What Is the White Stuff in My Coffee Maker and How Do I Remove It?

Even when you clean your coffee maker after every use, there’s still a good chance you’ll see white stuff inside its reservoir over time. But what exactly is this white stuff, and how do you get rid of it? Make sure you have the correct coffee maker cleaning supplies to maintain it.

The “white stuff” found in the carafe is actually a mixture of minerals that include limescale, calcium, and magnesium. It could also extend to your appliance’s inner workings, effectively ruining the taste of the coffee it produces. While these minerals might not cause you any harm, they will eventually destroy your coffee maker unless you do something to prevent their build-up.

Now that we’ve covered what the white substance in your brewing equipment is, let’s talk about how to remove it. Learn more about coffee machine maintenance by checking out Freshpresso today!

Photo by Meruyert Gonullu:

Preventing Limescale Build-Up

There are two ways to prevent limescale build-up in coffee makers: cleaning immediately after every use and descaling once a month.

Cleaning After Every Use

Coffee makers of all makes and models require cleaning after every use. That isn't just for keeping the coffee’s taste up to par with your standards, but it also ensures the beverage is safe to drink.

Sure, nothing might happen the first few times you forget to clean, but let this go on for a few weeks. You’ll definitely start to feel things in your stomach that aren’t too pleasant. But even before that, you might have already been bothered by your coffee’s changing taste. It just won’t be as strong and as flavorful as you expect it to be.

Then, there’s the bacteria build-up to consider. With every sip of unclean coffee, you take in billions upon billions of bacteria into your system. That can happen as early as day one of foregoing daily maintenance. Not only will colonies of bacteria start to make their home in the carafe, but they’ll also slowly penetrate its inner workings until the whole thing is contaminated.

These molds are even tougher to break down the more you let them thrive and ignore the cleaning processes. Then again, your coffee’s going to start tasting weird before things get out of hand, and that’ll hopefully be enough to spur you into action.

Cleaning Once a Month

Combining daily and monthly maintenance is a surefire way to maintain your coffee maker’s durability and coffee’s taste. Cleaning after every use without deep cleaning monthly will render everyday maintenance inconsequential after the first month.

By that time, residues left behind by an entire month of coffee making will have already made their way to the appliance’s interior. That will require more than superficial cleaning to remove. To get rid of this kind of filth, you must reach deep within the machine using the descaling process.

What Is Descaling?

Descaling involves a mixture of two tablespoons of citric acid and four cups of water placed inside the carafe. You then brew this solution to break down the residues clinging to the machine’s parts. Make sure to rinse the entire thing with water once you’re all done.

Repeat the process if you feel you haven’t removed enough of the white stuff. Just remember to rinse thoroughly afterward since the acidic mixture can leave a pretty unpleasant smell. Not to mention, it can also impact the taste of the next coffee batch.

Another thing to keep in mind when it comes to descaling is the solutions involved. DIY solutions don’t work for all coffee makers. There are some, particularly the high-end ones, that specify branded descalers for monthly deep cleaning. It’s recommended you go for these solutions rather than third-party ones since they prevent the introduction of corrosive substances into your coffee maker’s interior parts.

How To Prevent Future Limescale Problems

The older your coffee maker is, the harder it becomes to remove calcium carbonate from it, resulting in heavier build-up. The solution to this is to clean more frequently than usual.

You might even find that the source of the problem isn’t the coffee maker itself, but the kind of water used. You could be using hard water, which needs to run through a water softener before being used as brewing water. Another good idea would be to stick to distilled water for brewing coffee.

The fewer minerals water contains, the less likely it leaves behind residues. Nevertheless, using soft water will still require at least a monthly descaling. Descale even when your machine is brand new and functioning like a dream. This preventative descaling helps ensure that you’ll have more years of quality use with it. 

There’s No Room for That White Stuff in Your Coffee

Prevent the build-up of white stuff in your coffee by cleaning your coffee maker after every use and deep cleaning it once a month. If you haven’t been doing this and the white stuff has been there a while, you might have to subject your machine to some major descaling, which it may or may not be able to handle.

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