Embarrassed when someone comes round and sees your brown, stained, pretty gross coffee maker?
We’ve all been there.
Let’s be honest, coffee is for doers, it’s for people who are busy living life, and the wonderful black stuff helps them do it.
You know the feeling. It’s 6 AM, you’re tired and groggy, but that cup of hot goodness makes you feel alive again, ready to face the day ahead and show it who’s boss.
People like you live life full steam ahead, and sometimes you don’t get time to clean your coffee maker, or descale your kettle, or even take out the garbage (yeah you should definitely make time for that one).
But you should find the time because it’s not just a case of it looking bad: If you don’t clean it, it can be bad for your health. In a 2011 study, NSF International discovered yeast and mold growing in around half of coffee makers. Yuck.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, the study also found that there were more germs in home coffee reservoirs than bathroom door handles and toilet seats. Just remember that the next time you make a cup of coffee. Yum!
Even if germs don’t scare you, you should still clean your coffee maker. Why? Because it’s your lifesaver: What would you do without it? It deserves a good clean once in a while, just like we all do.
OK, so let’s do this!
What’s that? You don’t know how to clean it? Well don’t worry, we’ve got your back. Not only are we going to give you a step by step guide to cleaning your coffee maker with bleach, but we’re also going to tell you what not to clean with bleach and what you should use instead.
Finally, if you’re the type of person that hates chemicals and wants an all natural cleaning option, then we’ve got you covered too. No need to thank us, that’s just the way we roll.
First things first, you don’t just rush in and scour that baby with pure bleach. Oh no, bleach is extremely potent stuff, and if you clean the insides of your coffee maker with pure bleach you’re going to quickly corrode and damage your little helper, and that is going to result in you having to say goodbye to your coffee maker way before you should.
Bleach is only for the hard to remove stains - the stubborn ones which refuse to leave. Because of this, you should only be using bleach to clean the carafe (the glass pot) and the exterior (outside) of your coffee maker. Using it on anything else is just unnecessary (like killing a cockroach with a shotgun).
So first, remove the carafe (glass pot) from the coffee maker and make sure it’s empty. Put some bleach in it (ideally around the inside walls, not just at the bottom of the pot) and put it in a well-ventilated place for about 30 minutes.
Do not put it somewhere where children or pets could access it. We hope it’s obvious why that would be a bad idea, but just in case it’s not obvious, well, let’s just say that consuming pure bleach will cause extremely serious problems and most likely death to whoever or whatever views it as something drinkable. You have been warned.
While your glass pot is sitting in a safe, well-ventilated area away from both man and beast, you can get on with cleaning some other parts of your beloved coffee machine.
There are some commercial cleaning products that can help with this, but if you’re not too keen on buying one of those, a good alternative is to use white vinegar or baking soda. These will help clean some of the internal parts of your coffee maker without corroding them in the way that bleach will, plus they’re safe, which is always a bonus.
This magical liquid will remove sediment buildup and calcium deposits (especially useful if you live in a hard water area).
First, pour some white vinegar (no need to dilute it, just pour it in) where you would usually pour the water in.
Stick a cup or bowl in the place where the glass pot usually is and turn the coffee maker on. The vinegar will work its way through your machine just like the water does when you make a pot of coffee, only this time it’s working its magic at the same time.
Once you have completed this process, repeat it a few times with clean water. This way your next coffee won’t have a lovely vinegar tang, although, maybe it’ll make it taste better! Only one way to find out...
If you don’t have any white vinegar lying around, then another great option is to use baking soda.
It’s basically the same process as with vinegar, but this time you will mix a quarter cup of baking soda with about a pot’s worth of water. Use warm water though. Otherwise, the baking soda might not dissolve.
To be sure, you should mix the water and baking soda before putting it into your machine. When you’re happy that the baking soda has fully dissolved then pour it into the water compartment of the machine and do precisely the same as with the white vinegar. (If you already read that bit, then skip to step 3).
After pouring in the baking soda/water mix, place a cup or bowl where the glass pot usually is and turn the coffee maker on. The mixture will work its way through your machine just like the water does when you make a pot of coffee, cleaning as it goes.
Once this process is completed, repeat a few times with clean water to be sure any residue is totally gone..
OK, now the inside of your coffee machine should be squeaky clean so let’s get back to that coffee pot which is still sitting somewhere that’s definitely safe and away from any forms of life.
What you do next depends on if you want to clean the outside of your coffee machine.
If you do…
...then you want to fill the pot with water and put on some rubber gloves. Next, you want to get an old sponge or cloth and dip it into the bleach water. Wipe down the outside of the coffee maker and make sure that you focus on any areas that are stained from coffee.
If you don’t…
… then you can pour the bleach down the drain while rinsing it with water from the faucet.
Once the bleachy water has gone down the drain, then fill it with clean water three or four times (until the bleach has undoubtedly gone from the coffee pot).
Next, put some dish detergent into the pot and mix in some water. Give it a good clean out using a cloth or a sponge (don’t use a metal scouring pad or anything too harsh as you’ll scratch the glass, which then becomes a perfect place for bacteria to gather).
This, combined with the bleach should get rid of the most stubborn stains and calcium deposits from inside your carafe. Give the outside a good clean as well and then rinse both the outside and the inside with clean water until all of the soapy suds have entirely disappeared.
Finally, either leave it to dry on a rack or dry the inside and outside with a fresh cloth. We don’t usually use a cloth as it can leave little bits of material inside the pot and no-one wants that in their coffee.
Once your pot is dry, put it back in its rightful place and marvel at your beautiful, good as new coffee maker. Not only is your little buddy nice and clean but it’ll also produce healthy, great tasting coffee for you, and that has to be worth every second that you spend on cleaning the little fella.
- Put bleach in the carafe (glass pot) and leave it to stand somewhere safe for 30 minutes.
- While that’s soaking, clean out the internal areas by putting white vinegar or baking soda and water through your machine.
- Once the cleaning mixture has passed through, repeat with clean water several times so the inside is clean and your coffee doesn’t taste of vinegar or baking soda.
- Bring back the pot with bleach in it and put water in it. Use this mixture to clean the outside of the coffee maker if it needs it.
- Clean out the glass pot with water several times then add dish detergent and clean it both inside and out with a cloth or sponge.
- Leave the pot to dry or dry it yourself, and you’re all set to carry on enjoying clean, mold and mildew free coffee.
NOT SO KEEN ON BLEACH?
Not everyone likes the idea of using bleach in their coffee pot (or anywhere that they eat or drink from). As long as you follow the steps above and clean your pot properly after having bleach in it, then there’s no reason why it should be a problem.
However, if you’re really against using bleach, then you can use white vinegar or baking soda mixed with water to clean the coffee pot as well as the inside of your machine.
Instead of putting bleach in your carafe and leaving it for 30 minutes, you can skip straight to step 2 and let the white vinegar/baking soda and water drip straight into the coffee pot. Once the coffee maker has finished brewing, let the vinegar/baking soda sit in the pot for thirty minutes.
Pour it down the drain and then add some dish detergent and water to the pot and clean it with a sponge or cloth. This should help remove most of the calcium deposits, though it might not be as thorough as using bleach.
A FINAL THOUGHT...
Not cleaning your coffee machine is not a good idea. Most of the time, the yeast, mold, and mildew won’t do any harm, but if enough of it builds up, then it could make you sick. Would you eat bread with mold on it? Didn’t think so...
Also, if you’re a coffee lover like we are, then remember that an unclean coffee maker will affect the taste of your coffee. No-one wants to taste mold apart from cheese loving French farmers, and even they don’t want it in their coffee.
And remember, bleach is very harmful to humans, so make sure you use rubber gloves when cleaning with it, and always rinse and clean the pot several times so that all traces of the bleach are long gone.
That’s all folks. Stay clean, stay healthy, and enjoy your delicious, tasty coffee 🙂
Run clean water through the coffee maker roughly three (possibly 4) times and you’re all set.