I’m getting ready to do a series of posts on cleaning a coffee maker and it occurred to me that the average person probably doesn’t know how much vinegar it takes to clean a coffee machine (or coffee pot).
Vinegar is widely accepted to be one of the best natural acidic cleaners for hard water stains and mineral deposits. Unlike harsh chemicals vinegar leaves behind a perfectly safe residue and odor that can easily be rinsed away with plain cold water.
If you live in areas with hard water you are going to need to use more vinegar to clean your coffee pot than people who live with soft water. Spring water or well water users may also need to use more vinegar due to higher amounts of minerals in the water.
Avid coffee drinkers are also going to need to use a bit more vinegar than occasional drinkers will. This is because they are more likely to care about an untainted flavor and because they are using their machines more often and therefore making the insides of the machine dirtier faster.
If you have a 12 cup coffee pot then you will want to use 4-6 cups of white vinegar to 6-8 cups of plain water. If you haven’t descaled or cleaned your pot in a long time (think years if ever) then just use a bit more and repeat the cleaning process to help loosen up the gunky buildup.
If you are ambitious it’s good to lightly clean your pot every month or so but you can certainly do it less frequently than that. If you do intend on cleaning your machine monthly then you should be able to get away with doing a 1-2 mixture of vinegar to water ratio and maybe even 1-3 in places with soft water.
In any event cleaning your coffee machine is very simple and the cost of white vinegar is negligible so it’s worth doing more frequently than every couple years.
In future posts I’ll be breaking down more questions people have about cleaning coffee pots and then eventually posting a big guide on the topic.