Most waters contain minerals that over time will build up inside your coffee maker and your kettle (whether it is electric or used on the stove). This “scale” effects the taste of drinks made with the coffee maker or kettle and can look nasty, crusty, and white. It isn’t hard to de-scale your kettle and coffee maker and it is something that should be done regularly to make it a quick and easy job.
About once a month set aside a few minutes to de-scale your kettle and coffee maker. If the items aren’t used often you can push it back to once every two or three months, but make sure you are doing it often enough that the scale build up isn’t yet visable when you clean the item. If you can see a white film or crusty deposits stuck to your tea kettle or your coffee maker then you will want to repeat the process a few times to make sure that these deposits are thoroughly removed.
Add 1/2 cup of distilled white vinegar to your kettle or the reservoir on your coffee maker. Fill the rest of the way with water. To make it simple when cleaning your coffee maker you can measure the water and vinegar into the coffee pot and then pour into the reservoir. Then set the kettle on the stove to boil and turn the coffee maker on. Vinegar is a mild acid which combined with the heat will dissolve the minerals that are clinging to the inside of the kettle and coffee maker. Once the kettle has boiled and the coffee maker has finished its cycle then let it cool.
Dump it out and fill with water. Either boil the water or run the coffee maker cycle once more. This will rinse out the vinegar leaving your beverage making tool clean and ready for great tasting beverages. For more on cleaning your coffee maker see How to clean a drip coffee maker.
If you are one who can’t stand the smell of vinegar the process can be done with lemon juice instead. Lemon juice isn’t as effective, but can get the job done without the smell of vinegar. Another option is to do the vinegar cycle first and then repeat with lemon juice. The lemon juice will eliminate the smell of vinegar in the air and leave a fresh lemony scent instead. You would then rinse as normal.
While this is important to do, it is also a good idea to use filtered water or bottled water when making tea and coffee. This will limit the amount of minerals and help your kettle and coffee maker last longer. You should also find that your beverages taste better with fewer minerals and other chemicals which may be in your tap or well water.