You clean out the coffee pot every day, and yet, the bottom of your carafe still has a buildup of grime and dirt. What gives? Leslie Reichert, a green cleaning coach and author of "The Joy of Green Cleaning" says it's hard to prevent buildup on your coffee maker, which are essentially "a combination of the minerals in the water and lime deposits. "You want to clean it to keep the buildup to a minimum and minerals out of your coffee, but mainly, to keep the taste of your coffee consistent."
Below, Reichert offers up her best advice for cleaning a standard coffee maker using chemical-free products, which will result in an enhanced coffee experience. Before starting, make sure you have lemon juice, baking soda, and vinegar on hand for cleaning. "Never use any type of a cleaning product to clean a coffee maker or the coffee pot," says Reichert. "I would only use food grade items as you don't want toxic chemicals in your coffee."
Clean the Interior
This process takes about the time it would take to make two pots of coffee. In your coffee pot, mix one cup of distilled white vinegar and one tablespoon of lemon juice, and then fill the rest of the pot with water. Place in the mixture in the water reserve of your coffee maker, and turn the coffee maker on to allow the mixture run through. Once the brew cycle is complete, dump out the mixture before filling the pot with clean cold water and running it through again. "This is the rinse cycle to remove the residue and any leftover vinegar or lemon juice," says Reichert.
Clean the Exterior
Once the inside of the coffee maker is cleaned, Reichert always does a complete cleaning of the pot, too. Use the baking soda and a little water to make a scrub and then scour the coffee buildup off the glass. Rinse with warm water and make sure all the baking soda is removed. You can also place it in the dishwasher after scrubbing to get it completely rinsed and clean."
Repeat the Process Frequently
Depending on your coffee maker, some manufacturers have a light that comes on to notify you it is time to clean it, but for Reichert, "I'd recommend once a month."