How To Clean A Coffee Maker

How to clean a coffee maker from When my husband and I got married, we had no idea it was possible, much less necessary, to clean a coffee maker. Back then, his preferred way to make coffee was by dumping out half of the grounds from the morning before, replacing half with fresh grounds, and then starting the pot. I, on the other hand, have always been a coffee snob so the instant I wandered into the kitchen I’d dump out his watery brew and start a fresh pot. This drove my frugal-minded husband crazy, just as his reuse of day-old grounds drove me nuts.

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Plus, no matter who made the coffee, it always tasted somehow “off”. I blamed his Bunn coffee maker, which he loved because it spat out a full pot of coffee in less than three minutes, and which I hated for the exact same reason since coffee snobs know the water needs to be in contact with the grounds longer than that for the best flavor. It was a rough first year of marriage, to say the least.

One morning when my husband slept late, I decided to see if I could somehow improve the flavor of our morning coffee. A phone call to my mother clued me in to the likely culprit: neither of us knew how to clean a coffee maker, or even that we should. After dutifully following her instructions, I had to admit the coffee tasted better… even if the water still wasn’t in contact with the grounds long enough to produce a truly excellent flavor.

I’ve since added a couple of steps to her instructions so I can clean the coffee maker both inside and out. Oh, and we’ve replaced that old Bunn with a coffee maker both my husband and I love.

NOTE: If you have a Keurig, even one you think is broken, try these instructions instead.

How To Clean A Coffee Maker

  1. Dump the old coffee and any grounds in the basket. Return the basket to its place.
  2. Fill the water reservoir with 1/2 hot water and 1/2 white vinegar. Together, these two will loosen and remove lime scale and other buildup inside the coffee maker.
  3. Run the coffee maker like you would if you were actually making coffee. When the cycle is complete, pour the hot water/vinegar back into the reservoir and run it again.
  4. Once the second cycle has finished, empty the pot and wash it in hot, soapy water to remove any brown film and stains.
  5. Fill the reservoir with clean, cool water and run the pot. Repeat this cycle with fresh, clean water twice to make sure all of the vinegar is out of the coffee maker.
  6. Remove water spots from the exterior of the machine using a lint-free cloth dipped in a 50-50 solution of white vinegar and water. Buff dry with a lint-free cloth.

How Often To Clean A Coffee Maker

Our new coffee maker actually reminds us to clean it, so now even my husband takes care of it now and then. If yours doesn’t nag you, then make a note to clean it monthly. Not only will this help your machine function efficiently, it will make for a much better tasting brew.

And, as I can tell you after fifteen years together, starting the day with a better tasting cup of coffee does a marriage good.


  1. Julia Forshee says

    I am grateful for this practical suggestion because sometimes cleaning it improperly can make the coffee taste a little funny afterward :) I recently started a Thursday link-up party (yes, today:), and I would really love to see this post and/or any others you would like to include. I am at Hope to see you there and for many more Thursday’s to come!!

    • Lisa says

      you still have to clean Keurig pots! In fact, I have had several that I have had to return because they start making half cups. Sometimes cleaning and descaling helps, sometimes, not.

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