Frequently referred to as scaling, mineral deposits, calcium deposits, and oily residue from coffee grounds build up in coffeemakers of all types. Cleaning coffeemakers on a regular basis helps avoid this build-up, allowing the full flavor of the coffee to shine.
Remove and throw away used disposable filter, grounds cup, or disc. Completely drain liquid from the machine by tipping it over a sink. Using equal amounts of water and vinegar, wet a washcloth and wipe down the outside of your machine.
Coffee machines with filters: Place the filter into the machine as if preparing to brew coffee. Fill the first half of the carafe with white vinegar, then add cool water until the water and vinegar mixture reach the fill line.
Single cup brewers: Fill the reservoir with one cup of white vinegar. If desired, the vinegar may be diluted with a half cup of cool water.
Replace the coffeemaker carafe or cup. Turn on the machine, allowing the brewing cycle to complete. Turn off the coffeemaker and allow it to sit for 15 minutes. This allows steam to circulate through the machine and helps remove buildup from the cup or carafe.
Use a fresh mix of white vinegar and cool water to repeat the process three times or until no more scaling residue shows in the brewed liquid. While some people reuse the same liquid, this makes it difficult to tell when descaling is complete.
Empty liquid from the coffee cup or carafe. To thoroughly rinse the coffee machine and remove the taste and smell of vinegar, repeat the above steps without the use of vinegar. Use fresh water for every rinse. When completed, the coffee machine should be free of residue and ready for use.
Glass marbles attract some types of deposits found in coffeemakers. Place a glass marble in the machine's water reservoir to help keep scaling to a minimum. Simply remove and wash the marble from time to time.
Ready-to-use packets of coffee machine cleaner are available in many stores. They generally cost more, but require less time as the brewing and rinsing need less repeating.
Bottled water contains less residue and lessens the amount of buildup on coffee machines.
If choosing to reuse the water and vinegar mix, read the accompanying instructions that come with coffee machines before pouring hot liquid into the reservoir.
Before using a glass marble or other items in the coffeemaker, contact the manufacturer to ensure no damage is caused.
If the coffee machine or freshly brewed coffee gives off a vinegar scent or taste during the first use after descaling, simply run fresh water through the brewing process a couple more times.
Gina Locke is a an experienced writer. She majored in English while attending Rogue Community College in the beautiful town of Grants Pass, Ore. Her love of creative writing and poetry helped shape the content of stories she composed as a copywriter for an advertising agency, and later as a newspaper reporter.