How to clean and care for a coffee maker

Dear Home-ec 101:

I just discovered your site – very, very cool – and wondered about easy ways to clean coffee makers. I have been doing a cycle with a few tablespoons of vinegar and the rest of the pot water about once every month or so. I have also heard you can use a denture tablet – fill the tank of your drip coffee maker with hot water, drop in a denture tablet and let it dissolve. Turn the coffee maker on; once all the water has dripped into the coffee maker empty it, then refill the coffee maker with fresh water and run it through its cycle again to rinse.

Any other ideas?


NoisyKat in Texas

Heather says:

glass coffee pot with visible ice and lemon in itWell, thank you. It certainly sounds as though you have a handle on coffee maker care.

My first job was at Waffle House. You can hush now, I was in high school. Whenever a pot of coffee was left on the burner for too long they were cleaned with lemon*, ice, and salt. The salt and ice acted as a mild abrasive while the lemon juice destroyed the burnt coffee odor. Just load the ingredients in the decanter and shake it.

Once a week I toss the filter basket and decanter in the dishwasher. Before I reassemble the unit I wipe the hot water dispenser and the warming plate.

Black coffee makerOnce a month I run a mixture of 2/3 water and 1/3 vinegar through the machine, followed by two pots of plain water.

You can find everything you wanted to know about how a standard coffee maker works here.

*Don’t throw that lemon out if you have a garbage disposal, turn the disposal on and drop in the slice. The oil from the rind will kill odors.

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  1. coffeeman on February 3, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    i like coffee

  2. Matt on August 1, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    The coffee maker cleaning advice works! You’d be surprised how much vinegar helps!

  3. Shadows of Love » What Yo’ Mama Didn’t Tell You on March 8, 2007 at 8:29 am

    […] already used the coffee pot care post to clean some deep rooted, long standing stains in our decanter. Until now, the stains have […]

  4. sista smiff on March 5, 2007 at 11:03 am

    I was going to say…I put the carafe and the filter basket in the dishwasher and was about to say it was probably totally illegal to do it, but, it always cleans mine good. I’m relieved to see that it’s ok to do.

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