You count on your coffee maker to brew delicious coffee for you and your guests. But over time, natural minerals in water can build up in your appliance, affecting taste, brewing time and the overall performance of your machine. That’s why it’s important to clean your coffee maker on a regular basis. Fortunately, it doesn’t take much – all you’ll need is some coffee maker cleaning tablets or white vinegar, some water and a few minutes of your time.
HOW TO CLEAN A DRIP COFFEE MAKER
CLEANING VS. DESCALING A COFFEE MAKER
To help get the best possible brew, it’s important to clean your coffee maker daily as well as descale it periodically. Daily cleaning helps you keep up with coffee splashes, oils and other residues that are easily removed with a quick rinse or soapy water. Descaling removes limescale build up in your coffee machine from calcium, magnesium and other minerals that come from your water. The descaling process can include cleaning with vinegar or specialized descaling tablets.
HOW TO DESCALE YOUR COFFEE MAKER
A commercial descaling agent or vinegar can be used to descale a coffee maker– if you’re using the former, follow the directions on the package for the recommended amounts of descaling agent and water to use. If you don’t have access to a descaling agent, you can clean your coffee maker by filling the carafe with a solution consisting of half vinegar and half water.
NOTE: We recommend affresh® coffee maker cleaning tablets, which are available online and in retail stores. If you have a coffee maker with a grid that makes it difficult to put the entire affresh® tablet into the water reservoir, you can crush the tablet into smaller pieces in a plastic sandwich bag, then pour the powder into the water reservoir.
Both the KitchenAid® 12 Cup Drip Coffee Maker with Spiral Showerhead and the step-up model with a programmable warming plate feature a cleaning indicator light and cleaning cycle to take the guesswork out of descaling your coffee maker.
CLEANING YOUR COFFEE MAKER WITH VINEGAR
Descaling a coffee maker with vinegar is a simple way to keep your machine performing at its best. With filters and grounds removed, fill the reservoir to max using half water, half white distilled vinegar. Run a brew or cleaning cycle, empty the carafe and run 2-3 more brew cycles with fresh, cool water. Wash carafe and brew basket with hot, soapy water and rinse thoroughly.
Vinegar is slightly acidic which helps it break down mineral build-up in your coffee maker. This is a great at-home solution when you don’t have access to a specialized coffee machine descaling agent.
SIGNS THAT YOUR COFFEE MAKER NEEDS TO BE DESCALED
The frequency of descaling your coffee maker depends on the hardness of the water in your region and how often you use it. In general, you should descale your coffee maker about once a month if you brew coffee daily. Here are a few signs you can look out for to help determine when it’s time to descale your coffee maker:
Cleaning indicator light comes on (only applies to select models).
Excessive brew times.
Gurgling or other unusual noises during the brew cycle.
White residue on visible parts of the coffee maker.
The coffee maker should be descaled as soon as possible after the cleaning indicator light illuminates.
DESCALING YOUR ESPRESSO MACHINE
Espresso machines vary widely so your first resource for learning how to descale your espresso machine should be the owner’s manual. However, you can follow these general steps for an overview on the process. If you have a KitchenAid® Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine, you can follow this guide for step-by-step descaling instructions.
HOW TO PREVENT MINERAL BUILD-UP IN A COFFEE MAKER
Starting with fresh, filtered water can help reduce the concentration of dissolved minerals in your coffee maker to begin with. KitchenAid recommends everydrop® Refrigerator Water Filters1 which feature Triple Filtration Technology that removes contaminants in your water to help drinks taste like they should. Rinsing and washing removable coffee maker parts daily can also help reduce build-up.
TIP: It is not recommended to use distilled water in some machines, including KitchenAid® coffee makers. Because of its chemical composition, distilled water attracts metal ions from the internal components of your coffee maker machine, which may lead to a slow breakdown of the metal parts of your coffee maker.
Get more tips on water for coffee and other ingredients when you read our guide on how to make the best cup of coffee at home.
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1 everydrop® products and the recommended brand's products are owned and distributed by Whirlpool Corporation.