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How to Clean a Coffee Maker: Tips and Tricks to Keep your Machine in Top Condition

Improve the taste of your daily cup of joe and extend your machine’s lifespan by learning how to clean and care for your coffee maker

Knowing how to clean your coffee maker is important for your health and daily well-being. Over time, coffee oils, grounds and mineral residue from water can build up in your machine, creating layers of dirt and grime. Unchecked, these build-ups will not only make your machine look grubby externally, but can cause a host of problems internally. These include slowing down your coffee maker’s operation, making your coffee taste bitter and unpleasant and growing molds that can provoke allergies and sickness.

Thankfully, cleaning a coffee maker is a relatively simple affair. Grab a few common household items, follow our step-by-step guide below, and you’re your drip coffee maker will be spick, span and back to its best in no time.

The best way to clean your coffee maker

The cleaning regimen below may take a while, leaving your coffee maker out of action for some time, so make sure you’ve had your cup of coffee for the day before you start. Once you’ve completed the steps below, those who use their machine daily should repeat clean about once a month. More occasional users can get by running through the cleaning process roughly every three months. Let’s get started.

What you’ll need

  • Water
  • White distilled vinegar
  • Sponge/cleaning cloth
  • Paper coffee filters


1. Fill your coffee maker with vinegar and water – The first step in cleaning your coffee maker is to fill its reservoir with a 1:1 mixture of water and white distilled vinegar. Vinegar is ideal for cleaning coffee makers since it’s a common household liquid that’s well known for breaking down mineral deposits, as well as acting as a mild disinfectant. If your dirt and grime doesn’t budge after an initial clean, try using a higher ratio of vinegar to water.

2. Brew and soak – Once the reservoir is filled, insert a paper filter into your coffee maker and set it to brew. For maximum effectiveness, if possible, you should turn your coffee maker off halfway through the brew cycle, allowing your water-vinegar mixture to sit and soak in the carafe and coffee maker for at least 30 minutes, and up to an hour.

3. Finish the brew cycle – Turn your brewer back on and allow it to finish its brewing cycle. Throw out the used filter and empty out the water-vinegar mixture.

4. Perform a rinse cycle(s) – Of course, trading in a dirty machine for one that smells of vinegar isn’t much of an upgrade. To rid your machine of any lingering odor, insert a fresh filter and add water to your coffee maker’s reservoir – allow it to perform a full brew cycle. Once it has finished, remove the filter and pour out the water, then perform an additional and final rinse cycle just to be safe.

5. Wipe down your machine – Using a clean cloth and some water with a drop of dish soap in it, wipe down the outside of your machine and your carafe. Should your machine have any removable parts, take these out and give them a scrub with a non-abrasive sponge and warm, soapy water.

6. Keep your machine clean – To keep your machine from becoming gunky and calcified, repeat the steps above as regularly as you need to and clean any removable parts with warm, soapy water after each use. To keep your carafe looking neat, scrub with warm water and a sponge dipped in a little baking soda until you achieve a healthy shine. Ultimately, a little regular maintenance and care should keep your coffee maker from ever developing serious build-ups and their associated problems.

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