Take a look inside the water well of your coffee maker and you may not like what you see. If your coffee maker is black you may not notice anything at all but a quick swipe of a white paper towel will reveal a nasty slime that builds up in every coffee maker over time.
White vinegar is good for flushing sediment out of the tubes but it doesn’t get rid of the slimy buildup that accumulates at the bottom of the water well. For this you need a bottle washer or dish mop which is commonly used to clean baby bottles or drinking glasses.
The sponge type dish mop is basically a sponge on a plastic stick which sometimes comes with dish drainers. The most efficient one is the string type which looks like a mini mop on a wire handle. Either will suffice.
How to clean the water well
Unplug the coffee maker then remove the basket and pot. Put the coffee maker in the sink and be careful to keep the cord and plug away from the water. Pour about two cups of white vinegar into the water well, insert the dish mop and saturate it well with the vinegar then scrub the bottom and sides thoroughly. Be sure to give extra attention to the corners.
Pour the vinegar out into the sink and wash the dish mop with soap then rinse completely. Fill the water well with clean water then take the clean dish mop and scrub the well again to get any residue. Pour the water out and rinse the water well two or three times.
How to clean the tubes
Now that the water well is clean it’s time to clean the tubes that carry the water from the water well to the basket. Check the cord and plug for moisture and make sure they are dry to avoid electric shock. Fill the water well with one part water and one part white vinegar. Put the coffee pot in place, plug the coffee maker into the outlet and turn it on.
When it is finished you may notice tiny black specs in the water. This is what you were drinking with your coffee! Empty the pot into the sink, fill the water well with clean water and run it through another cycle to flush out the vinegar. When it is finished, pour it into the sink and do it again.
How to clean your coffee pot and basket
Now that your coffee maker has been cleaned it is time to clean the pot and basket. The most efficient method is chlorine bleach which takes away every stain and makes your pot and basket like new.
Soak a sponge with bleach then run it over the outside of the pot. Pour about ¼ cup of bleach into the pot, run the bleach-saturated sponge around the inside of the pot, pour the residue into the basket and let it soak while you rinse the pot then rinse the basket. Wash both pot and basket in hot soapy water and rinse completely.
Chlorine bleach is rather harsh and some people are sensitive to it, especially when used full strength. If this is the case, fill the sink with hot soapy water and add one and a half to two cups of bleach. Let the pot and basket soak for about fifteen minutes then rinse completely. Let the bleach water drain then fill the sink with hot soapy water and wash the pot and basket again then rinse.
If using bleach is not an option, salt and ice will remove the coffee stains from the pot without the use of harsh chemicals. Crushed ice is best but cubes will work fine.
Pour one to two tablespoons of regular table salt into the pot and fill it half full of ice. Swish the salt and ice around in the pot and you will see the stains disappear within seconds.
Finally, coffee makers don’t need to be cleaned every day. If it is used once or twice per day then a once a month cleaning is all that it needs. Remember, a clean coffee maker brews clean coffee.