How to Clean Your Coffee Maker and Carafes

I’m sure you clean your coffee pot and filter basket regularly, but did you know that you also should clean the water reservoir and lines that feed it? Unless you use distilled water to brew your coffee, water has impurities that can build up in the reservoir and along the heating elements and impact the function of the machine, and worse, the flavor of your coffee. Cleaning it monthly prevents the buildup from getting to that point. If you’ve had the machine for years and never cleaned it, you may want to repeat these steps a few times.


The steps below are good for a standard coffee maker, a Keurig system, or a brew-system with a built in coffee reservoir.
  1. Fill the water reservoir with half vinegar and half water. Let stand for 10 minutes while you assemble it to make a pot of coffee – minus the coffee. Include the paper or permanent filter, to catch anything chunky that might come through.
  2. Run the machine to “brew” a pot of vinegar solution.
  3. When it is done, dump out the vinegar solution, rinse out the reservoir, and refill with plain water. Insert a new filter if you use paper, or rinse out the permanent filter.  Run the machine with just plain water, twice. The vinegar smell should all be gone. If it isn’t, run another water-only cycle.


To clean a glass carafe that has stubborn coffee stains, put in 2 cups of ice, ½ cup of vinegar or ¼ cup of lemon juice and ¼ cup of table or sea salt and swirl. The brown gunk will come right off.


To clean a stainless steel thermal carafe, put a scoop of dishwasher detergent into the bottom and fill to the top with hot water and let stand overnight. In the morning the water will be dirty and when you rinse it out, the inside will sparkle like new again. This also works for stainless steel thermoses or travel mugs.


For coffee stains in plastic parts, the best strategy is prevention – keep them clean by washing regularly with hot soapy water.


For old stains, some tips can be found here:  (Not tested by admins).


By Meredith Spitalnik