How to clean a coffee maker without vinegar?

This post contains affiliate links. As an amazon associate, I earn affiliate commission, from qualifying purchases.

If you are a coffee lover and can’t spend your day without having a cup of your favorite flavored coffee in the morning. 

For this purpose you purchased a modern and latest coffee maker from the electronic market or online shopping website. 

Despite your all efforts and passion, the taste of coffee from your personal coffee machine sucks. Plenty of reasons can be there but one key reason is that it needs cleansing regularly. When you Google how to clean it, most searches will suggest you to clean it with vinegar. Again which can add bad taste to your freshly prepared coffee. This can give you a headache. 

But you don’t need to give up. Because there are plenty of other common household items which can be used for cleaning purposes of your coffee maker. 

There are some reasons which you need to understand why there is a need for cleaning your coffee maker. 

Why does your coffee maker need cleansing? 

Just think about what is the germiest place inside your house. You must be thinking of toilets or washrooms but that is not correct. A study report conducted back in 2011 by NSF international showed that the kitchen in the entire household might be the germiest place. In the kitchen various appliances are kept. Your coffee maker might be the most germ containing appliance of all. Reports stated that coffee makers were found to be infested heavily by molds and yeasts. Some research also shows that different types of harmful bacteria also colonize the interior of these machines. So this makes a direct pathway for germs to reach your gastrointestinal tract and cause gastrointestinal diseases as well as promoting respiratory ailments. 

Taking accounts of these harmful products which lead to accumulation of stains and bad products ultimately bringing bitter taste and harm to your coffee maker, so it is very important to clean it properly. Generally it might look clean but as the fact of the matter is that most of the time it’s interior must be the germiest place because you can’t see it with naked eye. If coffee maker is not cleaned frequently then calcium salts get deposited which result in lowering of brewing temperature. Ultimately leading to flow restrictions and dilution of coffee flavor. Consist cleaning can prolong the life of a coffee maker. 

Don’t be sluggish 

Not everyone who keeps a coffee maker in their home is fond of cleaning it every other day. Some people wash it on a daily basis while some are sluggish in doing these tasks. All you can do is to wash this machine with sudsy and warm water after you have used it. 

One thing is important to know that how often it is mandatory to clean and decalcify it totally depends on the silt build-up in it as well the quality of your tap water. If you live in an area where hard water is consumed usually then once in a month, you need to wash it where as if using soft water for coffee making then the duration of cleansing is extended to 2-3 months apart. 

Why to choose other stuff over vinegar? 

Commonly vinegar is used in washing coffee machines but it has some really bad side effects like it’s odor isn’t pleasant. Sometimes vinegar doesn’t work effectively in the cleansing process. Some commercial descalers are more potent and effective than vinegar. So crux is that vinegar takes a lot of effort and preparation to make it the best material for cleaning your coffee maker. Acetic acid present in white vinegar is particularly harmful because it damages the pipes in coffee machines and causes leaks.

How to Clean a Coffee Maker Without Vinegar

There are tens of methods used in cleaning a coffee maker without using vinegar. These are daily life applied methods and are very easy and helpful in cleaning your coffee maker. 

Dishwashing  soap 

Some new buyers of coffee maker find it really very hard how to wash coffee maker at their first experience. It can be a real challenging job and a headache but you don’t need to worry, you can use some household items for the purposes of cleaning. Like dishwashing soap can also be used to wash coffee makers. But there is a necessary precaution which one needs to take care of is that soap being used must be fragrance-free otherwise it will leave behind its aroma hence adding bad taste to your coffee later on. 

Combination of Salt and ice 

Coffee makers can also be cleaned by using a combination of ice and salt as it easily removes stains of burned coffee as well as mineral deposits in the jar. Common ice is used in this combination. But salt selection should be carefully done because if you try to use sea salt it can scratch your coffee maker if it doesn’t dissolve properly. Alternatively table salt should be added with ice. 

Baking soda 

Baking soda is the must item present  in the kitchen of a passionate baker. Because of its common use. Interestingly it can be used to clean a coffee maker. For this purpose you need to make a solution of baking soda with water and then clean it with the freshly made solution. There are various arguments over its effectiveness. Because some believe it cleans the exterior more effectively than the interior of your coffee maker.

Lemon juice 

Lemons are kept in the  icebox of almost every household in this modern age. Because of its acidic content, it can be used to clean coffee maker at home if you don’t want to clean it with vinegar. For this purpose take some lemons, squeeze out juice and clean your coffee maker with it. But one precaution is worth mentioning here. You need to let the lemon juice solution cool down before using it for cleaning purposes. Because of its potent acidity and freshly squeezed liquid, it can damage interior surfaces of your coffee maker. 

Another option is to buy concentrated lemon juice from the market which can cost you some bucks. 

Citric acid

Citric acid is available in the kitchen of every household. It can be a good replacement to lemons and costly lemon lemon solution from the market. So it can be used for cleansing purposes for coffee makers. Commercially it is available in the form of solution and tablets formulation. It is cheap and available widely in the markets. 

Denture tabs 

When we think of alternatives to vinegar then denture tablets make our thoughts. These are economical, easily available in markets and convenient to use. Denture tablets have bactericidal and alkalizing properties. These are scent-free and also dissolve the stains from the coffee maker.

Commercial descalers

If you still have a problem in finding any daily life household item for cleansing purposes then go to the market and buy some commercially available descalers like Dezcal and Full Circle. 

Washing of different Coffee makers

Every coffee machine is made up of different parts and different material is used in its making, so different methods and items are used to clean it.

1. French press

Items needed:

  • Brush for cleaning 
  • Denture tablets 
  • A piece of soft cloth
  • A mesh strainer 


  1. First step is to take away the plunger and start filling the carafe with freshly prepared warm water. Keep swirling it. 
  2. In your next step pour the grounds and water through a mesh strainer over the sink. This will filter the grounds and water will flow down into the drainage of the sink. 
  3. Take the grounds, bin these and place in compost. 
  4. In the next step, you need to separate out different parts of the coffee machine i.e disks, plungers, the lid and filter screens. 
  5. Now take a pot of warm water and pour it down into your sink, fill it completely. Take a few denture tablets, drop them into the sink, wait for a few minutes for their complete dissolution. 
  6. Now put all the parts of coffee machines one by one into the sink and wait for sometime until all the residual coffee stains get dissolved completely. 
  7. Now remove parts of the machine from the sink and dry them all thoroughly. 

2. Drip coffee maker 

To clean a drip kind of coffee maker, following items are needed. 

  • Citric acid ( powder form) 
  • Simple water


  1. First step is to make sure that you have completely rinsed the pot, reservoir and basket of your coffee machine and no grounds are left there in any part. 
  2. Then take at least five to six glasses of water and pour it into the reservoir. 
  3. After filling the reservoir with water add two teaspoons of powdered citric acid. 
  4. Now brew this mixture of water and citric acid by turning on your coffee machine. 
  5. Complete at least two cycles of brewing in a coffee maker. When you are done with this step, take out the solution and add hot water in the coffee maker and rinse it thoroughly. 
  6. In the last step, again fill your coffee maker with plain simple but clean water and turn on the machine, brew it once again. It will help you to remove extra citric acid if present. 

3. Percolator coffee maker 

Following is the list of items for cleaning Percolator coffee makers at home. 

  • Tools must be nonabrasive
  • Water
  • Baking soda


  1. First step is fill the pot of coffee maker with clean water followed by addition of 2-3 tablespoons of baking soda. 
  2. Let the water cool down first. 
  3. Then take a nonabrasive tool and scrub the pot with it. 
  4. Continue rinsing it thoroughly for several minutes followed by drying it with a clean towel. 

Some important tips to keep Coffee Maker Spotless

If you want to keep your coffee maker neat and clean and don’t want a single dirty spot over it then follow some suggestions below. 

  • Don’t forget to read the manual details about its operation and cleansing process. 
  • Don’t wash it with the dishwasher. It can be the easiest way but you might end up breaking and warping your machine if you continue to use the dishwasher. So be careful about its use. 
  • One important thing which you need to remember is to clean other tools of your coffee machine too such as grinder. Only hot water is more than enough to clean other items like bean grinder. 
  • To prevent mold formation in your grinder you need to keep its top open all the time so that air can flow and ventilation is ensured. 
  • Never ever try to wash your coffee maker with corrosive chemicals like bleach. 

Would You like Mold with Your Cup of Coffee?

What if you accidentally come to know or see whatever is happening at microscopic level inside of your coffee machine, you can have the weirdest feeling and can decide not to enjoy coffee forever. But life without coffee can be life worrisome. So a coffee lover needs this machine at every cost in his home. So if you want to keep it in your home then it is essential for you to keep it clean and in running condition. 

Most people clean it with vinegar. Although it is a best choice but it’s key side effects are the bad aroma or acidic content and diluted taste of coffee. So you need to avoid it by choosing any of the other many options. Such as denture tablets, baking soda and lemon juice can help you in cleaning grime and residual material in your coffee maker. 

So be careful to choose cleansing stuff of your choice. At the end you’ll get a tasty cup of coffee of your desired flavor. 

Leave a Comment