How to clean a coffee maker

clean your coffee maker
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Those daily stops on the way to work for a take-out latte are probably feeling like a distant memory since you treated yourself to your great new coffee maker. It makes a cracking cup in the morning (and many more throughout the day – why stop at one when they are this good?) and fills the house with its beautiful, heady scent.

The only difference between this one and those from the coffee shop is, of course, when it comes to cleaning. The coffee maker will need some TLC to keep your coffee tasting tip-top for years to come. We are going to tell you all you need to know about how to clean a coffee maker, whether its a drip, pour-over or a pod machine that you’ve crowned your kitchen with.

How to clean a drip coffee maker

If yours is a drip coffee maker, it will need a thorough scrub once a month to keep your favorite beverage tasting delicious. The good news is that the carafe, lid and filter basket can all be easily cleaned in warm soapy water. Some can even be cleaned in the top rack of the dishwasher.

If the carafe retains a coffee smell, you can pour in some distilled white vinegar and hot water and leave to rest in the chamber for an hour or so. Stains can be removed by dabbing baking soda over the affected areas with a soft sponge or mixing two cups baking soda with four cups water and leaving overnight. This will ensure a sparkling clean carafe.

The rest of the coffee maker should be wiped with a damp cloth, soap and water or a non-abrasive cleaning solution to restore its original gleam.

Cup of coffee with maker

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

How to clean your pour-over coffee maker

Pour-over coffee makers give a particularly rich flavor and - thankfully - are considered among the easiest coffee makers to clean.

After you have detached the accessories – yours might have leather or cork - a gentle wash in good old warm, soapy water is recommended for both the glass and stainless steel parts. Many can also safely be cleaned in the dishwasher, making them even more user-friendly!

How to clean a pod coffee maker

Many of us love pod coffee machines for their ease and speed in the mornings. However, they do take a little longer to clean than other types of coffee maker.

To avoid bacteria or mold growth, you should clean the drip tray with a clean damp cloth, wash the water chamber in warm soapy water and empty the capsule container each day.

To avoid blockages, most manufacturers recommend a full descaling every three to six months, depending on the water type in your area. A recommendation we love is to use filtered water to reduce the hard water deposits. Some coffee makers also have an app which can alert you as to when yours is due a freshen up.

For the full valet, there are a few schools of thought. Some advise using equal parts vinegar and water to fill the reservoir before running a brew cycle without the pod. You’ll need to repeat the brewing until the reservoir is empty. To remove traces of vinegar (nobody needs that in their coffee!), this process should be repeated with just water. A thorough rinse should leave your machine fully refreshed.

If however, the idea of allowing pungent vinegar near your coffee maker is just not for you (some manufacturers advise against it, too) there are lots of cleaning products to choose from. Nespresso and Tassimo sell their own descaling solutions and tablets, for example. Both require a thorough wipe over with a damp cloth afterwards and are great options with which to renew your machine.

Check out all the best Nespresso machines if you're looking for an upgrade.

With a clean coffee maker, you can now sit back, relax and enjoy fresh coffee - as many times a day as you like!


Adam was the Content Director of Subscriptions and Services at Future, meaning that he oversaw many of the articles the publisher produces about antivirus software, VPN, TV streaming, broadband and mobile phone contracts - from buying guides and deals news, to industry interest pieces and reviews. Adam can still be seen dusting his keyboard off to write articles for the likes of TechRadar, T3 and Tom's Guide, having started his career at consumer champions Which?.