Your coffee maker may be the most valuable appliance in your kitchen, but it also tends to be the dirtiest. Depending upon its design, bacteria, minerals, and even mold can start to deposit inside a drip machine. Because of this, even the most expensive coffee can taste funky. Mineral deposits can also make the machine run slowly and less effectively.
So how does one take care of a coffee machine? The traditional method is to run vinegar through it followed by a rinse or two of water. But you can also look into getting a dedicated coffee pot cleaner that’s specially designed to deep clean your machine.
A single search for a coffee maker cleaner will yield pages and pages of options that are bound to make your head spin. That's why we narrowed the choice down to a few of the most premium coffee maker cleaners of 2022. Check out our reviews of the chosen cleaning products and take advantage of the included buyer's guide to identify the right one for your needs. Let's have a look!
Finding Your Optimal Coffee Maker Cleaner: A Buyer’s Guide
Since cleaning is an essential part of your coffee machine's maintenance you should never purchase a cleaner randomly. If you’re unsure, go for plain old vinegar as a safe option. But if you need a super effective and thorough option, such as a dedicated descaler or cleaner, keep the following buyer's guide in mind to make a successful purchase.
Key Things To Consider When Shopping for a Coffee Maker Cleaner
So you have decided to ditch vinegar and go with a specialized coffee maker cleaner. Keep the following factors in mind when shopping for one.
The first thing you should consider in a coffee pot cleaner is what it contains. The ingredient list of most coffee machine cleaners largely consists of citric acid or vinegar because of their amazing cleaning properties. Some tablet-based or granular powders also contain preservatives to process other ingredients like sodium bisulfite, sodium carbonate, sodium gluconate, sodium acetate, and polyethylene glycol. While these are all water-soluble, their non-organic origin prevents most users from putting these substances in their coffee pots.
Aluminum salts are also good at controlling bacterial growth. When combined with citric acid, the combination acts as an extremely effective cleaner. Some of these, however, also contain sulfamic acid which acts as an irritant when consumed in large quantities.
You should read the ingredient list of the potential products carefully and choose the one which ingredients that you are comfortable using.
Number of cycles
The number of cycles you need to run also influences your choice because it determines how much time you will spend cleaning the machine.
When shopping for a coffee machine descaler, make sure to check how you are supposed to mix it and how many cycles of rinse it needs for effective cleaning.
Most cleaners need about one to three cycles of rinse to eliminate all the gunk. This means you have to refill the water reservoir that many times. It can be time-consuming, so you should keep this factor in mind.
Some coffee maker cleaners are universal and can be used with almost every coffee brewing machine. Others are formulated to work better with a specific brand, meaning you can only use them with individual brands or types of coffee makers.
So if you own more than one type of coffee maker, go for a universal cleaner. And if you have a specialized model, consider choosing a specialized cleaner.
The amount of cleaner used per cleaning cycle greatly depends upon its concentration. While all of these are mixed into the water before starting the cleaning cycle, the amount you mix varies from one product to another.
Pay attention to how much of the product is used in a single cleaning cycle and then determine how much of the product you will need.
Benefits of Using a Coffee Maker Cleaner
Why buy a dedicated coffee maker cleaner when you can get the job done with a cup of white vinegar? This is the question that plagues many buyers when they set out to purchase a cleaning product for their coffee machine. Below, we highlighted some excellent reasons for purchasing and using one.
A dedicated coffee maker cleaner will thoroughly clean the inside of your machine eliminating all the contaminants including residue, mold, mineral deposits, and other harmful substances that alter the taste of your coffee. Once the machine is clean, you'll notice an instant improvement in your coffee's taste and aroma.
Using a coffee maker cleaner is a piece of cake. All you have to do is mix it up and push the button to start the coffee brewing cycle. The cleaner will pass over all the internal components cleaning them along the way. Once the cycle is complete, you can rinse the coffee pot by running clean water through the system two or three times.
Despite what many buyers believe, coffee pot cleaners are quite inexpensive. You can buy them at a budget-friendly cost to use over a while. The cost seems even lower when you realize that these products save you from having to buy a new coffee maker prematurely.
Maintain your health
When you are not particular about the cleanliness of your coffee machine, several unpleasant things can accumulate inside it. Ingesting any of these can lead to serious health problems. A coffee pot cleaner prevents this from happening by preventing these contaminants from finding their way to your coffee cup.
Some Tips for Using a Coffee Machine Cleaner
While coffee makers differ in terms of design and functions, you can usually clean all of them with the same products. Here are some general guidelines for using coffee maker descalers:
Unplug the unit
Remove the carafe and wash it with soap and water
Rinse the water reservoir with clean water
Remove all removable parts and wash them thoroughly in warm soapy water
Place the recommended quantity of the cleaner in the water container
Fill it with water, put it back in the machine, and start the brewing cycle
Once the cycle is complete, throw away the contents. At this point, you can rinse the machine immediately or let it sit overnight for deeper cleaning
To rinse the machine, fill the water reservoir with clean water and start the brewing cycle. Repeat two to three times to flush the system so there are no traces of the cleaner left behind
If you want a more thorough cleaning, you can repeat the cleaning cycle again
Finally, reattach all the removable parts and wipe the outer surface of the machine
Our first pick is a high-performance cleaning product designed to preserve your coffee maker’s longevity. Its custom formula is universal and can be used with almost all coffee machines including Keurig, Nespresso, Braun, Hamilton, Tassimo, and more. The cleaner effectively blasts away the toughest of minerals deposits while still being incredibly gentle on your machine. Plus, it also helps prevent corrosion so your appliance can continue to work for longer.
The cleaner comes in a pack of two 8-ounce bottles. Each bottle delivers two cleaning cycles, so you can use these bottles to clean your machine four times in total. The universal formula, effective performance, and affordable price have made the Impresa Products Coffee Maker Descaler our best overall pick.
If you want to prevent coffee oils from going rancid inside your appliance, the Urnex Coffee Maker Cleaner should be your choice. This coffee machine descaler boasts an odorless and natural formula derived from plants and minerals. It’s 100% biodegradable, so you don’t have to worry about it having a bad impact on our environment. This option is quite gentle, yet powerful enough to remove all sorts of buildups including minerals and limescale. The cleaning solution is also universally compatible; you can use it to clean kettles, drip coffee makers, espresso machines, and even super automatics.
The Essential Values Coffee Maker Descaler and Cleaner is a non-toxic solution that’ll eliminate the mineral deposits and gunk inside your machine. It features a high-action formula that deeply penetrates the oils to prevent them from going rancid. Unlike vinegar, this cleaning solution does not leave behind an acidic taste or smell. Instead, it ensures that your coffee is fresh and bursting with flavor and smell. This option also comes as a pack of two bottles, each one containing enough cleaner for two uses. The bottles are also 100% polyethylene terephthalate (PET) so you can recycle them when empty.
If cleaning liquids aren’t your thing, our next pick is bound to capture your attention. The Affresh Coffee Maker Cleaner is packaged in the form of cleaning tablets. That means using it is a breeze because let’s face it, liquids and powders can be messy. Each pack contains three tablets. All you have to do is pop a tablet in a full reservoir of water and start brewing. The tablet will start fizzing and dissolve as the water drains. Featuring septic safe and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Safer Choice-certified ingredients, these tablets are extra tough on limescale and hard water stains without hurting your plumbing or the environment. They also get rid of the residual coffee oils that can make your coffee taste bad.
The Brew Rite Coffee Maker Cleaner is another popular descaler that many homeowners swear by. It’s a cleaning powder that you have to dissolve in water before running through the machine. The non-acidic formula works across the board from drip machines to espresso makers and single-serve options. It specifically targets mineral deposits that are hidden away from your eyes in the depths of the machine. It blasts them off effectively so your coffee smells and tastes wonderful. This coffee machine cleaner also improves the overall brew time so you get to enjoy your morning cup of joe even sooner. Plus, the affordable price also makes it an attractive option.
Boasts a non-acidic formula
Works for all coffee machines
Improves the overall brew time
Powder can clump up
People Also Asked
Q: Do coffee maker cleaners work better than vinegar?
A: While people want to end this debate once and for all, there is no definitive answer to this question. Both vinegar and coffee maker cleaners work equally well when it comes to descaling a coffee maker. Some users say the cleaning with white vinegar often leaves a lingering odor and taste, however. Others tout it as the ideal method for eliminating limescale.
Q: What will happen if I don't clean my coffee machine?
A: Cleaning and descaling a coffee maker is necessary because it collects residue and mineral deposits inside it. If you leave it alone without cleaning for a long time, the buildup will find its way to your coffee, making it taste bitter. Both your coffee and the machine will also develop an unpleasant acrid smell. The residues can also clog the machine rendering it useless.
Q: How often should I clean my coffee machine?
A: While it greatly depends upon the frequency of your usage, it’s recommended that you clean your coffee maker every three to six months. Doing so ensures that no coffee residue or limescale collects inside the system leading to unpleasant smell, taste, or clogging.
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