Last Updated on May 26, 2023 by Barry Gray
Cleaning your coffee maker is an essential part of the maintenance. Still, I also feel that talking about cleaning a coffee maker throws up another interesting question. Just how often should you do it?
I suggest you rinse and clean your coffee maker after every single time you use it. However, it needs a deep clean every two or three months to keep everything hygienic and ensure the coffee you produce tastes brilliant.
You see, there’s more to this than just thinking about getting all those old coffee granules out of your machine because of the potential to build up bacteria.
Instead, old coffee will taste stale, potentially changing the taste of the coffee you are brewing, and who wants that to happen?
But the one thing I have learned about coffee makers is that cleaning them correctly becomes a bit of an art form. So, I won’t only talk about how often you should clean it, but also how to clean it correctly as well.
By the end, you will be in a much better position to know what’s going on with your coffee machine and how to ensure it runs in tip-top condition for longer.
Why is Cleaning Your Coffee Maker Important?
As with any machine or piece of equipment, maintenance plays a key role in ensuring something will continue to work correctly for as long as possible.
In a sense, it becomes even more important when the machine you are talking about is using something that could, potentially at least, clog up the machine over time.
Now, I’m not saying your coffee maker will trap a lot of old coffee in different parts of the machine. But it does add up over time, and as I mentioned earlier, it leads to you getting coffee that may not even taste quite right.
Yet, I also see the importance of cleaning your coffee maker going beyond this.
The way I see it, your machine has the potential to struggle with the brewing process when it’s not clean or correctly maintained. Also, you increase the chances of the machine malfunctioning in some way, and that’s never a good thing.
So, if you love coffee, caring for your coffee maker is essential.
If you fail to do so, don’t be surprised if your coffee starts going downhill. Is that something you really want to happen?
How Often Should I Clean My Coffee Maker?
For this part, I will presume you use your coffee maker daily. If you don’t, then take what I say next and apply it to the days you actually use your machine.
Personally, I use my machine daily and more than once per day. So, I do a light clean and rinse of my machine daily, and I actually do it after every single brew.
I’m not talking about stripping the machine down to all its components, washing and drying everything, and then putting everything back together.
That would be tedious, tiresome, and it’s also not necessary.
But why clean and rinse after every brew?
The first thing is it reduces the chances of coffee granules building up in my machine.
I know I cannot fully stop it since it also requires a deep clean every few months, but I think it makes even the deep clean easier.
Why Should A Coffee Maker Get Cleaned Daily?
I know it sounds like a lot of work, and let’s face it does any individual want to clean something daily? However, there’s a good reason for this.
You see, the problem with coffee is not only the granules but the oils contained within the coffee beans. The oil can build up in your coffee machine and start to cause problems over time.
It’s that oil, along with the coffee grains, that can start to cause all sorts of problems leading to your coffee machine possibly even malfunctioning or being unable to brew coffee correctly.
But that’s not all.
Coffee is also acidic by nature, and that’s not something you want to just ignore.
Any build-up of an acidic material has to slowly start to do something negative to your coffee machine. That is where the deep clean proves to be very useful.
Old Coffee Tastes Horrible
I mentioned earlier that old coffee tastes stale, and it will quickly destroy your ability to enjoy it.
This is absolutely something that will happen if you do not clean your coffee machine regularly.
The problem with the old coffee is it will start to clog up everything in your machine. That means filters and even internal components if you do not carry out that deep clean.
But you will also increase the chances of dragging some of that old coffee into your new brew.
I’ve encountered this very thing, but not with my own coffee machine.
When visiting a friend, the coffee on offer tasted very bland. It was clearly lacking in something, as the aroma you would have expected was also missing.
It was a real disappointment.
I asked them if it was some new coffee they had bought in order to learn more. But it was the same coffee they always bought, a dark roast from Brazil.
Also, it was new, so it wasn’t due to the coffee being left open and the air attacking it.
Through the process of elimination, I was able to then determine it was the coffee machine.
They had only ever given parts of their machine a quick rinse, and it had never had a deep clean.
Well, that explained it all, and even though I was already cleaning my machine regularly, it let me see I had to keep up my habits or my coffee would suffer.
Why You Should Never Leave Water in Your Coffee Machine
But it’s not only old coffee you need to be aware of regarding your coffee machine. Leaving water sitting in the system is also a huge problem.
Water can corrode and damage the inner workings of your coffee machine if it’s allowed to sit there for a prolonged period. It’s just something you should never do, or there’s a real risk of damaging your machine.
There’s also an issue of a scale build-up thanks to the water. Most people know scale is terrible, and it will clog up and corrode the inner parts of your coffee machine.
So, ensuring there’s little in the way of stagnant water in your coffee machine makes a whole lot of sense.
The Quick Way to Clean Your Coffee Machine
When it comes to actually cleaning my coffee machine, I use a simple approach for the quick rinse after each brew. However, my deep clean is clearly more involved, but I will cover that later.
After brewing my coffee, I begin by firing up my coffee machine again, but I just use water this time. I let the machine run, shoot some clean water through the pipes, and dispense it accordingly.
I think this is an excellent way to keep on top of things. By just using plain old water, it does mean you manage to flush the machine, and that’s a big deal in my book.
But that’s not all.
I also wash any part I can easily remove and then dry everything off as best I can. It takes just a few minutes to complete this, yet it will certainly help preserve my coffee maker for as long as possible.
I admit I’m also lucky in that I live in a place where there’s no real need to descale anything. So, I am not required to pay close attention to that part.
As I said, I do this quick rinse after every single brew, and it does help keep on top of things as much as possible.
How to Deep Clean Your Coffee Maker
Because I use my coffee maker every single day, I do carry out a deep clean every two months without fail. I feel leaving it longer than this is not a good idea.
However, if you hardly use your coffee maker, then I would push this to three months, and I don’t see that as being problematic.
But putting the time to one side for a moment, how do I deep clean my coffee maker?
Well, I do a few simple steps to get everything as clean as possible. I admit it took longer than anticipated the first time I worked through this deep clean. Still, the time it takes is considerably less when compared to before.
But I always begin by flushing through the system with some fresh water.
This allows me to start working on removing any remnants of old coffee that may be hanging around. Still, a deep clean involves more than just flushing it out.
I also remove any parts I can and wash them individually. I don’t put it in the dishwasher; I feel it’s not worth it.
But then, I take these few steps to get everything back into pristine condition.
My Steps for a Simple Deep Clean of a Coffee Machine
I don’t see a deep cleaning of my coffee machine as a big deal. However, I have several simple steps to ensure I get everything spotless while also helping preserve my machine.
So, if you want to know my steps, then here’s what I do.
- I remove any parts I can wash by hand
- I flush the machine with clean water
- I make a vinegar mix and flush it through the machine
- I repeatedly flush with clean water to remove the vinegar smell
- I don’t have to descale, but if you do, then do it now
- Rinse again after descaling
The key is to get that vinegar mix through the machine. Some people use baking soda, and while that does help, I worry about it clogging up my machine if I don’t then rinse it correctly.
Rinsing your coffee machine after every brew is an essential part of maintenance. However, you only need to carry out a deep clean every two or three months.
The exact length of time between deep cleans does depend on how often you use your coffee machine. If you do use it daily, I would look at a deep clean every two months rather than three.
It just prevents any real problems from developing that would prove to be bad news for your coffee machine.
At the end of the day, all I want is for you to be able to continue to enjoy your coffee machine without running into problems. If all it takes is a simple clean after every brew, then I don’t think it’s asking too much.