How to Clean a Coffee Maker with Apple Cider Vinegar

What does vinegar have to do with the taste of your coffee? How can it extend your coffee maker’s life expectancy? And which vinegar should you stock up on? Today we answer all your questions and share a few hacks to clean coffee maker with apple cider vinegar. It’s easier than it sounds and produces great results if you know what you’re doing.

Does My Coffee Maker Really Need Cleaning?

Yes, it does, for many reasons. For one, water, coffee grounds, and heat create a perfect environment for bacterial and mold growth, so keeping your machine clean is better for your health. Besides, without cleaning, your coffee will soon start tasting weird, even if you use the best beans. Finally, mineral buildup from hard water can clog up the delicate channels inside the coffee maker and ruin it once and for all.

Can You Use Apple Cider Vinegar to Clean a Coffee Maker?

When you decide to descale coffee maker, apple cider vinegar isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. Still, it works just as well as good-old white vinegar or store-bought descaling solutions. They all contain acid that reacts with the salts that make up mineral buildup and transform them into water-soluble salts that can be flushed out. The higher the acid concentration, the faster descaling will go, but a pH too low may harm the coffee maker. Therefore, apple cider vinegar is perfect, as it’s strong enough to dissolve salts without damaging the device.

Can You Use Apple Сider

What’s the Difference Between Vinegar and Apple Cider Vinegar?

Both compounds include acetic acid, and that’s the part that matters when it comes to descaling. However, the manufacturing process is different, and so is the taste. Apple cider vinegar comes from fermenting crushed apples, while white vinegar usually relies on fermented ethanol. The former is considered safer and healthier to use in cooking, so it’s more likely to be on hand in your kitchen. However, as the active ingredient used for descaling is the same, you can use both white and apple cider vinegar to clean your coffee maker.

Difference Between Vinegar and Apple

How to Clean A Coffee Maker with Apple Cider Vinegar

First, you need to prep your cleaning solution. It’s one part apple cider vinegar and two parts of clean water. Mix them in a pot and use it with a sponge or towel to wipe down the outside of the coffee machine. Stick the removable parts into the dishwasher while you’re at it, but keep the carafe in place.

Fill the water tank with your vinegar cleaning solution and run the brew cycle as you would if you were making coffee. Pause the process halfway through if the device allows it to let the vinegar work on dissolving the buildup. After a few minutes (or an hour), complete the brew cycle, and toss the water from the carafe.

Now repeat the process with clean water one or two times to rinse out the vinegar smell and taste from the coffee maker. You can stop once the water in the carafe is clear and free of acidic smell. Let the coffee maker dry out, reassemble it, fill the water tank and coffee filter, and enjoy your hard-earned cup of Joe.


It’s cheap and easy to clean coffee maker with apple cider vinegar, but the strong taste and smell may be a problem for you. The acidic smell may linger in your kitchen for hours. And the flavor is much stronger than that of white vinegar, so you may need to run the coffee machine two or more times with clean water to remove the last vestiges of the sour undertones.

A Better Way to Clean Your Coffee Maker

Depending on how long you didn’t clean out coffee maker, apple cider vinegar might not help. Even using plain vinegar may not be enough to dissolve layers of mineral deposits inside the machine. In this case, you’ll have to resort to professional descaling products, such as Bar Keepers Friend, Dezcal, and others. Be mindful of instructions and use appropriate protective gear (gloves, glasses) when dealing with strong chemicals.

Better Way to Clean

Final Thoughts

Cleaning your coffee maker with apple cider vinegar is safe, cheap, and easy when you do it right. We recommend you create a cleanup schedule and set a monthly reminder to descale and wipe down the machine. Coupled with proper daily care, this cleaning regime will guarantee delicious everyday coffee and the long life of your coffee maker.

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Renat Mamatazin

Renat Mamatkazin


Founder and owner of Lion Coffee and 3ChampsRoastery, 1st place winner of Ukrainian Barista Championship 2017. Interested in travelling, football and Formula-1 (besides coffee, of course).


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