How to Clean a Coffee Maker Without Vinegar (6 Best Tips That Work)

Young man showing how to clean a coffee maker without vinegar

One ingredient that you will find in almost every coffee maker cleaning guide is vinegar. Some even call it the best friend of your coffee maker. But I don’t like using vinegar to clean my joe machine.

It can do worse than good, so you should also avoid using vinegar to clean the coffee maker. Well, if not vinegar, then what ingredients should you use to clean the machine?

Here are some ingredients you can use to clean your coffee maker. Also, I’ve explained the reason why ditching vinegar is a great idea and how it can better the coffee flavor over time.

Let’s get started with how to clean a coffee maker without vinegar:

What’s the Problem with Using White Vinegar to Clean the Coffee Maker?

Cleaning the coffee maker with vinegar may sound amazing, as it not only exterminates the odor but also removes the mold, making the machine spick and span.

But the biggest problem with vinegar is that it doesn’t get clean easily. Even if you run the water multiple times, the vinegar residue still remains there. 

As a result, the few shots of coffee will taste bitter, so you will have an unpleasant taste. Some folks also complain about the strong smell that vinegar leaves inside the coffee machine. 

While searching about vinegar and its properties, I read that it is hard on the body, so it is another reason to avoid using it as a coffee maker cleaning ingredient. 

I ran the natural ingredient several times through the machine, and the few cups prepared after cleaning carried the intense flavor and sometimes the smell.

6 Ways to Clean a Coffee Maker Without Vinegar 

When vinegar isn’t on the list, these ingredients come to the rescue. Before writing this article, I tried using all the ingredients to make sure that they don’t hinder the coffee’s flavor and there isn’t any after-taste or smell. 

Most of these ingredients are there in your home already, so get ready to give a thorough cleanup to the coffee machine.

Method 1: Use Lemon Juice for Natural Cleaning  

A woman holding half of the lemon and squeezing it into a bowl. If you are wondering how to clean coffee maker without vinegar lemon juice is the best alternative

Lemon juice has similar properties to vinegar, and it is great for killing mold. If you have nothing available in the home, just squeeze some lemons and start cleaning the coffee maker. Furthermore, using lemon is the most affordable way to clean your coffee maker.

Here’s how to clean a coffee maker without vinegar using a lemon juicer:

  • Squeeze some lemons in a bowl and strain the lemon juice to remove the seeds. 
  • Now add some water to the lemon juice to dilute it. You can add one cup of water to the juice extracted from one lemon.
  • Pour it inside the empty water reservoir of the coffee maker, and run the machine.
  • After running the lemon juice, run several brew cycles of water to remove the lemon juice completely.
  • Now smell the coffee maker’s water reservoir if you still smell lemon, run one more brew cycle of water.

Pros and Cons of Using Lemon Juice 

Pros 
  • It’s cheaper than all other methods
  • It’s easiest of all
  • Lemon juice doesn’t make the coffee taste bitter
Cons
  • It’s good for basic cleaning only

Method 2: Hard Alcohol is Great for Cleaning a Dirty Coffee Maker 

Man cleaning coffee maker parts with alcohol

If the coffee maker is dirty and you haven’t cleaned it for a long time, then using hard alcohol makes a lot of sense. Hard alcohol has several unique properties that make it a good cleaner. 

Furthermore, it has no odor at all, so unlike white vinegar, no smell will come from the coffee maker. 

Here’s how to clean a coffee maker without vinegar using hard alcohol:

  • Pour the alcohol directly into the coffee maker’s water reservoir. I prefer using Vodka since it is pure and works well in cleaning the coffee machine.
  • Now fill the water reservoir with some plain water to dilute the alcohol. You should use 25% alcohol and 75% plain water, to be precise.
  • Run the coffee maker so that the cleaning solution passes through the innards, cleaning them properly.
  • Flush the solution, and add plain water to run multiple brew cycles. 
  • The coffee maker is now clean and ready for another brewing cycle.

Pros and Cons of Using Hard Alcohol for 

Pros 
  • It’s easy and doesn’t require a specific technique
  • Vodka doesn’t leave any odor in the coffee maker
  • No after-taste 
Cons 
  • Using Vodka or other alcohol-containing beverages is expensive 

Method 3: Use Baking Soda for Deep Cleaning 

Baking soda is another ingredient that you will find around the house to clean your coffee maker. If you aren’t willing to fill the water reservoir or coffee carafe with alcohol or lemon juice inside the machine, then a pinch of baking soda will do the job. 

There are several benefits of using baking soda, such as it removes mildew and dirt effectively. Also, using baking soda is a breeze, and you will love using it to make the coffee machine squeaky clean.

Here’s how to clean a coffee maker without vinegar using baking soda:

  • Take a cup with a quarter of it filled with baking soda. 
  • Fill the entire cup with warm water so that the baking soda dissolves into it quickly.
  • Add this solution to the coffee maker’s water reservoir and run it.
  • You should run this solution twice for effective cleaning. 
  • Now use plain water and run it twice through the machine.
  • Flush everything out, and let the coffee maker dry for some time.

Pros and Cons of Using Baking Soda

Pros 
  • It cleans the mildew and dirt completely
  • No odor or four smell
  • It’s cheaper than using hard alcohol
Cons 
  • If you don’t mix the baking soda properly, its granules can be stuck inside the machine.

Method 4: Clean coffee maker with a Descaler 

Descalers are special products made especially for cleaning coffee machines. The common problem with coffee makers is scale formation inside the water reservoir. 

If the lemon juice and baking soda don’t work, then a descaler solution will surely help you clean the coffee machine thoroughly.

Descalers are available in the form of powder, liquid, and some products are available in the form of dissolvable denture tablets. 

Here’s how to clean a coffee maker without vinegar using descaler solution:

  • Empty the coffee maker, and ensure that the water reservoir is completely dry.
  • Now mix the descaler with water, no matter if it’s liquid, powder, or tablet.
  • Add it to the water reservoir and tap on the brew button.
  • Once the machine dispenses the solution, add plain water to the reservoir and run one brew cycle again.
  • Flush the water, and your coffee maker is neat and clean.

Pros and Cons of Using Descaler Solution 

Pros 
  • Easy to use
  • It cleans the coffee maker thoroughly
  • Ideal for removing smells and odors
Cons 
  • These chemical-containing cleaners can be harsh on the skin

Method 5: Use Hydrogen Peroxide for Effective Cleaning 

Hydrogen peroxide is an excellent cleaner that can help you with wonderful results. Also, it is an effective cleaner and can remove the mildew, odor, bacteria, and mold from the coffee maker.

I have used it multiple times, and if you are looking to clean the espresso machine quickly, this one should be your choice.

Here’s how to clean a coffee maker without vinegar using hydrogen peroxide:

  • Take a bowl and add one cup of hydrogen peroxide with two cups of water
  • Pour the solution into the coffee maker and run a normal cycle.
  • Brew two cycles, and then use plain water to clean the coffee maker. 
  • Flush out the solution, and then clean the outer body of the coffee machine.

Pros and Cons of Using Hydrogen Peroxide 

Pros 
  • It is effective in removing odors and smells
  • It cleans the coffee maker quickly
  • No after-taste or smell at all
Cons 
  • You cannot use it to clean K-Pod coffee makers

Method 6: Use Borax to Sanitize the Machine 

All the aforementioned ingredients are great for cleaning coffee makers, but they don’t sanitize the machine. If you are looking to kill germs and viruses, go for borax. 

Usually, most homes have borax as it is an excellent cleaning ingredient. 

Here’s how to clean a coffee maker without vinegar using borax:

  • Take a bowl with three cups of water and add two tablespoons of borax powder.
  • Pour the solution inside the water reservoir and click on the brew button.
  • Run two or three cycles using this solution, and flush it out completely.
  • Rinse the entire coffee maker using fresh water and let it dry.

Pros and Cons of Using Borax: 

Pros 
  • It exterminates the germs and viruses 
  • Cleans the coffee maker thoroughly 
  • Easy to use
Cons 
  • You need to run multiple cycles of water to flush it out completely

How to Clean the Outer Body and Other Accessories of the Coffee Maker 

With these ingredients and methods, you can clean the innards of the coffee machine, but what about the exterior? The outer body also deserves regular cleaning, and if you want the coffee maker to look spotlessly clean, then exterior cleaning is essential.

Here are the steps to clean the outer of the coffee maker:

Step 1: Prepare the Solution 

Take a bowl and mix dish soap with water. You can add three or four drops to two cups of water. It would be great to use warm water since it cleans better.

Step 2: Disassemble the Coffee Maker 

Disassemble all the parts that are removable such as the drip tray and the bean hopper. Put all the dishwasher-safe items away for cleaning, and place all the other accessories in one place.

Step 3: Soak the Sponge in Solution 

Put the sponge in the solution, and start cleaning the coffee maker. Start with cleaning the exterior surface, and then clean all the accessories.

Step 4: Rinse the Coffee Maker 

After scrubbing with the sponge, rinse the coffee maker using fresh water. Make sure not to wet the electricals when rinsing the machine. Furthermore, wipe it off using a soft cloth.

Step 5: Buff it for Shine 

If you have a stainless-steel coffee maker, then you can use some metal polish to make it shine. Use a few drops of stainless-steel polish, and start buffing the coffee maker. 

Keep rubbing the polish until it shines.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you clean a coffee maker with baking soda?

Cleaning the coffee maker with baking soda is pretty easy. Just add some baking soda to the water, and pour the solution inside the water reservoir. Run one brew cycle, and flush the solution. Then add fresh water, and run two cycles again for thorough cleaning.

What can I use to descale my coffee maker?

You can use a descaling solution to descale the coffee maker. Furthermore, ingredients like hydrogen peroxide also work well in descaling. Read this article to know how to use a descaling solution for cleaning the coffee machine and your coffee pot.

How do you deep clean a coffee maker without vinegar?

Use baking soda or citric acid to deep clean the coffee maker. Baking soda is a superb cleaning ingredient that works well in removing mildew and mold. Also, it’s inexpensive to use, so you can use it regularly for cleaning the coffee machine.

Is it safe to clean a coffee maker with bleach?

No, cleaning a coffee maker with bleach is not a great idea. Bleach has a pungent smell, and it can have a drastic effect on the flavor of the coffee. You should opt for any of the following methods listed in this article to clean the coffee maker.

Final Words 

These are the best methods you can use to clean your coffee maker at home. Say goodbye to those expensive treatments and solutions when you can clean the machine using these inexpensive ingredients. 

It is advisable to clean the coffee maker once or twice every two weeks. Furthermore, you should give it a quick clean-up every day if you love sipping hot joe daily.

So gather all the ingredients, and start cleaning your coffee maker to make it look spotlessly clean. 

Avatar image of Luke
Written by

Luke

Hi! My name is Luke. I’m a huge espresso fan, a dad, and a caffeine junkie (which helps a lot in being a dad to an early bird ;) ). Welcome to my blog, I hope you will enjoy every single second of being here