The Best Way to Clean a Coffeemaker


Efficiently cleaning your coffeemaker once a week is important to keeping your caffeine courier in top shape. Many glass or thermal carafes are dishwasher-safe, but some “have plastic handles and lids that may degrade faster in a dishwasher than if they were washed by hand,” says Ted Stachura, who currently manages the coffee program at Equator Coffees and Teas in San Rafael, California. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions.

A gentle way to clean the machine itself is to fill the inside with two parts water and one part distilled white vinegar, and run a cycle. Afterward, rinse by running a few batches of plain water through the machine, clearing your coffeemaker of mineral deposits, like lime and calcium, which can build up over time.

Need more help streamlining your routine? Check out these creative ideas from Real Simple readers.



  1. greg

    “caffeine courier”? Is the silly caffeine riff really journalistically necessary?

    September 3, 2013 at 10:14 pm
  2. LaTanya E. Johnson

    Thanks for the tip! Very helpful! Keep your own style of writing! Never mind the haters! Thanks again!

    September 4, 2013 at 6:59 am
  3. Mia

    Maybe not Greg but I thought it was a cute way of putting it.

    September 4, 2013 at 11:50 am
  4. Kate

    Mia – I appreciate the tip AND the phrase “caffeine courier” fairly certain “journalistically” isn’t the most eloquent of writings either… Will try this method later today. I always thought you had to purchase “de-scaler” or some other specific product.

    September 4, 2013 at 12:14 pm
  5. Julie Turcotte

    What about the newer machines that dispense a cup at a time. Ir is really difficult to clean that part that holds the little cup or small filter holder.

    September 4, 2013 at 3:22 pm
  6. Johanna

    Is that good for a Keurig?

    September 4, 2013 at 5:21 pm
  7. Brad E Wakeman

    These are the cleaning instructions that came with my coffee maker but once a week is excessive . . . try once a year. Then again, it depends on how often coffee is made.

    September 4, 2013 at 5:43 pm
  8. JOG

    Just the way my mother taught me to clean them — I really like the “caffeine courier” term, and I know that she would have too !!!!!

    September 4, 2013 at 10:02 pm
  9. Bonnie

    My coffee maker actually has a light that comes on when it needs to be cleaned. It is used almost every day, but light comes on maybe every 3 months or so. Directions are to clean with vinegar and water as you described.

    September 4, 2013 at 11:27 pm
  10. virginnia winstead

    after killing 3 expensive machines, I now do this on first day of each month, but use straight vinegar and rinse by brewing with water three times.

    September 5, 2013 at 1:34 pm
  11. West Coast Mom

    I wonder if the hardness of the water in your area effects how often cleaning is required. We only feed our coffee courier tap water, but we have great water in the Pacific NW.

    September 7, 2013 at 1:13 am

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