Vinegar cleaning the coffee maker

in Coffee Maintenance

Cleaning your coffee maker is as easy as running a cycle.  I guess I’ve been so busy making coffee that I forgot to give my machine its regular cleaning.  It’s this easy.

Run a cycle through the machine that is one part vinegar and two parts water.  White distilled vinegar is a great cleaning agent and a popular household cleanser.  It will kill most mold, bacteria and germs due to its high level of acidity.  It’s a great alternative to harsh chemicals and for that reason, a much more environmentally responsible cleanser.

Does it really work?  That was a rhetorical question, here’s the awful proof…

After vinegar cleaning

That’s how the vinegar-water combination looked after it cycled through the machine.  Remember, I used white vinegar.  It’s a 12-cup carafe, so I filled it up to the 4-cup line with vinegar and topped it off with water.

After running the vinegar-water solution through the machine, run a couple cycles of water only.  Like any cleaning agent, vinegar needs to be rinsed through the machine or you’ll taste it in your coffee.  After two water-only cycles, the smell of vinegar was gone and the water was the same color coming out as it was going in.

How often should you clean your coffee maker this way?  That depends on how often you make coffee.  It needs the cleaning from your usage, so if you make coffee every day, I would suggest at 1-2 times a year.  It’s been well over a year since my last cleaning and I do make a lot of coffee, so I should be cleaning my coffee maker a couple times a year.

This just makes me look forward to a cleaner cup of coffee tomorrow morning!


  1. Hey Mark,

    How often for a single cup maker?
    Or do the same rules apply?


    Comment by Stuart Trier — January 26, 2010 @ 12:38 am

  2. Hey Stuart, I’d check the manual first for cleaning instructions, but the same rules should apply. The single cup maker is giving you a pod of ground coffee instead of loose ground coffee in a filter so clean-up of the machine shouldn’t change. I did some looking around at various sites, and one recommended an undiluted vinegar cycle…seems like overkill to me since diluted vinegar is still a great cleanser and wouldn’t take so many water-only cycles to rinse out of the machine. Hope that helps.

    Comment by Marc — January 26, 2010 @ 7:31 pm

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