How to Clean and Care for a Coffee Maker

Keep your Mr. Coffee looking brand-new, even after years of daily use. Here's the scoop on how to clean a coffee maker!

The drip coffee maker is arguably the most important appliance in our home; the coffee helps us wake up and keeps us motivated throughout the day. (Here’s when to drink your first cup of coffee, by the way.) It’s only fair that we give them love, too. Here’s how to clean a coffee maker or Keurig for a fresh-tasting brew.

When to Clean Your Coffee Maker

The short answer: as often as possible. To avoid built-up residue and the development of any unpleasant flavors, wash the carafe, brew basket and lids after each use. Then do a thorough deep clean once a week.

Minerals in your drinking water can also build up in the machine, clogging tubes and making it hard to brew coffee. To avoid this, clean out the inside of the coffee maker once a month.

How to Clean a Coffee Maker

How to Clean and Care for a Coffee MakerTMB Studio

For a weekly deep clean, remove all the parts of your coffee maker and soak them in a bucket of hot water and dish soap. This process will help to remove any set-in stains, grime and built-up coffee residue that can lead to that old, burnt taste we associate with (shudder) some gas station coffee.

Follow the steps below to clean each part of your coffee maker. Remember: The better that you take care of your coffee maker, the longer you can count on it for your morning cup of joe.

Wipe Down the Exterior

Add soap and water to a microfiber cloth and wipe down the interior and exterior of the lid. Then leave the lid open to air-dry. Use this same cloth to wipe down the brewing area to get any remaining coffee residue from your last brew. Finish up by using a damp cloth to get rid of any leftover soap and you’re done!

Clean the Coffee Maker Carafe

Taste of Home editor Lisa Kaminski shares this tip learned when working at restaurants: Fill your pot halfway with ice, add a lemon wedge (or two) and a few tablespoons of coarse salt. Then swirl the mixture. This will help lift any stains on your carafe and make it shine again. If it needs a little more work, simply use a scrub sponge with some baking soda and scrub away. Don’t forget to rinse the carafe well before using it again.

Wash the Brew Basket

Most pieces of drip coffee makers are dishwasher safe. If they’re not (or you’re not sure), clean them out by hand in warm, soapy water. Keeping a clean coffee maker ensures tasty coffee, so get ready to reveal your inner barista by making specialty coffee shop drinks at home.

How to Clean a Coffee Maker with Vinegar

How to Clean and Care for a Coffee MakeTMB Studio

Here’s how to get that monthly deep cleaning done for your coffee maker reservoir.

  1. Make a natural cleaning solution with 50% white vinegar and 50% water.
  2. Place a coffee filter in the brewing reservoir, and pour in the water and vinegar solution.
  3. Brew a pot of “coffee” without any grounds in the basket. The acids in the vinegar solution will break down any leftover coffee oils and flush out any built up bacteria.
  4. After the brewing process is complete, turn off the machine and let the vinegar and water sit in the coffee pot for 10-15 minutes.
  5. Dump out the solution, then run clean, fresh water through the brewing process once or twice (or a few more times!) to flush out any taste of vinegar.

If you don’t want to use vinegar, you can make solutions with lemon juice or baking soda instead.

How to Clean a Keurig

If you have a single-serve coffee maker, like a Keurig, some of these cleaning tips can still apply. But a Keurig has different parts that require alternative cleaning methods. For example, Keurig owners also need to wipe down the drip tray and pod holder, which should be done weekly. Follow our guide to learn how to clean a Keurig.

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Laura Denby
Laura is a New York-based freelance food writer with a degree in Culinary Arts from the Institute of Culinary Education and a degree in Journalism from Penn State. Her work has appeared in Taste of Home, Chowhound, the Culture Trip and Patch.