How to Clean a Coffee Maker

A coffee maker brewing coffee.

Rejoice, coffee lovers! Sprucing up your beloved coffee maker is as easy as pie and a delightfully natural process too. We’re about to embark on a joyful journey, keeping your coffee maker sparkling clean using vinegar. Yes, you heard it right – the same vinegar sitting in your pantry. This humble kitchen staple is a champion at banishing lime scale, mineral build ups, and the cheeky oils left behind by your favorite beans.

When we care for our coffee maker, we’re not just preventing wear and tear or the risk of it croaking on us one day. We’re also ensuring every pot of coffee you brew has the exquisite taste you love and expect. So, let’s get the fun started! Here’s my no-nonsense, chemical-free guide to cleaning your coffee maker.

Steps to Maintain Your Coffee Maker

  1. Initial Preparation: As the first step, gather your cleaning essentials. You’ll need white vinegar, dish soap, and, if possible, a soft brush or sponge. Disassemble your coffee maker as much as possible for a thorough cleaning.
  2. Cleaning the Pot and Filter: Pour enough vinegar into your coffee pot to fully immerse the bottom. Let it sit for 15-30 minutes. Meanwhile, clean your mesh filter with warm soapy water and a soft brush or sponge to gently scrub off any residue.
  3. Aesthetic Touch-Ups: While your pot is soaking, take some time to clean the external parts of your coffee maker and the heating element at the base. A soft, damp cloth dipped in vinegar will work wonders here, removing any coffee stains and bringing back the shine.
  4. Running the Vinegar Cycle: After your pot has soaked, fill the coffee maker’s reservoir with the vinegar from the pot. Start a brew cycle and halfway through, turn off the coffee maker. Let it sit for an hour. This will allow the vinegar to work its magic, removing scaling and mineral deposits that could hamper your coffee maker’s performance.
  5. Cleaning the Filter and Pot: Once the vinegar cycle is complete and the machine has cooled down, remove the filter and rinse it thoroughly. You may see a lot of residue that’s been washed out, which is a good sign. After this, empty the vinegar from the pot and rinse it well to remove any particles.
  6. Rinse Cycle with Water: Now, refill your coffee maker with fresh water and run another cycle. Repeat this process at least twice to ensure all the vinegar is rinsed out.
  7. Regular Cleaning: For regular maintenance, repeat this process once a month. This will not only prolong the lifespan of your coffee maker but also ensure your coffee tastes its best every time.

Coffee Maker Cleaning Products

Of course commercial coffee cleaning products are going to look attractive. They offer you a guarantee that your coffee maker will brew faster and that your coffee will taste better–and all of these claims are true. Really, what you’re paying for when you buy a commercial coffee maker cleaning detergent is a descaler in a pretty package. In other words, you’re paying for some acid. That is why I use vinegar rather than some gimmicky commercial coffee brewer cleaner.

But, if you must know, the most popular coffee brewing cleaning products are made by Urnex. There are a couple samples of and descriptions of these products in the sidebar to your right. Just do me a favor and do some research before you buy a coffee cleaner online. Chances are it’s a descaler or some plain solvent wrapped up in a professional looking package.

Alternatives to Vinegar

Vinegar is a safe and natural choice, but some people may prefer commercial descalers or other natural alternatives. The most popular coffee maker cleaning products are made by Urnex, which offers a range of options for different needs.

Box of Cleancaf PowderUrnex Cleancaf coffee cleaner packets seem to be the most popular coffee maker cleaning products on the market today. You can get Cleancaf powder at Amazon.

bottle of citric acidCitric Acid is another natural alternative to vinegar. It’s a cheaper solution and readily available in most grocery stores. A few teaspoons of this powder run through your machine can effectively remove limescale and mineral buildups.

Final Notes

Remember, the key to a clean coffee maker is regular maintenance. By taking a little time each month, you can keep your coffee maker running efficiently and your coffee tasting great.