How To Clean A Drip Coffee Maker - Make Your Coffee Taste Like New!

How To Clean A Drip Coffee Maker – Make Your Coffee Taste Like New!

Last updated on November 28th, 2023 at 15:24

Read this article and learn how to clean a drip coffee maker, get it sparkling and your coffee tasting like the first time you brewed with it!

The step-by-step instructions are easy to follow and will clean your machine of the gunk that you can see and the gunk that you can’t see!

Keep reading for the details!

How To Clean A Drip Coffee Maker

Cleaning a drip coffee maker is easy, and can be cleaned without any great difficulty. There are two main ways of cleaning your drip coffee makers: with vinegar: distilled white vinegar is best and with bicarbonate of soda – good old-fashioned baking soda.

As always, consult the instruction manual for your coffee maker for specific instructions.

How To Clean A Drip Coffee Maker
Distilled White Vinegar

Read: How to make drip coffee 

How To Clean Coffee Maker With Vinegar

Step 1: Remove All The Removable Parts

Remove all removable parts and clean them after every use with warm soapy water. These parts you can hand wash in your sink or, if they are dishwasher-safe, use your dishwasher.

Clean the hot plate well as coffee stains can burn on.

Let your coffee equipment dry naturally. Leave the lid of your water reservoir open and let it air well until your next use.

Step 2: Make Your Coffee Carafe Sparkle

Your coffee carafe should be cleaned after every use. I don’t mean a quick rise out, I mean a good proper clean.

Then every week or every other week, fill your carafe half full of vinegar and give it a good swirl and wipe the exterior with the vinegar. Let it sit for 15 min and swirl again, repeat a few times.

Add hot water until your carafe is full. Let it sit there until the solution is at room temperature.

Discard the vinegar and water solution and clean your carafe as you normally would with hot soapy water and rinse well.

This is how you keep a new carafe sparkling like new.

For an older carafe that has lost its sparkle. Start by cleaning it in the usual way with hot soapy water and follow the instructions above using white vinegar.

Then, after having finished the steps of using the vinegar, and it is not sparkling, fill it with bleach. 100% bleach and let it steep overnight or a little longer.

This is a little trick of my sisters that helps to remove the deep gunk and bring it up shining like a star. You need to leave it long enough for the stains to disintegrate and losen.

Rise well and clean with hot soapy water. Let your carafe air dry to remove the scent of the bleach. It is important to rinse well for this reason.

How To Clean Coffee Maker With Vinegar
Clean Your Carafe And Get It Sparkling

Read: Drip coffee ratio

Step 3: Decalcify Your Drip Coffee Machine

It is very important to clean the internal workings of your drip coffee machine regularly to prevent the build up of minerals and calcium.

The build up of calcium and mineral deposits is detrimental to the quality of your brewed coffee and the life of your drip coffee machine.

Hard water minerals will build up and block the internal tubes and damage the heating element, pumps and more.

Most modern drip coffee makers have a light that will illuminate or flash when it is time to perform a deep clean.

At Latte Love Brew, we encourage you to clean your machine regularly and not to wait for the light to illuminate.

Personally, I consider regular cleaning as preventative maintenance and an essential task to prolong the life of my drip coffee machine and ensuring I keep getting top quality coffee from it.

Start by removing your water filter if your coffee machine has one. Give it a shake, a good clean and rinse.

Replace it if necessary.

Fill your water reservoir with white vinegar and fresh clean water in equal amounts. Fill to the max fill line.

Put your coffee carafe in place.

Put your coffee basket in place and press brew and brew until your water reservoir is empty.

Depending on how dirty the inside of your machine is, you may need to run a descaling cycle 1 to 3 times.

Once complete, fill your water reservoir with fresh clean water and repeat this process several times. You may need to run this flushing cycle 5 to 7 times or more to ensure the scent of vinegar has completely flushed from your system.

How To Clean A Drip Coffee Maker Without Vinegar

If you don’t want to use vinegar, that is completely fine.

You can replace the use of vinegar with bicarbonate of soda, good old-fashioned cheap as chips baking soda.

Use a maximum ratio of 25% baking soda and 75% fresh water. For every cup of baking soda you add, add 3 cups of water.

Mix your water and bicarbonate of soda well until it is fully dissolved. Then start the brew cycle of your machine to ensure you descale it well.

Flush well with clean water.

Generally speaking, you are following the same process as using vinegar, just you are replacing the vinegar with baking soda and using a 25% solution.

Personally, I like to clean with bicarbonate of soda as my weekly cleaning as it is more alkaline and keeps my machine internally clean and brewing great coffee.

But, about once every month a good deep clean with vinegar is needed to ensure that there is no build up of mineral deposits and give my coffee maker an internal clean that destroys any bacteria that may be building up.

How To Clean A Drip Coffee Maker Filter

Start by running your filter basket under hot water and remove any stuck coffee grinds with a brush or needle. Let your filter basket soak in a solution of hot water and vinegar to clean it well.

Scrub well with a soft bristle brush. Rinse well with an abundance of water.

Frequently Asked Questions About How To Clean A Drip Coffee Maker

How Many Times Should I Run Vinegar Through My Coffee Maker?

Naturally speaking, you should clean your coffee maker after every use by cleaning the brew basket, the carafe and all surfaces.

Making sure that all coffee grounds are removed is good as old grounds are detrimental to the quality of your coffee.

Cleaning with distilled white vinegar using a 1:3 ratio of white distilled vinegar to water to clean your machine internally and keep it clear of bacteria, old coffee building up and mineral deposits should be done every other week.

What Is The Ratio Of Vinegar To Water To Clean A Coffee Maker?

For a regular maintenance clean and ensuring that your coffee machine is clean and clear from any bacteria building up and mineral deposits a ratio of 25% distilled white vinegar, which is expressed at 1:3 ratio of vinegar to water.

For a deeper clean and to keep your machine well maintained and producing excellent coffee, run a deep clean to remove coffee residue, and mineral buildup using a much stronger ratio of 50% distilled white vinegar and 50% water, expressed as 1:1 ratio.

Never go above this ratio, never use more vinegar than water as due to the flammability of vinegar it becomes a fire risk.

Read: Drip coffee

What Happens If You Don’t Clean Your Coffee Maker?

If you don’t clean your coffee maker, coffee residue will build up as will mineral deposits, eventually may block the internal pipes.

Above all your coffee will taste off, and unhealthy bacteria will build up inside the internal pipes of your coffee machine.

A clean coffee maker makes better coffee.

Does Vinegar Damage Coffee Maker?

Yes, the use of a vinegar solution and any acidic solution be it citric acid, hydrogen peroxide or the cleaning solutions recommended by the manufacturer of your coffee maker will damage your coffee maker.

The damage is minimal and mostly to the seals and rubber gaskets which are very cheap to replace.

It’s the price to pay for better quality coffee and a clean coffee machine.

Is Vinegar Or Baking Soda Better For Cleaning Coffee Maker?

Both baking soda and vinegar are good for cleaning a coffee maker. Personally I used both. For my regular cleaning every fortnight I use baking soda. Just one cup of baking soda per full water reservoir.

Baking soda is good for removing coffee stains and a general clean. Vinegar is better for disinfecting, and removing germs and the build up of mineral deposits.

Can I Use Any Vinegar To Clean My Coffee Maker?

Yes, you can use any vinegar to clean your coffee maker, but I’d be smart and wise about which vinegar you use – unless you are incredibly rich, avoid the Modena balsamic vinegar!

Distilled white vinegar gets the job done better than other types of vinegar, is cheap, can be bought in bulk and being distilled is free from impurities making it a better choice.

What Is The Difference Between Cleaning Vinegar And Regular Vinegar?

The biggest difference between cleaning vinegar and regular vinegar is the acidity. Distilled white vinegar is 95% distilled water and 5 percent acid while vinegar used for cleaning is 6 percent acid and made with regular water.

How Much Vinegar Per Cup Of Water For Cleaning?

When you are using vinegar as a general cleaning solution to simply keep your machine clean and well maintained, use one cup of vinegar per 3 cups of water.

For a quality deep clean to remove mineral deposits, use one cup of vinegar for every cup of water.

There is no advantage of using warm water as your machine will heat up the solution.

Final Thoughts – How To Clean A Drip Coffee Maker

If you have read this far, you know how to clean a drip coffee maker with vinegar and without vinegar. Which method you use is up to you. In my own experience and opinion, it is best to use a combination of the two. Use bicarbonate of soda for your regular cleaning and distilled white vinegar for your deep cleaning when you really need to ensure that your coffee maker is properly clean.

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Derek Marshall, a certified barista by the Specialty Coffee Association possesses over two decades of experience in specialty coffee shops. He holds professional certifications for coffee brewing and barista skills. Derek is also an author with authoritative books covering various coffee topics including specialty coffee, sustainability and coffee, coffee brewing, coffee recipes, coffee cocktails and books focusing on Brazilian coffee, Vietnamese coffee, Indonesian coffee and Malaysian coffee. As a barista for over two decades, Derek Marshall has worked in specialty coffee shops across the United Kingdom, Spain, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Vietnam. His expertise extends to the distinct coffee cultures, specialty beverages, and brewing techniques of each nation. Functioning as a coffee consultant, Derek charges US$50 per hour. To learn more about Derek Marshall and Latte Love Brew, visit his About Me Page. For coffee inquiries, contact him at +34-639-410-375 or, mentioning your name and location

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