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How to clean coffee machine drip

How to clean coffee machine drip

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How to Clean a Coffee Maker: Drip Machines

Why do you need to clean your coffee maker? Each time you make coffee, oil and mineral residues build up on your machine. Oils come from the coffee beans. It is the oils that make your coffee taste, well, like coffee. The oils are also what make your coffee mug and teeth turn brown. As the oily residue ages, it becomes rancid and gives your coffee an odd and bitter taste. Mineral and calcium residue builds up from the water. The harder the water, the faster the mineral build-up. Typically the calcium build-up will not change the taste of your coffee, but can affect the flow of the water through the coffee maker and reduce the efficiency of the water heater. If your coffee is not as hot as it used to be, this could be a sign of calcium build-up.

How often should you clean your coffee maker? It is recommended that you clean your coffee machine once per month for normal use, once per week for heavy usage. Heavy usage would be if you use you coffee machine more than three times per day. The method used below will also clean your pot and a permanent filter. Some additional manual scrubbing may be needed to get your pot completely clean.

There are a number of chemicals that can be used to clean your coffee pot. Most of these contain some form of acid. The following list contains the most commonly used cleaning agents. The chemicals listed are very safe and can usually be found in your grocery store. You should pick one from the list. Do not mix the cleaning agents.

Cleaning agents

  • 1 part Lemon Juice to 4 parts water
  • 1 part White Vinegar to 4 parts water
  • 2 table spoons Citric Acid to 4 cups water
  • 1 part baking soda Mix 1 cup warm water and 1/4 cup
  • Commercial products

Out of the list, white vinegar is the most commonly used cleaning agent. It is not necessary for you to purchase a commercial product. However a commercial product that contains dual cleaning agents, one for oil and the other for minerals, may give better results.


  1. Mix the cleaning agent with water in the pot or carafe that you use to make the coffee in.
  2. Pour the cleaning mixture into your coffee machine in the normal way you add water
  3. Insert a filter into the coffee machine basket. Do not add coffee. Without a filter hot water may splash from the machine and leak through the basket. The filter will also catch any dirt or calcium that is cleaned from your machine. It is OK use a permanent filter as long as you want it to be cleaned too.
  4. Before you start, you may want to move the coffee machine to a well ventilated room. Depending on the cleaning agent, the cleaning process may create an unpleasant odor.
  5. Turn on the coffee machine and run it through its normal brew cycle. TURN OFF THE HOTPLATE as soon as the brew cycle has completed.
  6. Leave the cleaning agent in the pot for 10 minutes to allow it to remove stubborn stains.
  7. This step is very important: You must run the brewing process using clean water a MINIMUM of two more times. This will remove any residual cleaning agents from your machine. Any residual chemicals in your coffee machine will make the next pot of coffee you make taste bad.

Most coffee machine models will have specific instructions listed in their owner’s manual for cleaning. Try looking up the manual for your coffee machine here on YouserGuide. If you use these instructions to clean your coffee machine, you can help out your fellow coffee lovers by taking some photographs and submitting them to be added to this article! For more tips on how to make great coffee, take a look at the article 'How to Make Better Coffee'. Other coffee-related articles can be found under the following pages Coffee Machines and Espresso Machines

Enjoy your delicious tasting coffee!

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