How to Clean a Coffee Maker With Vinegar

Follow these simple steps for cleaning an auto-drip coffee maker for a germ-free home brewer and a fresh tasting cup of joe.

By: Paul Cox

For many, a daily run to the local coffee shop has become a cherished morning routine. But costs for that store-bought brew can add up quickly. And when getting out isn't possible, nothing can be more convenient than a morning walk to the kitchen for that cup (or several cups) of just-right joe.

How to clean a coffee maker with vinegar.

Drip Coffeemaker

A man pours coffee from a coffeemaker carafe into a mug. It's important to clean your drip coffeemaker regularly.

Photo by: Shutterstock/Aleksandra Suzi

Shutterstock/Aleksandra Suzi

Your coffee routine should include basic cleaning to ensure your home auto-drip brewer makes its best tasting coffee and doesn't breed germs. A 2011 study conducted by NSF International found that coffee reservoirs ranked as the fifth-germiest place in the homes sampled.

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Lisa Yakas, a microbiologist and senior project manager at NSF International, says coffee makers are so germy for two primary reasons: moisture and warmth. "Also, people may not be aware of the need to clean their coffee makers regularly, which allows more time for growth," Yakas says.

Always check the cleaning recommendations in your machine's manufacturer's manual. Yakas also recommends the following cleaning routines. You'll just need a little soap for daily cleaning. Every month or so you'll want to clean your coffee maker with vinegar.

Daily Cleaning for Auto-Drip Coffee Makers

  1. Dump the grounds or use in the garden.

  2. Wash the carafe and other removable parts, such as the lid and filter basket, in the sink with warm, soapy water or in the dishwasher if marked dishwasher safe.

  3. Rinse and towel dry, or set aside to air dry.

  4. Wipe down the machine with a damp towel.

Monthly Coffee Maker Cleaning With Vinegar

  1. Add up to 4 cups of undiluted vinegar to the reservoir.

  2. Let stand 30 minutes.

  3. Run the vinegar through a brewing cycle.

  4. Follow with two to three cycles of fresh water until the vinegar smell is gone.

And since mold, bacteria and yeast grow in moisture, empty any unused water and leave the lid to the coffee reservoir open to air dry between uses.

Vinegar also works great for cleaning single-serve coffee makers made by Keurig, De'Longhi, Lavazzo, or one of the many other brands available.

Signs that it may be time to clean your single-serve coffee maker include:

  • Longer than usual time to brew a cup of joe

  • When you expect a full cup of coffee but the brewed batch only fills half of your cup

  • Extra grounds or granules in your brewed cup

  • Any unexpected, moldy or mildewy smells

  • Mineral build-up on visible parts of the machine

Click here to learn how to clean your single-serve coffee maker with vinegar.

How to Clean Your Single-Serve Coffee Maker

Keep your single-serve coffee maker (like a Keurig) clean inside and out with these easy steps.

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