How to Quickly and thoroughly Clean Any Coffee Maker

how to clean your coffee maker

How to clean your coffee maker fast and effortlessly?

It’s a bit strange when you think about it but most of us keep our kitchen, cooking tools, and tableware pretty clean. We wash our dishes every day and make sure that the place where we prepare our food is organized and hygienic.

The same does often not apply to our coffee maker. Chances are that you don’t clean your coffee maker as often as you should.

Why you should clean your coffee maker more often

Coffee machines are often the forgotten child of the kitchen. The NSF (National Sanitation Foundation) states that the coffee makers in most homes are in the top 5 dirtiest items in our homes. This makes them the ideal breeding place for bacteria, mold, and mildew.

These organisms can cause a range of health problems like allergic reactions or infections.
Also, cleaning your coffee maker regularly improves the taste of your brew.

How often should you clean your coffee maker?

Like any other kitchen tool, you should clean your coffee maker every day or after each use.
This includes cleaning the carafe, brewer and any removable parts with some water and dish soap.

On top of that, you should give your coffee maker a ‘deep clean’ about once a month. This is assuming that you use your coffee maker every day.

Also check the manual of your coffee machine to see what the manufacturer advises. Whatever it is, sticking to once a month as a rule of thumb is always a good idea.

How to clean a coffee maker?

Cleaning your coffee maker is a household chore to include in your cleaning routine. It doesn’t have to be a tedious and lengthy task.

If you know how to it and follow some logical steps, you’ll breeze through it in a few minutes. Your reward is a great tasting cup of coffee and a healthy body.

Below I’ve outlined the steps to clean several popular coffee makers.

Steps to clean a regular drip coffee machine

The steps below will descale the inside of your drip coffee maker with white vinegar. Using vinegar is environmentally friendly. If you want, there are also descaler solutions available in most household stores.

  1. Fill the water chamber with equal parts (fifty-fifty) water and white vinegar
  2. Turn the coffee machine on and brew half a pot
  3. Turn the machine off and leave it for about an hour. This will give the vinegar enough time to work on the inner parts of your coffee machine.
  4. Turn the coffee machine on again and brew the rest of the pot
  5. Dump out the water and vinegar solution
  6. Fill the chamber with fresh water and brew a full pot
  7. Repeat step 6 once or twice to make sure the taste and smell of vinegar is not lingering in the machine.

Steps to clean a Keurig coffee maker

Cleaning a Keurig Coffee Maker is similar to the process for a regular drip coffee maker but there are some extra steps.

  1. Clean the Keurig interior, i.e. the opening for the K-cup holder.
  2. Take a clean toothbrush and gently clean out any coffee residue or coffee grinds (see image below).
  3. If you notice any limescale deposits (white crusty buildup), simply soak your toothbrush or a piece of cloth in white vinegar and apply it to the affected parts. Let it sit for a while before wiping it off.
  4. Remove the drip tray, empty it, and wash it with some warm water and dish soap.
  5. From here on, follow the same steps as for the drip coffee maker as described above.
Clean the Keurig k-cup holder with a toothbrush
Clean the K-cup holder gently with a toothbrush
Image by Carson Downing

Steps to clean a Nespresso machine

To keep your Nespresso machine in good order, give your Nespresso a good daily clean.
This includes wiping the machine with a damp cloth, emptying the drip tray, and used cup container. Clean the nozzle daily to avoid the build-up of coffee residue which may cause a bitter taste.

How to clean a nespresso coffee maker
Image by : David Pye

Once every three months or 300 cups (whichever comes first), Nespresso advises doing a thorough cleaning as described below.

Nespresso advises not to wash any of the parts in the dishwasher. The reason for this is that the hot water may damage the plastic parts.

  1. Take off the water chamber and clean it with some dish soap and a brush or sponge
  2. Rinse it well and dry it off
  3. Take out the drip tray and capsule container, empty them, and clean them with dish soap as well. Make sure to empty both on a daily basis to avoid the build-up of mold due to coffee residue.
  4. Place the water chamber, drip tray, and capsule container back in the machine. Then fill the water chamber with white vinegar.
  5. Brew until the water chamber is empty. Check your Nespresso manual on how to brew continuously until the water chamber is empty. Usually, this can be done by pressing the start button 3 times in 2 seconds. Use a large enough container (0.8L / 27 floz) to catch all the water at once. This process might take up to 5 minutes.
  6. After the vinegar has run through, rinse the water chamber, add fresh water, and brew a single large cup. This will wash away any vinegar residue left in the Nespresso machine.
  7. Finally, get a soft damp cloth and gently clean the outside of the machine.

How to clean a Bunn coffee maker

Before you start cleaning your Bunn coffee maker, make sure the machine has cooled down to avoid burning yourself.

  1. Slide the brew funnel into the brewer and place the empty carafe on the base plate.
  2. Measure one quart of white vinegar. This is about 4 cups equivalent.
  3. Open the lid and pour the vinegar into the brewer.
  4. Close the lid to start the water flow.
  5. When the vinegar stops flowing, empty the carafe.
  6. Flip the vacation switch to the OFF position and unplug the brewer.
  7. Allow the vinegar to sit in the brewer and do its magic for 2 hours.
  8. After two hours, remove the brew funnel and unscrew the spray head that sits on top of the brew funnel.
  9. Check the spray head and clear any deposits with a toothpick.
  10. Clean the spray head with some dish soap and a cloth or brush and finish by rinsing the spray head.
  11. Next, we’ll clear the vinegar out of the brewer. Take a full carafe of fresh, cold water, open the lid and empty the carafe into the brewer. Do NOT close the lid yet!
  12. Reinsert the brew funnel and put the carafe back on the base plate.
  13. Now, close the lid. The water will start flowing into the carafe and flush out the vinegar.
  14. Empty the carafe after all the water has flowed through. Repeat this step at least three times or however many times it takes for the smell of vinegar to be gone.
  15. Remove the brew funnel and reinsert the spray head.
  16. Replace the brew funnel and position the empty carafe on the base plate.
  17. Plug the brewer in and flip the vacation switch to the ON position.

Steps to clean a cold brewer

  1. Fill about half of the brewer with ice-cubes
  2. Add a tablespoon of dish soap and ¼ cup of rock salt
  3. Shake the concoction until the ice-cubes melted


  1. Fill about half of the brewer with water
  2. Add a tablespoon of dish soap and about ½ cup of uncooked rice
  3. Shake the brewer for a couple of minutes

Rinse the brewer well and dry with a soft cloth

Steps to clean a pour-over chemex

  1. Fill the Chemex with warm water
  2. Drop in two effervescent tablets
  3. Leave until both tablets are completely dissolved
  4. Pour out the water and rinse well
  5. Dry the Chemex with a soft cloth

Final words

As you can see, for most coffee makers, the cleaning process is quite straightforward. Cleaning your coffee maker regularly will lengthen its life. Build up or deposits can harm the heating element and tubes inside your machine.
Internal mold and bacteria may harm your health or that of your loved ones. Finally, your coffee will taste much better when it comes from a clean coffee maker.
Let us know if you have any questions or personal tips down below in the comments!

Tom Alexander

Tom Alexander is the founder and editor of A bad day with coffee is better than a good day without. My love for our favorite caffeinated drink inspires me to write about coffee and share my fascination with you. I hope you enjoy reading our stories and informational articles

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