How to Clean Your Coffee Maker

Whether you have a trusty Mr. Coffee drip machine or a small-but-elegant Chemex coffee maker, keeping your device clean is of the utmost importance. Regular cleaning helps keep your coffee maker in good working order and gives you a flavorful (and sanitary!) cup every time. Check out some tips for keeping your coffee maker clean. Here are some tips for cleaning some of the most popular models on the market today.

Importance of a Clean Coffee Maker

While it might seem like a non-issue to leave a coffee maker uncleaned—lovingly used, depending on how you like to think of it—it’s not only unsanitary, but has a significant impact on a coffee’s flavor.

Here’s the scoop: Coffee oils build over time that do not wash away in water alone. To boot, mineral deposits build that affect coffee’s taste. The combination of these two can make for especially bitter coffee. And, grounds left in a coffee maker are susceptible to the growth of mold, yeasts, and bacteria.

If all that isn’t enough incentive to rush for the vinegar solution and scrub brush, then also know that mineral deposits can build and brick your coffee maker. That means it’s not only sanitary to clean your coffee maker and beneficial for flavor, but financially sensible.

Also, guests probably won’t appreciate that pungent cup of coffee from a machine that hasn’t been cleaned in two years.

Examples of Cleaning Different Types of Coffee Makers

For every coffee maker there is a unique way to strip it of coffee-flavor-altering oils and deposits. Here, some tips for the most popular brewers.

How to Clean Mr. Coffee

How to clean a drip coffee maker: The ubiquitous Mr. Coffee drip machine is, frankly, mercifully easy to clean. To start, it should be cleaned once per month. (Some models will remind you of this.) The target here is calcium deposits, which can be cleaned using a proprietary solution or, as an alternative, four cups of white vinegar. Pause the machine for 30 minutes while the solution or vinegar sets in, and then finish brewing. Toss the solution—note that how to clean a coffee pot in this process is simple: the vinegar will do the trick in the process—and then run water through the machine twice. Congratulations: You’ve deep cleaned your Mr. Coffee.

How to Clean a French Press

The French press is known for its deliciously oily coffee, but that also means those oils will linger on the bottom and sides of the glass carafe. First, start with a simple clean using soap, a soft sponge, and water. Then combine baking soda and water to make a paste-like substance that a brush can use to scrub parts on the plunger—look for a white residue to indicate water build-up. Complete the cleaning process by mixing water and white vinegar to continue scrubbing the carafe, and soak parts of the plunger. Rinse and let dry.

How to Clean a Keurig Coffee Maker & Most Single Serve Coffee Makers

While the Keurig is a device of wonder that can do many tasks on its own, one it cannot do is clean itself. Much like with a Mr. Coffee device, the key to deep cleaning a Keurig is white vinegar or a proprietary solution—in this case, the Keurig Descaling Solution designed for all Keurig devices.

First, power the machine down and unplug it. With soap and water, wash individual pieces of the Keurig, like the K-cup holder and water reservoir’s lid. Clean dry areas with a cloth. Fill the reservoir halfway with vinegar and the rest with water. Run the machine through as you would for a cup of coffee until the reservoir is empty. Then repeat this process using just water. This will remove scale buildup. Try completing this process every six months to ensure a longer-lasting device.

How to Clean a Percolator

White vinegar is, again, a best friend—or at least top-tier—for cleaning this coffee maker. Create a 1:1 solution of vinegar and water, fill the percolator up to the line, and heat as you would a cup of coffee. Repeat this process three times, and then run water through this same process.

To clean the basket, keep the basket in the percolator for one of the water-vinegar run-throughs, but letting the solution rest in the percolator for 15 minutes after with the lid closed. Pour out the solution and clean the basket separately with soap and water to take out the vinegar smell. For stains, use approximately 2 tablespoons of baking soda and fill the percolator with water; run it through the heating process and, when it has cooled, scrub any spots, being careful not to scratch the metal.

How to Clean a Chemex

The Chemex is a beautiful and voluptuous hourglass design that happens to look awfully funky if left uncleaned for too long. When the inside starts to look brown or cloudy, it’s time for a deep clean. There is, of course, a proprietary solution that can be used to clean the tricky-to-scrub pot, but vinegar also does the trick. Fill the entire device to the top with a 1:1 water-and-vinegar solution and soak for several hours. Pour out the liquid and rinse with warm water, scrubbing the inside with a bottle brush. Finish by washing with dish soap. Pro tip: Be careful when scrubbing, as the glass is delicate and easy to break. Try to avoid brushes with metal handles for this reason, too.

How to Clean Ninja Coffee Bar

Cleaning solution or white vinegar will work best for the Ninja Coffee Bar, as is the case with other coffee makers. Fortunately, there’s a built-in sensor that will tell you when to descale the device, so there’s no mystery as to how long to wait before doing a deep clean.

Fill the reservoir with 16 oz. of white vinegar and the rest with water. Run the machine through a full carafe cycle. Immediately after, run it through a flush cycle and then rinse the carafe. If the device does not have a “flush” setting, run water—and just water—through the device as you did the vinegar solution. Be sure to remove the filter and wash that with soap and water, also.

Nothing beats a good cup of coffee, brewed whenever you want it and savored at home. To keep the joe flowing, be sure to stick to a regular regimen for cleaning your coffee maker.