How to Descale a Drip Coffeemaker



So, two weeks ago, my coffeemaker died.




This was a borderline tragedy around here and, if it weren’t the generosity of my church school students and their gifts of Dunkin Donuts gift cards, I surely would have been weeping. I tried tea a couple mornings– I don’t care what you people tell me, tea is just not coffee and doesn’t belong in the same category. ;)


I was sort of angry, because my coffeemaker is only about two years old. It didn’t seem like it should fizzle out so fast. At the same time, I am a serious coffee drinker and I give that thing a workout so, I rationalized, perhaps this is just what’s to be expected.


Anyway, in a last ditch attempt to salvage the thing, I decided that maybe, just maybe, I should attempt to, you know, CLEAN the thing.


This is where I admit to you all that I’m not good about really cleaning all the pipes and nooks and systems of a coffeemaker. Oh, yeah, I scrub out the pot and wipe off the fingerprints and what-not, but I don’t really put any thought into it.




How to Descale a Drip Coffeemaker


Descaling a coffeemaker is very, very simple and helps get all the inner workings squeaky clean. This is all you need to do:


1. Fill the water reservoir with a ratio of 3 parts water to 1 part white vinegar.

2. Line the basket with a plain, clean filter like usual.

3. Run the coffeemaker.

4. Dump out the “brewed vinegar water” and toss filter.

5. Fill the water reservoir with clean water.

6. Run the coffeemaker.

7. Dump out the water and you should be good to go.

8. Ideally, you should do this once a month.


***NOTE: If, like me, you have been remarkably remiss in doing these steps, it might not work. In that case, read on… ***


So, I set about descaling my coffeemaker and it didn’t work. As in, the vinegar solution wouldn’t even brew through. I had noticed my coffeemaker getting slower and slower in the weeks prior, but I’d just brushed that off. Now, it wouldn’t even brew a drop.


I left the vinegar solution in there and would retry it periodically– no dice.


So, I decided to buy a new coffeemaker and promised myself I’d do better next time. Fair enough.


Then a stomach bug hit our house.


Time went by and, long story short, last night, on a whim, I pressed the “brew” button and, lo and behold, it worked. I ran a vinegar solution through twice, plain water twice, and then tried a pot of coffee.


It’s as good as new.


So, if your coffeemaker is super far-gone, here are a few more tips:

  • Use a stronger solution, e.g. 1:1 vinegar to water.
  • Run the vinegar more than once for more thorough cleaning.
  • Let it sit, if need be, until the vinegar can break down some minerals and actually work its way through the machine.


Someone remind me to descale my coffeemaker in April, would you please? ;)

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1 comment to How to Descale a Drip Coffeemaker

  • Celine

    Good to know it worked for you after sitting a while. Might be time to put it on your monthly calendar on the same day. Then you will be sure to add it to your “To do” list.

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