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
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. As you may imagine, I ended up cleaning a lot of coffee pots.
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 acidified the mess and took care of the burnt coffee odor. Just load the ingredients in the carafe and shake, shake, shake it.
At home, once a week I toss the filter basket and carafe in the dishwasher. Before I reassemble the unit I wipe the hot water dispenser and the warming plate.
Once a month I run a mixture of 2/3 water and 1/3 vinegar through the machine, followed by two pots of plain water.
In the restaurant we also ran a flexible, wire through the line that dripped the hot water into the filter basket, but that was to remove calcium deposits that would build up in highly used machines. For home use, the vinegar will take care of the build up.
You can find everything you wanted to know about how a drip coffee maker works at HowStuffWorks.com.
*Don’t throw that lemon out if you have a garbage disposal, turn the disposal on and drop in the slice. The oils from the rind leave behind a fresh, natural lemon scent -imagine that.
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