Oily sludge and mineral buildup eventually form on your coffeemaker and pot, creating stains, gumming up the brewing process, and ultimately producing bitter-tasting brew. But did you also know that at least one study shows that an unclean coffeemaker is a breeding ground for yeast, mold, and bacteria? Yuck. The good news is that you can learn how to clean a coffeepot to look sparkling and (nearly) new in just a few easy steps. Here's how to clean your classic drip-style coffeemaker with just vinegar and water.
To clean your coffee maker, begin by filling the reservoir with a mixture of half white distilled vinegar and half water. You can increase the ratio of vinegar to water if your coffeemaker has a particularly nasty case of buildup. The vinegar not only sanitizes the coffeemaker and carafe, but it will also dissolve any accrued mineral deposits.
Position a filter in the basket, and turn the brewer on. About halfway through brewing, turn the coffeemaker off, and allow the remaining vinegar solution to soak in the carafe and the reservoir for about 30 to 60 minutes, depending on how much buildup you need to clear away.
Turn the coffeemaker back on and allow it to complete the brewing cycle. Toss the paper filter, if there is one, and pour out the vinegar solution.
Now you can flush the vinegar scent and taste from the coffeemaker. Fill the reservoir with fresh water, put a filter in the basket, turn the coffeemaker on, and let it complete the brewing cycle. Remove the filter, pour out the water, and repeat with clean water for a second cycle. Wipe down your coffeemaker and coffeepot with a clean cloth.