How to Clean a Coffee Maker — With & Without Vinegar

It’s all well and good brewing lots of coffee and enjoying the increased energy levels and alertness, until it’s time to clean your coffee maker! I don’t know about you, but I’m sometimes lazy and wish I had someone to do it for me.  

Coffee makers have to be cleaned routinely because mineral deposits and coffee residue build up over time, which can reduce the quality of your brews if not taken care of. For example, one of the things you might notice is more bitterness in your brews if you keep using your machine for an extended period of time without cleaning. 

That’s not all, though – it gets worse. Leftover coffee grounds create a moist environment in your machine, and that’s exactly the kind of environment that mold, yeast, and bacteria need to thrive.  

Aside from preventing all of these issues from occurring, routine cleaning helps increase the lifespan of your machine, and you’ll keep getting the best brews out of it for as long as it lasts. 

Thankfully, cleaning a coffee maker is not a difficult task, even though it can seem like one if you’re not in the mood for it.  

If you’re ready to get started, make sure you have the following items before you begin: a dish soap, water, white vinegar, a soft piece of cloth, and paper filters, although you can follow this guide and get your machine cleaned properly without paper filters. 

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How to Clean a Coffee Maker 

With Vinegar 

If your manufacturer approves of it, vinegar is a really effective cleaning solution. Get some warm water and proceed with the following steps: 

  1. Wash the parts in warm soapy water. Be sure to empty the machine first. These are the parts to wash with soap: water filter, permanent filter, brew basket, and carafe. 
  1. Fill up the reservoir with equal parts of vinegar and water and then put a paper filter inside your machine’s brew basket if you use one. 
  1. Run half of a drip cycle and stop the machine. Then leave the vinegar mixture in the reservoir and carafe for 30 or more minutes. Doing this gives the mixture time to clean the various parts of your coffee maker that need deep cleaning. 
  1. When 30 or more minutes have elapsed, complete the drip cycle and get rid of the vinegar mixture and paper filter if you used one. 
  1. Run a rinse cycle twice with water. To get rid of stubborn residue, feel free to run another vinegar cycle and conclude with two rinse cycles. 
  1. Using a soft piece of cloth, wipe your coffee maker dry. 

Without Vinegar 

  1. Repeat steps 1 and 6 above. 
  1. Clean the brewing area, inner lid, and outer lid of your machine using a soft cloth soaked with warm soapy water. 
  1. Wipe the soap residue off the parts you just cleaned using a soft cloth damped with clean water. 
  1. Dry the parts and reassemble. 

Over to You 

Regular maintenance can make all the difference in the quality of your brews and the durability of your coffee maker, but that’s not all you need to do to make the most of it.  

You also need to ensure that you use demineralized water for your brews and get rid of used grounds immediately after brewing. As far as cleaning frequency goes, I recommend descaling every 3 months and doing a bit of minor cleaning after each use. 

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