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How To Clean A Coffee Maker Without Vinegar (4 Easy Steps)

A good cup of coffee in the morning is just what you need to start an energetic day. However, you cannot expect the coffee to taste or smell good unless you clean the machine well. Most of the cleaning process you’ll find on the internet incorporate the usage of vinegar.

The problem is, vinegar is not a cleaning agent everyone is a big fan of. So, how to clean a coffee maker without vinegar then?

You can use cream of tartar, baking soda, Hydrogen peroxide, or even lemon as substitutes for vinegar to clean a coffee maker. Of course, these cleaning agents have their distinct way of working and application.

If you’re searching for a proper alternative to vinegar for cleaning your coffee maker, let’s show you how it’s done.

Why Not Vinegar?

Vinegar has been traditionally used for household cleaning because of its acidic nature which can help dissolve mineral deposit, dirt, grease, and grime. It is very much cheap, convenient, and eco-friendly. While it has these attributes, it has also drawbacks. The following are some of the reasons why vinegar should not be used:

  1. It is a HIGHLY ACIDIC CLEANING AGENT. The vinegar’s acid nature while it definitely helps in removing deep seated dirt and deposits in your coffee maker it can pose issues on health. This happens when the vinegar is not thoroughly removed such that it will be mixed up with your coffee.
  2. It has an EXTREMELY POWERFUL ODOR. It is a fact that vinegar produces a strong odor that is very unpleasant, and it would take a lot of rinsing to remove it. Certainly, you would want to eliminate such odor otherwise it will have an effect in your coffee’s aftertaste.
  3. Using it is TIME CONSUMING. Imagine using vinegar to clean your coffee maker and using other resource to clean it again to rid of the odor caused by the vinegar. It doubles the job and consumes much of your time.

Apart from the mentioned drawbacks of using vinegar in cleaning your coffee maker, it does not completely kill the germs; thus, it is not the best disinfectant. Plus, it is not the only way or method to clean your coffee maker.

How To Clean a Coffee Maker Without Vinegar?

How To Clean A Coffee Maker Without Vinegar

When you go searching the net, you would see a lot of ways to clean a coffee maker. Mostly your searches would result to cleaning the coffee maker with the use of vinegar, which is not everyone’s cup of tea. There are many alternatives which one can use to clean a coffee maker without vinegar.

1. Clean With Lemon

Lemon is similar to vinegar as having acidic content which is a good cleaning alternative. It is one of the common household cleaning agents which are readily available in your kitchen. How then should it be prepared?

Clean a Coffee Maker with lemon
  • First, create a lemon juice and water solution, mixing them with equal amount.
  • Second, run the lemon juice solution through the coffee machine as if you are making a coffee.
  • Lastly, remove any remaining solution and rinse the coffee maker 3 to 5 times with plain water.

Voila, it’s done! Rinsing the coffee maker several times is recommended to remove any possible lingering taste of lemon. Although vinegar and lemon are the same as to its acidic nature, they are different in that any lingering flavor of lemon will not be as potent as that of the vinegar.

2. Clean with Baking Soda

Baking Soda is one of the go-to natural cleaning agent of every household. It provides a pure cleaning remedy to remove grease and dirt and is non-toxic! Follow the process below:

Clean a Coffee Maker with Baking Soda
  • Pour 1 cup of lukewarm water into the coffee pot;
  • After such, add a ¼ cup of baking soda then stir;
  • Run a brew cycle as though you are making a coffee;
  • Remove the baking soda solution and fill the pot with fresh lukewarm water; and
  • Run another cycle.

Done! It’s that easy, right? You should, however, make sure that after the last run cycle, the water looks clean, so you are good to go. If it is, otherwise, you need to repeat the last two steps to make sure that it is already rid of any dirt or that it is clean through and through.

3. Clean with Hydrogen Peroxide

This is an alternative powerful disinfectant which works the same way as vinegar. It is a good way to eliminate limescale and disinfect the coffee pot. To start off, make a diluted hydrogen peroxide solution following these steps:

Clean a Coffee Maker with Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Add 1 cup of hydrogen peroxide to a carafe and filling it with warm water.
  • Run the coffee cleaner through until all of the hydrogen peroxide solution has passed through the coffee maker.
  • Remove the solution and pour a clean water.
  • Run two cycles to rinse your coffee maker with clean water.

Note: If you use a paper filter in your brew basket, add one when cleaning too.

4. Clean with Cream of Tartar

Tagged as a natural alternative, cream of tartar is an incredible natural coffee cleaner. It works similarly with Baking Soda which helps scrape away the dirt and grime by creating a mild abrasive. It contains a tartaric acid, low-grade acid, which makes it a natural and non-toxic cleaning agent. To use this, here are the steps:

  • Fill your coffee pot with hot water;
  • Add3 tablespoons of cream of tartar;
  • Stir until it completely dissolves;
  • Run a cycle like making a coffee;
  • Remove the tartar solution;
  • Fill in with fresh water and run another brew cycle to rinse it off.

That’s it, you now have a clean coffee maker! Just like the other alternative methods, you have to run an additional brew cycle if necessary to ensure that your coffee pot is 100% clean!

5. Clean With Alka Seltzer Tablets

Alka Seltzer tablets is one of the cleaning hacks you probably would not have thought would be best in cleaning your coffee maker. These antacid tablets use a mixture of citric acid and baking soda which works the same way as vinegar in removing grease, dirt, and any deposits and that of the baking soda as a disinfectant.

Clean a Coffee Maker with Alka Seltzer Tablets

To use this, the steps are actually as easy as the above-mentioned alternatives.

  • Add three tablets into a full water reservoir.
  • Leave the tablets for approximately 15 minutes;
  • Then run the coffee pot on a full cycle.
  • Once the cycle is complete, rinse your coffee pot with clean water running two additional cycles.

So, there you go! You do not have to worry if you do not like using vinegar due to its strong odor or that you want to use it, but it is not readily available as there are some alternatives which can be used that works perfectly the same, if not better than vinegar. Now, you are worry free and assured that your coffee will taste great and is safe to drink knowing that your coffee maker is clean. Enjoy drinking your coffee!

What happens if you don’t clean your coffee maker?

While coffee can make a great morning, mold floating on your coffee is not. The same way as bacteria seating on your coffee maker which naturally would be mixed up in your coffee. Yes, that’s what happens if you don’t clean your coffee maker, you let germs grow into it.

According to the NSF International Household Germ Study in 2011, coffee reservoirs, which may not be cleaned as frequently as they should be, are in the top 10 germiest places in the home. To elaborate, 50% yeast and mold and 9% of coliform were found in the coffee reservoir of the coffee maker. The ideal conditions for mold and bacteria are dark, damp, and often warm which is very much pointing to a coffee maker.

These much of germs crowding your coffee maker when you leave it uncleaned and reuse it the next day or multiple times. Well, this is why you should clean your coffee maker, as consistent cleaning prevents the chances of these germs from growing in your coffee maker.

Aside from this, when you brew coffee, debris of beans and the hard water and lime deposits build up inside the machine. If these are not removed, it will cause the clogging up of your coffee maker. This means that the water will not flow as it is blocked and may be the reason for leaking or worse, the machine will stop working. If the water will not reach the coffee beans, then the flavor of the coffee will not be attained. This will also cause the heating up of the machine if it cannot work properly due to clogging up. Other than these, it may also compromise the machine by forcing it to work harder, resulting in increased electricity consumption.

These issues whether the growth of mold and bacteria or the mechanical aspect specifically heating, clogging, and flavor abstraction of the machine, will definitely lower the quality of your brew and damage the coffee maker. You would not want to buy or change your coffee maker every time, so it is best to look out for its upkeep.

Can you get sick from not cleaning your coffee maker?

You can get sick from not cleaning your coffee maker, that is afact! As discussed above, NSF analysis of kitchen products in 2011 found that 50% of the sampled reservoirs in coffee makers had mold or yeast. Moreover, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, food borne yeast and mold can be a source of sensitivity for people with allergies and may even cause infections.

Imagine brewing your coffee on your uncleaned coffee maker where molds, yeast, and bacteria are lurking and then drinking it afterwards. Even without the scientific explanation, you would surely know that ingesting the coffee filled with those germs would make you sick. Just thinking about it perhaps would make you even sick.

There is no need to cut off your love for coffee only because of the possibilities of having a germ-infested coffee from your coffee maker. Lisa Yakas, senior product manager of Consumer Products at NSF International, formerly known as the National Sanitation Foundation, said that these appliances [coffee makers] are relatively harmless as long as clients follow the manufacturer’s cleaning directions.She explained that mold and yeasts like moist and damp places, and that is where they grow. To eliminate this, she advised to keep the coffee makers dry and clean.

Like most things that we use, if we want to get its benefits and good performance, we should make sure that they are properly cleaned and maintained. As the germs that might grow in a dirty coffee maker will cause you harm or make you sick, you should maintain its cleanliness.


Although everything about this topic was shared to you which by now would have answer the things that are clouding your mind, there might still be some things that you want to know about. To help you out, here are some FAQs that we collated:

1. Why should my coffee maker stay clean?

Your coffee maker should stay clean at all times! That is a recommendation given by a manager at NSF. Noting the NSF’s analysis of the presence of germs in coffee makers which are not cleaned, you should definitely clean it so you could enjoy your coffee worry-free.

2. How often should you clean a coffee maker?

You should clean your coffee maker every after use. This is done by removing the grounds and cleaning the brew basket, lid, and carafe. As to the deeper cleaning of descaling to remove mineral deposits, however, it should be done at least every three months.

3. What is the average life of a coffee maker?

The average life of a coffee maker varies considering some factors like its use, maintenance, and brand. Some automatic coffee makers may last for 5 years while the manual would make it for a lifetime. If kept well, a coffee maker may last longer than its expected average life.


If you want something to work, it should be a two-way street. You love coffee, that is undeniable. You cannot start your day without it, very likely. You seek its help when you need to stay up all night, it is a fact. But if you want to enjoy it, you also have to spare a time to maintain your coffee maker. You wouldn’t want to be worrying about mold, yeasts, or bacteria while sipping your coffee, right? It will definitely kill the mood. So, make sure that you keep it clean. But in cleaning the coffee maker you would consider using something that will not affect its taste or smell, like vinegar.

You can definitely clean a coffee maker without vinegar, the alternatives provided in this article would help you out. Keeping a coffee clean by the use of a cleaning agent that will not unnecessarily compromise your coffee preferences is a must!


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