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Cleaning vs Descaling Coffee Makers: What’s the Difference?

April 10, 2024

Cleaning and descaling are both essential when it comes to maintaining your coffee machine. They each serve an important purpose; cleaning removes the oily buildup from the internal components while descaling eliminates mineral deposits that can hamper the machine’s performance.

What’s the proper way to clean and descale your coffee maker? What products should you use? Keep reading for everything you need to know.

Cleaning Your Coffee Machine

Daily cleaning is crucial if you want to create the perfect cup of coffee everyday.

cleaning your coffee machineThe process doesn’t have to be tedious either. Simply wash the removable parts with soap and warm water after each use – that will eliminate coffee oils and other residues.

We also recommend leaving the reservoir lid and filter basket open so that it can air dry. That will help prevent contaminants from developing.

Wiping Down Your Coffee Equipment

When it comes to cleaning the exterior of your coffee maker, a damp microfiber cloth is your best friend. Not only are they gentle but they’re also effective at removing buildup.

So the next time you use the machine, take a few seconds to wipe down the surfaces. Remember, a clean exterior is just as important as the interior workings.

Washing the Removable Parts

The brew basket, carafe, and reusable filters should be removed and cleaned with dish soap and hot water after each use.

For those stubborn stains that may occur in the carafe over time, it’s best to use a paste made from baking soda and water – it will remove buildup without causing any damage.

And for those hard-to-reach places inside the carafe, you can use a long-handled coffee pot cleaning brush.

After washing, remember to thoroughly rinse all parts with water to remove soap residue, and then leave them to dry out to prevent residue and mineral build up.

Descaling Your Coffee Maker

descaling your coffee makerDescaling a coffee maker involves running a complete brewing cycle with a descaling solution mixed with water.

Alternatively you can use a vinegar solution made of equal parts water and white distilled vinegar.

Once the descaling process is complete, rinse the coffee machine by running two brewing cycles with freshwater, then wash and rinse the brew basket and carafe with hot, soapy water.

Choosing Your Descaling Solution

ACTIVE Coffee Machine Descaler Liquid is the best choice when it comes to cleaning your coffee maker.

Not only is the formula commercial-grade but it’s also balanced, safe, and suitable for a wide range of machines.

Why Descaling Matters for Taste

Have you ever wondered why your coffee taste bitter? Calcium and mineral buildup inside the machine can give your beverage a bitter or sour taste that deviates from the coffee beans’ true flavor.

That’s where descaling comes in.

Regular descaling will prevent off flavors from developing and will also ensure that the water flows evenly through the coffee grounds for a balanced extraction.

So, the next time you have bitter-tasting coffee, remember, it’s not just about the beans – it could be your dirty machine crying out for descaling.

Clear Signs Your Coffee Machine Needs Descaling

Here are a few signs that indicate your coffee machine may need descaling:

  • White residue in the water reservoir
  • Visible limescale buildup within the machine
  • Hard water deposits on the internal components
  • Decrease in water flow
  • Excessive brew times
  • Unusual noises during the brew cycle
  • Leaks or drips from clogged nozzles or valves

Preventing Scale Buildup

Using filtered water in your coffee maker can help minimize scale build-up. Changing your filter regularly can also help.

Keep in mind, however, that the frequency of filter changes and the type of water filter needed can vary based on your local water quality, which will affect the degree of hardness.

For example, professional water filter systems, like those designed by BRITA, are specifically designed to reduce water hardness, especially in commercial environments.

Using ACTIVE Products for Optimal Maintenance

active coffee machine cleanerACTIVE offers cleaning tablets that make cleaning your drip coffee maker (or any coffee maker for that matter) a breeze. Here are a few reasons why they’re the best option:

  • It’s designed for easy storage and handling
  • Its effectiveness is lauded by customers
  • It’s rigorously tested
  • It’s universally compatible with all single-serve and drip-style coffee makers, including espresso makers

They’re easy to use too. Simply place a tablet in the water reservoir, run a brewing cycle, and then follow up with a rinse cycle using clean water.

To keep your coffee maker in tip-top shape, it’s best to use ACTIVE Coffee Maker Cleaner Tablets twice a month.

Cleaning vs Descaling Coffee Machines

From understanding the basics of cleaning and descaling to choosing the right descaling solution, we’ve gone over everything you need to maintain your coffee maker.

Remember, maintaining your coffee machine doesn’t have to be a chore. Consider it a labor of love for your beloved brew.

With the right knowledge, products, and practices, you’ll be able to brew the best-tasting coffee every day.

Key Takeaways

  • Cleaning a coffee machine involves removing coffee oils and grounds, while descaling eliminates mineral deposits
  • Daily cleaning is crucial and involves washing the removable parts with soap and water and wiping down the exterior
  • Descaling should be done monthly, using commercial solutions
  • Using filtered water and regular filter changes can help reduce scale buildup
  • ACTIVE Coffee Maker Cleaner Tablets offer an easy and effective way to maintain coffee machines

Cleaning and Descaling Coffee Makers – FAQs

Is descaling the same as cleaning a coffee machine?

No, descaling and cleaning are not the same. Cleaning removes coffee residue while descaling removes mineral scale buildup from the heating elements and other components, which will help extend the machine’s lifespan.

Is descaling and flushing the same thing?

No, descaling and flushing are not the same thing. Descaling focuses on cleaning the water system, while flushing removes coffee oil build-up on the brew head.

Is it OK to descale your coffee machine with vinegar?

You can descale your coffee machine with vinegar, however, it won’t be as effective as a commercial product like the one offered by ACTIVE. It may also leave a slight vinegar taste in the machine.

How often should I clean and descale my coffee machine?

You should wash all removable parts with soap and water daily, and descale it monthly or as indicated by the machine’s built-in indicators. That will ensure that your machine continues running smoothly.

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Lucas Bennett

Meet Lucas Bennett, a former coffee shop owner and current espresso aficionado. With years of hands-on experience in the coffee industry, Lucas now pours his expertise into writing comprehensive guides. His passion for coffee shines through in his meticulous tips on brewing the perfect cup and maintaining high-performing equipment. He takes pride in helping enthusiasts and novices alike elevate their coffee and espresso experiences.

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