Though it might be the least fun part of brewing a delicious pitcher of iced tea, cleaning your iced tea maker is very important, especially if you want your appliance to last a couple of years down the line. And while cleanup is largely simple and uncomplicated, there are a couple of things you need to know when it comes to taking care of your machine in the long run, especially when it comes to de-liming your iced tea maker.
That’s why we’re here to tell you everything you need to know about cleaning your iced tea maker, including what activities you should focus on and when. Take a look:
Cleaning your iced tea maker
After every use
Before you start moaning about how much of a chore it’s going to be to have to clean your iced tea maker every single time you use it, let me point out that cleaning up at this stage is very simple. All you have to do is simply empty out the tea basket and rinse both it and the pitcher when you’re done. You may need to use a little dishwasher to get the stains out, but for the larger part, a few minutes under the tap is all it’ll take.
But why bother, you might ask. Couldn’t I just clean out my iced tea maker every week or so? Well, you could, but that’d mean you’d have to clean a dirtier tea basket and have to scrub harder to get those stains out. Not to mention that using an unclean iced tea maker is pretty unhygienic, and you’re more or less asking to get ill from using it.
That’s why it’s better to just suck it up and clean your iced tea maker every single time you use it. If having to clean again and again really bothers you, then you can just brew larger batches of tea at a time (click here to learn how to use your iced tea maker) and store them in your refrigerator. That way, you won’t have to clean as often and you can still enjoy your tea for days to come.
Once a fortnight
Unless you pack away your iced tea maker after using it every time, your appliance is bound to gather quite a bit of dust sitting idle on the kitchen countertop. This simply won’t do, since it leaves the opportunity for dust to enter your iced tea and ruin the flavor. Splotches of dried up ice tea from previous (carelessly made, if I may add) brews may also be decorating the exterior of your appliance, making it look quite unsightly indeed.
Fortunately, countering this is a no-brainer: just take a damp paper towel or cloth and use it to wipe off all dirt and grime on your iced tea maker’s exterior. For tougher spots, use a little dishwasher to scrub them off with a sponge or cloth. And while you’re at it, find a suitable, clean tablecloth and use it to cover the iced tea maker when you’re done; this way, the machine won’t gather as much dust as it did last time.
If you’ve been using your iced tea maker long enough, then you may have begun to notice white deposits on the internal water reservoir. This is because of a process called liming, an unintended by-product of the way iced tea makers work, where salts in water are left behind in containers that are used to boil water again and again. The deposits build up over time, and the harder the water (hard water = greater salt content), the quicker the residue builds up.
De-liming your iced tea maker is very important, perhaps even more than cleaning it after every use. This is because the salt buildup greatly reduces your appliance’s performance since it coats both the water reservoir and water pump. Meaning water is both heated slower in the reservoir and delivered slower to the steeping basket. All of which leads to your iced tea maker taking longer and longer to brew the same cup of tea.
Follow these steps to de-lime your iced tea maker:
- After emptying out your water reservoir and letting it dry, fill it up with white vinegar.
- Make sure the tea basket is empty and place the pitcher under the machine. Once done, turn the machine on.
- Let the vinegar pour out into the pitcher for a few minutes (or until enough has poured out to fill one glass), and then turn the machine off.
- Let the machine sit for 30 minutes, with most of the vinegar still inside it. This will give ample time for all of the salt in the water reservoir and water pump to dissolve into it.
- Turn the machine on again and drain the remaining vinegar into the pitcher. Keep going until all of the vinegar has been emptied out of the iced tea maker, and then turn the machine off.
- Discard the vinegar and clean the pitcher. Use it to refill the water reservoir with clean water this time.
- Replace the pitcher under the machine and turn it on again. Let all the water drain out into the pitcher, cleaning the insides of the iced tea maker of any traces of vinegar.
And you’re good to go!
Some things to remember
- Your tea basket may also need to be de-limed. Clean your tea basket and fill it up with white vinegar, letting it soak for 20 minutes. After that, all you need to do is just discard the vinegar and give the basket a thorough rinse before using it again.
- The harder the water that you use, the more often you’ll have to de-lime your iced tea maker. In general, for hard water, you should de-lime your iced tea maker after every 40 brew cycles, while for soft water, you can extend this to 80 brew cycles.
- Don’t use harsh, abrasive cleaners on your iced tea makers. These will only lead to scratches on your machine and can even lead to breakages in the future.