How to Clean Any Coffee Maker?

Coffee makers are a staple in almost every household.

They allow you to brew a fresh cup of coffee in the comfort of your home.

Also most of time they don't allow you to brew coffee outside.

However, as great of an appliance as they are, they can become dirty because of the moisture that builds up after usage.

So, how often do you clean your French Press or any coffee maker?

If you are having trouble figuring out to successfully clean your coffee maker, then look no further.

Because I have some great tips for you.

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 The Easiest Way to Clean a Coffee Maker

Depending on the type of coffee maker you have, such as a coffee pot, drip maker, or a carafe, there are certain methods for thoroughly cleaning it.

The reason why it is important to clean the coffee maker is because of the grime and bacteria that can grow inside!

You don’t want to drink any of that in your cup of coffee. The best and easiest way to clean your coffee maker is to flush it out with a formula, typically vinegar.

Vinegar is a safe liquid, although it does not taste good, so make sure you flush it out with plenty of water.

Instructions 1: Cleaning Your Coffee Maker Each Time

Depending on the type of coffee maker you have, it may require cleaning after each use. Always read the user manual to make sure you are not over or under cleaning. 

A regular coffee pot with need regular cleaning, in the form of rinsing the machine and changing the coffee filter. 

A high-tech coffee maker like a Keurig requires cleaning only every few months. 

The best way to clean a Keurig is to flush with a vinegar and water solution, but don’t make the mistake I did and flush it once and make a cup of coffee! 

You must flush it through several times in order to get the vinegar taste out of the machine.

Instruction 2: Disassemble the Machine

Before you begin cleaning your coffee machine, take every piece a part, such as the chamber and drip holder. 

Run the mixture of vinegar and water through the machine after individually scrubbing each piece of your coffee maker with dish soap and warm water.


Make sure you take each piece apart so there is no build-up of moisture left.

Instruction 3: Wash All Removable Parts Thoroughly 

Clean all the parts of the coffee maker and make sure everything is totally dried before reassembling. 

Instruction 4: Wipe Down the Entire Machine 

With a dry cloth, wipe down the entire coffee machine after washing it. Avoid leaving any wet parts that could create moisture build-up or cause mold to grow. 

Your machine should be completely dry before brewing any coffee.

Instruction 5: Time to Reassemble 

When it comes time to reassembling your machine, again, make sure you have dried every piece and put it back in the right place.

Your coffee machine will not work if you have assembled it the wrong way, so pay careful attention during this step.

Instruction 6: Ready to Brew

Now that the machine is cleaned and reassembled, you can brew a fresh cup of coffee. 

Be careful with this first cup coffee because your first cup brewed after cleaning is a tell-tale sign if you have flushed the machine out good enough.

The first time I did this, I got a mouthful of vinegar coffee!

Make sure there is no vinegar taste to your coffee before brewing a fresh batch.

Deep Cleaning Your Coffee Maker

You may wonder why deep cleaning your coffee maker is so important! Well, bacteria and mold can grow in your coffee machine if you do not keep it clean.

As a result, you can become sick if you brew coffee that is contaminated with bacteria and mold.

Deep cleaning your coffee maker means you are brewing the freshest cup of coffee possible.

When deep cleaning you should use a vinegar-water mixture and take a cloth or sponge to scrub down the sides of your machine.

If your coffee maker is substantially dirty than you may want to consider scrubbing it with a dash of baking soda.

Best Method for Cleaning

Grab a durable cloth or sponge, paper towels, mixture of vinegar-water, baking soda, and a lot of elbow grease! 

A good quality cloth or sponge will eliminate any coffee stains or grime, the vinegar-water and baking soda will break down mold or bacteria, and your elbow grease will allow you to make your coffee maker shine.

What Not to Clean With?

Do not clean with harsh cleaning chemicals like bleach because you do not want to chance ingesting any of it. 

Always clean with a friendly cleaner like vinegar or baking soda because if you happen to ingest any of it you will not become sick.

Using Vinegar to Clean With

Vinegar is probably the safest and most effective solution to clean your coffee maker with.

Try using half vinegar and half water to run through your machine.

After doing this several times, flush out with just water to eliminate a lingering vinegar taste or smell.

Is Vinegar Safe to Use Regularly?


Vinegar is a safe solution to use regularly and it will not deteriorate any coffee machine.

You can confidently clean with vinegar knowing it will get the job done right and not leave any chemical residue.

What Kind of Vinegar Should I Use?

White vinegar is the best vinegar to use to clean your coffee maker. It is cheap but works well. 

There are many other kinds of vinegar that could be used, but do keep in mind they cost more.

What Other Kinds of Vinegar Can I Use?

Apple cider vinegar, rice wine, or balsamic vinegar are all possible alternatives to white vinegar. 

That being said, out of these three I recommend apple cider vinegar.

While it is more expensive compared to rice wine vinegar and balsamic vinegar, it is the most similar to white vinegar.

Why Does Vinegar Work So Well?

Vinegar is a powerful cleaning agent! 

The natural acidic properties of vinegar breakdown any residue and leave whatever it cleans fresh and shiny.

Apple cider vinegar and white vinegar are slightly more powerful, from my own experience, so I highly recommend using either of the two.

Cleaning a Coffee Maker Without Vinegar

Cleaning a coffee maker without vinegar is definitely possible. In fact, it is a good idea to not use vinegar if the smell of it bothers you.

An alternative to using vinegar is lemon juice and water. Because lemon juice is not as strong as vinegar, you do not have to flush your coffee maker out as many times to get rid of the smell.

Lemon juice and water is a quick and effective way to clean your coffee maker

Baking Soda

Cleaning a Coffee Maker with Baking Soda

Baking soda is a staple in almost every home’s pantry, but did you know it can be used to clean your coffee maker? 

All you have to do is mix ¼ cup baking soda to 1 cup warm water and run it through the coffee machine.

Baking soda does not have a pungent odor so it will not leave any smell behind.

Required Items for Cleaning

All you need is baking soda, warm water, measuring cups, and patience. 

Baking soda is a very easy solution to use to clean your coffee maker, and it gets the job done quickly.

How to Get Started

Simply take apart your coffee machine and soak it in a baking soda-water mixture. Usually a ¼ cup mixed with water does the trick! 

  • Scrub each part of the machine
  • Run through a baking soda-water solution
  • Thoroughly dry the machine and reassemble

Should I Use Bleach to Clean a Coffee Maker?

I suggest you refrain from using bleach to clean your coffee maker, for a number of reasons. 

  1. Bleach is a powerful household cleaning agent that can be fatal if ingested
  2. The smell of bleach is hard to get out, especially a coffee maker
  3. You can clean the exterior of the coffee maker just not the inside

Method for Cleaning Exterior with Bleach

Use a mild-bleach and mix with warm water to clean the outside of your coffee maker. 

Ensure that you do not get any bleach in the inside of the machine, and if you do, wipe it immediately.

Afterwards, you may want to take a wet cloth with just water and wipe the outside down again.

Cleaning Your Coffee Maker with Salt Water

When your coffee maker needs to be decalcified, using a salt water mixture is great for getting the job done. 

Salt works at eliminating the mineral deposits inside the coffee maker and leaves it looking fresh and clean.

The water you mix with the salt water should be luke-warm.

What Items Do You Need

All you need: 

1. table salt

2. water

3. measuring cups

4. paper towels

5. elbow grease

using Salt

Can I Use Sea Salt?

Sea salt is great but I recommend using table salt because it is already ground up well which means it dissolves easier in the water. 

Sea salt because it is so coarse, could potentially scratch your machine during the cleaning process if it does not dissolve well.

How to Get Started

  • First disassemble the coffee maker
  • Soak each piece in the salt water mixture. You can put this into a sink for easier soaking
  • Scrub each piece with a cloth or sponge
  • Rinse with warm water and dry with paper towel or cloth
  • Ensure all pieces are dry before reassembling

Cleaning a Coffee Maker with Dish Soap

Ensure you use a fragrance-free dish soap with warm water to clean. 

The reason why you do not want to use a scented dish soap is because it can leave a smell behind in the coffee maker itself which can then transfer to the coffee you brew.

What Items Do You Need

You only need a few items to clean your coffee maker with dish soap, which makes it a convenient method to use.

  • An unscented dish soap/detergent
  • A good quality sponge
  • Warm water

How to Get Started

  • First disassemble the coffee maker
  • Soak each piece in a dish soap mixture. You can put this mixture into the sink for easier cleaning
  • Scrub each piece with a cloth or sponge
  • Rinse with warm water to get all soap off of the pieces
  • Ensure all pieces are dry before reassembling

lemon juice

Cleaning the Coffee Maker with Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is a great cleaning agent to get rid of coffee stains and grime. 

It not only smells great too but it is able to clean quicker than most other agents.

You can either use freshly squeezed lemon juice or buy a bottle of already squeezed lemon juice, which is easier for convenience sake.

What Items Do You Need

You will need:

  • Lemon juice, either fresh or pre-squeezed/bottled
  • Warm water
  • Dish cloth or sponge
  • Elbow grease

How to Get Started

  • First disassemble the coffee maker
  • Soak each piece in the lemon juice mixture. You can put this mixture into the sink for easier cleaning
  • Scrub each piece with a cloth or sponge
  • Rinse with cool water to get all lemon juice off of the pieces. Warm water might keep the lemon juice smell, but the cool water flushes it out better
  • Ensure all pieces are dry before reassembling

Cleaning Timetable: How Often Should You Clean Your Coffee Maker?

Depending on the type of coffee maker you have, you may have to clean it more often than others.

Never assume that your coffee maker is clean because grime can build up that is sometimes not visible to the naked eye.

You have to clean your coffee maker to make sure any mineral deposits and bacteria is washed away.

Try to keep track of the cleaning on a calendar so you don’t forget.

Every Few Days

If you have a regular coffee pot, you may want to consider washing it after each use or at least changing the filter. 

A Keurig or similar machine does not have to be deep cleaned every few days, so use your judgement.

Every Week

This is doable, setting aside a day of the week to clean your coffee maker. 

I like to clean mine on Sunday evening, after I have brewed all my coffee for the week and so I can start fresh on Monday morning!

Every Two Months

This routine is perfect for most coffee makers, as they usually stay clean for quite a while. 

Again, keep your eye on your maker and use your own judgement to know when it needs to be clean.

Most coffee makers will even tell you when they need to be decalcified.

Every 3 to 6 Months

Cleaning your coffee maker every three to six months is usually the preferred schedule for busy people. 

It is not an easy task to clean your coffee maker so doing it every three to six months does not feel so tedious!

But please, don’t go past the six-month mark. I had a friend who did and her coffee maker harbored some serious bacteria that was not pretty!

When to Replace Your Coffee Maker

Signs to know when to replace your coffee maker are when it has stopped working, when there are visible cracks in the tank, or when the water will not heat up and brew coffee. 

Keep your ears alert for any odd noises coming from your machine also.

Avoid These Common Mistakes

1. Not cleaning the coffee maker properly. 

If you want to brew a horrible tasting cup of coffee then never clean your machine! 

Always ensure you keep it clean so that every cup of coffee you make tastes


2. Using strong cleaners. 

It is fine to use a good cleaning agent like vinegar or dish soap But when you use strong chemical cleaners, you risk having their scent stick to the coffee machine and transfer to the coffee you brew.

3. Focus on cleaning the inside of the machine. 

A big mistake is only cleaning the outside of the coffee maker, or assuming that if it is clean then the inside must be clean, too! 

This is not true. Always keep the inside of your coffee machine cleaner than the outside.

4. Not descaling when the coffee maker tells you too. 

Most coffee makers will tell you when they need to be decalcified, but if you avoid.

doing so then you are asking to brew un-flavourfull coffee or coffee that is not fresh.

Read the Instruction Manual

Most coffee makers will come with a handy instruction manual! 

As bulky as some manuals might be, they are helpful when learning how to work the maker and also know how to properly clean it.

Never throw away the instruction manual!

The instruction manual will tell explain all the parts to you, how to assemble and disassemble, as well as how to keep it clean.

Leave the Reservoir Lid Open 

Remember to always wash the reservoir lid by hand, as the dishwasher can damage it. 

It is important that you leave it open when you are done using it allow it to dry and air to flow through.

If you constantly keep it closed then this could allow bacteria to grow because it is a moisture heavy area.

Wash the Brew Basket with Care

The brew basket in most coffee makers are extremely delicate. 

When you go to wash it, make sure you do so gently and do not bend it or crack it.

Most maker’s brew baskets will be easy to remove and simple to put back in once clean.

Allow for the basket to completely dry before putting it back in.

Professional Tips

The next time you are looking to clean your coffee maker, take note of some of these professional tips I have put together for you.

These tips will help keep your coffee maker sparkling and clean!

“Decalcify” your machine every month.

Create a regular schedule of when you will decalcify your coffee maker each month. 

For example, you might want to clean it the 15th day of each month so you never forget.

I recommend writing it on the calendar and including into your chore routine.

Make your carafe sparkle and shine again.

I am going to fill you in on a helpful tip to clean a coffee carafe. 

What you want to do is –

  • take 1 tablespoon of water
  • 4 teaspoons of regular salt
  • and 1 cup of crushed ice

Swirl this around in the carafe until it starts looking clean and then rinse out and wipe down.

Because this method involves ice, make sure your carafe is not hot as the ice will melt instantly.

Salt and Ice for Burned Coffee

Burning coffee happens to the best of us, and it is no fun to try and clean. 

All you have to do is take some ice cubes and sprinkle salt in the bottom of your coffee pot.

This is not ideal for Keurig coffee makers because of their brew system, but for coffee pots or carafes this method works wonders.


If you still have any burning questions about cleaning your coffee maker then keep on reading because chances are they will be answered here!

How Much Vinegar is Needed to Clean a Coffee Maker?

Typically, you can clean your coffee maker with equal parts vinegar to water. 

I like to use 3 cups vinegar to 3 cups water.

If you prefer less vinegar then you can use 2 cups vinegar to 3 cups water and it will still reap a good clean.

How to Clean a Drip Coffee Maker?

Cleaning a drip coffee maker is slightly more tedious but it does not have to be difficult! 

All you do is –

  • empty your coffee pot of any leftover coffee
  • add vinegar water with the ratio 3:6
  • turn the coffee maker on and let it brew for two full cycles.

Afterwards, flush out with only water and wipe down.

How to Clean with Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is a powerful cleaning agent that works similarly to vinegar. 

Therefore, you simply use an equal ratio of apple cider vinegar to water and run through several cycles.

Afterwards, flush out with water because apple cider vinegar can be quite strong, and dry with a cloth.

Cleaning with White Vinegar

Vinegar is a safe and effective solution to clean your coffee maker with. 

Using half vinegar and half water to run through the machine.

After doing this two to three times, flush out with just water to eliminate a lingering vinegar taste or smell.

Vinegar is safe to ingest, so if you can taste it in your coffee still do not be alarmed.

All you have to do is keep flushing your coffee maker out with water until the taste eventually disappears.

The Best Way to Clean the Inside of a Coffee Maker

The best way to clean the inside of your coffee maker is to use either vinegar or lemon juice. 

Flushing it through your coffee maker will ensure that any bacteria, grime, or residue is removed and it will leave the inside smelling and looking fresh.

How to Clean Your Coffee Maker with CLR

It is possible to use CLR to clean your coffee maker with, but I only suggest this method if your coffee maker is caked on with residue. 

What you want to do is-

mix one part of CLR to eight parts water (1/4 cup to 2 cups).

For single cup brewers, you only need to use one capful of CLR.

All you do now is run the CLR and water mixture through two to three times and then run only a water cycle through several times.

Your coffee maker should be looking clean in no time!

Properly Cleaning a Large Coffee Maker

Some coffee drinkers wonder if cleaning a large coffee maker is similar to cleaning a regular or small size maker and the answer is yes! 

Just make sure you are using enough cleaner to clean the entire maker.

Are Automatic Coffee Makers the Same to Clean as Coffee Pots?

Yes, but the method is slightly different. 

Automatic coffee makers can be cleaned with the same cleaning agents as coffee pots or carafes.

The only difference is how much liquid you use, as some automatic makers only require a fraction of what a coffee pot or carafe require.

Always read your instruction manual to make sure.

What Is A Self-Cleaning Coffee Maker?

A self-cleaning coffee maker is convenient but still requires some work on your part.

All you have to do is fill the water reservoir with a vinegar/lemon juice and water mixture (you decide what cleaning agent you want to use), and hit the self-clean button.

Your machine should light up and start the self-cleaning cycle.

Once it is done, dry out the machine and you are good to go to make a fresh cup of coffee.


Now that you have read about all the ways to clean a coffee maker, you should feel confident the next time you find yourself having to clean your own.

It does not have to be a challenging task, and once you do it a few times you will feel more comfortable with the cleaning process.

Always check with your instruction manual if you come across any questions when cleaning your coffee maker.

Now you can be on your way to brewing fresh, great tasting coffee every time!

Sarah Price

Creator & editor here at House Of Arabica. I'm a proud mother of one baby girl. Passionate about coffees and their variations. Love to review coffee accessories! Please feel free to put your comment below.

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