Coffee Machine Stinkiness
January 25, 2007 4:54 PM   Subscribe

Coffee Filter: I was given a small espresso machine for Christmas. How do I get rid of the "new machine" smell?

It's a small Sunbeam espresso maker from the low end of the market. It works well and the results are great. I'm really happy with it. BUT the machine stinks of new plastic. In fact, the problem seems to be in the (fortunately) removable reservoir.

I've taken the reservoir out, washed it, soaked it, left it to air. Four weeks later and it still stinks of brand-new plastic. Any water left sitting in it for more than 5 minutes aquires the same smell, as does the coffee using this water. Its so strong that I can smell the plastic more than the fresh-brewed coffee.

Sunbeam's free help line is aimed more at machine operation and achieving good crema and wasn't very helpful.

What can I use to decontaminate the reservoir that won't kill it? It's the size of a squarish 1liter coke bottle and made of some clear (but slightly white) plastic.
posted by ninazer0 to Home & Garden (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
There are coffee machine cleaners you can buy & run through the machine I believe. Like this kind of thing.
posted by miss lynnster at 5:02 PM on January 25, 2007

Run vinegar through the machine (like, put it in the same way you'd put water into the machine to brew a cuppa).

Wash thoroughly with water, run another cycle of water through the machine.

posted by porpoise at 5:19 PM on January 25, 2007

Do you have one of those Bionaire Air cleaners, like ones at Sharper Image? You can leave the reservoir and the air cleaner in a large garbage bag for a day or so and it should reduce/get rid of the smell. I've done it with some foam pillows and it got rid of the chemical smell.

I have a friend who's a drycleaner, and he's got an industrial version of these air cleaners. He uses it to clean smoky clothes in a few minutes. It can also take the smell out of a newly painted room in about a day and get rid of food smells in cars in about 1/2 hour.
posted by Cog at 5:30 PM on January 25, 2007

My experience with coffee machines is that the user manuals usually recommend that you run a little distilled or white vinegar through the machine. Check the manual.

Porpoise has it sort of - but I'd cut the vinegar with lots of water. You don't want to trade one bad taste and smell for another and distilled vinegar is really strong stuff!
posted by wfrgms at 7:24 PM on January 25, 2007

i don't think vinegar will help you; it is useful for cleaning old coffee residue out of coffee-makers, but won't do much to get rid of plastic smell.

UV radiation may be helpful, so try letting the reservoir sit in full sunlight for a day or two. another thing to try would be making a paste from baking soda; rub it onto the reservoir's surface and let sit for a couple of hours before rinsing off. running it through the dishwasher may also help.
posted by jjsonp at 10:52 AM on January 26, 2007 [1 favorite]

I've pegged the reservoir to the clothesline to sit and it's been baking for several hours now. A sniff test indicates that it appears to be slightly less stinky. I did leave it to air previously but it appears that really hot sunshine encourages the thing to sweat the smell out. Also, with the reservoir removed, the rest of the machine smells just fine, so it's obviously just the reservoir. I think this would rule out running vinegar through the machine (although I can try soaking the reservoir in a bucket solution).

If I can't UV the smell away, then it's the baking-soda suggestion next, followed by the de-scaler solution. I'm wary of trying to use vinegar after my mother attempted to clean an iron (which worked) but I ended up going to school smelling like fish & chips for a couple of months. However, if the baking soda doesn't work, then the diluted vinegar will be next on the list!

Thankyou, everyone, for your suggestions!
posted by ninazer0 at 12:56 AM on January 27, 2007

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