If you haven't cleaned your coffee maker in a year, let alone since you bought it, your home coffee game isn't as strong as it can be.

Proper maintenance not only ensures your machine stays in tip-top shape, it also leads to better tasting coffee. When not cleaned regularly, coffee makers accumulate dirt, coffee oils, mineral residue, and even yeast and mold — all of which can get into your brew.

Luckily, cleaning a coffee maker isn't hard. Beyond daily cleaning, your coffee maker is most likely in need of descaling — the process of removing limescale and buildup with a simple vinegar solution.

How to clean your coffee maker for better, fresher coffee

You'll want to refer to your machine's instruction manual for any specific information, but the guide below applies to drip coffee makers from Mr. Coffee to Bunn, as well as single-serve brewing systems that use coffee pods.

If you're particular about your coffee and want a professional solution, there are safe store-bought options worth exploring, from the barista-approved Urnex descaling solution to brand-specific descalers like the one offered by Keurig.

How often should I clean my coffeemaker?

"If you have hard water in your area, you may want to follow these steps weekly. Otherwise, you can clean your coffee maker once a month," says Houtman.

Wiping down your coffee maker daily, and never leaving coffee grounds and filters in the machine will go a long way in maintaining its cleanliness and avoid any major buildup.

Insider's takeaway

These simple cleaning steps can make the difference between a perfect cup of a coffee and an overly bitter one. With a monthly cleaning routine, along with daily maintenance, your coffeemaker will keep brewing fresh cups for years to come.