When And How To Clean A Coffee Maker (Why Do It)

Not cleaning your coffee maker? Well, you should be to make sure you are brewing the best tasting cup of coffee as well as a healthy cup of coffee..

To prevent mold and mildew, and mineral buildup, clean every three months. Use a water and vinegar mixture and then rinse the machine with water.

This post is all about the best way to clean a coffee maker and why you should be doing it regularly with the best use tips. For best results simply use a mixture of vinegar and water.

Be sure to check your coffee maker’s instruction manual for their specific cleaning recommendations and schedule. They may list special care instructions as vinegar can damage some metals.

How To Clean A Coffee Maker

Gather these items:

  • White distilled vinegar
  • Water
  • Your coffee maker

Step #1: Vinegar And Water Mixture

Fill the reservoir with a 1:1 mixture of white distilled vinegar and water. Vinegar is an acid and will remove mineral buildup as well as kill bacteria. Also note, vinegar is strong so be careful not to spill it on surfaces as it can damage them.

Step #2: Run A Brew Or Clean Cycle

Make sure the filter/brew basket is installed in the coffee maker as usual. With the reservoir filled with your equal parts vinegar and water mixture, run a brew cycle. Some machines have a ‘clean’ button, if your coffee maker has one press this button first before running the brew cycle. I should note that this will produce a pretty strong vinegar odor you will definitely be aware of. This is normal.

Step #3: Clean And Rinse

Pour out the carafe that is now filled with the used vinegar and water mixture. It is time to run a couple of clean water rinse cycles through the coffee machine to remove any leftover vinegar residue. Fill the reservoir with clean water and turn the coffee maker back on to run a complete cycle. You will repeat this step once more. Run the second batch of clean water through the machine on a full cycle. This will completely flush out the remaining vinegar and leave the internals of your machine nice and clean.

Step #4: Clean The Filter/Brew Basket

You probably normally rinse the filter basket in the sink after each use. It is a good idea to clean it in warm, soapy water occasionally. This will remove any buildup of residue. Allow the filter basket to dry completely and wipe down the base.

Related: Dishwasher Have A Bad Odor? | Best Way To Clean


When To Clean A Coffee Maker

How often you should clean or descale your coffee maker varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. There are recommendations for cleaning every month to cleaning twice yearly.

A lot of it depends on how often you use your coffee maker and the type of water you put into it. Using filtered water is better than tap water.

Many coffee makers have a ‘Clean Light’ that will come on and flash to indicate to you that it is time to clean the coffee maker.

The rule of thumb is to clean/descale your coffee maker every three months.

Again, this is up to you to determine if that time span is adequate for your usage. You can clean and decalcify every month if you wish or if it’s needed.


How Clean Keurig

How To Clean A Keurig Or Pod Coffee Maker

Just like any other coffee maker, a pod type or Keurig machine needs to be cleaned and descaled regularly. Keurig sells a descaling solution made for their coffee makers that you can use. Or use a vinegar and water mixture to add to the machine yourself.

Keurig recommends descaling every 3 to 6 months.

  1. Fill the reservoir with either their descaling solution or a 1:1 mixture of vinegar and water.
  2. Remove any water filter and make sure no pod is in the machine.
  3. Place a large mug in the unit and run a large brew cycle. Keep running cycles until you are out of the cleaning mixture.
  4. Fill reservoir with clean water and run several cycles through the machine until no cleaning residue remains.

Why Clean A Coffee Maker | Need To Know Tips

Fact: Vinegar is an acid and can dissolve mineral deposits and kill bacteria.

Cleaning a coffee maker regularly helps to descale the internal components but also kill any mold or bacteria. Also, brewing coffee leaves behind an oily residue that should be cleaned and removed from the machine.

NSF International has reported that the coffee reservoir is the fifth germiest place in the home. And that “Given the dark, damp location, it’s not surprising that it is a prime location for bacteria, mold, and mildew to grow.”

Minerals from water can buildup over time on the heating element causing longer brew times or coffee that is not hot enough.

All of this leads up to bad or bitter-tasting coffee. So if you are starting to notice your coffee does not taste the same as it used to, it may be time to clean the machine.


Coffee Maker Clean Checklist

In Summary

So there are the quick and easy steps to take to make sure you clean your coffee maker, as well as when and why to do it. Follow these simple tips to brew a great cup of coffee as you start every day.

This article was all about when and how to clean a coffee maker as well as some information on why to clean it.