How To Clean A Coffee Pot With Vinegar- 7 Uncomplicated Steps

Learning how to clean a coffee pot with vinegar is important for every coffee lover. Thankfully, vinegar is a readily accessible ingredient in every home and a versatile cleaning agent.

The vinegar we are talking about is the white vinegar and not the one with the mother. White vinegar is a natural cleaning agent that helps to remove grease and buildup of calcium and other minerals in coffee pots , coffee makers and other kitchen ware that come in frequent contact with water.

So why is this subject matter important? It is important for two reasons:- (i) Water contributes greatly to buildup of grime and minerals in any cook ware; especially hard water (ii) vinegar is a natural cleaning agent which helps to remove mineral and oil buildup in any kitchen appliance.

It wouldn’t do for one to get food poisoning from utensils and coffee maker used in preparing their coffee. Additionally, the tips and hacks in this article would come in handy in cleaning similar kitchen or houseware.

Another reason that you need to constantly clean your coffee pot or coffee maker with white vinegar is so that your coffee can taste great. The white vinegar would remove all those residue that had accumulated in the coffee pot which makes your coffee taste crappy.

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Materials Needed

There are materials that you should always have handy if you are a coffee lover. Thankfully, these materials are easily accessible whether online or at your local supermarket or stores. These materials include the following:-

White Vinegar

Specialized brush for cleaning a coffee pot

Water (goes without saying and is always available lol)

Dish washing liquid/soap

Spray bottle

Micro fiber cleaning towel

Steps For Cleaning A Coffee Pot With Vinegar

Prepare the Vinegar and Water Solution

Here are the following steps needed to get your coffee pot clean with vinegar and water solution:-

  • Ensure that there is no residue of coffee grounds left in the pot, throw out the used filter and pour away any water left over from the last brew. Remember that you can also use reusable mesh filter. If you do, then all that is required is that you wash the filter with dish soap and warm water.

  • Remove the basket, wash with warm soapy and rinse out with clean warm water. Then place the basket back in the coffee maker.

  • Make a solution of vinegar and water in a ratio of 1 to 2 (water 2, vinegar 1). For example; if you have 2 cups of water, then you’ll need one cup of vinegar. However, you are advised to consult your user manual to be sure that you can use vinegar and water solution for your specific product and in what quantity you can use it.  If your coffee pot or coffee maker doesn’t have a user manual, you can search online for this information.

  • Mix the vinegar and water solution in your coffee pot or carafe and fill the water reservoir with the vinegar/water solution (this means that you have to make enough to fill the water reservoir).
  • Set the coffee maker to brew but make sure you let it run for only a half cycle. When you stop the machine at the half cycle, leave it to sit for about one hour; or 30 minutes at the barest minimum.

  • If your coffee machine has a clean cycle use that instead of the brew cycle. This option automatically starts and stop the cycle as required to allow all parts of the coffee machine to absorb the white vinegar and water solution.

  • In that hour that the solution sits on the coffee pot, it would break down all the mold and mineral buildup. So be prepared to see some bits of white and brown in the water.

  • After this, finish the brew cycle and pour out the vinegar solution.  Then add warm soapy water and let it run for a full brewing cycle. You can also use a sponge to scrub the coffee pot. If your coffee pot has hard to reach areas, then use the specialized brush.

Finally pour clean water into the water reservoir and run a full brewing cycle.  You can run a full brewing cycle with fresh water one or two more times until you can no longer smell vinegar.

Check out this video for a live demonstration:-

Expert Tips On Cleaning A Coffee Pot

In this segment, we would share some tips from veteran coffee lovers. As with anything that has no scientific data, these tips are homegrown.

Different folks swear by different methods but one crucial point to bear in mind is this; you can always pick nuggets from everyday wisdom. So never throw out any tips and hacks passed down by grandmas or old sailors(lol); try them out first.

Here are the few tips we want to share here:-

  • After you have washed your coffee pot, allow all the removable parts to air dry.

  • Pour some vinegar into a spray bottle and spray some vinegar on the exterior of the coffee pot and then wipe it down with a micro fiber cleaning towel.  Then rinse the coffee carafe with clean water.

  • You can also use some specific cleaning products for coffee pots. Some of these products are made with vinegar and other natural ingredients while others are made with artificial ingredients. Whatever type you choose, ensure that you follow the instructions on those products to get the best out of them. And also note that the cleaning solution has to be food safe.

  • Do not forget to check your user manual for instructions whether you should use vinegar to clean your coffee pot. Some brands have specific instructions which you’ll do well to follow.

Common Mistakes To Avoid When Cleaning Your Coffee Pot

Yes we have advised that you ought to clean your coffee maker, coffee machine or carafe frequently. But do you know that you can damage it in the process? Yes you can! The following are the mistakes you should avoid in order not to damage your coffee maker and/or pot:-

Use Of Hard/Abrasive Brush Or Sponge And Using Harsh Cleaning Agents

Sometimes in the to thoroughly scrub out your coffee pot, you employ a hard brush. Please do not be tempted to do this because you’ll only end up damaging your pot. Instead buy a specialty brush such as the one pictured below :-

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Although we said earlier that there are many leaning agents that you can use for your coffee pot, it is noteworthy to mention that some are harmful to health. Both your health and that of your coffee pot.

When you use harsh cleaning agents to was your coffee pot or any cookware by the way, you increase the risk of ingesting contaminants in increments. Similarly, your coffee pot would always have taste from the residue of the cleaning agent.

So always use mild or organic cleaning agents.

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Not Cleaning The Kettle Itself

Some folks make the mistake of cleaning only the coffee pot while ignoring the kettle itself. That is not right! The best thing to do is clean both the coffee pot and the kettle. That is only way to have a clean and perfectly food safe coffee machine/maker!


Before you reassemble your coffee maker after cleaning, check to be sure that there’s no remnant of buildup in any part of the machine. 

Bear in mind that maintaining a clean coffee pot would always translate into great tasting coffee and lower risk of contamination. So create time to wash you coffee pot daily and descale it at least once a month. This especially important for folks who live in areas that have hard water.

You can also click here to read an earlier post for more methods and tips

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