Here’s Exactly How to Clean a Coffee Maker

Start your day with a good cup of joe—not a cup of mold and bacteria.

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Why you need to clean your coffee maker

When is the last time you cleaned your home coffee maker? If your response is to wonder if this device even needs to be cleaned and how to clean a coffee maker… then here’s some news for you. Just like everything else in your house, your coffee maker should make your cleaning list or else you run the risk of having mold and minerals build up inside“If you think about a reservoir (in a coffee maker), it has water in it,” says Lisa Yakas, senior certification project manager for consumer products with NSF International. “It’s moist, it’s dark. This is a great area for microorganisms to live in.”

Sounds gross, right? But knowing how to clean a coffee maker is as crucial as knowing how to clean these 8 tricky kitchen appliances. The process of how to clean a coffee maker requires several steps, but you’ll be all the happier you did them in the end.

How often should you clean your coffee maker

“Whenever you brew a pot, you want to make sure before you brew another pot that you’re washing out the glass carafe, the lid, and the basket with hot, soapy water,” says Brian Sansoni, senior vice president, communication, outreach and membership for the American Cleaning InstituteSansoni recommends washing these parts on a daily basis. Aim for a deep clean about once a month. Otherwise, you could be shortening the life of your coffeemaker.

How to clean every type of coffee maker

  • How to clean a drip coffee maker: On a weekly basis, wipe the brewing area with a moist paper towel or rag and monthly, you’ll want to do a deep clean with vinegar to remove any mineral deposits. The spray head should be cleaned or replaced as needed.
  • How to clean a Keurig: The easiest way to clean your Keurig is with Keurig Hot Rinse Pods. Use on a weekly basis.
  • How to clean a French press: Wash your French press after every use; for a deep, sparkling clean, fill your pot with hydrogen peroxide and let it sit for a few hours, says Michael Dimopoulos, a cleaner with Lazy Susan’s Cleaning Service. Wash and rinse thoroughly.
  • How to clean a Nespresso Machine: Clean the trays daily and if you have a steam wand wipe it with a damp cloth after every use, says Saurage. For regular deep cleanings, use the Nespresso Descaling Kit.
  • How to clean a pump espresso machine: Use a half water/half vinegar solution to clean the insides and follow with hand cleaning the removable parts.
There are two popular cleaning methods you can try on your coffee maker as well:

How to clean your coffee maker with vinegar

Experts recommend following the manufacturer’s notes for how to clean your coffeemaker first and foremost. But if those landed in the trash, the solution to cleaning your coffeemaker may still be in your home. Vinegar, as it turns out, is necessary to both sanitize and “decalcify”—or remove tap water’s mineral buildup from—your coffee maker. There are over 90 other vinegar uses that can clean all sorts of things in your house and yard, so stocking up on it to clean a device you use every day isn’t a bad investment. Here’s what to do:

  1. Start by filling the coffee maker’s water chamber with equal parts white vinegar and water.
  2. Using a paper filter, allow the machine to brew until half the chamber is empty.
  3. Turn the coffee maker off and let it sit for 30 minutes before turning it back on.
  4. After it completes its brewing cycle, brew a second and third batch with a new paper filter and clean water.
  5. Run several cups of water through to rid the machine of the taste and smell of vinegar.
  6. Fill the basin with warm, soapy water and rinse thoroughly. If there is any leftover gunk, use a clean sponge to remove it.
  7. Wipe the outside of the machine with a damp cloth and allow to dry. As we said earlier, experts recommend repeating these last two steps every day. While you’re at it, consider cleaning these kitchen items crawling with germs.

If the smell of vinegar grosses you out or you only have time for a quick clean, there are other methods of how to clean a coffee maker. Abe Navas, general manager of the Dallas-based house cleaning service Emily’s Maids, says he recommends using denture tablets to clean some coffee makers.

How to clean your coffee maker with denture tablets

The ingredients found in denture tablets help disinfect, whiten, and remove stains –– all things you want when it comes to cleaning your coffee maker, say Leanne Stapf, chief operating officer at The Cleaning Authority. A few things to keep in mind:

  • If you have an auto-drip coffee maker, fill up the back of the auto-drop tank with warm water, add tablets, let them dissolve and run some cycles of warm water. You can do the same to clean your coffee pot.
  • If you have a Keurig, drop the tablets in the reservoir and run the mixture through until the tank is empty.
  • For a French Press, disassemble the parts, fill your sink with warm water and drop in three to four denture tablets. Put the parts in and let them set until the residue is mostly gone.

Now that your maker is mold-free, you’ll want to know these tricks to brewing the perfect cup of coffee.

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Brooke Nelson
Brooke Nelson is a researcher at PBS FRONTLINE in Boston, Massachusetts, and writes regularly about travel, health, and culture news for Reader’s Digest. Previously she was a staff writer at Reader's Digest. Her articles have also appeared on MSN, Business Insider, and Yahoo Finance, among other sites. She earned a BA in international relations from Hendrix College. Follow her on Twitter @BrookeTNelson.
Erin Kayata
Erin Kayata joined Reader’s Digest as an assistant staff writer in March 2019, coming from the Stamford Advocate where she covered education. Prior to this, she was part of a two-year Hearst fellowship program where she covered crime and education in suburban Connecticut. She graduated from Emerson College and spent part of her undergraduate career writing for the Boston Globe. When she’s not writing articles about useful facts and pop culture, you can find Erin enjoying the local theater scene and working toward her goal of reading 50 books a year.
Isadora Baum
Isadora Baum is a freelance writer and content marketer, as well as a certified health coach. She writes for various publications, such as Bustle, Shape, Abbott Nutrition Newsroom, Men's Health, Clean Plates, the Vitamin Shoppe, SoulCycle, and more. She also can't resist a good sample, a glass of red wine or strong margarita, a new HIIT class, or an easy laugh. Beyond magazines, she helps grow different businesses through blogging and content marketing strategy. To read her work or inquire, please visit her website: isadorabaum.com.