How To Clean Your Coffee Pot

Coffee taste gross? Buying it away from home instead of making it yourself like you know you should? Time to clean the coffee pot.

Don’t worry, it doesn’t actually require you to do anything. Vinegar and water do all the work.

Just fill your pot with 1 part vinegar to 2 parts of water and run the machine as if you were making coffee… but without the coffee. —MEGHANN MARCO

How to Clean a Coffee Maker [WikiHow]
(Photo: metavariable)

Comments

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  1. tcp100 says:

    Works great. Cheap. Smells like shit. Rinse well. :)

  2. Pelagius says:

    Does your coffee have that not too fresh feeling?

  3. mopar_man says:

    1 part vinegar, 2 parts water? I fill it with half a pot of straight vinegar (the stuff is cheap) and run it through a couple times. I usually run 3 full pots of water through it afterward. Works like a charm.

  4. Indecision says:

    @mopar_man: “I usually run 3 full pots of water through it afterward.”

    An important bit that the above summary skipped — you’re gonna want to run at least 1-2 rinse cycles through it afterwards, or your next pot is gonna taste quite nasty.

  5. spanky says:
  6. Hoss says:

    Wonder why it says to use a filter? Sounds wacky

  7. iMike says:

    Or just get rid of your coffeemaker in favor of a burr grinder and a french press.

    Easy to clean, and makes much tastier coffee.

  8. beavis88 says:

    Does it matter what kind of vinegar? I have like four kinds in my pantry, and I’m not even a foodie!

  9. nweaver says:

    Also, if your coffee maker has some charcoal filter kinda thing, remove it before doing this treatment.

  10. nweaver says:

    beavis: Cheap white vinegar.

  11. levenhopper says:

    @beavis88: I didn’t even know there were four types of vinegar.

  12. beavis88 says:

    @nweaver Thanks, that’s #4.

    @levenhopper The other three are apple cider vinegar (essential for eastern N.C. [pork] barbecue sauce), red wine vinegar (with a picture of raspberries on the front…wtf?), and rice wine vinegar (good for stir fry sauces)

    @iMike Haven’t you heard? French presses cause cardiovascular disease!

    [findarticles.com]

    Why no, as a matter of fact, you just can’t win :)

  13. forgeten says:

    @iMike:

    a french press is the way to go , makes mighty tasty coffee.

    @iMike:

    how is this different that a cone drip coffee maker? we have one of those and they make a good cup of coffe.

    I really think that most automatic drip coffee pots just don’t have the water at the right temp.

  14. forgeten says:

    err the second @ was suppose to be directed at spanky

  15. Papercutninja says:

    Whatabout a stovetop teakettle? It has some NICE limescale inside of it and the dishsoap took FOREVER to clean out.

  16. iMike says:

    @beavis88:

    Long life without coffee (and red meat, shellfish and wine, among many other things)

  17. DeeJayQueue says:

    white vinegar will clean hard water deposits off of just about anything safely. This means coffeemakers, tea kettles, shower heads, etc.

    It also breaks up the enzyme in pet pee that makes it stink so bad, and it’s cheaper than the professional cleaners.

  18. spanky says:

    @forgeten: You mean the manual pourover kind like Melitta?

    Some people prefer the glass to plastic, because they can taste the plastic.

    I like the Chemex better because a) it brews a full pot rather than a cup at a time, so I don’t have to use a new filter for each cup, and b) because it’s eXXtra seXXy.

    Mostly b) because that’s just how I roll.

  19. homerjay says:

    Am I the only one that likes those coffee singles that look like big teabags? I know I know. They’re so pedestrian and probably taste like bathwater to your sophisticated palate but I find them so convenient and I’m not too picky about my caffene source.

  20. MercuryPDX says:

    @beavis88: White vinegar preferably.

  21. Yaotl says:

    I did this and couldn’t get the vinegar smell out through quite a few rinse cycles.

  22. Ripped iPod says:

    Vinegar is it…but pause your coffee maker halfway through the cycle and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes then let it run the rest of the way out.

    I was NEVER able to get a good cup of coffee from my french press.

  23. AcidReign says:

    &nbsp &nbsp White vinegar is for cleaning. Some recipes call for cider vinegar. Red wine vinegar makes kick-ass Good Seasons Italian dressing. But what is ABSOLUTELY AMAZING is a good cabernet vinegar used to make a quick and dirty table dressing for rolling freshly steamed asparagus stalks in.

    &nbsp &nbsp Pour out a tablespoon or so of extra-virgin olive oil on your plate, sprinkle the cabernet vinegar in it, add a little salt, then crack a little fresh black pepper into the puddle. Swirl with a fork, then roll those succulent stalks in it. Mmmmmm.

  24. Ripped iPod says:

    WHOA…that Wiki thing says >> * For a richer taste, sprinkle a dash of salt on the grounds before brewing. Restaurants do this also.


    Izzat true?

  25. Ripped iPod says:

    From ChowHound:

    >>This is the type of stuff that gets me curious, so I gave it a try …

    Bottom line:

    – I will never suffer through another bad cup of coffee at a fast food joint, restaurant, gas station ,etc as long as I have salt to add to the cup.

    Salt really does take the edge off a bad cup of coffee.taking away the sharp bite and making it mellow and smoother.

    – Salt responsibly. A tiny bit too much takes it over the edge

    – Doesn’t do a thing for decent coffee and has the possiblity of accenting some bad qualities to the coffee.

    – There is no difference between adding salt to the grounds while brewing or adding salt to a cup of already brewed coffee. Same taste.

    [www.chowhound.com]

  26. neost says:

    Vinegar to clean the inner workings is good. To clean the actual pot itself, try a tsp of salt and a few cubes of ice swirled vigorously around. Gets that glass carafe spotless in a hurry.

  27. Ripped iPod says:

    ||
    This is the type of stuff that gets me curious, so I gave it a try …

    Bottom line:

    – I will never suffer through another bad cup of coffee at a fast food joint, restaurant, gas station ,etc as long as I have salt to add to the cup.

    Salt really does take the edge off a bad cup of coffee.taking away the sharp bite and making it mellow and smoother.

    – Salt responsibly. A tiny bit too much takes it over the edge

    – Doesn’t do a thing for decent coffee and has the possiblity of accenting some bad qualities to the coffee.

    – There is no difference between adding salt to the grounds while brewing or adding salt to a cup of already brewed coffee. Same taste.
    ||

    [www.chowhound.com]

  28. forgeten says:

    @spanky:
    thats why I have a french press makes be feel all bourgeoisie. We have one of Melitta 10-cup cone things but I can see the issue with the plastic vs glass. I find them harder to get a strong cup of coffee out of them , but thats my experience.

  29. Triteon says:

    I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m really glad to see an article about coffee that costs less than $4 a cup.

    @homerjay: I’m with you…caffeine is caffeine.

  30. Triteon says:

    @neost: The carafe?…dishwasher and done.

  31. jesseraub says:

    All coffee costs less than $4 a cup. LATTES and CAPPUCINOS, which include espresso and a whole glass worth of milk – that’s when you get up there.

    Vinegar and water works great to clean out the lime build up in the pump, but most bad tasting coffee is the result of not cleaning the pot and filter basket thoroughly. If you’re picky – scrub it out after every use with soap and water and rinse well.

    Lazy? Run your pot and filter basket through the dishwasher once a week. Even lazier? Rinse well with water and then wipe out the insides with a towel. Actually wiping out the insides will take a lot of the crap taste out of coffee.

    As far as salt goes – use good coffee and you won’t have to take the edge off.

    French presses are picky – lots of margin for error. But amazing. You won’t get the full flavor of coffee through a brewer.

    And drinking french press coffee or espresso isn’t near as bad for you as just eating one hamburger. Plus coffee has way more antioxidants than tea. And nothing wards off the colon cancer as much as staying regular.

  32. tcp100 says:

    Yes, but when will they release the Juicy Vinegar variety of cleaner, and will it be too tart?

  33. nachas101 says:

    I fill my carafe to 8 cups with straight vinegar, then run it. Then I dump it and do full pots of tap water three more times.
    Works great.
    If you have one (i do) remove the carbon filter.

  34. ne0shell says:

    I really wouldn’t mind making my Starbucks at home on occasion but I just can’t get the strength right. It’s either too weak or way too strong. Does anyone know for a fact the exact measurement needed with Starbucks ground coffee? (I usually buy the beans whole and grind them myself – I own a 200.00 Italian coffee machine so if I get the formula just right I should be good to go – already have the 1.2 and 1/2 and raw sugar)

  35. hoo_foot says:

    Sorry Consumerist, but this is just lazy. At least warn readers that they should run a few cycles of water through the coffee maker AFTER cleaning it with vinegar.

    Otherwise, your readers will be in for a nasty suprise.

  36. Hoss says:

    @Ripped iPod: “I was NEVER able to get a good cup of coffee from my french press” I’m thinking you either ground your beans too much or used ground coffee. Also could be that you pressed the coffee too soon, or didn’t stir the grounds.

  37. Ripped iPod says:

    I used ground, I also used whole bean run through the grinder at the store.

    Good, not a m a z i n g!

  38. homerjay says:

    Realistically, for lucky best wash, you should use Mr. Sparkle.

  39. synergy says:

    Who doesn’t know this? All my life I’ve not liked coffee and I know this.

  40. Slytherin says:

    Vinegar works great on athlete’s foot, too. Just thought I’d share…

  41. Brazell says:

    Yeah, this is well known but the ratio of water/vinegar may not be known by all.

    The key, though, to a good pot of coffee is USING GOOD COFFEE. If you’ve got your 10-gallon jug of Folders or Sanka or whatever other crap you get at the supermarket, it’s not going to be good. I also suspect that Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts purposely mislabel their bags so that it is hard to properly measure out a pot.

    I’ve been drinking coffee from a local roaster in central MA, and it comes in pre-measured, ground packs that I’ve figured out the exact amount of water for. Comes out great nearly every time.

  42. ldt says:

    Vinegar: The new EVOO

  43. gruhtra says:

    For those having trouble with making a decent cup of coffee after cleaning I find that 27 to 30 grams of coffee per 15oz water is ideal.

  44. nachas101 says:

    First of all – use white vinegar.
    Now, I have my own ratio. It’s easy to compute and makes up a perfect cup of coffee.
    If you like your coffee strong, use 2 tablespoons per cup. If you like it not so strong, use 1 tablespoon per cup.
    But there is a trick (that wasn’t it).
    Most coffee makers recommend 2 tablespoons per 6 ounces of water and most coffee machine makers mark their cups at 5 oz cups. Don’t know why, that’s just what I’ve found.
    So the formula is :
    number of cups of coffee: A
    water per cup: 6
    so Ax6/5 equals number of cups of water as marked on the carafe.
    If you want to make 6 cups, the formula works out like so:
    6*6=36/5= just over 7.
    Perfect cup.
    8*6=48/5= just under 10.
    Flavor is perfect and not overly acidic or too strong.
    This doesn’t work if you want to make less than 4 cups. 4*6=24/5=under 5. You have to use a little less water (between 4 and 5) to make it work.
    Other than that it works. Try it!

  45. ika411 says:

    My coworker had read that vinegar leaves a strong smell behind and we did not want everyone in the office complaining about the odor for days to come, so we used another solution he had read online as well: baking soda. It worked quite well! Just a couple of teaspoons with about six cups of water. The first run yielded muddy water so it surely worked! We repeated it another six cups of diluted baking soda just to get everything out. Afterwards, we brewed two full pots of plain water to rinse.