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How to Clean a Coffee Pot Naturally with Vinegar

written by: Lara Stewart•edited by: BStone•updated: 2/3/2011

To extend the life of your coffee maker and improve the taste of your coffee, it is necessary to periodically clean the coffee maker. Learn the answers to, how much vinegar do I use to clean a coffee pot, and how to clean a coffee maker naturally using plain white vinegar.

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    Keep Your Coffee Maker Clean for Good Coffee Over time, your coffee maker accumulates oils from coffee beans and mineral deposits from the water you use. These can negatively affect the taste of your coffee, and can also cause damage to your coffee maker. This damage can reduce the life of the coffee maker, which will mean that, over time, you are putting more dead appliances into the waste stream, and also causing more virgin materials to be used. You can help remove these deposits and oils and extend the life of your coffee maker by using vinegar to clean a coffee pot.

    Vinegar is a highly effective household cleaner that is inexpensive, non-toxic, and easy on the environment. For cleaning purposes, the best vinegar to use is white vinegar, which can be purchased inexpensively at any grocery store.

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    How to Clean Your Coffee Pot

    Vinegar is an acid, which makes it an effective solvent to dissolve mineral deposits that show up in the water you use to make your daily cup of coffee. How much vinegar do I use to clean a coffee pot? The amount will vary depending on how long it has been since your coffee pot was last cleaned, and how hard your water is. Follow the basic instructions below, adjusting or repeating to suit your specific situation:

    1. Fill the carafe of your coffee pot with vinegar and let it soak. Fifteen to 30 minutes is usually adequate to remove any scale or mineral deposits.
    2. Next, fill the coffee pot with vinegar and run a complete cycle. Use enough vinegar to make a full pot of coffee. For instance, if you have an 8 cup coffee maker, you will need 8 cups; if you have a 4 cup coffee maker, 4 cups. Make sure that you keep the windows open while it runs its cycle. The scent of the vinegar running through the coffee maker is very strong.
    3. Look and see if the coffee maker still shows signs of any scale or mineral residue. These residues show up as a white, chalky powder.
    4. Next, you will need to remove the vinegar residue from the coffee maker. To do this, run a full pot of water through the coffee maker. You may need to run it several times to remove the rest of the vinegar residue from the pot.
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    Following Up

    You should clean your coffee maker with vinegar every two to three months. How much vinegar do you use to clean a coffee pot? Enough to fill the entire pot. If you are cleaning more frequently or if you use your coffee maker only occasionally, equal parts of vinegar and water will suffice for cycling through the coffee maker. If you use your coffee maker heavily or if the water in your community is especially high in minerals, you can clean your coffee maker more often. It is possible to reduce the amount of deposits in the water you use by using only filtered water in your coffee maker. Another option is bottled water, but, bottled water has a high environmental impact, because of its packaging and the stress on natural resources such as springs.

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    Resources

    How to Clean Things: http://www.howtocleanthings.com/how-to-clean-coffee-maker.htm

    http://www.vinegartips.com/scripts/pageViewSec.asp?id=7

    http://www.versatilevinegar.org/usesandtips.html#1c

    Personal experience

    Photo by Jennie Faber