Make a mixture of 1 part white vinegar to 2 parts water-- enough to fill the pot. For a stronger solution (which might be necessary if this is the first time you've cleaned your coffee maker since you got it three years ago) make a mixture that is half vinegar and half water instead.
Here are some alternative mixtures:
a pot's worth of water and two denture tablets. Remember to dissolve the tablets in a separate container of water and not the coffee maker water reservoir. Undissolved tablets can make the rinsing process lengthy.
dissolve 1 oz of citric acid in 4 cups of hot water, then add 4 cups of cold water to the mixture.
1 part baking soda to 4 parts of warm water
store-bought coffee maker cleaners
straight bleach(for the glass carafe ONLY)will instantly dissolve baked-on coffee. [NEVER mix bleach and vinegar or any acid; the fumes are poisonous]
Put a filter in your coffee maker, as usual.
Pour the mixture into the coffee maker where you would normally add water.
Turn the coffee maker on and let the mixture run completely through.
Discard the filter and mixture.
Let the coffee maker sit and cool for 15 minutes while it's off.
Rinse the coffee pot.
Repeat all of the above twice, but this time with plain cold water. This will make sure all of the vinegar and water solution is completely gone. If short on time, smell the coffee pot and maker after the first rinse. If there is no smell of vinegar left, you can skip the second rinse.
Coffee Maker Cleaning Tips
Does your pot have hard to reach areas? Use a wooden chopstick with a paper towel to get in there.
You can put ice cubes and a little water(enough so you can swirl it around) in pot and swirl them around, for harder stains put some table salt in pot and swirl it around for a few minutes and then rinse.
Put a glass marble in the water chamber to attract mineral deposits from hard water. Wash it once a week.
For tough stains, scrub the pot using a paper towel or clean (not soapy) dish towel. Rinse thoroughly.
To clean just the pot, do what many restaurants do. Put about two cups of ice, 1/4 cup of rock or table salt, and 1/4 cup of lemon juice (bottled or fresh is fine) and swirl around the pot. Measurements are not that important, just guesstimate. Be sure that the pot is cold before you try this, or you may break the glass pot.
Clean a brand new coffee pot prior to using it for the first time.
Never use the coffee pot to pour water into the reservoir. This will transfer oils and impurities from the pot, and eventually give the coffee a nasty taste. Instead, use a pitcher that is reserved for water only.
Never wash the coffee pot with soap. This will bind with the oils deposited by the coffee and will leave a taste behind. Do not wash in the dishwasher for the same reason.
It is a myth that all coffee pots are made of glass and will shatter if you place cold water in the pot while it's hot. Some coffee pots are made of Pyrex (even if not named so) and can go directly from hot to cold (even oven to cold water) without shattering.
Make sure you know if its a glass pot or not, because glass will shatter unlike the Pyrex.