What to Clean Coffee Maker With?

Discover the most effective methods to clean your coffee maker, ensuring a perfect brew every time while prolonging its lifespan.

Keeping your coffee maker clean is essential to ensure that every cup of joe you brew tastes fresh and delicious. But with so many cleaning products available in the market, it can be challenging to determine which one is the best fit for your machine.

In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the most effective ways to clean your coffee maker and provide you with valuable insights on what products to use for a spotless brewer. Whether you’re a seasoned barista or just starting in the world of coffee brewing, this article will help you maintain your equipment and enjoy a perfect cup every time.

What You’ll Need

Fortunately, most of the items required for cleaning are likely already in your kitchen.

To clean your coffee maker effectively, you will need:

  • White vinegar or lemon juice
  • Baking soda
  • Denture tablets (optional)
  • A soft-bristled brush or sponge
  • Water

It is essential to note that not all these materials are necessary for every method. Some techniques may require only one ingredient while others may require a combination of two or more.

However, having them on hand will ensure that you can choose the best method based on what works best for your machine and personal preferences.


Most of these items are likely already in your kitchen, making the cleaning process quick and easy. Here’s what you’ll need:

1. A soft-bristled brush or sponge: This will help scrub away any stubborn stains or buildup inside the coffee maker.

2. White vinegar: Vinegar is an excellent natural cleaner that can dissolve mineral deposits and remove bacteria from your machine.

3. Lemon juice: Like vinegar, lemon juice is acidic and can be used to clean various surfaces around the home.

4. Baking soda: Baking soda has abrasive properties that make it ideal for removing tough stains on different surfaces.

5. Denture tablets (optional): These fizzing tablets contain citric acid which helps break down hard water deposits in a coffee maker.


Most of these items are likely already in your kitchen or pantry. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • White vinegar: This is the most common and effective cleaning agent for coffee makers.
  • Lemon juice: If you don’t have white vinegar on hand, lemon juice can be used as an alternative.
  • Baking soda: Another natural cleaner that can help remove stubborn stains and buildup from your machine.
  • Denture tablets: These fizzing tablets work wonders to clean hard-to-reach areas of the coffee maker.

In addition to these cleaning agents, it’s also helpful to have some basic tools such as a scrub brush or toothbrush for scrubbing away grime and buildup in tight spaces. A microfiber cloth is also useful for wiping down the exterior of the machine without leaving any streaks behind.

White Vinegar Method

This method helps remove mineral buildup, bacteria, and other impurities that can affect the taste of your coffee. To start with this method, you’ll need a few things: white vinegar (or apple cider vinegar), water, a measuring cup or pitcher, and a sponge or cloth.

Fill the Coffee Maker with Vinegar and Water: Begin by filling up half of your coffee maker’s reservoir with equal parts water and white vinegar. If you’re unsure how much liquid to use for your machine size specifically consult its manual for guidance.

Brew And Let Soak: Turn on the brew cycle as if you were making regular coffee but without any grounds in it! Once halfway through brewing turn off the machine so that it can soak in all those cleaning properties from both liquids inside.

Fill the Coffee Maker With Vinegar and Water

The amount of solution needed will depend on the size of your machine, so be sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions before proceeding. Once you’ve mixed up enough solution, pour it into the water reservoir and turn on your coffee maker as if you were brewing a pot of coffee.

As soon as it starts brewing, turn off or unplug your machine mid-cycle and let it sit for about an hour. This allows time for the acidic properties in vinegar to break down any mineral buildup inside your brewer that could affect its performance.

After an hour has passed, resume brewing until all liquid has been dispensed from both sides (if applicable). Discard this first batch since there may still be traces of minerals left behind by previous use.

Brew and Let Soak

Turn on the machine as if you were brewing a pot of coffee, but without adding any grounds or filters. As the mixture begins to cycle through, pause it halfway through so that half of the solution is in your carafe.

Allow this mixture to sit for about 30 minutes before resuming brewing. This will give enough time for the vinegar solution to break down any mineral buildup inside your machine effectively.

Afterward, finish running a full cycle with just plain water twice or until there is no more smell of vinegar left in your carafe. The first rinse should remove most of what was loosened by soaking while flushing out all traces during subsequent rinses ensures that none remains behind.

Finish the Cycle and Flush With Water

Turn on your machine and let it run through a complete brewing cycle. Once this is done, discard the used vinegar solution from the carafe.

Next, fill up your coffee maker with clean water and run another brewing cycle to flush out any remaining traces of vinegar or buildup inside. Repeat this process until there are no more signs of discoloration or odor coming from your machine.

Flushing with clean water after using a cleaning agent like white vinegar is crucial as it ensures that all residues are removed entirely before you start making fresh batches of coffee again. Neglecting to do so can result in an unpleasant taste in future brews due to leftover residue mixing into new batches.

Lemon Juice Method

The citric acid in lemon juice works similarly to acetic acid in vinegar and can dissolve mineral buildup inside your coffee maker.

To use this method, fill your coffee maker’s water reservoir with a mixture of half water and half fresh lemon juice. Run a brewing cycle as usual, then let it sit for 15-20 minutes before running another cycle with just plain water.

This process will help remove any lingering taste or odor from the lemon juice while ensuring that no residue remains inside your machine.

Baking Soda Method

Baking soda is a natural cleaning agent that can remove stubborn stains and buildup from your machine. To use this method, mix one-quarter cup of baking soda with one quart of warm water and stir until the powder dissolves completely.

Next, pour the solution into the water reservoir of your coffee maker and run it through a brewing cycle as you would when making coffee. Once done, discard the used mixture in the carafe or sink.

Afterward, rinse out any remaining residue by running plain water through another brewing cycle before using it again for making fresh cups of joe.

Using baking soda to clean your coffee maker not only removes grime but also eliminates odors that may have accumulated over time.

Denture Tablets Method

These tablets contain citric acid and sodium bicarbonate, which can help remove mineral buildup in your machine.

To use this method, fill the water reservoir with warm water and drop two or three denture tablets into it. Run a brew cycle as usual, then rinse thoroughly with fresh water.

While this method is effective at removing stains from coffee pots and carafes too, it’s not recommended for cleaning plastic parts of the machine since they may discolor over time due to prolonged exposure to citric acid.

Cleaning With Store-Bought Solutions

It’s essential to choose a product that is specifically designed for coffee makers and follow the instructions carefully. Some popular brands include Urnex Cleancaf Coffee Maker and Espresso Machine Cleaner, Full Circle Coffee Equipment Wash, and Dezcal Descaling Solution.

When using these products, make sure to run several cycles of water through your machine afterward to ensure that all traces of the cleaner have been removed. Be aware that some cleaners may contain harsh chemicals or fragrances that can affect the taste of your coffee if not rinsed thoroughly.

Cleaning the Coffee Filter Basket

Over time, oils from the coffee beans can accumulate in the basket and cause clogs that affect water flow. To prevent this from happening, you should clean your filter basket regularly.

To start cleaning your filter basket, remove any leftover grounds or filters. Then wash it with warm soapy water using a soft-bristled brush or sponge to scrub away any buildup on its surface.

If there are stubborn stains that won’t come off with soap and water alone, try soaking the filter in a mixture of hot water and vinegar for about 30 minutes before washing again.

Cleaning the Carafe

Over time, coffee oils can build up on the surface of the carafe, leading to a stale taste in your brew. To clean your carafe effectively, you’ll need some dish soap and warm water.

Start by filling up the sink with hot soapy water and submerging the carafe in it for about 15 minutes. Use a soft sponge or brush to scrub away any stains or residue inside and outside of the container.

If there are stubborn stains that won’t come off with regular washing methods, try using baking soda as an abrasive cleaner instead of harsh chemicals that could damage your equipment over time.

Once you’ve finished cleaning out all traces from inside & outside surfaces thoroughly rinse everything under running tap water before drying them completely using a towel or air-drying rack.

Wiping the Exterior

Wipe down the outside of your machine with a damp cloth regularly to remove any dust or grime that may have accumulated on its surface. If you notice any stubborn stains, use a mild detergent and warm water solution to gently scrub them away.

Avoid using abrasive cleaners or harsh chemicals as they can damage the finish of your coffee maker. Make sure not to get water inside electrical components when wiping down your machine.

Unclogging the Water Spout

This can happen due to mineral buildup or leftover coffee grounds that have accumulated over time. To unclog your machine’s water spout, you’ll need a paper clip or toothpick and some hot soapy water.

First, unplug your coffee maker and remove any remaining liquid from the reservoir. Then, use a paper clip or toothpick to gently poke through the spout opening to dislodge any debris inside.

Next, fill up your sink with hot soapy water and submerge the entire carafe in it for several minutes before rinsing thoroughly. Run clean cold water through your machine until there are no more suds left in it.

Daily Cleaning Habits

After each use, rinse the carafe and filter basket with warm water and mild soap. Wipe down the exterior of the machine with a damp cloth or sponge.

If you’re using a single-serve pod brewer, make sure to remove used pods immediately after brewing. Leaving them inside can cause mold growth and clog up your machine over time.

By incorporating these simple daily habits into your routine, you’ll be able to prevent coffee buildup from accumulating in hard-to-reach areas of your coffee maker while ensuring that every cup tastes fresh and delicious.

Deep Clean Frequency

How often you should deep clean your machine depends on how frequently you use it. If you’re an avid coffee drinker and use your brewer every day, we recommend performing a thorough clean at least once a month.

However, if you only make coffee occasionally or have hard water in your area that can cause mineral buildup faster than usual, consider doing a deep clean every two weeks instead. Neglecting to perform regular maintenance can lead to clogs and other issues that may affect the taste of the brewed coffee.

Preventing Coffee Buildup

Here are some tips to help prevent coffee buildup:

1. Use filtered water: Using filtered water reduces mineral deposits that can accumulate inside your machine.

2. Clean the carafe after each use: Rinse out the carafe with hot soapy water after each use to remove any leftover oils or residue.

3. Empty and rinse filter basket daily: Remove used grounds from the filter basket immediately after brewing, then rinse it thoroughly with warm soapy water.

4. Wipe down exterior surfaces regularly: Wiping down exterior surfaces of your machine will keep it looking clean while also removing any spills or stains before they have a chance to dry up and become more difficult to remove later on.

Environmentally-Friendly Options

One of the most popular methods is using citric acid instead of vinegar or store-bought solutions. Citric acid is a natural cleaning agent that can dissolve mineral buildup and remove stains without harming the environment.

Another option is to use baking soda and water as a cleaning solution. Baking soda has mild abrasive properties that can help scrub away stubborn stains while being gentle on your machine’s surfaces.

You could also consider investing in reusable coffee filters made from stainless steel or cloth instead of disposable paper filters, which contribute significantly to waste production.


Is baking soda or vinegar better to clean coffee maker?

Vinegar is better for cleaning a coffee maker as it effectively removes germs and disinfects, while baking soda primarily removes stains and odors.

Is it OK to clean a coffee maker with vinegar?

Yes, it is OK to clean a coffee maker with vinegar as it effectively removes calcium deposits, coffee bean oil residue, and disinfects the interior of the device.

How much vinegar do you put in a 12 cup coffee maker to clean it?

To clean a 12-cup coffee maker, use 30 ounces of vinegar and 30 ounces of water.

What can you use instead of vinegar to clean a coffee maker?

One can use baking soda as an alternative to vinegar for cleaning coffee makers, as it is a natural disinfectant and easily available.

How often should one clean their coffee maker for optimal performance?

One should clean their coffee maker for optimal performance at least once a month.

Are there any commercial cleaning products specifically designed for coffee makers that can be used as alternatives?

Yes, there are commercial cleaning products specifically designed for coffee makers, such as descaling solutions and specialized cleaning tablets, that can be used as alternatives.

Can lemon juice be used as an effective, natural alternative to vinegar for cleaning a coffee maker?

Yes, lemon juice can be used as an effective, natural alternative to vinegar for cleaning a coffee maker.