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How To Clean A Coffee Maker With Apple Cider Vinegar

Updated on November 10, 2013

Most people clean their coffee makers out sparingly. Other than a quick rinse of the carafe, the average coffee maker simply sits there collecting mineral deposits and coffee grime in the inner workings for months and even years before deep cleans happen.

When i got out of college my first coffee pot probably went five or six years before I ever thought to clean out the water lines. I always scrubbed out the pot itself but I never thought to (or knew how) to clean the lines out. Turns out that a simple mix of acidic water is all it takes to keep them clear and the heating element working as efficiently as possible.

The funny thing is that cleaning your coffee maker is probably the easiest cleaning task you'll face in the kitchen. And cleaning it regularly will extend the life of the machine and help your coffee taste better. I didn't realize how poorly my coffee maker was working until I cleaned it out the first time. You could noticeably tell that the coffee was hotter and the flavor was better immediately after brewing.

The vast majority of people who clean their coffee makers regularly use either dedicated coffee maker cleaning products (not me) or distilled white vinegar (me sometimes). But there are other ways to de-calcify if you don't have either of these products. I for one don't always have white vinegar on hand because I don't use it around the house but I do have apple cider vinegar in my cabinet at all times because I regularly cook with it.

In terms of acidity apple cider vinegar is just as acidic as white vinegar so it should clean up your coffee maker lines just as good. It will however have more flavor and leave more aromatics (and flavor) behind. Assuming you are like me this isn't a big deal. When I cleaned my coffee maker with apple cider vinegar for the first time it was certainly a potent smell but after doing an extra rinsing cycle to flush the extra vinegar flavor and smell away everything seemed fine again.

In terms of the actual cleansing process - cleaning your coffee pot with apple cider vinegar is really no different than doing it with white vinegar. The steps are exactly the same save for the one or two additional rinsing cycles you'll inevitably have to run.


  • Apple Cider Vinegar


  • Bottle Brush


1. Fill coffee carafe 1/3 of the way full with filtered apple cider vinegar.

2. Fill the remainder of the carafe with tap water.

3. Run a full cycle with this mixture (sans coffee filter/grounds) and let the hot water & vinegar mixture sit in the pot for a few minutes after the coffee maker cycles off.

4. Repeat step 3 if you can't ever remember cleaning your coffee maker previously.

5. After running finishing the cycles submerge your coffee maker's filter basket in the vinegar/water mixture for a few minutes.

6. Next you will wan to to scrub the interior of your coffee carafe and the water chamber of your coffee maker out with a bottle brush. This will ensure all nooks and crannies are sufficiently cleaned before rinsing the system out.

7. Finally run 1-3 cycles of hot water through the coffee maker to flush out all vinegar, coffee, and calcification residue out of the system. Because you used apple cider vinegar you may need to run an additional cycle of hot water to completely eliminate the odor or vinegar flavor.

8. Reassemble the coffee maker and enjoy better (cleaner) coffee the next time you brew a pot. Your coffee maker should make hotter coffee producing a better flavor in your cup and it should take slightly less time to brew than it did prior to the cleaning.

9. Remember to clean your coffee maker out once every month or two depending on how frequently you use it to ensure your appliance is working it's best all the time.

I highly recommend only using apple cider vinegar or white vinegar to clean a coffee machine for the sake of keeping things cheap but there are products specifically designed to de-calcify your coffee pot. If you've ever used them before do you think they are worth buying? Let us know in the comments below.


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