcohol (preferably vodka).
- Put it in the decanter, place it in the brew basket, and switch on the machine. Let it run a full cycle.
- Throw away the solution and fill the decanter with clear water. Run a few cycles so that the alcohol washes off.
How To Clean Coffee Maker Using Liquid Dish Soap
Cleaning your coffee maker with a non-abrasive dishwashing liquid is the most effortless way to making your coffee maker as germfree and unstained as new. All you need to do is take apart the unit and douse all parts into a soap water solution. Rinse the dirt off, dry the components, and put them back together and voila!
How to clean coffee maker using liquid dish soap (Step by step)
- Disassemble the coffee maker.
- Make a mixture of dishwashing liquid and water.
- Dip the components into the soapy water and wash them off by hand. The dirt and grease should come off easily.
- Dry the components with a soft fabric. Rub gently so that you don’t end up scratching the parts.
- Put them back together and you are good to use the coffee maker.
Is Sanitizing With Borax An Option?
Borax is a versatile household cleaner that takes on a variety of cleaning jobs. Do you need to clean the fridge? Borax has it covered. The sink looks dirty? Borax will save the day! Does your washing machine need a washing itself? Borax is the descaler to go for. It works perfectly as a coffee maker cleaner too.
In the pages of a chemistry textbook, borax is known as sodium borate, sodium tetraborate, or disodium tetraborate. Its chemical formula is Na₂[B₄O₅(OH)₄]·8H₂O. What we like about borax is that it leaves almost no chemical residue in appliances after washing. And it is strong enough to handle the ickiest of coffee makers.
How to clean coffee makers with borax (Step by step)
- Take the coffee pot and pour water in it.
- Add no more or no less than two tablespoons of borax.
- Turn on the coffee maker. Don’t switch it off until it finishes a cycle.
- Dispose of the borax solution.
- Fill the pot with clean water and run 3/4 cycles with it.
Removing Grime With Salt and Ice Water Is An Alternative Too
Salt and ice water treatment is another easy option to consider. It is a detergent combination that is not only health-friendly but also poses no threat to the environment at all. However, you should steer clear of sea salt. The presence of additional minerals makes it very coarse. Therefore, it might damage your machine or leave unwanted marks on the surface.
How to wash coffee maker with salt and ice water (Step by step)
- Crush some ice cubes.
- Take crushed ice and salt in the carafe.
- Take a big spoon and rub the mixture into the inner wall of the carafe. You can also wrap your hand in a clean cloth and knead the ice and salt.
- Sluice down the carafe in tap water. Repeat steps 1-3 for other detachable components as well and rinse them in water subsequently.
Tips And Tricks To Keep Your Coffee Maker Spotless
What can you do to keep your coffee maker spick and span? Here are some simple tricks that would help-
- Never throw out the instruction manual that came along the coffee maker. The manual should prescribe the best cleaning procedures for your machine. It should also detail which cleaning substances will not be a good match for the appliance.
- Refrain from using dishwashers. Yes, they make cleaning easier, but they could also inflict permanent bents, which is far from a pretty sight. Besides, not all coffee makers are dishwasher safe.
- Leave the lid open so that more air can get inside. Better air circulation nullifies the threat of mold and bacteria growth to a substantial degree.
- Don’t use harsh cleaners like bleach unless it is an absolute necessity.
We should be thankful that we don’t have microscopic vision. If we did, pretty sure you would have lost your appetite for coffee witnessing the overflowing amount of microbes residing in your coffee maker. We tried to show you how to clean coffee maker without vinegar so that you face no hassle cleaning the coffee maker routinely.