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What You Should Know Before Descaling A Coffee Machine With Citric Acid

Okay, it’s time that you stop putting off cleaning that coffee machine.

I’m specifically talking about de-scaling your coffee maker to get rid of that nasty calcium carbonate buildup, aka limescale.

You might not realize it now, but that calcium carbonate that’s been building up over time is changing the way your coffee tastes.

So, for the best tasting coffee, you need to make descaling a regular part of your cleaning.

Below we’ll give you tips on descaling your coffee machine with citric acid. A recipe for better tasting coffee.

How To Descale Your Coffee Machine With Citric Acid

As previously mentioned, the regular use of your coffee maker results in some calcium carbonate buildup.

This is especially true for people who live in areas with hard water.

And while limescale won’t hurt you, it does affect the taste of your coffee and that sucks.

What’s worse is that the longer it builds up, it affects the brew process to the point of making your coffee take longer to brew.

I can’t think of anything worse that waiting longer for that hot cup of java.

When it comes to cleaning limescale deposits in coffee machines, you have a few options.

Plenty of coffee maker brands sell cleaning kits, or save some cash with the always effective citric acid recipe to descale the home coffee machine.

Vinegar is another decent option, but that smell is horrid, so I recommend the citric acid.

So, here’s how to descale your automatic coffee machine using citric acid.

1. Start with the easy to reach areas

Most of your coffee machine has areas that are easy to reach, like the grounds basket and the carafe or coffee pot.

Those areas don’t tend to have a lot of limescale buildup, so I often just use some Dawn on a sponge to clean those areas.

For the coffee pot, here’s a trick I learned back when I worked at IHOP – put some ice cubes in the empty coffee pot and swirl them around.

This works wonders at cleaning up a dirty coffee pot.

For stubborn stains, you may need to add a bit of water in with the ice cubes.

Okay,  now that you’ve cleaned those areas, it’s time to attack the limescale deposits.

2. Citric Acid Descaler Recipe

Now it’s time to get that citric acid out.

You need to follow this recipe and mix together the following items to have your citric acid descaling solution:

  • Check the capacity of your coffee pot because you need to make half that much of the solution (i.e. for a 10-cup machine, you need 5-cups of this solution)
  • Measure out a 2:1 ratio of water and citric acid in the coffee pot, so for every one cup of citric acid you need two cups of water.
  • Pour the mixture into the water reservoir.
  • Wash your hands immediately because, remember, this IS an acid after all

3. Start The Brew Cycle On Your Coffee Machine

Start up your coffee maker just like you’re making coffee, except the only thing you’re brewing is the water and citric acid solution.

This lets the citric acid solution reach all those interior parts of your coffee maker that have the limescale buildup.

You can either let the brew cycle run as normal, or you can stop it halfway and let the solution sit in the coffee machines tubes for a half hour or so, and then continue the brew process.

4. Empty The Carafe & Rinse The Machine

Once your carafe, or coffee pot, is full of the citric acid solution and the brew cycle is complete, you can dump the mixture down the drain.

Now you need to rinse out the machine.

To do this, fill the coffee pot with water and pour that into the machine’s water tank.

Start the brew cycle again to let the water flush out any remaining citric acid.

Pour out the water once the brew cycle completes.

Congratulations, you’re done now!

Final Word

As you can see, descaling a coffee maker with citric acid is a simple process that you can do at home.

Plus, it’s cheaper than buying a descaling kit at the store.

image credit: MaxPixel

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