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How to Clean a Drink Dispenser

Drink dispensers can make serving guests at dinner parties, backyard barbecues and all sorts of events in your home a little easier as a host. They also allow guests to serve themselves quickly and easily so they get what they need when they want it. The right drink dispenser can add ambiance, elegance or a bit of fun to any gathering, too.

Using a drink dispenser, whether you're filling it with ice water for a summer barbecue, or your favorite cocktail for a celebratory bash, is rather straightforward. Once the party is over and it's time to get everything cleaned up though, the drink dispenser that nobly served your guests can be a little tricky to clean until you know how to do it.

Use this guide from Pottery Barn to learn more about cleaning drink dispensers of all sizes.

Empty Your Drink Dispenser First

The first step toward cleaning your drink dispenser is to get rid of whatever liquid you were serving to your guests. The easiest way to do this is to simply position the nozzle or spigot over the sink so the liquid washes down the drain. If ice still remains in your drink dispenser, it can be poured out from the top and into the sink.

Alternatively, if the drink dispenser is heavy and the ice is making it hard to pick up, allow the ice to melt or add warm water to speed up the process. Once the dispenser is empty you can begin properly cleaning it for storage.

Warm Water Works Wonders

Once your drink dispenser has been emptied, adding warm water can start the cleaning process. If possible, it's best to do this right after your drink dispenser has been used so that any sugars from fruit, alcohol or other ingredients won't have much time to stick and make further cleaning more difficult.

Hot water can work if your dispenser is made to handle these liquids, but you'll need to check the care and cleaning instructions specific to your model to find out. Water that's boiling hot can crack dispensers that aren't designed to hold it.

Use Soap Sparingly

Standard liquid dish soap is ideal for giving your drink dispenser a quick cleaning after it has been used. Too much can be very hard to remove from your dispenser once it's added though.

For most dispensers, about one tablespoon of liquid dish soap is all you'll need. More than that and you could spend a long time rinsing your dispenser or running clean warm water through it to get rid of remaining suds.

Instead of using all soap, a small amount of white vinegar can help prevent bacteria from forming and get rid of any lasting odors or flavors in your dispenser. Along with the dish soap, about one to two tablespoons of white vinegar, depending on the size of your dispenser, can aid in the cleaning process.

Fill your dispenser with warm water to combine the soap and vinegar mixture and make sure every part of the carafe is properly cleaned.

Clean Gently

Most drink dispensers are designed to be regularly used by multiple guests, so in general, they aren't the most delicate serving items in your home. Some dispensers, particularly those made of glass or acrylic, can show visible scratches over time if you clean them too vigorously though.

If you're using a smaller dispenser or you're comfortable picking up your larger dispenser, shaking the carafe with the cleaning mixture inside can be effective. Using the soft side of a cleaning sponge to wipe down the dispenser with the liquid inside will work as well.

For the outside of the dispenser, a soapy cleaning sponge will work to get rid of sticky spots, fingerprints and anything else the carafe may have picked up during use.

Removable Tops and Nozzles

Most drink dispensers have removable tops and nozzles, which allows you to effectively remove them and clean them separately. For removable tops, standard dish soap and a clean sponge will work well.

Removable nozzles can be cleaned with a mixture of warm water, dish soap and vinegar like the one you use for your carafe. Using vinegar ensures that you remove bacteria from the nozzle that could accumulate over multiple uses. Rinse removable nozzles with hot water to get rid of any vinegar odor or taste.

Hand Dry for a Spotless Shine

After cleaning your drink dispenser, hand drying the top, nozzle and carafe with a clean, lint-free cloth is ideal. This will give you a spotless shine and help remove any odors that may remain after cleaning.

Always store your dispenser in a safe place so it won't be damaged between uses.

Cleaning a drink dispenser of any size is relatively easy once you know the process. Use these tips and your drink dispenser will help you put on perfect parties, summer gatherings and all sorts of celebrations for years to come.