How to clean a coffee maker

Coffee makers are a staple in many households, providing a convenient way to brew that much-needed cup of coffee to start the day. However, over time, coffee makers can accumulate mineral deposits, coffee residue, and even mold, which can affect the taste of your coffee and the performance of the machine. Regularly cleaning your coffee maker is essential to maintain its functionality and ensure a great-tasting brew. In this article, we will guide you through the process of cleaning your coffee maker, step by step.

clean a coffee maker

Why Cleaning Your Coffee Maker is Important

Cleaning your coffee maker is not only about maintaining its appearance but also about preserving the quality of your coffee and the lifespan of the machine. Over time, mineral deposits from water and the oils present in coffee can build up, resulting in a bitter taste and affecting the performance of the coffee maker. Regular cleaning helps remove these residues, ensuring a clean and flavorful cup of coffee every time.

Gather the Necessary Supplies

Before diving into the cleaning process, gather the following supplies:

  1. White vinegar or a coffee maker descaling solution
  2. Water
  3. Dish soap
  4. Soft sponge or cloth
  5. Paper filter or reusable filter
  6. Toothbrush or small brush (optional)

Having these supplies ready will make the cleaning process much more convenient and efficient.

Step-by-Step Guide to Cleaning a Coffee Maker

Cleaning the Carafe and Filter Basket

  1. Start by removing any leftover coffee grounds from the filter basket and discard them.
  2. Wash the carafe and filter basket with warm, soapy water. Use a sponge or cloth to scrub away any coffee stains.
  3. Rinse thoroughly to remove any soap residue.
  4. If the carafe or filter basket has stubborn stains, you can soak them in a mixture of warm water and dish soap for a few minutes before scrubbing.
  5. For reusable filters, clean them according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Descaling the Coffee Maker

  1. Fill the water reservoir of your coffee maker with equal parts of water and white vinegar or follow the instructions on your descaling solution.
  2. Place a paper filter or reusable filter in the empty filter basket.
  3. Start the brewing cycle as if you were making a pot of coffee, but without adding any coffee grounds.
  4. Allow the vinegar solution to run halfway through the brewing cycle, then pause the machine and let it sit for 15 minutes to an hour. This allows the vinegar to dissolve mineral deposits.
  5. After the waiting period, resume the brewing cycle until the vinegar solution has fully passed through the machine.
  6. Repeat the brewing process with clean water two to three times to remove any remaining vinegar residue.

Cleaning the Exterior of the Coffee Maker

  1. Wipe the exterior of the coffee maker with a damp cloth to remove any dust or stains.
  2. For stubborn stains, use a mixture of water and dish soap, or a mild cleaning agent suitable for the coffee maker’s material.
  3. Be cautious not to get water inside the coffee maker, as it may damage the internal components.

Tips for Maintaining a Clean Coffee Maker

To keep your coffee maker in excellent condition and ensure a consistently great brew, consider the following tips:

Regular Cleaning Schedule

Establish a regular cleaning schedule based on your usage. For daily coffee drinkers, a monthly deep cleaning is recommended, while occasional users can aim for cleaning every two to three months.

Using Filtered Water

Using filtered water reduces mineral buildup and improves the taste of your coffee. If your tap water has a high mineral content, consider using a water filter or bottled water.

Avoiding the Buildup of Coffee Residue

After brewing coffee, promptly remove the used coffee grounds and rinse the carafe and filter basket. This prevents the buildup of coffee residue, making the cleaning process more manageable.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Cleaning a Coffee Maker

While cleaning a coffee maker is a relatively simple task, certain mistakes can impact the effectiveness of the cleaning process. Avoid the following common errors:

  1. Neglecting regular cleaning: Failing to clean your coffee maker regularly can lead to more stubborn stains and mineral buildup over time.
  2. Skipping the descaling step: Descaling is crucial to remove mineral deposits that affect the taste and performance of the coffee maker.
  3. Using harsh cleaning agents: Avoid using abrasive materials or strong chemicals, as they can damage the coffee maker’s components.
  4. Neglecting the exterior: Cleaning the exterior of the coffee maker not only improves its appearance but also prevents dirt and stains from affecting the brewing process.


Regularly cleaning your coffee maker is essential to ensure a great-tasting cup of coffee and maintain the performance of the machine. By following the step-by-step guide provided in this article, you can easily clean your coffee maker and enjoy a fresh and flavorful brew every time. Remember to establish a regular cleaning schedule, use filtered water, and avoid the buildup of coffee residue for optimal results.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I clean my coffee maker?

It is recommended to clean your coffee maker on a monthly basis for regular coffee drinkers. If you use your coffee maker less frequently, cleaning it every two to three months should be sufficient.

Can I use vinegar to clean my coffee maker?

Yes, vinegar is an excellent natural cleaning agent for coffee makers. Its acidity helps dissolve mineral deposits and remove coffee residue. Ensure you follow the proper dilution and rinsing steps as mentioned in the article.

What can I do if my coffee maker has a strong vinegar odor after cleaning?

If your coffee maker retains a strong vinegar odor after cleaning, run several cycles of clean water through the machine to remove any residual smell. Alternatively, you can wipe the exterior with a damp cloth soaked in a mixture of water and lemon juice to neutralize the odor.

Is it safe to put my coffee maker parts in the dishwasher?

Most coffee maker parts, such as the carafe and filter basket, are dishwasher-safe. However, it’s always best to refer to the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure proper cleaning and avoid any potential damage.

What should I do if my coffee maker is not brewing properly?

If your coffee maker is not brewing properly after cleaning, ensure that all the parts are assembled correctly and that there are no blockages or clogs in the machine. If the issue persists, consult the user manual or contact the manufacturer for further assistance.

Sharing Is Caring:

The Howtowise team has helped thousands of homemakers fix their household problems with step-by-step tutorials. Howtowise has been featured in The New York Times, Scientific American, Good Housekeeping, Vox, Apartment Therapy, Lifehacker, and more.