The Best Ways to Clean a Coffee Maker

Rose Morrison

Mar 22, 2021


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If you’re a coffee lover, you probably have a coffee maker in your kitchen. Whether you use your coffee maker every single day for your morning boost or you use it every once in a while for a treat when you have the extra time, keeping it sanitized is important. While some people clean their coffee maker regularly, others don’t even know that you can clean a coffee maker — or how to. No matter whether or not you’ve cleaned your coffee maker before, there are plenty of ways to get it squeaky clean so you can make the best coffee over and over again.

While each coffee maker is a bit different and will require different cleaning methods, there are a variety of options for how you can clean your coffee maker. Whether you have a single serve coffee maker or a standard coffee pot, you can regularly clean it to your liking. Here are a few of the best ways to clean your coffee maker.

Why Should You Clean Your Coffee Maker?

Even if your coffee maker may seem clean on the outside, it may not actually be as clean as you think — especially if you don’t make a habit of cleaning it out at all. If you don’t clean your coffee maker regularly, germs, yeast and bacteria can build up inside of it, making the coffee taste bitter and leaving you consuming gunk and germs. Not only that, but neglecting to clean the coffee maker can actually make it work less efficiently. Oily sludge can form in the coffee maker and gum up the brewing process. This being said, it is important to get around to cleaning the coffee maker for a number of reasons. Here’s how you can go about it. 

a white mug getting coffee poured into it

1. Dish Soap

One of the universal steps regardless of what kind of coffee maker you have is to wash any removable parts with water and dish soap. Cleaning them thoroughly and by hand is probably the best idea, in order to get to any germs, stains or dirt that may be there. Some models are dishwasher safe, though, so you can go about this one at your own discretion.

2. Vinegar

Distilled vinegar can be a great cleaning solution for all around your home, including the coffee maker. You can actually use distilled vinegar to clean both standard coffee makers and single serve pod coffee makers like Keurigs. Cleaning with vinegar involves mixing a solution of half vinegar and half water. If you’re cleaning a single serve coffee maker, run the entire tank of water through with no pod until it’s empty. If you’re cleaning a pot based coffee maker, run it through half of a drip cycle, and stop it so the solution can sit in the reservoir and the water channel. Wait around a half an hour before resuming the brew cycle. After either of these, you should run it through with water afterwards to clean out the vinegar smell and taste.

3. Rice

You may be wondering what rice can do for you — and the answer is cleaning your charafe! Whether you clean it regularly or it’s just looking dingy, you can mix warm, sudsy water with a little bit of rice to swish around. This can loosen up some of the gunk and dirt and make the charafe sparkle like it’s brand new. Make sure you rinse well afterward.

4. A Descaling Solution

Another method for cleaning your coffee maker is using a descaling solution. Many specific coffee maker and appliance brands sell specialized descaling solutions that you can use to clean your coffee maker. If you’d rather go with a descaling solution rather than vinegar or at-home cleaning options, simply follow the instructions that come with your chosen solution and get cleaning. 

clean a coffee maker after brewing into a white mug

How Often to Clean It

This also begs the question — now that you’re cleaning your coffee maker, how often should you do it? While you should clean out grounds, residue and debris after every use, a good rule of thumb is to give your coffee maker a thorough deep cleaning at least every three months, if not more frequently. While this might vary based on how often you use it, it’s a good rule to keep in mind.

Cleaning Your Coffee Maker

No matter what kind of coffee maker you use and what flavors you love, leaving your coffee maker uncleaned for long periods of time can have adverse effects. There are so many ways to clean your coffee maker, from vinegar to rice. All you need to do is pick the method that’s right for you and your kitchen.

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