Sure, there’s a time and place for pour-over, Chemex, AeroPress, and French press coffee—namely, when other people are making it. But it’s pretty much impossible to beat the sheer joy (some might say necessity) of waking up and groggily stumbling over to a fresh-brewed pot of coffee from your trusty programmable coffee maker. The major downside to that kitchen counter caffeine workhorse, however? They’re prone to getting, well, disgusting. And we’re not just talking about the inevitably stained carafe, either. The water reservoir, filter, and all the other mysterious inner workings of that magic machine are prone to collecting mold, bacteria, mineral buildup, and other nasties that can put your morning mug (and your immune system) into a real funk.
Make the most of that great coffee you’re splurging on with a simple round of vinegar cleaning to resurrect even the grodiest of coffee makers. Here’s how to do it.
- Unplug the machine and use a damp cloth to wipe down all the parts of the machine you can easily access.
- Plug it in again, grab a bottle of white distilled vinegar, and fill the reservoir with equal parts water and vinegar.
- Place a paper filter or reusable filter—as if you were going to make a fresh pot—and hit brew. Turn the machine off halfway through the brewing process, let the vinegar solution sit in the coffeemaker innards for 30 minutes or so, and turn it back on to finish brewing. (If you’ve got a single-use “pod” machine, simply run the brewing process using the vinegar solution without a cup in place.)
- Dump the vinegar brew out of the carafe and give it a good scrub with a sponge to remove stains and coffee oil residue. If it’s still looking shabby, add a few tablespoons of baking soda and fill with water then let sit for a few hours before scrubbing again.
- Repeat the process twice with clean water (no vinegar) to make sure your next pot isn’t salad dressing-esque.
To keep grossness from building up after your coffee maker is as good as new, rinse the carafe and removable filter tray with soap and water after each use, leave the reservoir lid open after each use to let it dry completely, and try this vinegar trick every month or so.
P.S. Take care of the outside of your machine with an occasional Cleaning Vinegar Wipe, too!