How to Clean a Coffeemaker

It takes more than a quick rinse to keep your brewer in tip-top shape. Here's how to get every kind of coffeemaker squeaky clean.

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Brewer Upkeep

While it would be such a luxury to stroll to a coffee shop for your first cup each day, most of us are rushing to make it out the door for work — and don't want to fork over the dough for a daily to-go cup. So we brew at home — and then deal with the cleaning that goes with it. To keep your machine in tidy condition (so it can keep making the best coffee), check the manufacturer's manual and then try these tips.

Automatic Drip Coffeemaker

Such as Braun, Krups, Technivorm Moccamaster and Bonavita

Daily: Toss the coffee grounds. Wash the carafe and other removable parts, such as the lid and filter basket, with a soft sponge in warm soapy water. Rinse and towel dry, or set aside to air dry. Wipe off coffee splatters on the machine with a damp paper towel.

Every 3 months (or more frequently, you've got hard water): Prep a store-bought descaling solution, or mix up your own using equal parts vinegar and water. Pour it in the water chamber and run the machine through one cycle to clean out any buildup. Follow with at least two cycles of plain water to flush out the solution. Unplug the machine and soak the removable parts in soapy water or a solution of one part baking soda to two parts hot water for 15 minutes. Scrub the parts with a soft sponge, rinse and dry as above. Wipe the surface of the machine, including the heating plate, with a damp paper towel.

Pod Coffeemaker

Such as Keurig, Nespresso, Hamilton Beach

Daily: Wipe off any splatters on the machine with a damp paper towel and empty the used capsule container when it gets full.

Every 3 to 6 months: Prep a store-bought descaling solution and pour it in the water chamber. Place a large container under the coffee spout and run the machine in descaling mode (check your manual for settings) until all the solution is flushed through. Rinse out the water chamber, fill with plain water and run in descaling mode again. Turn off the machine and wash any removable parts such as the water chamber, drip tray and used capsule container with a soft sponge and warm soapy water. Rinse and towel dry, or set aside to air dry. Wipe the surface of the machine with a damp paper towel.

French Press

Such as Bodum, Grosche, Espro

Daily: Remove the plunger and toss the coffee grounds. Wash the carafe with a soft sponge and warm soapy water. Disassemble the plunger and filter and use a soft brush and warm soapy water to gently scrub clean the lid (plunger rod still attached) and separate filter disks. Rinse the parts and towel dry, or set aside to air dry. Reassemble the plunger — retaining disk on the bottom, followed by the mesh filter disk and the spring disk on top — and put back into the carafe.

Chemex

Daily: Toss the filter and coffee grounds. Remove the wooden handle and wash the carafe with a soft-bristle bottle brush and warm soapy water. Rinse and towel dry, or set aside to air dry. Alternatively, you can put the carafe — without the wooden handle — in the dishwasher. (Make sure it's securely positioned.) For tougher stains, soak the carafe in soapy water or a solution of one-part baking soda to two-parts hot water for 15 minutes.

Single-Cup Pour-Over Coffeemaker

Such as Melitta, Kalitta, Prima, Aeropress

Daily: Toss the filter and coffee grounds. Wash the dripper and any removable parts with a soft sponge and warm soapy water. For stubborn stains, soak in soapy water overnight. Rinse the parts and towel dry, or set aside to air dry. Some drippers are top-rack dishwasher safe; check your manufacturer's manual.

Stovetop Coffeemaker

Such as Bialetti, Ilsa, Illy

Daily: Toss the coffee grounds, disassemble the chambers and hand wash with a sponge and hot soapy water. Rinse and towel dry or set aside to air dry. Reassemble when dry.

As Needed: For tougher coffee and oil stains, disassemble and rinse the coffeemaker, then soak in a commercial-grade coffee pot cleaner according to package instructions. Scrub with hot soapy water and rinse and dry as above before reassembling.

Cold Brew Coffeemaker

Such as OXO, Toddy, Filtron

Daily: Toss the coffee grounds. Disassemble the machine and set aside the reusable filter. Wash the brewing container, stopper and carafe with a soft sponge and warm soapy water, rinse and dry. For deeper stains, let soak in soapy water or a solution of one-part baking soda to two-parts hot water for 15 minutes before rinsing.

For the filter: Rinse it clean with just hot water (no soap!) and set aside to air dry. Store filters for Toddy and Filtron coffeemakers in the refrigerator or freezer immediately after rinsing. Some glass carafes can be put in the dishwasher; check your manufacturer's manual.