How to Clean Your Coffee Maker

See how white vinegar is the all-natural secret to perkier-tasting coffee.

Is your brew a little blah? Could be your coffeemaker is due for a cleaning.

In fact, people tend not to clean their coffee makers as often as they should—and that can lead to some major ick factor and some less-than-awesome tasting coffee. NSF International, a public health and safety organization, found that the coffee machine water reservoir is the fifth germiest place in most homes, with even more germs than a bathroom faucet. And mineral deposits and other buildup over time can slow down your coffee machine and lead to some less-than-optimal coffee.

So get cleaning! Maintain your coffee machine by washing the baskets, filters, and carafes in warm, soapy water daily, either by hand or via dishwasher. (Most thermal carafes require handwashing.) If you have a Keurig coffee maker, wash the removable components (K-cup holder, mug tray, and water reservoir) with warm, soapy water every week.

Your coffee maker should get a deeper clean and descaling every month to reduce mineral buildup and keep mold and germs from taking up residence.

Fortunately, you probably already have the ultimate all-natural cleaner to take care of oily residue or impurities muddying up the flavor of your cup of joe—distilled white vinegar. You'll be amazed at how much better your coffee tastes after your deep clean is done.

black coffeemaker on yellow background

What You Need:

  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Water

How to Clean a Coffee Maker with Vinegar:

  1. Pour equal parts distilled white vinegar and water into your coffee maker's water chamber.
  2. Hit the switch to brew.
  3. When half the liquid has brewed, turn off the coffee maker and let the solution sit for about an hour.
  4. Turn it on again to finish the cycle.
  5. Discard the solution and run several cycles with clean water until the smell of vinegar is gone.

How to Descale a Keurig Coffee Maker:

You should descale your Keurig every two months, or whenever the descale light goes on. While there are specialty Keurig descaling products, the same combination of distilled white vinegar and water will do the trick.

  1. Put 2 cups of water and 2 cups of distilled vinegar into your Keurig's water chamber.
  2. Start the brew cycle without a K-cup in the water chamber. (Put your mug underneath to catch the vinegar water.)
  3. Keep running brew cycles until the add water indicator lights up.
  4. Empty and rinse the reservoir, then refill it with fresh water.
  5. Run several brew cycles, until you don't smell the vinegar anymore.
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