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Why You Should Clean and Descale Your Coffee Maker

January 13, 2022

If you haven’t done so you should clean and descale your coffee maker. Until a couple of years ago, I didn’t know the difference between cleaning and descaling a coffee maker. And more importantly, I didn’t understand how essential it was to do both. Do you?

Isn’t Cleaning My Coffee Maker Enough?

Yes, you want a clean coffee maker, but cleaning alone isn’t enough. Here’s why. Coffee is naturally oily, and oils build up on carafes, brew chambers, and filter baskets. When this happens, your coffee will taste bitter, and eventually, the residue will clog the coffee maker, making it unusable.

Cleaning removes the oil residue created by coffee. However, cleaning doesn’t remove the mineral build-up. Descaling does. Minerals such as calcium and magnesium occur naturally in water. When these minerals pass through your machine, they slowly accumulate, especially on the makers’ heating units. If you’ve ever seen a chalky residue called limescale, which can build up on plumbing fixtures, that’s what clogs your coffee maker’s heating unit.

Eventually, the residue will affect the heating unit making it difficult to heat the coffee to the point where the coffee maker cannot extract the full flavor. You may even notice that your cup of coffee isn’t as hot as it should be. Eventually, the minerals will clog the machine and render it useless.

How Dirty Can it Be?

Not only can your coffee maker become clogged with residue, oils, and limescale, but it also can harbor germs and mold.

NSF International, the independent public health organization, found this in their International Household Germ Study.

“Yeast and mold are considered to have a negative impact on health since they may elicit an allergenic response in a certain percentage of the population. In 50% of the homes tested yeast and mold were found in the reservoir of the coffee maker.”

Score a Clean Coffee Maker with Bar Keepers Friend Coffee Maker Cleaner  

  1. Remove the disposable filter from your coffee maker.
  2. Empty the reservoir and carafe.
  3. Using cold water, fill your carafe with one ounce of Bar Keepers Friend Coffee Maker Cleaner for every eight ounces of water.
  4. Carefully pour the carafe contents into the coffee maker reservoir and start the brew cycle.
  5. Once the brew cycle is complete, leave the cleaning solution in the carafe for three to five minutes (up to 30 minutes, if the carafe is badly stained), then empty and rinse the carafe.
  6. Refill the carafe with cold water, pour the water into the reservoir, and restart the brew cycle to rinse away any remaining cleaning solution.
  7. When the brew cycle is complete, dump the carafe’s contents. Your clean coffee maker is now ready to use!

 Descaling Your Coffee Maker with Bar Keepers Friend Descaler 

  1. Remove any disposable filters or coffee pods from the coffee maker.
  2. Empty the reservoir.
  3. Place the empty carafe or cup under the coffee discharge.
  4. Add one ounce of Bar Keepers Friend Coffee Maker Descaler for every eight ounces of cold water needed to fill the coffee maker’s water reservoir.
  5. Initiate the brew cycle and repeat until the reservoir is empty. For coffee makers with a clean cycle, begin the clean cycle and allow the cycle to run until done.
  6. Leave the cleaning solution in the carafe for 30 minutes.
  7. Discard the used Coffee Maker Descaler from the carafe or cup and clean the carafe or cup thoroughly.
  8. Fill the coffee maker reservoir with clean, cold water, and run another brewing cycle.
  9. Dispose of used rinse water and clean carafe or cup again.

Pro Tip: BKF Coffee Maker Descaler is perfect to descale Keurig products!

For a clean, safe, and tasty cup of coffee, it’s critical to clean and descale your coffee maker regularly. Although many experts suggest cleaning and descaling at least every three months, be sure to check the manufacturer’s recommendations for your machine. Enjoy!

About the Author

Randy Clark - Headshot

Randy Clark is a speaker, coach, and author. He publishes a weekly blog at Randy Clark Leadership.com. Randy is passionate about social media, leadership development, and flower gardening. He’s a beer geek and on weekends (after COVID-19) he can be found fronting the Rock & Roll band Under the Radar. He’s the proud father of two educators; he has four amazing grandchildren and a wife who dedicates her time to helping others. Randy is the author of the Amazon bestseller The New Manager’s Workbook: A crash course in effective management.

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