How to Clean Your Coffee Maker

If your coffee pot is an eyesore in your otherwise clean kitchen and your coffee tastes a bit off, it’s probably because you’re drinking dirty coffee. If you want that fresh, aromatic cup of coffee you love, it’s time to learn how to clean a coffee maker.

The buildup of grounds can affect the flavor of your coffee and clog water outlets—while the heat and moisture from brewing invites mold, yeast, and bacteria to grow. Besides making bad-tasting coffee, a dirty coffee maker can also affect your health.

When you know how to clean a coffee maker the right way, you can enjoy a delicious, and healthy cup of coffee with every pot.

How to Clean Your Drip Coffee Maker

To remove buildup and germs, clean your coffee maker after every use with soap and water. Regular cleaning will help keep everything working well and your coffee tasting fresh.

  1. Fill your kitchen sink with hot water and add liquid dish soap formulated to break down grease.
  2. Put the brew basket, carafe, and any other pieces in the sink and wash them with a dishcloth.
  3. Rinse the coffee pot and other parts with warm water.
  4. Put the pieces aside to air dry while you work on the coffee maker.
  5. Unplug your coffee maker and wipe down the exterior, the lid, and the compartment for your brewing basket with a soapy cloth.
  6. Wipe away the soapy residue with a clean, damp cloth.
  7. Turn the coffee maker upside down over the sink and blast the water reservoir with hot water ideally from your sprayer attachment on your faucet.
  8. Use paper towels to dry the inside of the coffee maker and set it aside with the lid open to let it air dry.
  9. Put your coffee maker back together and plug it in.

How to Clean a Coffee Pot

When you clean a coffee maker and the coffee pot (or carafe) regularly, soap and water should be enough to get the job done. But if your coffee pot hasn’t been cleaned in a while, you need more firepower. Here’s how to clean a coffee pot and make it shine again:

  1. Pour ½ cup baking soda into your coffee pot and add enough water to create a paste.
  2. Use a nylon scrubbing pad to scrub the bottom and sides, then rinse.
  3. Pour in a cup of ice, ¼ cup of kosher salt, and about 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to combat stains.
  4. Swirl the coffee carafe around like you’re vigorously turning a crank. This will let the salt and ice scrub the glass while the lemon juice cuts through oils and residue.
  5. Use a nylon scrub pad (for stubborn coffee stains on your carafe) to help your cleaning mixture work harder.
  6. Rinse, then set it aside to air dry.

Cleaning a Coffee Maker With Vinegar

Besides cleaning your coffee maker and carafe after each use, a monthly cleaning with distilled white vinegar will help keep the water reservoir clean and free of bacteria. Plus, cleaning a coffee pot with vinegar helps prevent coffee oils from accumulating. That’s because distilled white vinegar is a natural cleaner, disinfectant, and degreaser you can use all over your home.

To clean your coffee maker with vinegar, follow these steps.

  1. Fill the reservoir with equal parts vinegar and water and put in a filter.
  2. Run a regular brewing cycle and stop it halfway through.
  3. Let the hot vinegar and water solution sit in the coffee carafe for 30 minutes.
  4. Turn the machine back on and run another cycle for the other half.
  5. Dump everything out and rinse the filter basket and carafe.
  6. Put the carafe back on the heating plate, put in a filter and fill the reservoir with water.
  7. Repeat this last step as needed to remove all the buildup and residue.

How to Clean Pod Coffee Makers

If you use your pod coffee maker daily, perform this cleaning routine weekly to brew great-tasting coffee every time.

  1. Unplug the machine, then disassemble the water reservoir, lid, mug tray, and pod holder.
  2. Clean the mug tray and pod holder in warm soapy water.
  3. Remove the water filter and wipe the lid and other surfaces with a damp, soapy cloth.
  4. Rinse the reservoir, filter, and other parts and let everything air dry before reassembling.
  5. Reassemble the coffee maker and plug it in.
  6. Fill the water reservoir with half water and half white vinegar.
  7. Start the brew cycle without inserting a pod and repeat until the reservoir is empty. This will clean the reservoir and remove mineral buildup.
  8. Wash the filter holder every two months, and replace the filter and clean the needles as needed using a paperclip.

How to Clean Other Coffee Makers

We know there are a wide variety of coffee makers on the market While many of the cleaning steps are similar to that of a drip coffee maker, each requires a slightly different cleaning approach.

Pour Over

The glass coffee canisters in pour over coffee makers can stain quickly. To clean the glass, fill the canister with warm water and dissolve two effervescent tablets inside. For stubborn buildup, use the cleaning method for drip coffee maker carafes, then rinse and dry.

Cold Brew

Because they sit for hours to extract coffee flavor, cold brew pitchers can turn brown and become permanently stained without proper cleaning. Depending on your pitcher’s construction and frequency of use, you may have to clean it more often than your hot coffee carafes. You can use soapy water or one of the other carafe cleaning methods discussed above. Scrub plastic pitchers gently to avoid scratches.

French Press

For most french presses, a quick one-time cleaning could be all you need. Fill the carafe halfway with warm, soapy water and plunge up and down. For buildup and tough stains, cleaning the coffee pot with vinegar should get the job done. Scrub the interior and exterior of the carafe and the disassembled components with vinegar and a microfiber cloth. Rinse it thoroughly and let it air dry before reassembling it.

Moka Pot

Moka pots are a kitchen staple for many coffee connoisseurs, but you can’t clean them with soap and water or put them in the dishwasher. After each use, wipe down the exterior and interior and rinse the basket. Avoid scrubbing, because you could remove the layer of coffee oils that season the pot and give you that distinct Moka pot flavor.

As long as you follow these coffee maker cleaning routines, you can enjoy a delicious cup of coffee anytime without worrying about mold and bacteria. You’ve learned how to clean a coffee maker, so why not get the rest of your small appliances in shape with our handy cleaning guide? For help getting rid of dirt and germs in the rest of your home, get your free estimate and find out how convenient and affordable our cleaning services can be.


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