Skip to content

How to Clean a Coffee Maker Without Vinegar?

If you're a regular home coffee brewer, you know the importance of keeping your coffee maker clean daily. Vinegar, a common household acid, is a go-to for tackling scale buildup due to its effectiveness. However, the pungent smell of vinegar can linger, making it less appealing for some.

This blog will aim to help you master how to clean the coffee maker without vinegar, exploring various methods to clean your coffee maker that not only provide effective results but also avoid the strong odor associated with vinegar. Let’s get started!

Cleaning Products

Why You Need to Clean Your Coffee Maker Regularly?

Regular cleaning of your coffee maker is essential to ensure that each cup of coffee you brew tastes fresh and delicious. Over time, coffee oils, grounds, and mineral deposits from water can accumulate inside the machine, leading to clogs and affecting the taste and temperature of your coffee. These residues can also become breeding grounds for mold and bacteria if not cleaned out regularly, posing health risks.

Moreover, maintaining a clean coffee maker preserves its efficiency and longevity, preventing mechanical problems and ensuring it operates at peak performance. Therefore, routine cleaning not only enhances the quality of your coffee but also contributes to the overall health and durability of your machine.

Why Not Use Vinegar to Clean Your Coffee Maker?


While vinegar is a popular and effective cleaning agent for coffee makers, particularly for descaling, it comes with a few drawbacks that might make you consider other options. The most notable issue is its strong, pungent odor, which can linger in the coffee maker and affect the taste of your coffee long after cleaning.

Additionally, the acidity of vinegar can sometimes be too harsh for rubber or plastic components within the machine, potentially leading to deterioration over time. For those sensitive to smells or with concerns about the longevity of their coffee maker's internal parts, exploring gentler, odor-free alternatives might be a better approach.

How to Clean Coffee Maker Without Vinegar?

Cleaning your coffee maker doesn't always need vinegar; several effective alternatives can give you great results. Here’s how to clean your coffee maker using different household items.

Using Lemon Juice for a Fresh Clean

Lemon juice is naturally acidic, which makes it great for breaking down buildup without the harshness of vinegar.

What You Need:

  • Fresh lemons or bottled lemon juice
  • Water


  1. Mix equal parts of lemon juice and water.
  2. Pour the lemon solution into the coffee maker's water reservoir.
  3. Run a full brew cycle, then turn off the machine.
  4. Run a cycle with just water to rinse any lemon residue.

Using Baking Soda for Effective Scrubbing

Baking Soda

Baking soda neutralizes odors and gently cleans without scratching surfaces.

What You Need:

  • Baking soda
  • Warm water


  1. Mix a quarter cup of baking soda with a little water to form a paste.
  2. Use a sponge or cloth to apply the paste to the coffee maker's interior surfaces.
  3. Gently scrub the surfaces, focusing on any stained areas.
  4. Rinse the coffee maker by running two full cycles with just water.

Using Dish Soap for a Sparkling Finish

A mild dish soap can clean effectively without harsh chemicals.

What You Need:

  • Mild dish soap
  • Sponge or cloth
  • Water


  1. Add a few drops of dish soap to a bowl of warm water.
  2. Dip a sponge or cloth into the soapy water and clean all parts of the coffee maker.
  3. Run two full water cycles to ensure all soap residue is removed.

Using Hydrogen Peroxide for Deep Cleaning

Hydrogen peroxide is a powerful oxidizer that sanitizes and cleans deeply.

What You Need:

  • Hydrogen peroxide (3% solution)
  • Water


  1. Combine one part hydrogen peroxide to two parts water.
  2. Pour the solution into the reservoir and run a full brew cycle.
  3. Follow up with two or three cycles of plain water to rinse the system.

Using Borax for Natural Cleansing

Borax is a natural mineral that cleans and disinfects effectively.

What You Need:

  • Borax
  • Water


  1. Dissolve a tablespoon of Borax in one quart of warm water.
  2. Transfer the Borax solution into the coffee maker's water reservoir.
  3. Allow the solution to brew through the system.
  4. Finish by running three full cycles with just water to ensure all Borax is removed.

How to Descale Your Coffee Maker?

While the methods described above are effective for cleaning your coffee maker, they do not address descaling. Typically, descaling is done using vinegar because its acidic properties help dissolve scale buildup. However, there are alternatives to vinegar that are also effective in removing these mineral deposits. For example, citric acid is an effective, non-toxic alternative to vinegar. Here is a simple process of using citric acid to descale your coffee maker:

  1. Prepare Solution: Dissolve one to two tablespoons of citric acid in a liter of water.
  2. Fill Reservoir: Pour the solution into the coffee maker’s water reservoir.
  3. Run Descaling Cycle: Start a brew cycle and allow the solution to run halfway through. Turn off the coffee maker and let it sit for an hour.
  4. Complete Cycle and Rinse: Turn the coffee maker back on to complete the cycle. Afterwards, run two to three full cycles with plain water to rinse any residue.


Regular cleaning and descaling of your coffee maker are essential for maintaining its efficiency and extending its lifespan. While vinegar is a popular choice, alternative methods such as lemon juice, baking soda, dish soap, hydrogen peroxide, and borax offer effective cleaning solutions. Additionally, using citric acid or commercial descalers can effectively remove mineral buildup, ensuring your coffee tastes great and your machine operates at its best.

Previous article How to Clean Your Coffee Maker with Baking Soda Effortlessly?
Next article 15 Best Coffee Alternatives for a Healthier Boost