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How To Clean A Coffee Maker: Step-by-Step Guide For Sparkling Results

Updated: Feb 19

Have you ever faced a situation where that perfect cup of your favorite freshly brewed coffee has wreaked havoc with your tastebuds? Just like every day, you have set upon the task of relishing a blissful moment with a flawlessly brewed, fragrant cup of coffee, but you're met with disappointment as you sip on a mug of chunky, sour, and burnt brew. No, you did not go wrong with the proportions, neither it was your coffee's fault.

The most logical explanation lies in how do you clean your coffee machine. Bizzare as it may seem, your beloved coffee maker is probably concealing a grimy truth far beyond mere stray grounds or a touch of hard water residue. Fifty percent of household coffee makers harbor yeast and mold within their reservoirs. Some coffee makers harbor coliform bacteria, which could indicate the presence of E. Coli, a concerning prospect for any coffee lover. Repulsive much?

So if you are the kind who skips cleaning the coffee machine perhaps for weeks or, dare we say, months—it's high time to show that faithful appliance some well-deserved attention. So roll up your sleeves because you are about to get a refresher on how to clean a coffee maker.

Which Type Of Coffee Maker Do You Own?

We all have our preferred brewing method and, therefore, a preferred coffee maker by default. So, instead of simply washing the coffee pot  in the dishwasher and being done with it, we'll discuss the best cleaning techniques tailored for various types of coffee makers like:

  • Drip Coffee Maker

  • French Press

  • Glass Pour Over (i.e. Chemex)

  • Aeropress

  • Cold Brewer

  • Stovetop Percolator

How to Clean Your Drip Coffee Maker

How to Clean Your Drip Coffee Maker

Even as single-serve coffee makers continue to gain traction, it's worth noting that 50 percent of households in the U.S. still rely on the trusty drip coffee maker. Many people opt to keep both single-serve and drip machines in their kitchens. If you're among those who love the good old drip coffee maker, here's what you'll need to keep it sparkling clean:

  • Moistened cloth

  • Disposable coffee filters

  • Freshwater

  • Distilled white vinegar

  • Unscented dish soap (opt for a degreasing formula)

  • Brushes for dishes, bottles, or designed explicitly for Chemex coffee makers

  • Optional: Small brush for grout cleaning

Step 1: Begin by gently wiping the inside of your coffee maker's chamber with a damp cloth to eliminate any loose grounds, dust, or debris hiding within. For stubborn grime in tight spots, use a small brush, such as a grout brush, to ensure thorough cleaning.

Step 2: Fill the water chamber halfway with white vinegar, then top it off with water to the brim. Insert a paper filter into the basket to catch loosened hard water deposits or debris. 

Step 3: Initiate the brewing process with half the water/vinegar mixture, then switch off the coffee maker. Allow the vinegar solution to soak within the system for at least thirty minutes. However, cleaning a coffee maker with distilled vinegar for an hour is preferable for a thorough cleanse.

Step 4: Resume brewing with the remaining vinegar/water mixture, ensuring the complete circulation of the solution. Replace the paper filter, refill the water chamber, and run a complete cycle to rinse the system effectively.

Step 5: Perform a second rinse to eliminate any residual vinegar odor or taste, using hot water and dish soap to clean the carafe meticulously. Opt for a non-abrasive sponge or dishcloth for exterior cleaning to preserve the carafe's surface.

Step 6: Wipe the exterior of your coffee maker to remove accumulated dust and oils, restoring its appearance to a pristine condition.

Step 7: If limescale or calcium deposits persist within the water reservoir, consider using a specialized cleaning or descaling product tailored to coffee makers for effective removal.

Tip: Following these steps ensures that your coffee maker remains in top-notch condition, consistently delivering delicious brews without unwanted residues or flavors.

Guide to Maintaining Your French Press Coffee Maker

How to clean french press

The contentment of enjoying a cup of coffee brewed in a French Press is undeniable. Still, the cleaning process can often feel like an arduous task. Tossing grounds out with a spoon or attempting to shake them loose may seem tempting, but hold off on those methods. There's a more effective way to maintain your French Press, and here's what you'll need:

  • Mesh strainer

  • Long brush

  • Dish soap

  • Baking soda

  • Soft cloth

Step 1: Begin by lifting the plunger from your French Press and pour warm water into the vessel. Swirl the water within to dislodge the coffee grounds.

Position a mesh strainer over your kitchen sink and swiftly pour the water and grounds into it. The water will flow into the sink, leaving the coffee grounds in the filter, rendering your French Press impeccably clean. 

Step 2: Dispose of the grounds in the trash to prevent kitchen plumbing clogs. Alternatively, enhance eco-friendliness by adding the used coffee grounds to your compost.

Step 3: Utilize a brush, a dab of dish soap, and warm water to eliminate oils and coffee stains. For stubborn coffee residue, sprinkle baking soda on your brush and scrub away. Thoroughly rinse to ensure your next cup remains untainted by any soapy taste.

Step 4: Conclude the process by drying with a soft cloth. Your French Press is now ready to shine for your next coffee brewing adventure.

Tip: You use this method to clean your French Press after every use. However, a good wipe with a damp cloth will suffice if you're short on time. But remember to give it a thorough cleaning regularly and ensure it dries thoroughly.

Mastering the Art of Pour-Over Coffee Maker Cleaning

Pour-Over Coffee Maker Cleaning

If the challenge of reaching deep into your pour-over coffee maker has been holding you back from cleaning your coffee pot, fear not. You no longer have to resign to enduring those stubborn coffee stains at the bottom. Opt for our effortlessly simple yet highly efficient cleaning technique instead.

All you require are a handful of items, some of which might come as a surprise:

  • Ice cubes or crushed ice, if accessible

  • Table salt

  • Lemon juice (optional)

  • Dish soap

  • Water

  • Chemex coffee maker brush or sponge

  • Chemex Nylon Cleaning Brush

Step 1: Begin with your pour-over coffee maker at room temperature, filling the lower part with some ice cubes or one cup of crushed ice (adjust for smaller coffee makers.

Step 2: Add four tablespoons of table salt, a tablespoon of water, and a tablespoon of lemon juice. Vigorously swirl the mixture around. The abrasive action of the salty ice works to eliminate stubborn coffee residues. At the same time, the water ensures it's not abrasive enough to harm the glass. Watch the glass become visibly clean if it isn't too frosty.

Step 3: Dispose of the ice, salt, and water down the drain, then thoroughly rinse the coffee maker with cold water. Avoid using hot water in a cold glass to prevent breakage.

Tip: If, by chance, any residue persists (though it's unlikely), you can repeat the process or employ a Chemex brush or any long-handled brush, along with some dish soap, to scrub your pour-over coffee maker.

This can be done after every usage, but if you rinse well after every use, you can get away with cleaning only twice a month.

Cleaning an Aeropress

Cleaning an Aeropress

With its ability to produce coffee with lower acidity and a quicker brew time than many other methods, the Aeropress has gained widespread popularity. Its straightforward design also makes cleaning a hassle-free task.

The rubber seal encircling the Aeropress plunger acts as a squeegee, effectively preventing buildup. All you need are the essentials to ensure your Aeropress stays in prime condition.

 To get yours in tip-top shape, you need the basics.

  • Dish soap

  • Water

  • Brush

Step 1: Unscrew the cap and press down on the Aeropress to eject the filter and grounds.

Step 2: Rinse the Aeropress thoroughly, ensuring to wipe clean the rubber seal around the plunger.

Step 3: A gentle brush and dish soap scrub do the trick for any lingering residue inside the Aeropress. Alternatively, you can place it on the top shelf of your dishwasher.

Tip: By rinsing your coffee maker after every use and giving attention to the rubber gasket, keeping your Aeropress in pristine condition becomes effortless.

Guide to Maintaining Your Cold Brew Maker

Cleaning Cold Brew Maker

Cold brew makers come in diverse forms, ranging from larger multi-cup units equipped with a convenient tap for direct fridge dispensing to more compact single-cup versions featuring a central infusion filter.

Before proceeding, refer to the manufacturer's manual for specific care instructions about how do you clean a coffee machine.

Materials needed:

  • Dish soap

  • Water

  • Brush or sponge

Step 1: Follow the manufacturer's guidelines to dismantle your cold-brew coffee maker. Typically, these brewers consist of a pitcher with a coffee ground-filled filter basket that extends into the water. 

Step 2: Use dish soap and a sponge to clean the pitcher inside and out thoroughly. Once cleaned, dry the pitcher and set it aside.

Step 3: Ensure you rinse the filter after each use. If you notice any buildup obstructing the filter, use a brush and dish soap for a thorough cleaning. Flush the filter extensively with hot water and ensure all components are dry before reassembling.

Tip: To thwart mildew growth, make it a habit to clean your cold brewer after each use.

Guide: Efficiently Clean Your Percolator

percolator cleaning

If you've yet to discover the convenience of brewing coffee with a percolator, you're overlooking an eco-friendly, hassle-free method to enjoy a great cup of joe.

If maintained well, a percolator can stand the test of time, requiring nothing more than a swift hand wash after each use. Yet, stubborn stains may mar its interior as time goes on. Fear not, for a solution lies within your grasp with just a few readily available tools:

  • Bristled brush

  • Baking soda

  • Water

  • White vinegar

Step 1: Begin by filling your percolator with water.

Step 2: Add three tablespoons of baking soda to the water.

Step 3: Turn on the percolator and let it run through a complete cycle.

Step 4: Once the water has cooled, use a brush to scrub the interior of the coffee maker thoroughly.

Step 5: Discard the water and rinse the percolator well.

Step 6: Now, pour a mixture of half water and half white vinegar into the percolator.

Step 7: Let the mixture percolate through, then discard the liquid.

Step 8: Finally, run a third cycle using fresh, clean water to rinse away any remaining residue.

Tip: Remember to hand wash your percolator after each use, and consider performing this deep cleansing routine every month or less frequently if buildup is not an issue.


Maintaining a clean coffee maker is the key keeping the quality and flavor of your daily brew. As we've discussed, neglecting how to wash a coffee pot correctly can lead to unpleasant-tasting coffee and potentially harmful bacteria lurking within its reservoirs. Whether you own a drip coffee maker, French Press, Chemex, Aeropress, cold brewer, or stovetop percolator, you must employ the appropriate cleaning techniques to keep your appliance in top condition.

Remember, how do you clean coffee machine can determine the longevity of your coffee maker and continue enjoying delicious, aromatic coffee without any unwelcome surprises. So, next time you're savoring that perfect cup of freshly brewed specialty coffee from MOKAFÉ, remember to thank your clean coffee maker for creating a delightful morning brew. Cheers to great coffee and happy brewing!

More Blogs From Jorge Armando Ciciliani


About The Author: Jorge Armando Ciciliani 

Jorge - Coffee Expert

Jorge is a seasoned coffee professional with a lifelong passion for all things coffee. For over a decade, he has fervently immersed himself in the world of coffee, mastering its preparation, understanding its societal impact, and uncovering its cultural significance. Starting as a barista at the young age of 15 and later managing a coffee roastery, this journey led him to work as a quality control manager for a green coffee importer.

Traveling across countries in Central and North America, Jorge has explored various coffee traditions and honed his skills through Specialty Coffee Association courses. As a QC Cupping coffee connoisseur and sensory skills enthusiast, Jorge is a true expert in the art of brewing and savoring the perfect cup. Consider him your trusted Fika expert.

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