Browsing Bunn coffee makers and want to know whether the cleaning process is a hassle? Already had a Bunn coffee maker and finally decided to give it a thorough hose down?
Though the mental image is pretty funny, don’t. But not to worry. The Coffee Geek is here to the rescue.
In this article, I will show you in detail how to clean a Bunn coffee maker to clean your act up for the sake of future delicious coffee.
Do You Need To Clean Your Bunn Coffee Machine?
Many coffee drinkers may neglect cleaning their Bunn coffee makers often or at all, possibly thinking that the frequent flow of hot water can sanitize and clean everything on the way.
That can’t be farther from the truth. And no, just changing the paper filters does not help that much, either.
Ever wonder why your Bunn brewer is so slow? It’s likely because it needs a deep clean.
But that’s not the only reason why you should clean your Bunn coffee maker. Here is a list of negative effects from not cleaning your coffee makers properly and often enough:
- Slow brewing process
Over time, there can be lime and mineral deposits from water and oil build-ups from the coffee beans in the internal components of the coffee machine that you may not see.
This impedes the flow of water, leading to a longer brew time. No more quick morning routines if your coffee isn’t done by the time you need it.
- Shorten machine lifespan
A problem in one area can lead to more problems in other areas as the machine can’t function properly. And in the long term, you might not see the machine in action for as long as you might expect.
- Reduce brewed coffee quality
Old coffee grounds, sludge, and oils stuck inside the coffee maker can follow the new hot flow of water and enters your fresh cup of Joe, spoiling the content with the unwanted flavor carry-overs.
Maybe it isn’t your coffee beans that are stale.
- Increase risk of bacteria
According to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services [FDACS], a warm, moist, and protein-rich environment encourages bacterial growth. Guess where I’m hinting at?
A dirty coffee maker provides those perfect conditions with the presence of warm water, heat, and old coffee. The longer you leave it, the more likely there’s a risk of bacteria, and possibly even mold.
So, let’s not go there, shall we?
How to Tell If Your Bunn Coffee Makers Need To Be Cleaned
Here are a few signs to look out for to know when you should clean a Bunn coffee machine:
- Longer brew time
- Stale and worse coffee taste and aroma
- Less coffee dispensed than usual
- Unusual sounds
How Often Do You Need To Clean a Bunn Coffee Maker?
You should keep tabs on how often you use the machine and schedule to clean it anyway to keep it in tip-top shape regardless of whether the obvious signs are there or not.
For a Bunn coffee maker, as you would with other coffee machines, you need to do everyday general maintenance after finishing brewing and at the end of the day.
You should also descale the machine at least every 3 months to get rid of the mineral deposits and oil build-ups I mentioned earlier.
For more frequent usage, implement the deep cleaning session more frequently as well, such as once every other month or once a month.
How To Clean a Bunn Coffee Maker For Daily Maintenance
First, I’ll show you the cleaning process after brewing for regular cleaning.
No matter how much you want to slack off, this has to be a must, for sanitary reasons and as a courtesy for the next coffee brewer.
Discard the coffee grounds and paper filter after every use into the trash. Then rinse the basket to get rid of any leftover coffee grounds.
Carafe And Brew Funnel
Glass Carafe Model
After finishing each batch of coffee, you should wash both the glass carafe and the brew funnel using mild liquid detergent and a non-abrasive sponge.
Both the Bunn coffee pots and funnel are also top-rack dishwasher-safe if you don’t feel like washing with warm soapy water by hand. Separate the carafe lid from the carafe and put all 3 on the top shelf.
For coffee stains such as brown rings, you can fill the coffee pot with warm soapy water and let it sit for a couple of hours before rinsing thoroughly with warm water.
No matter how busy you are, keep the thing that holds your coffee, the coffee pot, clean.
Thermal Carafe Model
The thermal carafe takes a bit more effort and care than the easy-going glass one. Ironic, isn’t it?
You can also wash the thermal coffee pot by hand following my previous instructions.
But if the coffee stains are too stubborn, follow the 9 steps below to have the thermal carafe rid of the stains safely and soundly without a scratch.
- Step 1: Place a paper filter in the brew funnel.
- Step 2: Add 2 teaspoons of powder dishwasher detergent to the filter.
- Step 3: Add one carafe of distilled water into the machine’s reservoir.
- Step 4: Put the carafe under the brew funnel and close the lid.
- Step 5: Remove the brew funnel and discard the paper filter once the normal cycle of brewing ceases.
- Step 6: Rinse the funnel with plain water.
- Step 7: Let the carafe sit for about 15 minutes before using a soft brush to clean the inside and outer rim of the carafe.
- Step 8: Use a soft warm soapy cloth to clean the carafe’s spout and lid.
- Step 9: Rinse the carafe and lid with water.
On certain models, there’s also a brew-through valve on the thermal coffee pot. Occasionally, you also have to remove the valve to clean it with mild dish soap and a non-abrasive sponge.
At the end of the day, when cleaning your kitchen, remember to use a damp cloth that’s non-abrasive to wipe down your Bunn coffee maker as well, including the area above the brew funnel.
Make sure to check and turn off the warmer switch if it isn’t already.
How To Descale The Spray Head Of A Bunn Coffee Maker
Some may forget to give the spray head tube of the coffee maker a wash. This is where the water is dispensed.
The spray head is a regulator that determines the rate water flows into the funnel, the spray pattern over the grounds bed, the total time water trickles, as well as how long hot water comes into contact with the coffee grounds AKA extraction time.
As you can see, the spray head tube is a very important piece of equipment that can significantly affect the quality of your brew. Yet, due to its constant contact with water, the spray head is also more subjected to scale build-ups and corrosion.
Therefore, you need to clean the spray head once or twice a week, or at the very least, at the same time as the machine’s descaling process, which is 3 months as a rule of thumb I’ve mentioned above.
But if you live in an area with very hard water, twice a month can be necessary to keep the coffee maker running smoothly as butter.
Here are the 3 detailed steps to clean the spray head:
Step 1: Preparation
- Turn off the coffee maker, including unplugging, and let it cool down for at least 2 hours.
- Remove the brew funnel and unscrew the spray head.
- Put the funnel back into the machine.
- Add an entire coffee pot of water into the coffee maker and keep the lid open.
- Place the empty coffee pot under the funnel and close the lid and water will flow into the coffee pot.
Step 2: Descaling
- Use a spray head cleaning tool or a toothpick to check the holes of the spray head and poke out the mineral deposit.
- Use a non-abrasive cloth and dish soap to hand wash the spray head.
Step 3: Clean-Up
- Discard the water in the coffee pot and place it below the funnel again.
- Remove the brew funnel to reinstall the spray head and put the funnel back in place.
- Plug the coffee maker in and turn the power switch on.
- Wait for around 15 minutes for the cold water in the water tank to reach the right brewing temperature before making coffee.
How To Descale A Bunn Coffee Maker
Next, I’ll explain in detail how to give your Bunn coffee maker a spa day for a deep cleaning process.
Though there are other descaling solutions that can be utilized such as baking soda and lemon juice, the following instructions to get your Bunn coffee maker clean are demonstrated using white vinegar.
Step 1: Preparation
- Turn the power off and unplug the machine.
- Slide the funnel into the funnel rails.
- Place the coffee pot under the funnel.
Step 2: Descale With White Vinegar
- Open the lid and add one quart (32 oz) of white vinegar to the water reservoir.
- Close the lid and let the white vinegar sit in the coffee maker and drip through the funnel into the Bunn coffee pot, which takes around 2 hours.
- Discard the vinegar in the Bunn coffee pot afterward.
Step 3: Clean The Spray Head
- Remove the brew funnel and unscrew the spray head.
- Check for deposits in the spray head holes and poke them out using a deliming tool or a toothpick.
- Clean the spray head with dish soap and a soft cloth and rinse with warm water.
Step 4: Run Rinse Cycles
- Pour a carafe of cold water into the water reservoir.
- Place the carafe under the funnel and put the funnel back in place.
- Close the lid to let water flushes out the leftover vinegar and smell.
- Empty the carafe when no liquid is dispensed.
- Repeat the process another 3 times or more until there’s no longer a distinct smell of vinegar.
Step 5: Restore
- Remove the funnel to reinsert the spray head before putting the funnel back in place again.
- Place the carafe under the funnel.
- Plug the coffee maker into the power outlet and flip the switch to turn it on.
- Wait for around 15 minutes for the cold water in the tank to reach the right brewing temperature before making coffee.
If you think 100% vinegar is too strong of a descaling solution to clean your Bunn coffee brewers, you can mix vinegar with distilled water (50:50) instead.
Though vinegar solution can be an effective descaler, many can’t stomach its smell and feel like they’d get reminded of the smell next time they make coffee despite the squeaky clean Bunn coffee maker.
So, how do you clean a Bunn coffee maker without vinegar? Here are a couple of options for all Bunn coffee machines owners:
- 1/4 cup (32 g) of baking soda and water to the fill line
- Lemon juice and water (50:50)
For Heat N’ Brew Coffee Maker Model
To clean a Bunn Heat N’ Brew model, other than the drip descaling method above, you can also utilize the brewing function for deep cleaning. So no switching the machine off and unplugging it at the beginning.
- After adding the descaling solution, let it sit for a few minutes.
- Press the Brew button to start the brew cycle for thorough cleaning of the machine’s internal brewing components.
- Empty the carafe at the end of the cycle.
- Run 3 or more additional rinse cycles with fresh water to have a clean machine free of the taste and smell of the vinegar, baking soda, or lemon juice and water solution.
- Clean the spray head using a deliming tool and reinsert it according to the above steps 3 and 5.
I hope all of those dirty details can give you a realistic heads-up of the dirty work to maintain your coffee maker. So stop procrastinating cleaning up and get to work!