How To Clean A Coffee Maker Without Vinegar

Find Out How To Clean A Coffee Maker Without Vinegar

Learn how to clean a coffee maker without vinegar effectively using a common ingredient you will find in your home at any time.

Vinegar, specifically white vinegar, is a popular cleaning agent in many homes due to its:

  • ease of availability
  • it’s a tried-and-tested cleaning action
  • being a key ingredient in traditional family cleaning recipes passed down from parent to child.

But this article is going to teach you different ways to clean a coffee pot without vinegar.

The Best Method Of How To Clean A Coffee Maker Without Vinegar

Cleaning A Coffee Maker With Lemon Juice

Why lemons?

Firstly, most of the time, lemons are easily available in the kitchen or garden. And if there are no fresh lemons, most of you will have a bottle of store-bought lemon juice sitting in the pantry or fridge.

Secondly, lemon juice is cheap.

Thirdly, it is a natural product.

After vinegar, lemons would definitely be the best option for cleaning a coffee maker without vinegar and descaling. Get a clean coffee pot without vinegar usage.

How To Clean A Coffee Maker Without Vinegar Easily

Benefits of Lemon Juice

Lemon juice, like diluted vinegar, also works well as a mild limescale remover.

Lemon juice has a similar level of acidity to that of vinegar. It works as a cleaner and disinfectant in the same fashion.

The advantage of using lemon juice is that it does not have the pungent odor that vinegar has. It is also not as corrosive.

How To Use Lemon Juice To Clean A Coffee Maker Without Vinegar

Here’s how to clean a coffee pot without vinegar.

Step 1:

First, empty the coffee maker.
Make sure your coffee machine is empty by following these checks:

  • the water reservoir should be empty
  • no coffee powder
  • no paper filter

Since we’ll be draining the cleaner from the coffee maker into the carafe, it’s a good idea to keep it empty as well.

Step 2: Combine water and lemon juice.

Have enough lemon juice to fill the water reservoir halfway.
Add water to the remaining half.
Now turn on the coffee maker and wait for it to brew.

Throughout this operation, refrain from using the coffee maker’s water supply.

Step 3: Be patient

Turn off the coffee maker once the cleaning liquid has heated and is ready to be poured.

It should be left to stand for around 30 minutes.
As a result, the hot cleaning mixture will have more time to effectively remove and dissolve mineral deposits.

Step 4: Complete The Brewing Process

Turn the coffee maker back on after about 30 minutes.
It will be ready to emit the cleaning solution in a short while.

Place the carafe in place and let the machine finish the brewing process.

Throw away the resulting carafe’s contents.

Step 5: Fresh Water Cycles

Fill the coffee maker’s water reservoir with fresh water next. Allow it to complete the brewing cycle.
When it’s finished, empty the contents of the carafe and start a new cycle with fresh water.

This will clear the coffee maker of any remaining lemon juice and its odor. Two cycles should usually be sufficient.

Again, rinse out your appliance by running a couple of cycles with water to remove any lemon juice residue.


We have described the simplest and best way to clean a coffee maker without vinegar.

Not difficult, but very efficient.

Give it a try, and I am sure you will be impressed.

12 Alternative Methods On How To Clean A Coffee Maker Without Vinegar

Diluted vinegar is an effective general-purpose cleaner and disinfectant. Some people might be put off by the smell or the possibility of a residual vinegary aftertaste.

It is for this reason that you may be pleased to know that there are many alternatives to clean a coffee maker without vinegar or lemon juice.

So – what can I use to clean my coffee maker without vinegar?

Here are 12 alternatives to use to clean a coffee maker besides vinegar and lemon juice:

  1. Dishwashing Liquid
  2. Baking Soda
  3. Borax
  4. Cream of Tartar
  5. Denture Cleaner Or Tablets
  6. Alka Seltzer Tablets
  7. Vodka Or Clear Alcohol
  8. Bleach
  9. Hydrogen Peroxide
  10. Muriatic Acid
  11. Ice and Salt
  12. Commercial Descalers

1. Dishwashing Liquid

Possibly the easiest and most accessible alternative to diluted vinegar.


  1. Detach the removable parts of your coffee maker and wash them with water and a little dishwashing liquid.
  2. Remember to follow the instructions that came with your appliance when detaching those parts. For parts that cannot be removed, you could use a little dishwashing liquid on a damp sponge or cloth.
  3. After cleaning, run a couple of brewing cycles using water to thoroughly rinse your device.

2. Baking Soda

Baking soda is a mild alkali. This makes it a good general-purpose cleaner, especially with regards to grease and dirt.


  1. Simply fill your coffee maker’s coffee pot with some lukewarm water and a ¼ cup of baking soda.
  2. Transfer this solution into your coffee maker’s water reservoir and run a brewing cycle.
  3. Discard this dirty water.
  4. Repeat as many times as necessary until the post-brewing water looks clean.

3. Borax

Borax is an alkaline-like baking soda and has been a traditional household cleaner for a long time. It is another excellent option to clean a coffee maker without vinegar.

It will not leave any chemical residue after use. However, you will need to flush out any borax solution, as it is very soluble.


  1. Place 2 tablespoons of borax into your water reservoir and run a brewing cycle.
  2. To flush out your coffee maker, simply run 3 or 4 brewing cycles with water.

4. Cream Of Tartar

Another organic compound you will probably find in many a pantry.

This is a great way to descale a coffee maker without vinegar.

Cream of tartar is acidic and a by-product of winemaking. It works well to help remove stains and is effective against limescale.

Additionally, it can be mixed with lemon juice or vinegar.


  1. Place 3 tablespoons into your coffee maker’s water reservoir.
  2. Stir until dissolved. Run a complete brewing cycle.
  3. Once your coffee pot is full, allow the water to cool, then scrub with a sponge and discard.
  4. Run another brewing cycle with just water to flush out your appliance.

5. Denture Cleaner Or Tablets

Designed to help keep teeth clean for people wearing dentures.

It is actually a mild bleach (sodium hypochlorite). Many brands of denture cleaner also contain baking soda and citric acid.


  1. Simply drop two tablets into your appliance’s water reservoir which contains warm water.
  2. Stir until completely dissolved.
  3. Run a complete brewing cycle and follow up with another two cycles using water to flush out your device.

6. Alka Seltzer Tablets

Another alkaline, or more commonly known as anti-acid tablets.

Common ingredients are citric acid, baking soda, and aspirin. These ingredients help to make it a mild, but effective general purpose cleaner.


  1. Place 2 tablets in the water reservoir and another 2 in the filter cup (without a paper filter).
  2. Wait about 15 minutes until the fizzing stops, then run a brewing cycle.
  3. Flush out your coffee maker by running another 2 or three brewing cycles using water.

7. Vodka Or Clear Alcohol

One of the cheaper methods to clean a coffee maker without vinegar.

Alcohol is actually an ingredient in many cleaning products, such as mouthwash. It also works well as an odor remover and detergent.


  1. Mix water with vodka or other clear alcohol until you have a 25% concentration by volume.
  2. Pour this into your water reservoir and run a complete brewing cycle.
  3. Follow this up with another 2 cycles using just water to flush out any water-alcohol solution.

You can also clean surfaces using your water-alcohol solution to remove stains and/or other residues.

8. Bleach

Commonly used as a general-purpose cleaner in many households.

It is very important to remember to dilute the bleach before use, as it can be corrosive.


  1. Mix 4 cups of water with 2 tablespoons of bleach and pour it into your water reservoir.
  2. Top up your water reservoir to the maximum mark with more water.
  3. Run a single complete brewing cycle.
  4. Flush out your coffee maker with a few more cycles using only water.

9. Hydrogen Peroxide

You are able to clean your coffee pot with hydrogen peroxide.

It is a common ingredient in certain cleaners, including mouthwashes.

It works extremely well as a cleaner and disinfectant.


  1. Pour 1 cup of hydrogen peroxide into your coffee maker’s pot and dilute with water up to the maximum mark.
  2. Pour this solution into your water reservoir and run a single complete brewing cycle.
  3. Flush out your coffee maker with another 2 complete cycles using fresh water.

10. Muriatic Acid

Commonly referred to as hydrochloric acid.

Has been used to help remove stubborn stains and works very well as a limescale remover. Precautions must be taken, as this compound is very corrosive.

Only use it in diluted form!


  1. Mix 4 parts water with 1 part muriatic acid in a container, such as a plastic bucket. Add the acid to the water, not the other way around!
  2. Prepare another bucket with a solution of water and baking soda.
  3. Detach all removable parts from your coffee maker and soak them in your water-acid solution for 5 to 7 minutes.
  4. With suitable protection, transfer these parts to your bucket of water-baking soda solution. This will neutralize the muriatic acid.
  5. Be careful, as a mild chemical reaction might take place.
  6. Rinse all parts thoroughly with clean water before reattaching them to your coffee maker.

11. Ice And Salt

The ice and salt work together to help remove mineral deposits, grease, and other residues.

Additionally, you can use some white vinegar.

It is a little bit of an unusual way to clean a coffee maker without vinegar, but it can be quite effective.


  1. Mix ice, iodized table salt, and water (with a little white vinegar if you want) in a container.
  2. Soak your detachable coffeemaker parts in this solution.
  3. Allow at least an hour for the cleaning action to take place.
  4. Wipe down with a clean sponge before thoroughly rinsing and re-attaching.

12. Commercial Descalers

Many good-quality coffee makers should have instructions and product suggestions for limescale removers. You can find information on their websites or YouTube channels on how to descale and clean a coffee maker without vinegar.

Some brands even sell their own limescale removers.

Follow your coffee maker’s suggestions, if possible, before using third-party descalers. If you need to use a commercial third-party limescale remover – follow their instructions carefully on how to descale a coffee maker without vinegar.

The ingredient concentrations in these commercial limescale removers tend to be higher than many of the alternatives mentioned above.

In 2011, a germ study was done by the health and safety organization NSF International. They found that the coffee maker was one of the top five places in the average home containing unfriendly growths of bacteria.

In a small percentage of the appliances tested, the bacteria coliform was detected, which is commonly found in fecal matter.

Why Is It Important To Clean Your Coffee Maker?

1. Health Reasons

The need for hygiene should be the number one reason to clean your coffee maker.

Coffee is, after all, a beverage that you consume. If your appliance is dirty, it stands to reason that your cup of coffee is not going to be clean.

  • Bacteria

Your coffee maker is no different from any of your other kitchen appliances or cookware in that it needs a good cleaning on a regular basis.

A telling sign that your coffee maker may be in need of one is a bitter-tasting cup of coffee. Even though nothing has outwardly changed with regards to the brewing process.

  • Mold

The same study mentioned above also found evidence for the growth of mold in coffee makers. Mold, whether you like it or not, is present in almost all homes.

They can spread quickly through the dispersion of millions of asexual spores. Most common molds enjoy environments that present them with warmth and moisture.

  • Yeast

Yeast is similar to mold in that they are members of the fungus kingdom. A 2011 germ study mentioned above also found evidence of the presence of yeast in unclean or irregularly cleaned coffee makers.

Like molds, yeasts also enjoy warmth and moisture.

The buildup and regular ingestion of one or all of the above microbes can lead to allergic reactions. Even infections of the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts are possible.

The boiling water in coffeemakers does kill many of these nasties. But leaving your coffee maker uncleaned only invites health problems.

Cleaning your coffee maker for purposes of hygiene becomes even more important if you or members of your family have compromised immune systems.

Over time, stains and residues will inevitably build up. These are just physically visible indications of the need to clean your coffee-brewing appliance.

The buildups, which are not visible to the naked eye, are probably even more worrying.

2. Coffee Maker Inefficiency

The second important reason you will need to regularly clean your coffee maker is that the buildup of stains and residues can cause your appliance to operate less efficiently.

Residue buildup can be caused by the actual brewing process. As well, certain minerals present in the water your home has access to, create a buildup.

Residue buildups can also have an effect on the taste of your coffee.

  • Scale Build-up

The source of your home’s water may be what is referred to as “hard water”. This is simply water containing calcium bicarbonate and, sometimes, magnesium bicarbonate ions.

The heating and cooling of “hard water” can cause a hard, chalky residue to accumulate over time. This accumulation can eventually interfere with the “plumbing” in your coffee maker.

A regular cleaning with just water and soap is generally not sufficient. In the case of limescale, it can lead to the creation of soap scum as the soap combines with the calcium carbonate.

Limescale is alkaline and is best cleaned with a mildly acidic solution. We have explained how to descale a coffee maker without vinegar.

  • Coffee Oils Residue

The actual brewing process can also lead to residues, usually consisting of the various oils found in your coffee grounds.

While these may not interfere with the general operation of your coffee maker, they can have a negative effect on subsequent coffee brewing by altering the final flavor.

Additionally, they are very unsightly.

There Is No Reason Why You Should Have A Dirty Coffee Maker

Cleaning your coffee maker only takes a short time out of your day.

Having shown you how to clean a coffee maker without vinegar, there are plenty of options for you to choose from. Some are faster than others.

How To Clean A Coffee Maker Without Vinegar Conclusion

When you use home cleaners that require time to complete their respective cleaning actions, you are free to do other things while you wait.

If you are lucky enough to have a dishwasher, then you have no excuse not to keep your coffee maker parts clean.

Choose the best way to clean a coffee maker without vinegar that suits you and get going.

Remember, keeping your coffee maker clean increases the longevity of your appliance. It also helps ensure that every cup of coffee it produces is as delicious as it should be.

Most importantly, a clean coffee machine means that those cups of coffee that you enjoy so much do not end up compromising your family’s health.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should you descale your coffee maker?

Descaling your coffee maker should be done every 3 months to keep it working at optimal efficiency.

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

Your coffee maker’s machinery gets clogged up with oils and residues, making the machine unusable. An acrid smell will permeate your coffee and be emitted from your machine, and your coffee will taste bitter too

Does making coffee kill bacteria?

A coffee maker or percolator does not get hot enough (boiling point) for long enough (1 minute) to kill most germs. Therefore, the only option is to clean your coffee maker.

Can you get sick from not cleaning your coffee maker?

A coffee maker or percolator does not get hot enough (boiling point) for long enough (1 minute) to kill most germs. Therefore, the only option is to clean your coffee maker.

Does coffee contain mold?

Coffee does not contain enough mold to cause any ill effects. It is very rare for mold spores to be found in good quality coffee

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