How Do You Clean a Coffee Maker Without Vinegar?

How Do You Clean a Coffee Maker Without Vinegar?

Your coffee maker can get dirty over time. You may see these buildups and stains, which affect the taste of your coffee. But germs and bacteria you cannot see can also grow inside the machine and create a problem for you.

Since many people drink coffee every day, it’s important to keep your coffee maker clean. You should clean all parts of your coffee maker, not just the pot and removable pieces that go in the dishwasher.

While putting some removable parts in the dishwasher helps, other areas also need regular manual cleaning.

Vinegar is commonly used as an effective cleaner for coffee makers. But if you don’t have vinegar on hand or don’t want to use it, no problem – there are other ways to clean your machine without vinegar thoroughly.

Regular cleaning helps your coffee maker work properly, prevents buildup, and makes better-tasting coffee over time.

What Happens when you don’t Clean your Coffee Machine?

Not cleaning your coffee maker regularly can cause problems. Minerals from water can build up inside the machine over time. This can make your coffee taste bad and slow down the drip. If you never clean it, the machine can get completely clogged.

Bacteria can also grow, especially in areas where water sits for a while like the water reservoir and filter basket. Some people think not cleaning makes more flavor, but it actually lets bacteria grow.

Not cleaning allows mineral buildup that affects the taste and clogs the machine. It also lets harmful bacteria grow in the coffee maker. Regular cleaning keeps your coffee tasting good and your machine works properly.

How Do You Clean a Coffee Maker without Vinegar?

So what are some alternative ways to clean your coffee maker without using vinegar? Check out these four cleaning methods.

1. Use Baking Soda

You can use baking soda and water to clean your coffee maker instead of vinegar. Baking soda scrubs and removes mineral deposits and coffee residue as it passes through the machine. It also deodorizes and gets rid of stains in the coffee pot.

To clean with baking soda:

1. Fill the water reservoir with plain water and add 1/2 to 1 cup of baking soda.

2. Turn on the maker to run a brew cycle. The baking soda will loosen and capture dirt in the pot.

3. Drain the dirty water. Add plain water to the reservoir. Brew again to rinse out baking soda residue.

4. Wash the pot and filter in soapy water. Allow them to completely dry before using them once more.

Baking soda removes buildup or residue, and rinsing ensures you wash out any leftover baking soda. This method cleans and deodorizes your coffee maker without vinegar.

2. Use Lemon Juice

You can use lemon juice to clean your coffee maker instead of vinegar. Lemons have acidity that removes buildup like vinegar does. And they smell better!

Here’s how you can use it – 

1. Squeeze enough lemons to make 1 cup of juice. Or use store-bought lemon juice.

2. In the water reservoir, mix the lemon juice with water to fill it.

3. Run a regular brew cycle or the cleaning cycle if your machine has one.

4. Check the water in the carafe. If still dirty/brown, repeat steps 2-3 until clean.

5. Finally, run a cycle with just water. This removes any lemon taste.

3. Liquid Dish Soap

You can use dish soap to clean a coffee maker you can take apart.

Follow these steps –

1. Take all the outer housing and inner parts out of the coffee maker.

2. Wash the parts by hand with dish soap and water. Scrub away any residue you see.

3. Rinse very thoroughly with clean water to remove all soap.

4. Carefully put all the parts back into the coffee maker once washed and rinsed.

5. Fill with fresh water and run the brew cycle. This ensures any leftover soap gets flushed out.

4. Commercial Cleaners

You can buy commercial cleaners made specifically for coffee makers. These don’t contain vinegar or harsh chemicals. They won’t make your machine smell either. Some even deodorize and remove odours.

Check what your coffee maker brand recommends. Most brands sell their own cleaners. Or look for a vinegar-free, compatible coffee machine cleaner. The label will say if it works with your model.

Be sure to carefully follow the directions. This prevents damage as you clean. Rinse very well after to remove any product residue. Wash the coffee pot too. Wipe the machine’s outer surfaces for a complete clean.

5. Use Hydrogen Peroxide

Use hydrogen peroxide to clean a coffee maker without vinegar. Hydrogen peroxide is a secure substance that breaks down into water and oxygen.

1. Mix 1 part hydrogen peroxide and 2 parts water in the reservoir. Then brew a cycle, draining the carafe when full.

2. Next, rinse by running 2 cycles with only fresh water. This removes any hydrogen peroxide left behind.

3. Wash the filter basket and coffee pot separately by hand.

The oxygen in the solution lifts stains and grime inside the machine. It also sanitizes as it flows through. This vinegar-free method works for any type of coffee maker.

6. Salt and Ice Water

You can make an ice and salt solution to clean the removable parts of your coffee maker.

1. In the coffee pot, mix crushed ice and table salt together.

2. Give it a gentle swirl until it’s clean, then give it a good rinse. 

3. Make sure the coffee pot is at room temperature before you start cleaning. And remember, if the pot is cracked or chipped, it’s a no-go.

4. Rinse and wash the pot and parts as usual in the dishwasher or simply just wash away.

7. Use Borax

You can also use borax powder to clean the full coffee maker and here’s how –

1. Mix a few tablespoons of borax with a few cups of warm water.

2. Run this borax solution through a brew cycle.

3. Rinse by running plain water through a cycle afterwards.

How Can You Tell When Your Coffee Maker Needs Cleaning? 

Watch for these signs –

1. The machine looks dirty on the outside. If you see significant buildup externally, there’s likely internal buildup too.

2. The taste of your coffee changes, even though you use the same beans. Oils, minerals, and residue alter the flavor.

3. It starts taking longer to brew a pot than before. Hard water leaves mineral deposits inside that clog and slow water flow. This gradually increases brew time.

Dirty appearance, taste changes, and slowed brewing all say it’s time to clean. Descale and scrub away buildup to restore taste and brew speed.

How to Know if Your Coffee Maker Needs Cleaning?

You should clean your coffee maker every 2 to 3 months. But clean more often if –

1. Your coffee tastes changed

2. It takes a lot longer to brew

Frequent cleaning –

Helps your coffee maker last longer

Allows you to keep enjoying good homemade coffee

So while every 2 to 3 months is a good goal, pay attention too. If you notice taste or time differences, don’t wait. Descale and scrub right away. Regular care means better coffee and longer appliance life.


Cleaning a coffee maker is no one’s favorite task. But it’s vital for great-tasting coffee and a long-lasting machine.

Luckily, you have excellent vinegar-free options! Each method works differently to tackle buildup. From lemon juice’s acid to baking soda’s scrubbing power, there are lots of ways to dissolve residues. Commercial cleaners simplify the process too.

While essential, deep cleaning doesn’t have to mean stinky vinegar fumes everywhere. Choose the method that fits your needs. Keep your coffee maker fresh, your coffee delicious, and your kitchen smelling fresh with these effective cleaning solutions.

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