Start Your Day Right: Here’s How to Clean Your Coffee Maker, According to Experts

Ahhh. There’s nothing like the first cup of coffee in the morning. Whether you keep things simple or prefer to brew something that would rival your local Starbucks, this cup of coffee helps you start your day right—that is, as long as your coffee maker is clean.

Not to burst your bubble, but when was the last time you cleaned your coffee maker? Do you even know how? Fortunately, it’s simple, but still necessary. NSF International, an independent public health organization, conducted a study on household germs and tested 30 common items in 22 different homes. The researchers said that “the biggest misconception identified during the study was that the bathroom is the dirtiest place in the house when in fact the kitchen contains the most germs.”

Sprouts thrive in humid, warm environments. In fact, according to the study, items like “sponges and coffee reservoirs, which may not be cleaned as often as they should, were among the top 10 germiest places in the home” – and coffee tanks in particular were common places to find. yeasts and molds. Yeah ! With that in mind, let’s move on to cleaning.

Coffee poured into a cup.

If your coffee tastes more bitter than usual, it may be a sign that it’s time to clean your coffee maker. (Getty)

How often should you clean your coffee maker?

According to the Mr. Coffee coffee maker brand, you should clean all reusable parts of your coffee maker after each use and perform a deep cleaning once a month. Depending on your coffee maker, some parts can be put in the dishwasher – score! Otherwise, hand washing with warm, soapy water will do the job just fine.

As for deep cleaning, vinegar is a simple solution to properly descale your coffee maker. “Descaling removes limescale buildup in your coffee machine from calcium, magnesium and other minerals in your water,” advises KitchenAid. “The descaling process may include cleaning with vinegar or specialist descaling tablets.”

It’s also a good idea to check your coffee maker’s user manual to see if there are any special items to keep in mind. As with most products, all coffee makers are constructed slightly differently.

A woman in a kitchen pours coffee from a coffee maker into a cup.

Enjoy your freshly brewed coffee knowing it comes from a clean coffee maker. (Getty)

How to clean your coffee maker, step by step

1. First, pour equal parts distilled white vinegar and water into the water reservoir of your coffee maker. Make sure there are no coffee grounds in your basket or filter.

2. Set your coffee maker to brew and let it run its usual cycle with this vinegar and water mixture. If you have a particularly dirty coffee maker, Real Simple recommends pausing the cycle halfway through and letting the solution sit for an hour, then ending the cycle.

3. Discard the vinegar and water from the coffee maker, then run a standard brew cycle with only clean water. You should do this two to three times, discarding the water from the pot and refilling the reservoir with clean water each time.

4. Once you no longer smell any lingering vinegar odor, leave the lid of the coffee maker open to let everything dry. After that, you are ready to go.


If you don’t already have a bottle of distilled white vinegar in your pantry, it’s not difficult to find it: get it online or at your local supermarket.

$2 on Amazon


Do you hate the smell of vinegar? These Affresh tablets provide a convenient alternative and are compatible with multi-cup and single-serve coffee makers.

$6 on Amazon

Friend of bartenders

Bar Keepers Friend is great to have on hand if your coffee maker, carafe or mugs are stained and looking worse from wear and tear. This product helps remove oily residue, tannins and stains.

$12 on Amazon

Quick cleaning

Cleaning a single-serve pod coffee maker is a breeze: simply add one to your machine’s pod holder and brew the largest cup size possible. Next, remove the cleaning pod and prepare another large cup with just hot water to rinse out any residual cleaning solution.

$10 on Amazon

If you have Amazon Prime, you will of course get free shipping. Not a member yet? No problem. You can sign up for your 30-day free trial here. (And by the way, those without Prime still get free shipping on orders of $25 or more.)

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