How to Clean a Coffee Maker with White Vinegar: The Convenient Way

For many of us, that first cup of coffee is one of the number one things we look forward to in the morning. Whether we have a busy day ahead of us or just starting a relaxing weekend, coffee is a necessity. 

With so much comfort inside one little cup, it’s important to brew that coffee just right. And if your coffee maker isn’t up to the job, it can surely put a damper on your morning. 

A dirty coffee maker can really affect the taste and texture of your coffee. But how do you keep a clean coffee maker, and what’s the best way to do it? White vinegar can be your best friend! Let’s talk about how to clean a coffee maker with white vinegar and why you should try it. 

What is the Best Way to Clean a Coffee Maker

Is it really that important to clean your coffee maker regularly? I mean, all that goes in there is clean water and coffee grounds, right? Actually, coffee makers are one of the top five germiest places in your home. 

Coffee makers invite all kinds of germs to breed because of the warm, moist environment that it creates. Knowing all those germs exist right now in your pot probably makes you want to know how to clean coffee makers effectively. 

You do not need to buy any special coffee cleaners, one of the best ways to keep your pot clean is by simply using white vinegar and clean water. So how does it work? 

a bottle of white vinegar with a brush and sponge at the background, how to clean a coffee maker with white vinegar

Start with a large bottle of white vinegar and add about four cups to your coffee reservoir. Before running it through a cycle, let it sit in the reservoir for about 30 minutes. This will break up any mildew or calcium buildup in your machine.

When the 30 minutes are up, run it through a cycle. If your coffee maker has a specific cycle for cleaning, choose this option for optimal cleaning efficiency. 

Read:  How Does a Bunn Coffee Maker Work: Effective Tips & Guide

When the cycle is complete, fill the water reservoir with clean water and continue to run the water through another 3-4 cycles or until the vinegar smell is gone. Make sure you completely empty your pot and dry out any lingering water to eliminate the chance of bacteria growing again. You can click here to get white vinegar from Amazon.

You can use soapy water to clean the other parts of your machine, including the carafe, lid, filter basket, and coffee pot. Some of these parts are also dishwasher safe but make sure you check your user manual for your machine. 

Not only is it important to clean your coffee maker to prevent bacterial buildup, but you also want to clean out any leftover coffee stains, coffee grounds, and oil that can build up in your pot and cause it to run ineffectively.

How Often Should You Clean Your Coffee Maker

Now that you know how to clean a coffee maker, how often should you actually do it? Cleaning your pot thoroughly with a vinegar and water rinse should be done about once a month, but there are other signs you can look for to decide when it’s time for a deep clean.

If you notice coffee grounds are ending up in your brewed cup more often than not, a good cleaning might be needed. Any kind of funky or unusual smell is also a good indicator that your coffee maker is getting dirty.

Keeping your coffee pot clean between uses can extend the amount of time between thorough washes. Rinsing the different parts of your machine with soapy water after each use can keep your coffee maker cleaner for longer. 

Bacteria love warm, wet places, making your coffee pot a gold mine. To prevent bacteria from forming, leave the lid of your machine open so it can air dry between uses, and wipe down all removable parts. 

Is Cleaning Vinegar Safe for a Coffee Maker

Using white vinegar is one of the best ways to keep your coffee maker clean, but are there other types of vinegar you can use? You may have seen something labeled as “cleaning vinegar” at your local store. Is this something you should be using to clean your pot?

Cleaning vinegar is 20 percent stronger than white vinegar and can be used to clean almost anything. This type of vinegar is safe for use around people and pets and is also safe for the environment. You can click here to get cleaning vinegar from Amazon.

Read:  Discover 20+ Awesome Uses of Coffee Grounds: Don't Throw Your Excess Just Yet!

Although cleaning vinegar is mostly safe, there are some things to consider when using it. Because it is advertised as a cleaning agent, cleaning vinegar is not required to be tested for impurities or elements that can harm the human body.

It is more acidic than regular white vinegar, which can be harmful when ingested. Yes, you are rinsing your coffee pot multiple times after cleaning with vinegar, but to be absolutely sure you won’t experience any harmful effects, white vinegar is probably a safer choice.  

How Much Vinegar Do You Use to Clean a Coffee Maker

For a deep clean, you can fill the water reservoir with vinegar only. The amount of vinegar you use depends on the size of your pot. I would not use more than 4 cups of vinegar at a time. Because you are using straight vinegar, you will have to run clean water through your machine quite a few times to get rid of the smell.

If you do not want to spend time running your machine through multiple cycles, you can start with equal parts of water and vinegar instead. This will still give you a great clean, but you won’t have to run multiple cycles to get rid of the smell. One extra cycle after the water and vinegar will probably do the trick. 

How to Clean a Ninja Coffee Maker with White Vinegar

A Ninja Coffee Maker is a great machine because it will tell you when it’s time to be cleaned. A cleaning indicator light will come on when your coffee maker is starting to get dirty. 

Do you have to buy anything special to clean this type of pot? Nope, cleaning with white vinegar is still the best option for cleaning this type of machine. 

You’ll fill the empty water reservoir with vinegar up to the 16-ounce line, then fill the rest with water. Make sure the carafe is in place, select the “full carafe” brewing size, and click “clean.” 

The Ninja Coffee Maker cleaning cycle takes about 60 minutes to complete. Be sure to leave it plugged in and do not turn it off during this time. Once the cycle is finished, rinse all parts and refill with clean water. With the clean water, complete one regular brew cycle, and your machine should be good to go!

Read:  Are Coffee Grounds Good for Your Garden?

If you own a Ninja Coffee bar, here is a short video on how to clean one with vinegar.

How to Clean a Bunn Coffee Maker with White Vinegar

Like the Ninja, there is no special cleaning solution needed for a Bunn Coffee Maker. White vinegar is still the most effective cleaner. There are a few more steps to take before your vinegar wash to ensure your pot is perfectly clean. 

The Bunn Coffee maker comes with a Bunn de-liming tool that you’ll use to thoroughly clean the internal parts. This tool is inserted into the spray head tube and rotated around to remove any mineral buildup. Do not reattach the spray head until after the vinegar cycle. 

Once you’ve removed any mineral buildup, it’s time to run it through a vinegar cycle. Create your vinegar and water solution and fill the water tank. Run your Bunn Coffee Maker through a regular brew cycle, then repeat with clean water until the vinegar smell is no more. 

Once you are satisfied and the machine is thoroughly rinsed, you can reattach the spray head, and your Bunn is ready for use. 

If you own a Bunn Speed Brew Coffee Maker, here is short video on how to clean one using vinegar.

Other Coffee Makers

Some coffee maker brands have cleaning indicators and specific cleaning cycles, and some do not. Many are safe to clean with vinegar solutions, while others recommend their own descaling products. Here is a quick guide on cleaning different coffee makers:

BrandCleaning IndicatorCleaning CycleHow Often is Cleaning NeededCan You Use Vinegar
Mr. CoffeeNoNoEvery 40-80 usesYes
Black & DeckerYesYesWhen indicated or once a monthYes
NespressoNoYesOnce a monthNo – company recommends their own descaling products
KeurigNoYesOnce a monthYes – the company also has its own descaling products
BunnNoNoOnce a monthYes
NinjaYesYesWhen indicated or once a monthYes

Final Thoughts

Knowing how to clean a coffee maker with white vinegar can ensure you have that perfect cup of coffee every morning. If you’re one of those “don’t speak to me until I’ve had my coffee” people, then it’s important that your coffee maker is working at its highest efficiency. 

To keep bacteria away and coffee grounds out of your brew, thorough monthly cleanings are the way to go! A little white vinegar can go a long way for your daily cup of joe.

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