How to clean your coffee machine in 3 easy steps

If you notice your morning cup of coffee tasting a little less perky than usual, it’s time to clean your coffee machine! That funny tasting coffee could be due to the coffee oils left behind by coffee grounds, or due to white, flaky mineral buildup from your brewing water. All it takes to clean your machine is a little dish soap and white vinegar—yep, even if you use a Keurig. 

coffee maker with two cups of coffee on kitchen counter top next to stove

Table of contents

How to clean your coffee maker in 3 easy stepsWhat you’ll needStep 1: Clean all removable parts with soapStep 2: Run a brewing cycle with vinegar solutionStep 3: Run a brewing cycle with water

There are cleaning products out there made specifically for descaling (that’s getting rid of the white flaky stuff), but a 50/50 solution of white distilled vinegar and water will do the job just as well—and you likely already have some in your pantry. If you don’t, pick up a jug at your local grocery store and mix some up in a spray bottle to keep on hand. This solution is simple, natural, and works great for all sorts of household cleaning jobs, like cleaning a glass stovetop and deep cleaning your whole house. Plus, the strong stuff (undiluted vinegar) is a key ingredient in freshening up your dishwasher, cleaning your washing machine, and even deep cleaning your oven

Note: Vinegar won’t disinfect any of these items, but it will do a great job cleaning which is the first, and essential, step to disinfecting or sanitizing.

How to clean your coffee maker in 3 easy steps

The same general process works for both cleaning a drip machine and cleaning a keurig and it’s as simple as brewing a cup of coffee.

What you’ll need

  • Dish soap 

  • Sponge

  • Water and vinegar solution (enough to fill the reservoir)

  • Cleaning cloth

  • Coffee filter

  • Empty mug (for Keurig)

  • Old toothbrush (optional)

Tip: Use an old toothbrush dipped in vinegar to get into any nooks and crannies of your machine—this is especially helpful with cleaning grounds from the K-cup holder on a Keurig.

Step 1: Clean all removable parts with soap

The first step to cleaning your machine is to clean any removable parts. For drip coffee makers, that’s the coffee pot, reservoir lid, filter bed, and permanent filter if your machine has one. For a Keurig, that’s the reservoir lid, funnel and holder, drip tray and drip tray cover. Scrub with hot, soapy water and a sponge, then rinse and let dry. Or, if the parts are dishwasher safe, run them through the dishwasher. 

Tip: It’s a good habit to wash your coffee pot after each use to prevent any build up coffee residue that can make your cup of coffee taste bitter or stale. 

Step 2: Run a brewing cycle with vinegar solution

Replace all of the clean and dry removable parts including the coffee pot to catch the cleaning solution. If you’re cleaning a Keurig, place a mug under the spout to catch the cleaning solution. Add a clean paper filter to the filter bed if your machine does not have a permanent filter. Make sure there are no coffee grounds (or K-cup) in the machine!

Then, fill the water reservoir with the vinegar cleaning solution. Run a brewing cycle, stop the cycle halfway to let the solution soak for one hour, then let the cycle finish.

Step 3: Run a brewing cycle with water

Once the cleaning cycle is complete, run another brewing cycle with water only as many times as needed until you are only seeing clean water in the coffee pot or mug.

Finish by wiping down the exterior with a cleaning cloth and vinegar solution including the warming plate. 

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