How to Maintain a Coffee Maker

A coffee maker is a wonderful appliance and a great way to save time and money, but it does require a bit of maintenance. Too many people overlook the maintenance of their coffee maker for too long. Regular maintenance can add years to the life of a coffee maker, and knowing how to care for and perform even the most routine maintenance can help to revive an older coffee machine. In order to keep your coffee machine working properly and brewing great coffee, a few simple steps should be followed. If you have never done any upkeep on your coffee maker, the following can help get you started.

Regular Maintenance

Organizing a regular maintenance schedule is a great first step toward keeping your coffee maker in working condition. Try cleaning the coffee maker when you maintain the other appliances in your kitchen. The maintenance that you perform will result in years of fresh-tasting coffee down the road. Many of the maintenance requirements of a regular coffee maker only need to be done once every few months, but to get the best results (meaning pot after pot of great tasting coffee) attend to it each month. Cleaning the machine won't take too long, however the difference that it makes can be significant.

Quick tips such as dusting your coffee maker regularly can make a world of difference. However, using canned air (which you can find at most hardware/office supply stores) once a month will do the best overall job. Canned air will eliminate any dust that might be inside of the maker or on the heating elements. Also, it is a good idea to soak the baskets or metal filters in a solution of hot water and vinegar to help break up any buildup that they've accumulated. Rinse them thoroughly to get rid of any vinegar smell that remains after soaking. Clean the coffee pot and the heating plate underneath it with nonabrasive cleaners or with a solution of vinegar and water (ice, salt, and lemon juice will also work well to clean the inside of the coffee pot, especially if there's any burnt-on coffee in the bottom.)

Lime Scale and Water Deposit Removal

At least once every three months the inside of your coffee maker should be cleaned to remove any lime scale and water deposits that may have built up. Cleaning solution specifically made for coffee makers can be purchased, or you can make your own with a solution of water and vinegar. Run the solution through a standard coffee cycle (or through several cycles if you're worried about a lot of buildup.) Once the cycle has finished, run several cycles of clean water (preferably filtered or distilled) through the coffee maker to remove any remaining deposits or cleaning solution. Make sure the water that comes out no longer smells like vinegar or cleaning solution before using the coffee maker to brew a pot of coffee again.

Another way to reduce the buildup of lime scale and water deposits is by switching to filtered or distilled water to brew your coffee; or purchase a coffee maker with an in-line water filter. If you opt for the water filter, remember that the filter will need to be changed regularly. Again, a bit of a chore, but well worth the effort.

Inspection for Damage or Wear

When performing maintenance on your coffee maker, don't forget to take the time to look for any cracks that may be developing in the coffee pot or other signs of damage or wear. Common signs that something may be wrong: a cord has becoming damaged or frayed, burn marks, discolorations, or warping on the plastic components of the coffee maker, and/or water spots or streaks that might indicate a leak. Some of these damages may create fire hazards, so if you notice them send the coffee maker in for repair or consider buying a new one.

Additional Maintenance As Needed

Remember, not everything that goes wrong with your coffee maker is predictable. Be prepared to perform additional maintenance as it becomes needed. This may be as basic as replacing a cracked filter basket or cleaning up burnt-on coffee that spilled onto the heating plate, or it may require taking care of more serious problems such as a heating element going out or a major leak. Most households and offices use the coffee maker at least once a day, and a little bit of upkeep each day will ensure that the coffee you brew from your machine will be fresh-tasting and just how you like it.

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About The Author, Craig Elliott