How to Clean a Coffee Maker

Coffee is a very important part of a mom’s life (well…at least it is for me!), and so we need to make sure that our coffee prep equipment is always in good working order. One easy thing that you can do to ensure that you’ll always be able to make that first glorious cup of coffee is ready first thing in the morning it to learn how to clean a coffee maker.

Not sure how to go about cleaning your drip or Keurig coffee maker? It’s easier than you might think!

coffee maker sitting on a kitchen countertop

To get started, you’ll need just two things: plain white vinegar and water.

How to Clean a Coffee Maker

First, you’ll want to wash the coffee pot and filter basket. You can usually put these in the top rack of dishwasher (check your owner’s manual just to make sure), or just hand wash with dish detergent and warm water.

If pot is stained, try using a paste made of some baking soda and water to scrub them away.

bottle of vinegar sitting next to a coffee maker

To really make sure your coffee maker is working well, you’ll need to clean the inside water lines. Because tap water tends to have some minerals in it, you can get mineral build-up on the inside of the water lines, which will cause the coffee maker to run more slowly, since the water can’t get through the lines as easily.

An easy way to remove this build-up is to use a solution of vinegar in a brew cycle. Just make a mixture of half vinegar and half water and pour it into the water compartment.

pouring vinegar in water compartment of a coffee maker

You’ll want to run the maximum amount through that you can…so for a 12-cup coffee maker, use 6 cups of vinegar and 6 cups of water. I just pour vinegar into the compartment up to the 6-cup line, and then fill it the rest of the way with water.

Make sure to put a coffee filter in the basket (without coffee in it, of course!) to catch any sediment that might come loose during the brew cycle.

Run this vinegar solution through your machine two times, letting the mixture cool for a few minutes in between. There isn’t any need to use new vinegar and water, unless your coffee maker is super dirty…just re-use the same solution on the second round.

If the brewing on your machine is really slow, you can turn off the coffee maker halfway through the vinegar brew cycle. This leaves the vinegar sitting in the lines of the coffee maker longer, allowing it more time to work on breaking down any mineral deposits.

vinegar brewing in a coffee maker

After you’ve run the vinegar solution through twice, pour fresh water into the water compartment and let it run through a brew cycle two times, to make sure all the vinegar is rinsed out of the lines. I usually use fresh water for each cycle, just to make sure the vinegar is completely gone (since I don’t think vinegar-flavored coffee would taste very good!).

How to Clean a Keurig Coffee Maker

If you have a Keurig coffee maker, the method to clean it is very similar to that of a drip machine.

First, you’ll want to wash the water compartment and drip tray in top rack of dishwasher or wash it by hand. Using the same vinegar solution, run a brew cycle through several times, without a K-Cup in the machine.

You may also want to clean the needles, as coffee grounds can get inside them and cause a blockage. Here’s a video from Keurig, showing how to do that.

How often do you need to clean a coffee maker?

Cleaning your coffee maker about once a month with the vinegar solution should be enough to keep your coffee maker running smoothly.

Honestly, though, since I’m the only one in my house that drinks coffee, I can go for up to 6 months before I need to clean the water lines. But I do wash the coffee pot and coffee basket in the dishwasher about once a week.

And that’s how to clean a coffee maker! Easy, right?

For more cleaning tips, check out my post on How to Clean a House.

4 thoughts on “How to Clean a Coffee Maker”

  1. We don’t drink coffee but we had a coffee maker for years, for when we had company over. Now I have a french press to make coffee in, it takes a lot less space in our kitchen. But I did clean our coffee maker with vinegar about once a year when we owned one, it did work well.

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