Introduction: Estate Sale Coffee Maker Cleaning

About: Building design/consulting in Vancouver, WA. Resource based problem solver... in other words, I always take a minute to look in construction dumpsters :) ---the way some have to workout everyday... i have to …

We love Estate Sales. Here in small town Minnesota we are blessed to have a wonderful supply of estate sales managed by and expert husband and wife team! It's an awesome side hustle that always draws a crowd.

Our hunting brought us back on 'half off day' to find a much loved coffee maker. The Cuisinart Grind & Brew (new model / old model) lands beautifully on our counter.

Everyone has different comfort levels with salvaged products. Especially in the kitchen. It's essential to clean thoroughly so products perform like new!

  • We typically prefer french press coffee. Early shifts made the auto brew feature a must!

Step 1: A Good Buy

Easy to spot a good buy when you're familiar with the product. The Cuisinart coffee maker is one a friend had a few years ago in Chicago.

  • Back in the day... A good brand is often more valuable for older products. In the days of brick and mortar retail the brands carried more value as shoppers could only decide between what was on the shelves.
  • Shopping today... there are over 10,000 to choose from on amazon. Whether you're on page 100, 200 or the last page -they tend to look alike!

An easy example music players... Take the 80's Sony Walkman -superior product. Today's speakers (listed here) don't even reference the manufacturer -simply the big brand producing the device.

Step 2: Deep Clean

Yes, the cleaning is important. It's a factor to consider before getting the product home. My girlfriend would question the cleanliness of any used product we use in the kitchen.

Easy to use most the basic cleaning product.

  • Bleach - the best product for sterilizing any find. Ideal for products you'll use in the kitchen. --crazy what bleach costs for clorox online! it should never be more than $1/gal or at least $1/half gal at dollartree.
  • Boiling Water - steam or scald. The easiest way to clean. If there aren't electronic components or parts that can be damaged it goes in the canning pot!
  • Vinegar & Citric Acid - prefect for regular cleaning of kitchen products. I don't use it here because I wanted the extra strength of bleach
  • Baking Soda - great for cleaning up after an estate sale. I find that for any surface that could retain smells (wood or fiber) I dust with baking soda and allow to sit at least over night.
  • The Sun - yes, use the sun! If there is ever a question of mold... bleach + sun is the best or wood, fiber, books, records.

Complete clean. It's often necessary to take parts of appliances apart. Be careful not to force any components or damage in the process.

  • Wipe all surfaces with bleach
  • Soak or steam all components
  • Tilt, turn, lift every accessible part

Dilute cleansers - be sure to dilute products if you are worried they may damage your treasures. Always better to over-dilute and take a little extra time on a second cleaning.

Step 3: Know Your Appliance

The great thing about cleaning a coffee maker is that it boils water. The machine does part of the work! -see the gunk that came out after the first three boils. I never could tell where the white flakes came from.

Even for this older model the user manual is available under the product information. Super handy when setting the the clock function generally understanding your product.

Follow the warnings:

  • Careful for electrical shock. Most appliances with electronics have some warnings. Never keep appliances plugged in while cleaning or if wet.
  • For most appliances it shouldn't require more than a screw driver to disassemble. If it does... you have to question the steps you're taking.
  • Never submerse or steam electronic components.
  • Careful not to melt any plastic components or rubber gaskets.
  • Any other warnings? Please share in the comments...

Step 4: Test & Calibrate

For this coffee maker the process was simple. The challenge for most coffee makers is water temperature and the duration of brewing time. See America's Test Kitchen's 2013 video.

  • Brewing Temp - ranges between 195-205 degs (90-96 C)
  • Brewing Time - ideal is <8 minutes

For the coffee maker it was easy to see that a 4 cup pot brewed in six minutes. To confirm the temperature I had to reach for the always handy infrared thermometer. Typically I think of using this product in the garage to check engine temps. -this model is 1/2 the price of the one I picked up at harbor freight. It's also less than of the bleach!

Measuring the grounds just after brewing I read a max temp of 195deg F. I figure the grounds had already started to cool and it was sufficient.

Step 5: Perfect Landing

Finding the perfect spot is always a challenge. Especially when it means giving up counter space.

I'm thrilled with this fit between my mounted drying rack and the cabinets. It even leaves room for loading beans, water and has the swing out section for grounds on the right side. A great fit!

Thanks for reading!

  • The how to for the shelves in the background are shown here.
  • In this instructable I show how to make Vietnamese Egg Coffee - yes, it is delicious!

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