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Woman pouring coffee in a mug
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Coffee makers are necessities for caffeine addicts, as these amazing appliances heroically brew delicious cups of java each morning. Coffee beans and water can create quite a mess, and because coffee machines foster a warm, damp environment, nasty germs and mold can easily grow. Coffee machines also accumulate mineral buildup from water that can ruin your machine’s filter and add a bitter taste to your cup of joe. Regular maintenance and cleanup can help your coffee machine perform better, so stick around to the end of this blog to learn the step-by-step process for thoroughly cleaning your coffee machine.

How To Clean a Coffee Machine With Vinegar

Remove the parts to clean them

Whether you have a Keurig or a KitchenAid coffee machine, the cleaning process is almost the same. The first step is to empty your coffee maker — remove the carafe, filter, and brew basket to clean them thoroughly. Take hot soapy water and gently clean these parts to remove any residue and buildup.

Mix vinegar and water

Mix equal parts white vinegar and water to make a solution — there should be enough mixture to fill half of your coffee machine’s water reservoir. After filling the water reservoir with vinegar and water, put the paper filter in the brew basket.

Turn on the coffee machine

You should turn the coffee machine on and run half of a drip cycle to let the mixture thoroughly reach all crevices and corners. Once you’ve done this, stop the machine and allow the mixture to sit for at least 30 minutes in the reservoir and carafe.

Resume the brewing cycle

After letting the vinegar and water mixture sit for 30 minutes, resume the brewing cycle. Once it’s finished, discard the mixture and replace the paper filter.

Run the brewing cycle twice with water

To get rid of the vinegar taste from your coffee machine and carafe, run two brewing cycles with water to rinse them out — if your coffee machine has stubborn scale buildup or residue, you can repeat the vinegar cycle before rinsing. Simply fill the water reservoir with plain water and run a full brewing cycle. After that, discard the water and change the paper filter, then repeat the rinse cycle once the machine is cooled down.

Clean the removable parts

The last step is to clean the permanent filter, filter basket, and carafe with soapy water. You should also clean the body of the coffee maker with a damp cloth.

How To Clean a Coffee Machine Without Vinegar

Wash the removable parts with hot, soapy water

Do you have a coffee machine from a high-end brand like Keurig and are hesitant about using vinegar to clean it? If that’s the case, remove the brew basket and throw away any coffee grounds and paper filters. Partially fill your kitchen sink with hot water, add dish soap, and place the brew basket and permanent filter inside. Wash them thoroughly with a soft sponge to remove oily residue, scale buildup, and any remaining coffee grounds. Rinse them with water, wipe them down with a dry cloth, and place them on the drying rack.

Clean the carafe

Empty any remaining coffee from the carafe and rinse it with warm water. After that, thoroughly clean the carafe with a sponge to remove any residue.

Wipe down the exterior body

After cleaning the interior parts of your coffee maker, use a soft cloth dipped in hot, soapy water to wipe down its exterior and brewing area. Wash the cloth with water and wipe away any leftover soap.

How Often Should You Clean the Coffee Machine?

You should empty the grinds and wash your coffee machine’s brew basket, lid, and carafe at the end of each day. Give your Keurig coffee machine a thorough cleaning at least once every three months to get rid of mineral deposits.

Residue might accumulate faster if you use water with high mineral content (hard water) or don't wash the carafe. In this case, you should clean your Keurig coffee machine once a month.

Some coffee makers feature a warning beep or a flashing light when it's time to clean them out. You can also prevent your coffee machine from temporarily being out of service if you’re proactive in cleaning it. You can find information on how to set up a cleaning cycle for most types of brewers in the machine’s user manual.


A buildup of coffee residue and mineral deposits from hard water can affect the taste of your beverage and clog the brew basket or carafe. If you notice that your coffee is becoming bitter, you should give your coffee machine a thorough cleanup to enjoy the taste and aroma of a freshly brewed cup of joe.