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The Easiest Way To Clean Your Coffee Maker For A Fresher Brew

Emma Loewe
mbg Senior Sustainability Editor By Emma Loewe
mbg Senior Sustainability Editor
Emma Loewe is the Senior Sustainability Editor at mindbodygreen and the author of "The Spirit Almanac: A Modern Guide To Ancient Self Care."
The Easiest Way To Clean Your Coffee Maker For A Fresher Brew
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Morning after morning of brewing leave coffee machines dirty at best, moldy at worst. Thankfully, much like the act of making a cup of jo, cleaning your machine is an easy, hands-off activity.

According to natural cleaning expert and author of Clean Mama's Guide to a Healthy Home Becky Rapinchuk, all you need is some cold water, white vinegar (aka the acidic superstar of the nontoxic cleaning scene), and patience.

Here's her step-by-step guide to deep cleaning your Keurig or drip coffee machine:

How often should you be cleaning your machine?

So when will you know it's time to clean in the first place? While it'll depend on your coffee consumption habits, Rapinchuk says that if your machine starts slowing down or not running as well, it's a sure sign it needs a wash. Other cues that it's time to do a deep clean include:

  • Your coffee starts to taste funny
  • The reservoir or carafe smells funny
  • Your machine is taking longer to brew
  • It's been over three months since its last cleaning

Rapinchuk adds that in addition to the occasional deep clean, you should also be rinsing out your machine after extended periods of not using it (say, if you go on vacation or have a short-lived fling with green tea). To do so, simply run plain hot water through it for one cycle.

Getting in the habit of dumping out the grounds, rinsing your carafe under warm water, and wiping down your machine every time you use it will also help keep it fresher in the long run.

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How to clean a Keurig machine:

What you need:

Method:

  1. Unplug the machine.
  2. Remove any accessories such as the water reservoir, K-cup holder, and the tray the machine sits on. Wash those out in warm soapy water and then set them aside to air dry.
  3. Wipe down the exterior of the machine with a microfiber cloth. You can either dampen it with a little water or add white vinegar for caked-on grime. (Use a toothbrush to get into those harder-to-reach areas.)
  4. Put all the parts back on the machine and fill the water reservoir with a 50-50 white vinegar and cold water mix. Plug the machine back in.
  5. Turn the machine on and run it without a k-cup, using a cup or dish to collect the hot water that comes out. Continue until there's no water-vinegar mixture left in the reservoir.
  6. Fill the water reservoir up again with plain cold water and run the machine until the water is gone. By the time that's done, you shouldn't be able to smell vinegar—that's how you'll know you've rinsed it out all the way and your machine is good to go.

How to clean a drip coffee maker:

What you need:

  • Dish soap
  • Water
  • White vinegar
  • A microfiber cloth
  • A toothbrush or small brush

Method:

  1. Unplug the machine.
  2. Remove any accessories such as the funnel. Wash those out in warm soapy water and then set them aside to air dry.
  3. Wipe down the exterior of the machine with a microfiber cloth. You can either dampen it with a little water or add white vinegar for caked-on grime. (Use a toothbrush to get into those harder-to-reach areas.)
  4. Put all the parts back on the machine and fill the water reservoir to nearly the top with a 50-50 mix of white vinegar and cold water. Plug the machine back in.
  5. "Brew" that vinegar mixture until it is about halfway done. Turn off your machine and let that mixture sit for 30-45 minutes to loosen up any mineral deposits in both the reservoir and pot.
  6. Let it finish brewing. Then, refill your reservoir with fresh water and run it three more times, until the water comes out clear and there's no vinegar scent leftover.

Another way to use vinegar in the kitchen:

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As you're waiting for your coffee machine to run, you can put that white vinegar to use again on your blender. Fill your container halfway with a 50-50 mix of water and white vinegar, and run it for 10 to 20 seconds (or longer if it has any stubborn smoothie stains).

Empty it out and then rinse thoroughly with warm water and soap until you can't smell the vinegar anymore.

And with that, you're ready to make all the beverages your heart desires.

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