How To Clean a Coffee Maker

Need to learn how to clean a coffee maker? No appliance is used more than your coffeemaker. Delivering your daily brew, it’s our morning cure to sluggishness post-sleep. Not to mention coffee is delicious!

Except, being in daily use means our coffeemakers don’t receive the cleaning they need. After all, we think, it’s only coffee and water – “what’s the worst that can happen?”

cleaning coffeemaker, coffeemaker, how to clean a coffeemaker
Photo Courtesy of Sub-Zero.

You are boiling the water, right? That kills the bugs. However, cleaning a coffee maker isn’t just about bugs and nasties (although they are important). Neglecting to clean your coffeemaker can damage the machine and affect the taste of your morning coffee.

Worse, according to a 2011 study, yeast and mold may be lurking in the water reservoir. Yikes! Learning how to clean a coffee maker is critical – for your health, tastebuds, and machine.

Follow the steps below to clean your coffeemaker.

How to Clean a Coffee Maker

Want to avoid any hidden surprises? Don’t fancy sharing with your friendly neighborhood yeast? You’ll want to stick to the cleaning routine outline below. You don’t need any special cleaning equipment – just common household items.

coffeemaker, how to clean a coffeemaker, cleaning coffeemaker
Photo Courtesy of Sub-Zero.

Be sure to consult your Sub-Zero & Wolf appliance manuals for specific instructions on how to use, maintain and clean your high-end appliances.

What You Need

  • Hot water
  • Soap
  • White vinegar
  • Sponge
  • Paper coffee filters
  • Rice

Standard Drip Coffeemaker

Step 1. Wash the removable parts after every use. Leaving behind any coffee, grinds, or oils is a recipe for bacterial and fungal growth. Not only is this unsafe, but these residues also build up in the machine damaging these removable parts.

After every use, place the removable parts in a bowl of hot soapy water. Wash thoroughly using a sponge, and allow to dry completely. You should also wipe down the outside of the coffeemaker, including the warming plate. Alternatively, you can place the parts in a dishwasher – ensure they’re dishwasher-safe.

Finally, leave the reservoir lid open after each use to dry completely. That’ll reduce the risk of mold and yeast growth.

Step 2. Decalcify monthly with vinegar. Hard water contains minerals that build up over time. These minerals clog your machine’s inner workings – that’s why it takes longer and longer for your coffee to drip.

Not to worry! You can return your coffeemaker to normal with a little white vinegar. You’ll need to run the coffee machine as you usually do but with a vinegar solution.

  1. Fill the reservoir with a half-and-half mixture of vinegar and water.
  2. Place filter paper in the machine’s basket.
  3. Put the pot in place.
  4. Let the machine brew halfway.
  5. Turn off and allow the machine to sit for 30 minutes.
  6. Finish the brewing, and pour the pot of vinegar-water solution away.
  7. Rinse the removable parts, place a new filter paper, and brew a pot of clean water.

If you’ve never done this before, repeat to ensure you remove all the calcification. Some coffee makers may not need a descaling/decalcifying as they use a water filter. If so, you’ll want to keep track of the filter cartridge, replacing it when necessary. Leaving the filter for too long can cause clogging and improper brewing.

Step 3. Rinse and rice the carafe. While you should always wash your carafe after every use, the glass can dull with time. There’s a simple fix. Fill the carafe with warm, sudsy water and some uncooked rice. Swirl the mixture inside to loosen the gunk. Scrub the glass to remove any debris, and rinse well.

Pod Coffeemaker

Pod coffee makers are a lot simpler than their grind alternative. No brew basket. No hotplate. That means less cleaning after a cup of coffee. However, you’ll still want to clean two key areas regularly:

  1. The water reservoir. To prevent mold and fungal growth inside the water reservoir, you should clean it regularly using soap and water. The reservoir’s moist environment is the perfect haven for germs and bugs. Check your machine’s manual to see if it is dishwasher-safe.
  2. The drip tray. Where your coffee mug sits is likely to collect lots of spilled coffee. You should empty the drip tray and clean it with warm soapy water every couple of uses to prevent bugs from growing.

Like a drip coffeemaker, you’ll also want to descale the pod machine. As before, run a few cycles with a white vinegar mixture to thoroughly descale the inside before running a cycle with clean water to rinse. Descaling at least once a month will prevent any clogging.

Coffee Pot

While rice and warm water will clean most debris and staining, you can also use white vinegar. Try rubbing the stains with baking soda and a little water if that doesn’t work.

Final thoughts

Now you know how to clean a coffee maker. Don’t let it become the germiest object in your home. Regular cleaning and descaling will keep your machine working and prevent any mold or bacterial growth.

C&W Appliance Service can help service your appliances when you need it! Helping service the Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio, Austin, San Marcos areas for 60 years. Call us at (855) 358-1496 or submit our online service request form for prompt service.


For the very best in appliance repair and maintenance, you can count on C&W Appliance Service.