How to Clean a Coffee Maker without Using Vinegar

Coffee Maker

Have you noticed your coffee losing flavor or freshness over time? This is a common occurrence for coffee drinkers, but the solution is usually simple. Proper maintenance and cleaning of your coffee maker is the best way to keep your coffee tasting just as fresh and delicious as when you first purchased that brand-new maker.

You can use all kinds of different household items to do this, and many people use vinegar due to its deep cleaning, astringent properties. However, a vinegar rinse is not the only way to clean your coffee maker. Do you know how to clean a coffee maker without vinegar?

If you are wondering how to clean a coffee maker without vinegar, either due to the unpleasantly strong smell or because you don't typically keep it on hand, we've got you covered. There are so many DIY methods to clean your coffee maker out there that it can be confusing to know what methods work great and which might be a waste of time.

We performed research and compiled a list of the most efficient DIY methods to clean your coffee maker so that you can have fresh-tasting coffee without any use of vinegar.

Why Should You Descale Your Coffee Maker?

Coffee Maker

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Descaling agents are highly acidic substances that can dissolve the limescale build up in the machine, renewing the system and making your coffee taste as fresh as it should.

If you only attempt to clean your coffee maker with water, you're not cleaning it enough because this doesn't get rid of the limescale build up on the inside of the machine. Popular DIY descaling agents include vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice, and you can also purchase a formulated descaling solution online or at a store.

Coffee makers need to be descaled and deep-cleaned to get rid of the limescale and "hard water" build up inside of the machine. Nothing can ruin a morning faster than a brutally bitter or otherwise nasty cup of coffee, and it is often your coffee maker that is the culprit.

Make sure that you give your coffee maker regular deep cleanings with a descaling agent to keep your coffee tasting fresh and delicious.

Coffee makers do a lot of work and often have a lot of hands touching them, which makes it susceptible to germs and bacteria in your kitchen. Bacteria and mold love to thrive in damp environments and that is exactly what your coffee maker is.

Many people don't have time to take out the coffee beans and filter every morning before they leave for work, and a lot of people just simply forget. This creates an environment that bacteria can thrive in all day long, so it is absolutely necessary to make sure you're cleaning your coffee makers often enough.

How Often Should You Clean Your Coffee Maker?

Do you remember the last time you cleaned your coffee maker? If not, you're probably due for a cleaning. We recommend cleaning your coffee maker about once a month to get rid of hard water and lime buildup, bacteria, germs and the potential for mold.

Some coffee makers have a built-in feature that will let you know when it is time for a deep clean, but if yours doesn't, you can just follow this general rule of a once-a-month cleaning.

People that do not have a water softener should clean their coffee makers more frequently to ensure there is no build up tainting the taste of your daily brew. For these users, a quick cleaning once every 2-to-3 weeks is ideal, especially if that specific coffee maker gets used every day.

Are There Effective Ways to Clean a Coffee Maker without Vinegar?

Coffee Maker

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Coffee makers need to be deep-cleaned and descaled on a regular basis to remove bacteria, mold, and pesky limescale build up. Vinegar is often used as a descaling agent to deep clean a coffee maker of all limescale buildup and germs. However, vinegar is not the only descaling agent out there.

The key to a good descaling agent is its high concentration of acid. Lemon juice, baking soda, and citric acid are a few examples of effective descaling agents you may already have in your home.

There are many different ways to clean your coffee maker, and although vinegar is a popular choice, it is far from the only way to go. If you are wondering how to clean a coffee maker without vinegar, look no further. We have made a list of the best ways to clean a coffee maker without vinegar so you don't have to deal with that strong and unpleasant smell.

You should take care to use the best descaling and cleaning method for your particular brand and model of coffee maker. Some models, especially styles with rubber components, carry specific warnings against using vinegar due to the fact that it will corrode the rubber.

Weaker acidic solutions are best for these machines to ensure that they get deep-cleaned and descaled without compromising any machine components.

Why Go Vinegar-Free for Your Next Cleaning?


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Although vinegar is an effective cleansing agent, many people are off-put by the strong, lingering smell. Not only that, but if you don't make sure to rinse out your coffee maker a couple of times to clear out the vinegar, you're almost certain to get a mouthful of sour coffee on your very next brew.

Although vinegar is natural and chemical-free, it is still a highly acidic substance that can potentially cause damage to your coffee maker over time. Using vinegar regularly in your coffee maker can also cause certain parts of the interior to begin to degrade over time.

 It is especially important to avoid vinegar for descaling coffee makers that have rubber parts because the acetic acid in the vinegar will corrode the rubber.

Vinegar doesn't have to be a part of your coffee cleaning routine, and if you want to know how to clean a coffee maker without vinegar, check out the most efficient methods we have found below. With our guide, we have made it easier than ever for you to know how to clean a coffee maker without vinegar anytime you choose.

How to Clean a Coffee Maker without Vinegar

Coffee Maker

image source: via Gabi Miranda

Cleaning and descaling your coffee maker is a rewarding, worthwhile thing to do for yourself if you are an avid coffee drinker. Keeping it clean and free of any kind of buildup will give you the best-tasting coffee, and who doesn't want that?

Vinegar doesn't have to be your only option for descaling your coffee maker, and it may even result in premature wear and tear. So, if you want to avoid the unpleasant smell, keep reading to find out how to clean a coffee maker without vinegar.

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is something that most households have on hand. It is the perfect addition to add a pop of tang and citrus brightness to a meal, but it can also be used as a cleansing agent.

Lemon juice is known for its acidic, cleansing, and detoxifying properties due to its high level of acidity. It also has higher antiseptic and antibacterial properties than vinegar, which makes it an exceptional cleansing agent for your coffee maker. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. 1
    Remove old coffee grounds if there are any in the basket.
  2. 2
    Run the coffee maker once with cold water only to begin removing debris and dirt from the inside of the machine.
  3. 3
    Put the juice from 7-8 lemons in the coffee pot, along with half a pot of water. Use a ratio of 1:1 for the lemon juice and water.
  4. 4
    Turn on the maker and let it run, letting the lemon juice solution sit for about 15 minutes before taking it out.
  5. 5
    Discard the lemon juice solution and run cold water through the coffee maker one more time. This will clean out the lemon juice so your coffee doesn't have a funny taste.
  6. 6
    Clean the exterior of the coffee pot with soap and water, and you are finished! Be sure you thoroughly dry all parts of the coffee maker after cleaning.

Citric Acid

Citric acid may be the most cost-effective way to keep your coffee maker clean. A 5-pound bag can be found on Amazon, for example. It can also be used to create DIY cleaning solutions that can be used anywhere in the home.

In addition, citric acid cleanings won't leave any odor behind like other DIY descaling solutions, and for a coffee maker, you'll only need about two teaspoons per deep-cleaning session.

Although you may not have this cleansing agent lying around the house, picking up a bag of citric acid online is the best way to stretch your dollar. Knowing how to clean a coffee maker without vinegar is now easier than ever with this cost-effective citric acid "hack." Here's your quick how-to guide:

  1. 1
    First, rinse out your coffee maker to remove any leftover coffee grounds or dirt.
  2. 2
    Add 2 teaspoons of citric acid to 6-8 cups of water and then turn on your coffee maker.
  3. 3
    After the citric acid is run through the coffee maker, rinse the unit with hot water and run it again to make sure it is 100% clean.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is a common household item that most people keep on hand for its many uses. For this reason, it could be the easiest way to know how to clean a coffee maker without using vinegar because you most likely already have a box lying around. Baking soda has strong detoxifying agents that make it a great cleaning agent.
We recommend these steps:

  1. 1
    Clean out the coffee maker once with water to make sure there is no dirt or debris.
  2. 2
    Fill your coffee pot with 1/4 cup baking soda, and then fill the rest to its capacity with filtered water.
  3. 3
    Once the baking soda has dissolved, run it through the coffee maker.
  4. 4
    Discard the baking soda solution and run the coffee maker twice through its normal cycle to remove the baking soda completely.
  5. 5
    Rinse and dry your coffee maker thoroughly and... enjoy your fresh coffee!

Commercially Available Descaling Agents

Perhaps the most hassle-free way to make sure that your coffee maker stays clean and buildup -ree is by purchasing a descaling agent specific to your particular brand of coffee pot or other-style maker.

Many people don't want to risk ruining their expensive coffee pots with corrosive substances like vinegar. So if you are asking yourself how to clean a coffee maker without vinegar and are wary of using DIY descaling solutions, your best bet will be with a "store-bought" descaling agent.

Additional Tips to Keep Your Coffee Maker Clean

Coffee Maker

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Now that we have covered now how to clean a coffee maker without using vinegar, it is important to also make sure that we are taking care of our coffee makers in every way possible. This will keep it clean by all standards that matter, which in turn means you may never have to endure a bad swallow or cup of homemade coffee again.

Proper Storage

Always make sure that you are storing your coffee maker in a cool, dry place. Moisture contributes to mold and bacteria buildup that are unhealthy. Always clean out your coffee maker and wipe excess moisture away when you are done using it for the day.

It is also a good idea to leave the top open on the coffee maker (if the design makes that simple) to avoid too much moisture buildup on the inside of the machine.

Proper Overall Maintenance

Although it may be tempting to just rinse out your pot of coffee with water and put it back, it is important to wipe the exterior of your coffee maker daily with mild soap and water, too. Doing this in addition to performing a monthly deep-clean will keep your coffee maker in tip-top shape for years to come.

Use Filtered Water

Using filtered water in your coffee pot is the best way to ensure that you minimize lime and mineral build up on the inside of the coffee pot. It will also help to keep your coffee tasting fresh and delicious every single day.

This may also extend the life span of the coffee maker, and preventing excess impurities and mineral buildup on a routine basis will keep it easy to deep clean and descale.

How to Clean a Coffee Maker without Using Vinegar: Conclusion

Coffee Maker

image source: via John Schnobrich

Vinegar is a popular DIY descaling agent that works just fine for many people. However, for those of you who don't want to risk corroding your coffee maker or don't like the smell, all this information on how to clean your coffee maker without vinegar should save the day.

Whether you drink coffee primarily for the boost it gives you or you absolutely love trying different blends, grinds, and coffee drinks, taste matters tremendously. Along with the preventive health benefits of doing so, this means that frequent coffee maker cleanings are absolutely worth the effort.

Cleaning your coffee maker is crucial for avid coffee drinkers because a good cup of coffee can easily be ruined by a coffee maker that hasn't been properly deep cleaned or descaled.

Now that you know how to clean a coffee maker without using vinegar, you'll be able to deep-clean your coffee maker so that you always have fresh-tasting, delicious coffee.

Featured Image via Pixabay


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