Cleaning a Coffee Maker With Vinegar in 5 Simple Steps

Updated June 9, 2021
Coffee maker and coffee cup

Have you noticed your coffee maker has started to drip a little slower? Vinegar is an excellent solution for removing the stains, tastes, and odors that coffee can leave behind. It is also natural and nontoxic. Learn how to quickly and easily clean the outside and inside of your coffee maker with vinegar.

Steps for Cleaning a Coffee Maker Using Vinegar

Cleaning your coffee maker with vinegar isn't hard. Actually, it's rather painless. Simply follow these steps to a fresh and clean coffee maker. Before following these steps, make sure any coffee grounds and the filter are removed from the machine.

Step 1: Add Vinegar to Reservoir Tank

How much vinegar does it take to clean a coffee pot? Well, that's really up to you. You can add full-strength white vinegar to the fill line in your reservoir tank for a filthy machine. However, you can also add a 1:1 mixture of water and vinegar to the reservoir tank in a coffee maker that just needs regular cleaning. Additionally, if your machine is dirty or has a lot of residue, allow the vinegar to sit in the tank for at least a half-hour.

Step 2: Run the Machine

You'll get the best cleanout of a machine that runs longer; therefore, you set the machine to run a full pot. Pause the machine or shut it off halfway through the cycle (about 6 cups normally). Allow it to sit for up to an hour. This allows the warmed vinegar to sit in all the different mechanisms and clean off any residual stains, odors, and calcification from your water. Push the start button to finish running the cycle.

Step 3: How to Clean the Coffee Pot

After the cycle has run through the machine, allow the vinegar to sit in the pot for 30 minutes to several hours. Just like it did for the machine, the vinegar works to lift and remove those brown stains on the pot. When you are ready, pour the vinegar out of the pot. Add a few drops of dish soap to a scrubby and scrub any remaining residue from the inside of the pot. After that, you can use that same scrubby to clean out the basket of the machine.

Step 4: Run Water Through the Machine

When cleaning your machine with vinegar, it can leave a smell and taste. Since you don't want vinegar coffee, you'll want to run water through the machine 2-4 times or until the vinegar smell and taste are completely gone.

Step 5: Wipe Down the Outside of the Machine

Once you've cleaned the coffee maker and pot inside, it's time to clean the outside. Ensure it is cool and empty before you start so you don't risk spilling or injuring yourself.

  1. Fill a spray bottle with undiluted vinegar.

  2. Spray the vinegar onto a cotton cloth.

  3. Wipe all the outside surfaces of your coffee maker. Rinse and respray with vinegar as it gets dirty.

  4. Use a cotton swab or Q-tip dipped in vinegar to clean any areas that are hard to reach.

You do not need to rinse since you only used a small amount of vinegar. However, you can if you wish. Just lightly dampen a new cloth to do so.

How Often to Clean Your Coffee Pot

If you use your coffee pot regularly, you'll want to descale with vinegar about once every three months. You can do this more if you have hard water. However, your coffee maker does give you a few warning signs that it's ready for a cleaning.

  • Take longer than normal to brew a pot of coffee

  • All the water in the reservoir isn't brewing

  • Smells from the coffee maker

  • More grounds than normal in your cup

  • Visible mineral build-up on pot or reservoir

Clean Your Coffee Maker With Ease

While there are many ways you can clean your coffee maker, white vinegar is gentle on the mechanisms but hard on any build-up. Additionally, you don't have to worry about it possibly hurting you since vinegar is a common ingredient in a lot of food. Now that you know, you can get cleaning that coffee maker.

Cleaning a Coffee Maker With Vinegar in 5 Simple Steps