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How to Clean a Coffee Maker: 10 Makers (Drip, French Press…) Plus 7 Brands

Figuring out how to clean a coffee maker can be a little tricky. Some makers are complicated with a lot of parts, and others are simple but delicate. In this post, you'll see that keeping your coffee maker clean can extend its life, keep your coffee tasting great and maintain your health.

how to clean a coffee maker

What's the best way to clean your coffee maker? If you only ever clean your carafe, you’re probably in for a big surprise. And unless you only drink instant coffee, cleaning your other coffee gear is important to the quality of your coffee.

Coffee makers can grow mold and yeast colonies because of the warm, wet interior, and just cleaning the carafe isn’t enough to handle everything.

We’re going to show you how to clean your coffee maker thoroughly and adequately. Your coffee will flow faster, taste better, and won’t make you sick.

Let’s take a look at all the ways you can keep your coffee maker clean so no matter how you brew your coffee it will taste great.

how to clean a metal coffee urn

Table of Contents

What is the best way to clean a coffee maker?

Most of us just stick the carafe in our dishwashers and call it a day. But what about the coffee maker itself?

The parts that you don’t see are the ones that can harbor bacteria and mold because they are dark and moist which makes for a great breeding ground.

In addition to how you store your coffee, how you clean your coffee machine can help you ensure your coffee stays fresh and healthy.

To take care of everything you may need to clean out your coffee maker in a few different ways.

Depending on the model, different techniques are used to descale, de-clog, and de-mold your unit. Make sure you follow the unit’s instructions completely and consult appropriate videos on youtube if you need help troubleshooting.

Also, check the warranty because you could invalidate it by using something other than what's recommended to clean it.

The manufacturer is also a valuable resource, so checking their site for tips (or calling customer service) may help you find techniques for getting the machine clean.

If you have a complicated machine like an espresso machine, take the time to learn how to disassemble it safely so that you can clean it more thoroughly. Each piece that can be removed brings you one step closer to ensuring your machine is completely clean and sanitized.

Basic Way to Clean a Coffee Maker

The most basic way to clean a regular household drip machine is to:

  1. Brew some water: Run plain hot water through the maker to get out any lingering debris. The hot water will help strip away some of what could be making your coffee maker a breeding ground for mold.
  2. Brew some vinegar: Once you’ve run a clean cycle through, you can add vinegar (a 1:1 vinegar to water ratio is good unless your maker calls for less vinegar, it's always best to check the manual if you still have it) and run the mixture through for a cycle to kill mold and further strip away any film. The film is sticky and can help trap bacteria exactly where you don’t want it.
  3. Brew some more water: Run one or two more clean cycles of plain water through just to be safe.
  4. Allow to dry: Once you’ve flushed the inside of the coffee maker, you'll want to leave it open to allow it to dry completely. Once that’s done, wipe down the outside and make sure you’ve gotten around any buttons or knobs where you push regularly.

It’s important that you follow those steps so that you don’t inadvertently consume any mold or bacteria.

Best way to clean a coffee maker

How often should you clean your coffee maker?

Many people don’t clean their coffee maker nearly enough. Some need to be cleaned after every use.

The frequency with which you wash your coffee maker depends on what kind you're using (more on that below). But for an ordinary household electric coffee maker, you should wash it at least once a month.

Each time you brew coffee, deposits can begin to build up inside the machine causing grime and brewing issues. You may notice your coffee maker running slowly or that the coffee doesn’t taste quite right no matter what you do.

Cleaning your coffee maker regularly helps to refresh the machine and prevent build-up from attracting mold and bacteria.

Sometimes people throw out perfectly good machines just because the flow stops working correctly or the coffee tastes wrong when all that's needed is a thorough cleaning.

how do you clean a french press

What about a french press or Chemex…?

You should hand wash any coffee maker that doesn’t run on a drip.

If you’ve got a french press or Chemex, for example, those should be cleaned thoroughly every time you make a cup of coffee because grime (oils and grounds) can collect on the walls of your carafe and negatively affect your coffee.

And the Moka pot or Percolator…?

Makers that go on the stove should also be cleaned after every pot to prevent build up.

Percolators and Moka pots can create a burnt on coffee grime if you don’t wash them regularly. This can cause staining that’s nearly impossible to get out, and negatively affect the flavor of your coffee.

Cleaning regularly can prevent staining (although some amount of staining is inevitable and normal) and keep your coffee tasting great.

Cleaning metal can be tricky, so make sure you’re using cleaning materials that are nonabrasive and won’t cause rust or scratch the surface of the metal. Metal can degrade over time if the finish is damaged, which is another reason you want to make sure to clean the maker regularly.

If the grime stays on for a long time, it can eat away at the finish. Once it starts, there isn’t anything you can do for the maker.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and try to get into a regular cleaning routine. Cleaning it more often reduces the time you spend because you won’t have set-in grime and tough to remove stains.

The coffee maker will last longer and your coffee will taste better.

how to clean an espresso machine

9 Reasons to Regularly Clean Your Coffee Maker

Still not convinced? It may be helpful to know that a couple of things about coffee taste quality that is often overlooked are how long coffee lasts and the need to keep coffee gear nice and clean.

Here are nine excellent reasons to clean your coffee maker regularly.

  1. Grime traps bacteria. The film that develops from brewing coffee is highly attractive to bacteria. If your drip coffee maker isn’t clean, it can harbor colonies of bacteria within the walls of the maker where they can multiply. Each time you brew coffee, some of that bacteria gets washed into your coffee which isn’t hot enough for long enough to kill all of them.
  2. Grime encourages mold. The filth is also a perfect host for mold growth. Once again, all you need is a dark, moist place and mold is ready to go. Just brewing coffee doesn’t keep the environment hot enough to kill all the mold spores, increasing the chances you'll end up with them in your coffee.
  3. Your drip coffee maker may run more quickly without grime blocking the water flow. As the film builds up inside the coffee maker, it restricts the flow of water, making that morning cup take forever. Cleaning it out restores the original flow of the water and makes sure nothing is blocked.
  4. Your coffee will taste better. The buildup can also affect the taste of your coffee. In addition to choosing quality arabica coffee, cleaning and decalcifying your machine with vinegar removes any build-up that can change the taste of your coffee and gives it a brighter, cleaner mouthfeel.
  5. It’s easier to clean regularly. If you wait several months before trying to clean your coffee maker out, the stains and film may be significantly more difficult to remove. Cleaning your coffee maker often and regularly helps prevent those stains and makes cleaning go a lot faster.
  6. Your machine will last longer. You just bought your coffee maker, but the longer you allow grime and calcium deposits to interfere with your machine, the more likely you are to ruin it well before its expected life span. Cleaning it regularly helps prolong the life of your gear, saving you money and time shopping for replacements.
  7. You won’t gross out your guests. You may be used to the film on your Chemex, but your guests aren’t. Brewing coffee in what looks like a dirty coffee maker is a great way to ruin any guest’s experience. Make sure it’s all clean before your guests ever arrive.
  8. It can help keep you healthy. The coffee cycle and even just a plain hot water cycle isn’t enough to clean bacteria. You have to clean it out using other methods, or your coffee maker won’t be nearly as clean as you think. It may not even be enough to entirely kill mold spores, which can make their way into your coffee and make you sick.
  9. Your coffee will taste the way it should. This is different than just tasting better. Aeropress makers, for example, produce a cup with low acidity, but with build up over time, the acidity can be altered to feel more like a french press. Making sure your coffee maker is clean keeps the benefits of having different brew methods, and tasting different types of coffee.

Getting your coffee maker completely clean is the priority, and it’s going to depend a lot on what the manufacturer recommends and how many different removable components there are.

Let’s take a look at how to clean each type of coffee maker, a few common ways to clean particular brands, and what to do with all those accessories.

can you clean a coffee maker with baking soda

How to Clean a Coffee Maker: 10 Makers

We're going to get into the specifics of how to clean some of the most popular coffee makers.

It's best to be familiar with what the manufacturer says so that you can steer clear of problems and keep your warranty intact.

As always be careful with abrasive cleaners. Backing soda is generally fine when used gently on stainless steel, but we don't recommend it with other metals like aluminum.

1. How to Clean a Drip Coffee Maker

Drip coffee makers can hide bacteria and mold in their hidden components. Cleaning a drip requires you to reach those places.

Supplies:

  • hot water
  • vinegar
  • mild soap
  • washcloth

Steps to clean a drip coffee maker:

  1. Run a cycle with plain water. Discard.
  2. Run a cycle with water and equal part vinegar. Discard the solution.
  3. Remove your carafe and hand wash or place in the dishwasher.
  4. Wipe down surfaces with a gentle soap or a cleaning wipe.
  5. Leave the carafe and coffee maker open until completely dry.

Tips for cleaning a drip coffee maker:

  • Make sure you run a follow-up brew of hot water to flush out any remaining vinegar. Otherwise, you may get an unpleasant surprise in your next cup of coffee.
  • If it’s been a very long time since you’ve cleaned out your coffee maker, you may want to repeat these steps a few times until the water runs completely clear.
  • The vinegar solution is critical here to kill bacteria and mold.

2. How to Clean a French Press Coffee Maker

You can take your French Press entirely apart and put many of the components in the dishwasher.

Supplies:

  • gentle cleanser
  • dishwasher
  • hot water
  • washcloth, nonabrasive scrubby pad

Steps to clean a french press:

    1. Slide the glass carafe out of the metal handle if possible and run it through the dishwasher. (If this doesn’t remove all the film, try including the carafe in the following steps.)
    2. Clean the filter components by twisting until they come off the plunger. If you need to soak the filter, do so.
    3. Gently scrub (with a nonabrasive scrubby pad, or toothbrush) the elements until all pieces are clean. For stubborn bits, boiling in water for a few minutes can help loosen the grime.
    4. Assemble the pieces together, and you’re ready for your next cup.

Tips for cleaning a french press:

  • Empty grounds as soon as you’re done with the coffee or you could be looking at a molded mess the next time you want to brew coffee.
  • Cleaning after every use is essential so grime does not build up in your carafe.

3. How to Clean a Pour Over Coffee Maker

Pour-over coffee makers are pretty simple to clean because they don’t have a lot of moving parts or separate components, but they still need to be cleaned regularly.

Supplies:

Steps to clean a pour-over coffee maker:

      1. Clean your pour-over maker with your mild detergent, using a bottle brush or toothbrush to gently scrub the surface could be all you need to lift the stains. If you need something to remove grime build-up, a denture tablet can help lift that grime without scrubbing.
      2. Fill a bowl with water and add one or two tablets into the water. Leave the pour-over coffee maker in the bowl overnight to clean.
      3. In the morning, remove the pour-over coffee maker and wash gently with detergent and water. Allow to dry completely.

Tips for cleaning a pour over:

how to clean a pour over coffee maker

4. How to Clean a Chemex Coffee Maker

The Chemex is a great coffee option, and easy to clean if you know what to do. Here’s how to get it sparkling again.

Supplies:

Steps to clean a Chemex:

      1. Remove the wooden grips and the leather band.
      2. Handwash the Chemex in hot water and mild detergent. Make sure the glass comes clean.
      3. If there’s still a film, fill the Chemex with hot water and add two denture tablets (one if your Chemex is a personal size). Leave overnight.
      4. In the morning, discard the water inside and thoroughly wash again with soap and hot water. Allow the Chemex to dry completely.
      5. Replace the grips and the leather strap.

Tips for cleaning a Chemex:

  • Removing the sleeve is essential if you're putting the machine in the dishwasher.
  • If you're washing your Chemex after each use but can't get your hand inside try putting hot water and a little dish liquid, along with the dishcloth in the bottom and giving it a few good swirls (holding it around “the neck” with both hands).
  • Make sure to rinse it thoroughly with clear hot water. That's the method I use.

5. How to Clean a Cold Brew Maker

Making cold brew is getting more and more popular. It's a great way to make iced coffee and many find it easier on their stomach than hot brewed coffee.

Cold-brew makers are basically a pitcher with gadgetry on the inside that allows you to brew the coffee long and slow.

It’s essential to clean your cold brew machine even though it spends most of its time in the fridge because bacteria and mold can still grow even in cold places.

Supplies

      • mild soap
      • water
      • washcloth, scrub brush/nonabrasive scrubby pad

Steps to clean a cold brew maker:

      1. Remove the filter components and scrub the pitcher with soap and water, making sure to remove any deposits and build up.
      2. Scrub the filters just like you would a French Press. Make sure you take them apart and scrub each one individually.
      3. Allow them to dry completely before reassembling so that they don’t trap moisture.

Tips for cleaning your cold brew maker:

  • Pour your cold brew into a different container and remove the coffee grounds as soon as it’s done brewing. This way you won't get mold in the filter, and you can clean it up right away.

6. How to Clean a Coffee Percolator

Percolators can be fun to watch and are a great way to brew coffee. To keep them working their best they need to be cleaned, and each component scrubbed.

Supplies

      • water
      • washcloth, scrub brush
      • mild soap
      • baking soda (not for use on aluminum)
      • vinegar

Steps to clean a coffee percolator:

      1. Take out the components and start with the pitcher part. Clean the inside thoroughly with your brush until the grime comes clean.
      2. Clean each part of the brew function. Make sure you get into the filter portion with your brush because grime can build up there as well.
      3. If you have stubborn stains, fill the percolator with water and add three tablespoons of baking soda (only use baking soda on stainless steel). Run it just like you would when you’re making coffee.
      4. Allow the water to cool off and rinse out any lingering baking soda.
      5. Run another cycle of equal parts water and white vinegar. Discard the water and run another cycle of plain water through to remove any residue.
      6. Clean your components again with mild soap to remove any last traces of grime. Cleaning your percolator more regularly will help prevent having to go through each of these steps every single time you do it.

Tips for cleaning your coffee percolator:

  • Clean it every time you use it. We know you don’t want to, but it will be so much simpler if you do.
  • If you're using an electric coffee percolator be careful not to get water on the electric contacts on the bottom of your pot.

how to clean an espresso filter

7. How to Clean an Espresso Machine

Espresso makers are a little more complicated to clean, but if you want to keep making that perfect cup of espresso, make sure you clean your machine and all its components.

Here's what you'll need for basic cleaning. Consult the manual for a more thorough cleaning. Your model may have specific requirements different than the standard.

Supplies

      • hot water
      • mild soap/chemical appropriate for your espresso machine
      • cleaning brush
      • steam wand cleaning brush

Steps to clean an espresso machine:

      1. Scrub the screen by gently scrubbing it until there are no lingering coffee grounds or films. Sometimes you'll want to remove the screen to clean the water jets themselves.
      2. Backflush the machine. Put the blind filter into your portafilter and run water (without coffee) as usual for 5-second intervals, each time dumping out the dirty water. Repeat about 5 times.
      3. Allow the water to release into the drip tray and fill the portafilter with your mild soap.
      4. Repeat this step several times to remove all the soap and make sure any lingering coffee oils are removed.
      5. Brush the basket out. Remove the basket from the portafilter and run it under hot water while scrubbing out with a brush.
      6. Clean out the steam wand thoroughly with your wand tool. The best thing to do is to clean it each time so that milk doesn’t burn to the surface.

The following video will show these steps:


Watch on YouTube

Tip for cleaning your espresso machine:

  • Learning how to disassemble the machine is key to getting it thoroughly clean. Consult your owners' manual, contact the manufacturer and watch videos if you need to.

8. How to Clean a Stovetop Espresso Maker (Moka Pot)

A Moka pot is a popular way to make coffee while camping, and for those who just love a strong cup. We take ours camping and my husband uses his every day at home.

As with a coffee percolator, you'll want to take the components of your Moka pot apart and clean them with a good brush.

Not cleaning the components regularly can lead to permanent staining, damage in the metal finish, and grime that’s impossible to get off. Make sure you wash your pot after each use to keep your coffee tasting its best.

Again only use baking soda on stainless steel.

Supplies

      • hot water
      • washcloth, cleaning brush/nonabrasive scrubby pad
      • mild soap
      • baking soda (for stainless steel only)

Steps to clean a Moka pot:

      1. Take all the components separately and clean them with soap and water.
      2. Lingering stains can be cleaned out using soap with a little baking soda. Be careful not to scrub too hard. Do not use baking soda unless your Moka pot is stainless steel. A nonabrasive scrubby pad with a little mild soap may be all you need
      3. Make sure the components are completely dry before assembling, especially if you plan to store the espresso maker for a while.

The following video will show you how to clean the gasket and interior of the Moka pot. Cleaning the rest of the machine is pretty straight forward.

Watch on YouTube

Tips for cleaning a Moka pot:

  • Make sure you clean the machine each time you use it so you don’t get scorch marks and hard to remove oil stains.
  • About once a week remove the gasket and filter and clean them along with the interior of the machine (as shown in the above video).
  • Dump out the coffee grounds as soon as the pot cools down. Grounds left in a Moka pot will mold and damage the seal.

how to clean an Areopress

9. How to Clean an Aeropress Coffee Maker

The Aeropress is known for milder, less acidic coffee and faster brew times. Make sure it stays that way with regular cleaning.

Supplies:

      • soap
      • water
      • washcloth, brush

Steps to clean an Aeropress coffee maker:

  1. After each use, remove the plunger and pop out the filter. Remove any condensed grounds.
  2. Rinse out the coffee maker and carefully clean the rubber stopper that helps seal the grounds.
  3. Clean the body of the press with gentle soap and water to remove any lingering residue. Make sure you rinse out any soap thoroughly.

Tips for cleaning an Aeropress:

  • Aeropress will turn acidic if not cleaned after each use. If your Aeropress coffee tastes funny, you probably aren’t cleaning it enough.

10. How to Clean a Metal Coffee Urn (stainless steel)

Metal urns are subject to scorch stains if you don’t continually clean the film from the inside. Make sure you don’t ruin the finish by leaving that film to eat away at the surface.

Supplies:

      • soap
      • baking soda
      • water
      • washcloth, brush/nonabrasive scrubby pad

Steps to clean a metal coffee urn:

    1. Fill the pot with water and three tablespoons of baking soda (we don't recommend using baking soda on aluminum). Again try a nonabrasive scrubby pad with some mild soap first.
    2. Gently scrub the film with your brush until it comes away from the surface.
    3. Rinse out the coffee pot and wash it with a gentle soap to remove any lingering stains and baking soda.
    4. Pour boiling water into the pot and allow it to sit until cool. Leave the urn open until it’s completely dry.

The following video shows a no-scrub method.

Watch on YouTube

Tips for cleaning a metal coffee urn:

      • Clean the urn gently but regularly.
      • Make sure it is well rinsed (free of soap residue) and dry before the next use.
best cleaners for coffee makers

How to Clean 7 Brand Name Coffee Makers

Let's look at how to clean some of the popular brand name coffee makers.

There should be care and cleaning instructions that came with your machine so make sure to check just in case we've missed something.

Tip: Always make sure the empty carafe is in your machine to catch the dirty water while cleaning your machine.

1. How to clean Cuisinart coffee maker

Cleaning a Cuisinart coffee maker is a simple process. Make sure you follow the cleaning process at least once a month if not more so that you don’t get bacteria growth or mold.

Supplies:

  • water
  • vinegar
  • nonabrasive scrubby pad/brush
  • mild dish soap

Steps to clean a Cuisinart coffee maker:

  1. Rinse: Run a complete cycle without coffee grounds using a paper filter to help remove scale and gently lift grime. Discard the water.
  2. Sanitize: Use a mix of 1/3 white vinegar and 2/3 water and run a cycle to sanitize the unit and kill any lingering bacteria or mold. If your machine has a “clean” button you can press it (while the machine is plugged in but turned off) and then when it glows turn the machine on and it will be in clean mode. When you hear five beeps the cleaning mode will be finished. Otherwise, proceed with the next steps
  3. Rinse again: Run another cycle or two of plain water to remove any vinegar and finalize the cleaning process.
  4. Scrub the carafe to remove grime and allow everything to dry completely before your next use.
  5. Soak as required: If you have trouble removing the coffee film from the carafe try letting it soak in hot soapy water for a few hours (or overnight) and then gently scrub with warm soapy water and a little vinegar.

2. How to clean Ninja coffee maker/bar

The Ninja coffee bar is easy to clean, but make sure you do it regularly so build up doesn't interfere with your system. Follow these few steps to get it just right.

Supplies:

Steps to clean Ninja coffee maker:

  1. Descale: Fill the water reservoir with a mixture of water and a descaling solution. Select “full: on the portion size indicator and press “clean”.
  2. Rinse: When the clean cycle is finished discard the solution and run another two cycles using just plain hot water to remove any lingering grime or solution.
  3. Scrub as required: Clean the carafe and any removable machine parts with hot soapy water to remove film and build-up.
  4. Allow the machine to dry completely to avoid mold growth

3. How to clean a Bunn coffee maker

The Bunn needs to be cleaned about every two weeks to make sure that all the components are in working order. Make sure you keep the brush head that comes with the machine so you can easily clean the spray head.

Supplies:

  • cleaning tool
  • soapy water
  • vinegar

Steps to clean a Bunn coffee maker:

  1. Clean spray head: Detach the spray head carefully and clean it with the brush component to remove any scale.
  2. Brew some water: Clean the machine by running a cycle through with just plain water to make sure that any grime is loosened.
  3. Brew some vinegar: Use a mix of 1/3 white vinegar and 2/3 water and run a cycle to sanitize the unit and kill any lingering bacteria or mold.
  4. Final scrub: Clean the carafe with a mixture of water and vinegar to make sure that the film lifts completely. Thermal carafes can be more difficult because you can’t see all the build-up, but the addition of the vinegar should help remove the stains.
  5. Brew some more water: Run one or two more clean cycles of plain water to remove all vinegar.
tips for cleaning coffee makers

4. How to clean a Bella coffee maker

Bella coffee makers have a beautiful, simplistic design, but they still need regular cleaning to function properly. Make sure you clean your coffee maker at least once a month for best results.

Supplies:

  • water
  • soap
  • vinegar
  • nonabrasive scrubby pad

Steps to clean a Bella coffee maker:

  1. Run a complete cycle with no coffee to start the process.
  2. Add vinegar to water and run another cycle to sanitize and help remove any lingering oils. (Many Bella coffee makers have a “clean mode” you can engage it by pressing and holding the “keep warm” button until CLEAN appears on the LCD. You press the ON/OFF button until it beeps to start the cleaning cycle, it will beep again when it's finished.)
  3. Run one or two more cycles with clean water to remove any vinegar and finalize the process.
  4. Clean the carafe with a nonabrasive scrubby pad and soapy water to remove the film and restore the shine to the glass. Allow the coffee maker to dry completely.
  5. You can also run the carafe through the dishwasher on the top rack to sanitize it after you’ve scrubbed.

5. How to clean Mr. Coffee coffee maker

Mr. Coffee is a classic and found in just about every home in the country at one point or another. Clean it regularly so that this affordable brand will last a long time.

Supplies:

  • water
  • vinegar
  • mild dish soap

Steps to clean Mr. Coffee coffee maker:

  1. Run a cycle of clear water through your coffee maker to start the process.
  2. Mix equal parts of water and vinegar and fill the reservoir. Run a complete cycle until the water mixture is gone.
  3. Run another cycle or two of clear water until you’ve removed the vinegar solution completely.
  4. Clean the carafe with dish soap or put it in the dishwasher to sanitize. Make sure you use the top rack only.

6. How to clean a Keurig coffee maker

Keurigs need to be cleaned regularly to help keep it in top shape. Let’s go through the process.

Supplies:

Steps to clean Keurig coffee maker:

  1. Fill the reservoir and run the cycle without the filter until the reservoir is empty.
  2. Unplug the machine and remove any components that are removable. Scrub them all with hot soapy water and allow them to dry.
  3. Rebuild the machine and add a mixture of half vinegar and water to the reservoir. Or use a descaling solution and follow the cleaning solution’s instructions.
  4. Run cycles until your reservoir is empty.
  5. Run a final cycle or two with just water to clean it out thoroughly.
  6. You may also want to clean the needle. You can do that by using a paper clip (simply straighten the outer section) and poke the end in where the needle enters the funnel of the K-cup holder. Then up the sides of the needle on the brewer's head on the machine itself. This should clear any blockages.

7. How to clean a Black and Decker coffee maker

Black and Decker is another classic coffee brand that’s affordable and found everywhere. Clean it by following many of the same steps as the other brands above.

Supplies:

  • water
  • mild soap
  • vinegar
  • brush/nonabrasive scrubby pad

Steps to clean Black+Decker coffee maker:

  1. Run your cycle with just hot water, and repeat with a mixture of half vinegar and half water.
  2. Run cleansing cycles of just hot water to remove any lingering vinegar solution.
  3. Clean the carafe thoroughly with water and a brush or nonabrasive scrubby pad to make sure all film is removed and rinse it thoroughly.
how to clean permanent coffee filters

How to Clean Coffee Filters

The coffee filter needs to be cleaned regularly to avoid build-up which can affect the flavor of your coffee and the function of your machine.

How to Clean Permanent Coffee Filters

Cleaning permanent coffee filters is critical because they can trap mold and bacteria in addition to a film that alters the taste of your coffee.

Some of them are dishwasher safe, but we always recommend cleaning by hand so that you prolong their life and you know for sure that every nook and cranny is clean.

How do you clean a metal coffee filter?

Metal coffee filters are easy to clean because you can really see where the stains are.

Make sure you’ve taken all the components apart if there are any and wash by hand without using harsh cleansers that can ruin the finish.

Please keep in mind that we are talking about stainless steel when referring to “metal”. We don't recommend using baking soda on aluminum.

Cleaning metal coffee filter with baking soda:

Here's what you'll need to clean your metal coffee filter:

Supplies:

  • soap
  • water
  • washcloth, brush
  • baking soda

Steps to clean a metal coffee filter:

  1. Soak your metal filter for a few minutes in hot soapy water to loosen the film.
  2. Gently scrub your filter to remove any stains and allow it to air dry completely.
  3. If it’s been a while since you’ve cleaned your filter, use a small bit of baking soda mixed with water to remove any lingering stains from the filter and make sure to rinse and allow to dry thoroughly.

Cleaning a metal coffee filter with vinegar:

Vinegar is a great way to descale the coffee filter and make sure it’s clean. Here's how to do it:

Supplies:

  • vinegar
  • water
  • washcloth, brush
  • baking soda

Steps to clean a metal coffee filter with vinegar:

  1. Mix equal parts vinegar and warm water and allow the filter to soak for a few minutes.
  2. Gently scrub the filter with your brush to remove stains and shine the metal.
  3. You could also mix a little baking soda into the vinegar solution for a foaming action that’s great at removing the lingering film from the filter.
  4. Make sure to rinse and allow to dry thoroughly.

The more often you clean the filter, the less you’ll have to go to extremes to remove grime.

How do you clean the basket of a coffee maker?

Running a clean cycle through your basket is a great way to keep scale and film at bay. At least once a week, run a cycle with no coffee grounds.

As mentioned earlier in this post, running a vinegar cycle through your machine will help clean the basket at the same time.

Put a paper filter in the basket to catch any deposits that come up from your water reservoir and then discard the filter and the water in the carafe.

If it’s been a long time since you’ve cleaned the basket, see if the entire thing will remove from your coffee maker and run it underwater, brushing out any grounds. Gently scrubbing with mild soap and water will help get of film and grime as well. Using a small nonabrasive scrub-brush/toothbrush can help get in around the grooves commonly found in coffee maker baskets.

If your basket doesn’t remove, do your best to remove grounds by using a small brush or tipping your coffee maker on its side if you can.

How do I clean my Keurig coffee filter?

Keurig coffee filters are also a lot like any other coffee filter.

Use vinegar and hot water to help remove any grounds or scale and allow the filter to soak in the mixture for a few minutes to loosen the grime. Gently brush it out with your cleaning brush to make sure you’ve gotten everything out.

You could also run a clean cycle with no coffee grounds to help remove the film. Clean your filter regularly to prolong its life and prevent poor tasting coffee.

how do you clean a coffee maker

How do you clean a coffee screen?

Coffee screens can also be cleaned with a mixture of vinegar and hot water.

Gently scrub the screen after soaking it in equal parts vinegar and water to loosen any oils and clear it out for your next use.

If you don't clean coffee screens regularly, you may find yourself having to replace them a lot sooner than you’d like.

How do you clean coffee oils?

Oils can be tricky because they stick to the surface and slowly bake on creating stains.

Vinegar and basic blue dawn dish detergent are great for removing trapped oils because the mixture breaks up the oil’s consistency, allowing you to scrub it clean and remove any stains.

Blend the vinegar and soap in a container and allow the components to soak for a few minutes. Begin to brush the oil stains gently until they remove completely.

How do you get mold out of coffee filters?

Molded coffee filters may have to be discarded, but before you do that, try to remove the mold.

Allow the filter to soak overnight in a mixture of equal parts of water and vinegar to kill the mold spores. Then gently cleanse the filter with a brush and mild soap.

Allow the filter to dry completely before you make your next cup of coffee.

How do you clean a gold coffee filter?

Cleaning a gold coffee filter is essential to preserving the flavor of the coffee.

Gently cleanse the filter using a mild soap such as classic blue Dawn and a small brush. If you don’t have a small brush, a toothbrush is a great tool for getting into the hard to reach places.

Gently remove any stains and film and allow the filter to air dry completely before you use it again.

How do you clean an espresso filter?

Espresso filters get really grimy, so clean it out each time you use your espresso machine.

Take the portafilter and basket apart and wash each individually. Use a mild soap and a small cleaning brush (or nonabrasive scrubby pad) and gently rub the filter in a circular direction to remove the film and stains.

If you have trouble, a small amount of baking soda can help remove stubborn stains, but make sure that you remove all the baking soda before your next cup of espresso.

How do you clean stainless steel coffee filters?

Stainless is easy to clean with mild soap and a brush (or nonabrasive scrubby pad).

Use hot water and gently scrub the steel filter in a circular motion to lift grime.

If you have trouble, soaking the filter for a few minutes could help, but don’t leave the filter in the water for long because it can eat the finish. You could also try vinegar to help remove hard water stains and calcium deposits if it’s been a long time since you’ve cleaned the filter.

How do you clean a metal pour-over filter?

The metal pour-over filters can be gently scrubbed with mild soap and a bit of white vinegar.

Use a toothbrush or other small brush with plastic bristles to help lift stains and sanitize the filter. You could also use a nonabrasive scrubby pad.

Make sure you clean both sides of the filter until you don’t see any more grime or debris in your filter. Clean the filter after each use for best results and to prolong its life.

How do you clean coffee socks?

Thoroughly rinse out your coffee sock after each use.

Discard the grounds and rinse the sock until the water runs clear. Squeeze out excess water and lay flat to dry.

Once a week (or more often if you like) boil water and allow the socks to soak for five to ten minutes to remove oils and sanitize.

The key with socks is being diligent to rinse them out after each use so that you don’t have to replace the sock sooner than you’d like.

How to clean a french press

Trouble Shooting When Cleaning a Coffee Maker

Let’s take a look at how to solve a few issues you may have if you’re cleaning your coffee maker for the first time.

How do you clean a moldy coffee maker?

You can help kill mold by using a mixture of hot water and vinegar (equal parts, so half water, half vinegar should do the trick).

You may have to run several cycles of vinegar solution to completely remove the mold.

If the machine is too moldy it may be best to throw out the coffee maker and start over.

How do you clear a clogged coffee maker?

Clogged coffee makers are often the result of grime and grounds building up in the basket or water jets.

Use a small brush and knock free any grounds you see in the basket. Even better if the basket is removable and you can turn it over and gently tap it on the counter (or in the sink) to help dislodge the grounds.

Run a cycle of water and vinegar to help loosen any grime that may be causing grounds to stick to the surface of the basket.

If this does not do the trick you may need to dismantle your machine a little and clean out the water jets, consult the manufacturer for anything that seems too complicated.

Does vinegar kill mold in a coffee maker?

A strong enough concentration of vinegar will kill mold lingering in your coffee maker. White vinegar is best for this type of job.

If your coffee maker has visible patches of mold, you may want to run one part water to three parts vinegar, brushing out the basket and drip section after each part.

Once you’re sure the mold is gone, run several cycles of just water to clean out the vinegar smell and taste.

If in doubt it may be best to get rid of the coffee maker and start with a new one.

Cleaning Coffee Mugs and Thermoses

How do you clean a stainless steel coffee decanter?

Stainless steel is easy to clean. Use a mixture of mild dish soap and baking soda with hot water to gently scrub out any film and residue.

If you're concerned that backing soda will damage the finish try a nonabrasive scrubby pad, but you'll still need to use a light touch.

Make sure you do this after each use to prevent the stains from setting in or ruining the finish of your decanter. It’s essential that your decanter remains free of residue that can contaminate your coffee with mold or bacteria.

How do you clean a stainless steel coffee mug?

Some stainless steel can go in the dishwasher, but double-walled mugs cannot.

We recommend hand washing regardless of whether it can go in the dishwasher using the same method above to remove any residue and grime.

Make sure you store the mug with the top unscrewed so any moisture can dry thoroughly. Otherwise, you may end up with mold.

How do you clean a metal thermos?

Metal thermoses must be hand washed.

Use a long scrub brush to reach down inside with a mixture of soapy water and vinegar to sanitize.

Be sure you rinse thoroughly, you can use a light to peer inside to makes sure all stains are taken care of completely.

Clean your thermos after each use to make this process a lot easier.

can you clean a coffee maker with vinegar

Cleaning Agents for Coffee Makers

In our opinion, the best cleaning agents for coffee makers are vinegar, blue Dawn dishwashing soap, and baking soda.

Let's take a closer look at why we favor these cleansers.

What can I use to clean my coffee maker?

We don’t recommend harsh cleansers with your coffee maker because natural methods work well. They also rinse well and don't contain harsh chemicals that can be harmful to your health.

Vinegar and baking soda are two of our standards for removing grime and killing any bacteria and mold.

Nonabrasive scrubby pads, small brushes, and pipe cleaners are great tools for this process.

Also, original Dawn soap is a very mild solution that is great at breaking up oils that are tough to remove.

How do you clean a coffee maker with baking soda?

Very gently and always mixed with water to prevent abrasions.

Baking soda is good for agitating stains on stainless steel. But you need to use a gentle touch. It's best to use light pressure even though it may take more work/time.

Use baking soda any time you have a lingering film that doesn’t come up with just soap and water.

You can also use it to clean out some of your coffee makers that have hard to reach places with a brush or cleaner tool. Just make sure to rinse, rinse, rinse.

How do you clean a coffee maker with dish soap?

Dish soap is essential and often the first step to cleaning many coffee maker parts. But don't run dish soap through your coffee maker. We're talking about washing removable parts and non-electric coffee makers with dish soap.

If you wash regularly, this may be all you need besides vinegar every once in a while.

Use a mild dish soap that doesn’t contain strong fragrances, especially with plastic parts, so that your coffee doesn’t take on the smell of the dish soap.

Again, Dawn is an excellent option because it’s gentle and doesn’t contain too much fragrance.

how to clean a chemex

How much vinegar do you use to clean a coffee maker?

Usually, a 1:1 vinegar to water mixture works well.

Vinegar is an excellent sanitizer, cleaning out hard to reach places and killing mold and bacteria.

You can adjust the measurements as you need, with one part water and three parts vinegar being a strong solution for truly soiled machines.

Adjust the mixture as needed for maintenance cleaning.

How do I clean my coffee maker with apple cider vinegar?

Apple cider vinegar is an excellent alternative to white vinegar if you can’t stand the smell.

It has the same level of acidity, but the scent is milder and could prevent allergic reactions if you’re sensitive.

The downside is that it’s often more expensive than white vinegar so plan accordingly.

Also, apple cider vinegar without the mother intact is the best option so you don’t accidentally contaminate your machine trying to clean it. So either buy it without the mother or strain it out with a cheesecloth.

What can you use besides vinegar to clean a coffee maker?

You can always use a cleaning solution that the manufacturer makes.

Many premium coffee companies have a solution made just for their machines.

Lemon juice could also be a good alternative because of the acidity. Hot water goes a long way as well, so don’t underestimate the benefits of running a water cycle after each cycle of coffee.

Can I use lemon juice to clean my coffee maker?

Lemon juice could be an excellent alternative to cleaning the surfaces of your coffee maker.

There may not be enough lemon juice to run anything but a maintenance cycle, but cleaning the basket or filter parts with lemon juice could absolutely work without affecting the taste and without smelling like vinegar.

Can you use bleach to clean a coffee maker?

We don’t recommend bleach to clean your coffee maker because it’s so difficult to get the smell and feel (or thought) of bleach out once you’ve introduced it.

If you must use bleach, dilute it as much as you possibly can and make sure to run more than enough cycles of plain water to wash out any of the bleach smell and taste. Never soak your components in bleach.

cleaning coffee makers

What does “Time to descale” the brewer mean?

Water contains minerals that can slowly clog the machine and alter the taste.

Some coffee machines alert you to this, they indicate that it’s time to remove those calcium deposits and hard water stains so that your coffee maker runs smoothly and has a better overall taste.

Don’t ignore this notification because the longer you wait, the harder it is to remove them. The best way to do this is to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the process.

Vinegar is a great cleaner, but you may also want to buy a descale solution explicitly made for coffee machines, like this non-toxic solution by Full Circle.

Does a coffee maker kill bacteria?

No. The coffee maker doesn’t stay hot enough for long enough to effectively kill bacteria.

You need to boil components for five to ten minutes to sanitize, so don’t rely solely on the hot water cycles to truly clean your machine.

It may flush bacteria from the coffee maker, but it’s not going to kill any colonies that have begun to form.

The only way to be sure is to follow one of the methods we’ve outlined above.

natural cleaning products for coffee makers

How do you remove calcium deposits from a coffee maker?

Calcium deposits are part of the descaling process. If you follow the manufacturer's instructions, you should do a good job getting the scale off.

As you have probably noticed we recommend vinegar a lot in this post and that's because it does such a good job of removing calcium and other deposits. But remember to check what the manufacturer recommends because your warranty could be affected if you use something other than what they say.

The longer you wait, the harder it is to do, so don’t put it off.

Some coffee makers will tell you when it’s time, but every six to eight weeks is usually suitable if your coffee maker doesn’t notify you of when it’s time.

How do you deep clean a coffee maker?

Deep cleaning a coffee maker can take some time, but it’s worth the effort.

Running cycles with decreasing vinegar parts to water is a great option for really getting a machine clean. If there are any removable parts, make sure to disassemble them and clean them with hot soapy water.

Follow the instruction manual for dismantling components like the steam arm on an espresso machine to get it thoroughly clean.

Find deep cleaning videos about your specific model on YouTube can be helpful as well.

If you care for your machine regularly, including deep cleaning it, it’s always easier to keep the machine completely clean and running smoothly.

best cleaner for a coffee maker

How Will You Clean Your Coffee Maker?

Hopefully, this answered your questions about how to clean a coffee maker no matter what type of machine you have right now.

Taking the time to clean it gives you better, healthier coffee and a longer life span from your machines.

Don’t rely on just the hot water cycle to make sure it’s clean.

Take the time to scrub and descale components gently, and unclog drips and filters for the best coffee results.

how to clean coffee filters

Your Turn

I would love to hear what works best for you, please share your thoughts and tips by commenting on this post.

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Meet the Author

Dena Haines

Dena Haines is co-editor of EnjoyJava! - and is working to make it the best coffee blog in the world. Ambitious, right? She is a travel blogger and content marketer. She is also co-founder of GudGear (an outdoor adventure blog) and Storyteller Media (content marketing for travel brands). Work with Bryan and Dena.

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