How to Clean a Coffee Maker?

The most difficult thing after enjoying a hot cup of coffee is cleaning the coffee maker. It truly does seem like the most problematic machine to clean. A coffee maker has a lot of parts, namely, a carafe, a hot plate, a coffee pot, a filter, and a water reservoir. When using it to make coffee at home, people have a lot of concerns about cleaning it properly. After all, stale coffee left in the machine can ruin the taste of the new batch. However, worry not, because we’ll tell you all about the best ways to clean your coffee maker.

There are a lot of ways to clean a coffee maker


You can clean the machine using distilled white vinegar, a cleaning cloth, water, and a filter. First, create a solution of half water, and half vinegar. You can always increase the amount of vinegar if there is a buildup in the machine. Pour the liquid into the water reservoir. This solution will work as a sanitizer, and also melt the mineral deposits accumulated in the machine.

Place a filter in the basket and turn the machine on. Let it brew halfway, and then turn the coffee maker off.  Let the solution sit in the reservoir for approximately 30 to 60 minutes. The vinegar solution will soak in the carafe and the reservoir, and take down the buildup. Turn the coffee machine back on and let it complete a single brew cycle. Next, dispose of the filter paper and drain the vinegar solution. From here it is easy, flush your machine to get rid of the sharp vinegar smell and put in a clean filter paper in the basket. Fill the reservoir with fresh water and turn the coffee maker on to complete a brew cycle. Repeat the process with fresh water again. Once you are done, mop up the parts with a dry cleaning cloth.

Do you know that if you don’t clean your machine after brewing coffee, or leave it alone for some time, over time mold and yeast grow in the reservoir? They aren’t necessarily harmful but are said to cause allergies. This is why it is important to clean your coffee maker every so often.

Vinegar is a very good way to clean a coffee maker

Dish Soap

This is another method to easily get a clean, shiny coffee maker. After using the machine, take out the brew basket to dispose of the grounds and the filter paper, if it is disposable. Next, partially fill a container or even your sink with clean hot water. In the water, add liquid dish wash. Immerse the brew basket and the permanent filter if your machine uses one, into the water. Wipe the parts with a soft cloth to remove stains, leftover coffee grounds, and grease.

Once you’re done, take your carafe and wash it with warm soapy water, and softly rub it with a sponge brush. Rinse the parts with fresh warm water. Pick a clean soft towel to absorb the excess water and let the parts sit to dry. Take another cloth and soak it with soap water, mop the inner-outer lid and the brewing area. Once satisfied, wipe down the remaining soap from the machine. Let the parts dry completely before reassembling the coffee maker. Here’s how to clean a coffee maker using dish soap.

A woman working an espresso machine

Baking Soda and Lemon Juice.

This method might take a while, but they say that things done with natural products are better than any substitute. Baking soda is best to clean the exterior, while vinegar is to clean the interior of the machine. Remember, that soda and vinegar together can harm the machine. Use them separately, making sure not to mix them.  In your reservoir pour in a cup of white vinegar and a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice, then fill in water to fill your water reservoir. Turn on the machine and let it complete a brew cycle

Once the cycle is done, discard the solution before running clean cold water through the machine. This will remove the remaining vinegar and lemon juice. Now, clean the exterior with baking soda and water, scrubbing gently to remove any stains. Rinse the pot with warm water to remove the baking soda. You can either reassemble the machine or place the coffee pot into the dishwasher for better cleaning. We recommend you repeat this process once a month to keep your machine in top condition.

Coffee dripping into a cup from a machine

Keurig Coffee Maker

You can always place the parts like the reservoir (not the lid), funnel, tray, cover, and holder in the dishwasher. However, if you do not own a dishwasher, you can use a sink partially filled with hot soapy water. Rinse them clean and dry them using a soft cloth. Now for the interior, take a clean toothbrush to brush out the excess coffee grinds in the cupholder.

Use a slightly damp cloth to get rid of any buildup. Finally, wipe the exterior of the machine with a cloth soaked in an all-purpose cleaner. If you notice limescale deposits in the machine, take a cloth and dampen it with vinegar. Place the cloth on the affected spot and let it sit for a while before wiping the deposit away. Once you are done, put your Keurig coffeemaker back together. Before going any further make sure your machine is free of pods.

Put a large cup on the plate to empty the reservoir and remove the filter. Refill your machine with vinegar and water with the same ratio. Turn on the machine and select the largest cup in the settings. Allow the vinegar solution to go through the machine each time, clicking “More/Add Water” every time. Make sure to discard the hot liquid gathered in the cup after every brew.

Let the coffee maker rest for 30 minutes before separating the reservoir. Rinse the reservoir a few times to weed out the vinegar residue. Again place a mug on the tray and refill the reservoir with water till it reaches the maximum line. Use the same largest cup setting and let the water run through the machine as many times as it takes for it to be empty. There you have your clean Keurig coffee maker to brew the perfect coffee.

A coffee maker in a cafe


This particular method is not the safest for your machine and you, if not done properly. We do not recommend it as bleach is very dangerous even when diluted. Commercially, bleach air dries completely but this cannot be done in a coffee maker. However, if you still intend to use bleach, follow the given steps carefully. Bleach is harsh, so don’t add it directly into your coffee maker, and instead, mix it with water.

You need to add a tablespoon of bleach to a gallon of water. Make sure you are in a well-ventilated area for the procedure, as the fumes are harmful to the body. Fill the reservoir with the mixture and let it run through the coffee maker completely. Let the coffee pot fill with the mixture to clean it. After the pot is filled, turn off your coffee machine and empty the pot. Run the whole gallon of the mixture through the machine, making sure not to leave the machine unattended.

A coffee maker


Afterward, run 5 gallons of fresh hot water through the machine to completely get rid of the bleach residue. Next, test the water. Bleach has a recognizable smell and if there is none of it you are good. However, as a precaution, you can also check the PH level which should be 7. Finally, place your machine upside down in the sun to air dry for several days. As the machine dries, the leftover bleach will turn into solid white specs. If you notice them, run fresh water through your machine again.

Coffee Maker Cleaning Tips

Make sure to clean your coffee maker once a month to avoid tough stains and buildups.

Rinsing a carafe is simply not enough. It has stains that are hard to wash and which solidify if left for long.

Descale. It is important to get rid of mineral deposits and oily buildup in the machine. Vinegar helps remove limescale buildup.

Do not use any kind of metal sponge because it can scratch the machine.

Clean your filter even when you use filter paper. Residue gathers in your coffee even after using filter paper, which destroys the taste of your coffee.

Note that not every part of the equipment goes into the dishwasher. Read the labels before you put anything in the dishwasher.

Leave the filter open and discard the soggy grounds after brewing. Moisture encourages the growth of bacteria.

A coffee maker with white cups stacked on top



Above were the best ways to clean a coffee maker which you can use to easily, and safely clean your coffee maker. A coffee maker needs to be cleaned of not only the residue and stains but also the buildup of minerals. This is why you need to thoroughly clean a coffee maker not only after using it, but also if you leave it unused for long periods. other than coffee makers, coffee stains can be a problem to clean. You can find more about removing coffee stains here- How to Clean Coffee Stains?

Bilal Ahmad

Bilal Ahmad

A coffee enthusiast on his way to exploring more about coffee while helping others solve all their Coffee Queries!

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