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How to Clean a Coffee Maker

Coffee makers are convenient household appliances that can provide you with a fresh cup of java first thing in the morning. However, due to the high levels of moisture, they can easily harbor mold and bacteria. Drip filter coffee makers require cleaning after each use. They also need to be deep cleaned monthly to remove hard water deposits, leftover coffee oils, and other impurities. With a little elbow grease, you can keep your coffee maker nice and clean.

Method One of Three:
Cleaning Your Coffee Maker After Each Use

  1. 1
    Disassemble the coffee maker. Remove any parts that come off, such as the pot, the brew basket, and any other removable parts. These part should be cleaned separately from the rest of the coffee maker.[1]
  2. 2
    Wash the removable parts. Submerge the removable parts in warm, soapy water, and wash them using a dish rag. You can wash removable parts of your coffee maker the same way you would wash dishes.[2]
    • Glass pots can be very breakable. When washing your coffee maker's pot, treat the glass gingerly.
    • Some coffee makers may have parts that can be washed in a dishwasher. Check the instructions manual, if you still have it. If you're unsure if your coffee maker can be washed in the dishwasher, err on the side of caution and hand wash it.
  3. 3
    Wipe down the outside of the machine. Take a wet, soapy rag and give the outside of the machine a good wipe down. Wipe down the sides and remove any coffee grinds from the warming plate. When you're down, wipe off any soap suds with a clean, damp rag.[3]
  4. 4
    Reassemble your machine. After all the parts are dry, you can put your coffee machine back together. It is ready to use again. Make a habit of cleaning your coffee maker like this after each use.

Method Two of Three:
Deep Cleaning Your Coffee Maker

  1. 1
    Add a vinegar and water solution to your coffee maker. Make a mixture using half white vinegar and half water. The precise amounts will vary depending on the size of your coffee maker, but make roughly enough to fill the reservoir. Pour the mixture into the reservoir like you normally would with water when making coffee.[4]
  2. 2
    Let the coffee machine run half a brew cycle. Turn the coffee machine on. Keep an eye on it as it brews. Once about half the pot is full with the filtered vinegar/water mixture, turn the pot off.[5]
  3. 3
    Let the coffee maker sit for an hour. Set a timer for an hour. Let the coffee pot sit for this time frame.[6] This will give the vinegar time to sit in the machine and clean out any mold.
  4. 4
    Complete the brew cycle. After letting the coffee maker sit for an hour, turn the machine back on. Let it run the rest of the brew cycle. When done, all the vinegar/water mixture should be filtered into the pot. You can pour this mixture down the sink.[7]
  5. 5
    Run two brew cycles with plain water. Fill your coffee pot with clean water. Pour this into the reservoir and run a complete brew cycle. When it's done, pour the water out and run one more brew cycle with clean water. This should clean any vinegar out of your coffee maker.[8]
  6. 6
    Wipe down the coffee maker. After disinfecting the coffee maker, take a clean, damp rag. Wipe down the exterior of the machine to remove any dirt and debris. You should also make sure to remove coffee grinds from the warming plate.[9]

Method Three of Three:
Avoiding Common Mistakes

  1. 1
    Read your instruction's manual. If you still have the instructions manual, read it before cleaning your coffee maker. Most coffee makers can safely be cleaned with a vinegar/water mixture, but it's always a good idea to check first.[10]
    • If you don't have the instructions manual, try looking up your model online. You may be able to find an instructions manual on the Internet.
  2. 2
    Leave the reservoir lid open. Many people keep the reservoir lid closed. However, it's a good idea to leave it open when not in use. This will help dry out the machine, preventing mold and bacteria from growing in a moist environment.[11]
  3. 3
    Rinse the brew basket in the sink regularly. The brew basket is very susceptible to mold as it gets wet during the brewing process. Make sure you rinse out the brew basket after each use and make a habit of cleaning it each time you do dishes. This will keep your coffee maker mold and germ free.[12]

Community Q&A

Add New Question
  • What should I do when no vinegar drips through when cleaning a coffee maker?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • This likely means your heater line is completely clogged with hard mineral deposits. Your only options at this point would be to buy a new coffee maker or take yours apart and try to clean it out. It's almost just always better and easier to buy a new machine. Just make sure to run 1/3 vinegar to 2/3 water through your machine once in a while to prevent another clog up.
    Thanks! 38 15
  • How do I clean my coffee pot if I don't have any vinegar?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Use a pot's worth of water and two denture tablets. Dissolve the tablets in a separate container of water and not the coffee-maker water reservoir. Undissolved tablets can make the rinsing process lengthy.
    Thanks! 41 18
  • How can I clean a Keurig coffee maker?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Put a mixture of vinegar and water in the water reservoir. Run a cycle of a few cups without the k cup, they have plastic k cups for normal coffee at Walmart for about a dollar. Use one of those, after you have run all the solution through, repeat the process with plain water.
    Thanks! 18 6
  • How can I get rid of the vinegar taste after cleaning with vinegar?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Do a full cup of water. Let it run through.
    Thanks! 15 5
  • Do I have to replace a new charcoal water filter after cleaning the coffee maker?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • If it has been more than 3 months since the filter was changed, it's a good time to replace the charcoal filter. You don't have to replace it at the same time you clean the coffee maker.
    Thanks! 21 13
  • How do I clean the stainless steal carafe that came with the coffee maker?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Fill the carafe with boiling water and one dishwasher detergent pod. Close the carafe, swirl it around, and let it soak for 20 minutes. Rinse it out well with clean water.
    Thanks! 22 14
  • Do I need to remove the filter before I clean the coffee marker?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Empty the filter as usual. Place empty filter back in the maker. What you're doing is making coffee without the coffee but with all the maker's parts.
    Thanks! 32 24
  • Why is the water moving through the filter so slowly that it is causing it to overflow?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • It could be that your coffee pot isn't on securely and is keeping the exit closed.
    Thanks! 19 16
  • How do I shut off a blinking clean light on my coffee maker?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Try unplugging the machine and plugging it back in after 1-2 minutes. If that doesn't work, run the coffeemaker through the clean cycle.
    Thanks! 8 6
  • How do I clean the base of a coffee maker?
    Answered by wikiHow Contributor
    • Run the machine with plain water until you have about a half cup of hot water, then turn the machine off and pour the water onto the burner area. Wipe it away (carefully) and spray the rest of the machine with a disinfectant before wiping that away as well.
    Thanks! 6 5
Show more answers
  • Can you use Apple cider vinegar to clean a coffee maker?
  • How do I get rid of the smell of vinegar and detergent from my coffee maker?
  • What do I do when the black on the hot plate bubbles up and is gone?
  • How come it's taking so long to run vinegar through the 'clean' cycle of my Mr. Coffee coffeepot. Is it normal for it to just stop brewing?
  • The heat plate on my coffee maker has become warped, is it time for a new machine?
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Quick Summary

To clean your coffee maker, disassemble the moving parts and wash them in warm, soapy water. Wipe down the outside of the machine, then reassemble it once the parts are dry. If you need a deeper cleaning, mix equal parts of water and vinegar and pour the solution into the machine's reservoir. Brew half a cycle, then pause the machine for an hour so the pot and reservoir can soak in the solution. Then, resume the brew cycle, dump the cleaning solution, and brew 2 cycles of plain water to rinse out the coffee maker thoroughly!



  • Never use the coffee pot to pour water into the reservoir. This will transfer oils and impurities from the pot, and eventually give the coffee a nasty taste. Instead, use a pitcher that is reserved for water only.
    0 Helpful?  0
  • A microfiber towel will clean better than paper towels.
    0 Helpful?  0
  • Put a glass marble in the water chamber to attract mineral deposits from hard water. Wash it once a week.
    0 Helpful?  0

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Categories: Coffee

Reader Success Stories

  • RJ

    Ryan Jansen

    Feb 4

    "The vinegar and water; run half-pot, stop for an hour and then restart."
  • SC

    Sharon Cox

    Jul 13, 2016

    "This article was very helpful. There was a lot of hard water particles that came out of my coffee maker after cleaning it with water and vinegar. Can't wait to see how it works for tomorrow's coffee. I'm sure it will brew faster now that it's clean. Thanks."..." more
  • JJ

    Jennifer Jackson

    Jul 17, 2017

    "After cleaning my coffee maker with vinegar according to the instructions it came with, my coffee was still tasting bitter when it never did before. After reading these tips, I am now pretty sure it is due to our water and using the pot to put the water."..." more
  • DC

    D. B. Castaneda

    Apr 7, 2017

    "I have neglected my maker for too long, and was overdue for a maintenance clean. Heavy coffee oil residue has started affecting my brewer's ability to produce quality java, so thanks for tips on a quality clean."..." more
    Rated this article:
  • DS

    Dallas Stejskal

    Sep 17, 2016

    "The combination of pictures and the writing works the best for me. So these were the best directions to clean a coffee maker that I could find. Thank you!"..." more
  • AM

    Al Mintz

    Jun 25, 2016

    "I was unaware of the germs that build up in coffee maker. I will now be more careful, about cleaning. It worked fine using your advice. Thanks."..." more
  • SW

    Suzanne Warthan

    Feb 27, 2017

    "Answered my question about cleaning my coffee pot with vinegar, also learned about using denture tablets to clean it! Who knew? "..." more
  • ZF

    Zoltan Fibonacci

    Sep 26, 2016

    "I was blind, but now I see the light! The glaciers are coming back and sea levels are receding. Peace on earth is at hand. "..." more
  • A


    Sep 10, 2017

    "Don't pour the water into the chamber with the glass coffee pot, because it could transfer the oils."
  • DD

    Debbie Dean

    Apr 30, 2017

    "This is easy to understand, which made the whole process very easy. Thank you. "
    Rated this article:
  • A


    Jul 22, 2017

    "Using a water carafe for filling the reservoir instead of the pot helps."
  • LP

    Lawrence Parker

    Sep 26, 2017

    "How to clean coffee pot for better tasting coffee helped. ."
  • J


    Mar 18, 2017

    "I'm a novice coffee maker, so I really needed the pictures!"
    Rated this article:
  • KL

    Kerryanne Lowry

    Apr 17, 2017

    "I will see tomorrow when I make my morning coffee."
    Rated this article:
  • TL

    Toby Litovitz

    Jun 6, 2016

    "The instructions were very easy to follow."
  • DR

    Daisey Royal

    Aug 4, 2016

    "Straightforward with simple directions."
  • LN

    Larry Nelson

    Mar 10, 2017

    "It told me what I needed to do."
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