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How to clean a coffee maker

If you’ve never cleaned your coffee maker before, it’s time to set aside some time to take care of this much-needed task.

Hard water and coffee grounds can quickly build up on a well-used machine, making your coffee taste slightly bitter. Beyond the bitter taste, failing to routinely clean your coffee maker isn’t good for your heath, with studies showing that it can harbor germs and bacteria.

how to clean a coffee maker

How often should you clean your coffee maker?

There seems to be some debate as to how often you should clean your coffee maker–Mr. Coffee says every 40-80 brews, but yet other cleaning experts recommend monthly. You can also just go by taste–if you start tasting a bitterness to your coffee, it’s likely time to give the coffee maker a deep clean.

To be safe, you might want to set a reminder to clean your coffee maker every 30-60 days or when your coffee starts tasting bitter, whichever comes first.

How to clean a coffee maker with vinegar

Cleaning a coffee maker with vinegar is relatively simple and the absolute best way to rid your hard-working machine of grime, bacteria and mold. Vinegar is the key ingredient here, as it’s extremly acidic, which helps to remove those hard water stains.

It’s also likely you have mold and mildew present in your coffee maker, as the constant moisture present in the machine often leads to these common issues.

Unlike bleach, which is harmful to your heath, vinegar actually gets rid of mold and mildew much better than bleach and is a safer alternative to banishing bacteria and mold altogether.

How to clean a coffee maker with vinegar

How to clean a coffee maker with vinegar

Easily clean your coffee maker with vinegar and water with this simple recipe.


  • Vinegar
  • Water


  1. Start by hand washing the coffee carafe with warm soapy water and make sure the coffee filter tray is cleaned and empty.
  2. Fill coffee carafe with water and add to water reservoir until filled half way
  3. Add vinegar to the reservoir to the max mark. Essentially you want to fill the reservoir completely with 1/2 of the mixture being water and the other half vinegar.
  4. Press the brew button.
  5. Allow vinegar mixture to sit in carafe to help break up any coffee build up on sides.
  6. Run the coffee maker again with just cold water to rinse any residual vinegar from the machine.

How to clean a coffee maker without vinegar

If you happen to hate the smell of vinegar or simply don’t have some on hand, don’t worry, you can still get to work on cleaning your coffee maker. Use fresh lemons or lemon juice concentrate to clean your coffee maker when you mix 1 cup lemon juice and 1 cup cold water into the coffee reservoir.

Hit the brew button and let the lemon juice get to work on removing hard water build up, mold and bacteria. Make sure to run the brew cycle 1-2 more times using fresh water to get rid of the lemon taste and smell.

If you don’t have white vinegar, you can use apple cider vinegar, but since it’s much more potent than white vinegar, tone down how much you use. Perhaps try a 1 part vinegar to 2 parts water solution if you only have apple cider vinegar on hand. Make sure to complete the process by running two brew cycles with clean water.

How to clean a coffee maker with baking soda

To clean your coffee maker with baking soda, mix 1/4 cup baking soda with 1 cup of warm water and pour into reservoir. Turn on brew button. Run cold water through the brew cycle two more times to rinse the machine.

You can also add baking soda and vinegar to your carafe if you have hard water stains that won’t budge. The baking soda will foam up with vinegar is added to it, so be warned!

Can you clean a coffee maker with hydrogen peroxide?

Cleaning your coffee maker with hydrogen peroxide is another way to get rid of that calcium build up and get rid of any mold or mildew lurking in the machine. You’ll need to dilute the hydrogen peroxide more than the vinegar, and it’s recommended to use a 1 part hydrogen peroxide to 2 parts water ratio. Follow up with two brew cycles of cold water.

Items you absolutely should not use to clean your coffee maker

If all else fails and you don’t have vinegar, apple cider vinegar, baking soda or hydrogen peroxide on hand it’s best to wait until you do. You absolutely don’t want to use bleach. Bleach is highly corrosive and will ruin your coffee maker and should really never be used to clean anything that’s ultimately going to go in your body.

You also don’t want to run dish liquid during your brew cycle. Talk about a big mess, and a ruined coffee maker.

Other ways to clean your home with vinegar

Homemade vinegar shower glass cleaner

How to clean a microwave with vinegar

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