This article originally appeared on SouthernLiving.com.
To paraphrase a popular commercial, “the best part of waking up is hot, fresh coffee in your cup.” It is a testament to modern ingenuity that we can prepare the coffee machine at night and be awakened the next morning by the enticing smell of brewing coffee wafting down the hallways.
RELATED: Coffee’s 5 Best Perks
In order to keep your coffee maker running smoothly, (and your mornings enjoyable) you need to keep it clean. Oily residue, hard-water deposits, and other impurities build up over time, slowing down the inner workings of your machine and influencing the taste of your coffee. Whether you have a traditional percolator, automatic drip coffeemaker, or a single cup “pod” system, they all have one thing in common. The machine is a moist environment where mold and bacteria can grow, and it doesn’t matter how expensive your coffee beans are: If the pot is dirty, you aren’t going to get a great tasting cup of joe.
Here are simple steps to keep your coffee maker in tip-top condition:
The removable parts of your coffeemaker (the carafe, filter basket, etc.), should be washed with warm, soapy water in order to remove coffee, grinds, and oil. These parts are usually dishwasher safe, as well. Wipe down the outside and the warming plate. Another good idea is to leave the reservoir lid open so it can dry out—germs love moisture!
RELATED: 5 Common Cleaning Mistakes
Once a Month
Fill the water reservoir with a 50/50 mixture of distilled white vinegar (this common household product sanitizes and removes mineral buildup) and water. Turn on the coffeemaker. Let several cups run through, then turn it off and let sit for an hour. Start the machine again to complete the cycle. Pour the vinegar mixture out and run plain water through the coffeemaker a few times until the vinegar odor disappears.