Can You Clean A Coffee Maker With Apple Cider Vinegar? (3 Useful Tips)

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can you clean a coffee maker with apple cider vinegar

Can you clean a coffee maker with apple cider vinegar? Learn all you need to know about descaling your coffee machine with vinegar.

Lots of people use vinegar to clean their kitchen supplies.

But can you clean a coffee maker with apple cider vinegar?

As a seasoned ex-barista and coffee addict, I’ve done the research and put together a guide on this subject.

Let’s look at what you need to know about cleaning a coffee maker with apple cider vinegar!

Why Should You Use Apple Cider Vinegar for Cleaning

One of the biggest benefits of using apple cider vinegar for cleaning is that it’s something most people have handy in the home. That way, you don’t have to purchase special, spendy cleaning products.

At the same time, it doesn’t contain any of the harsh chemicals found in most cleaning products. Instead, vinegar is edible and, most importantly, non-toxic.

As a result, you don’t have to worry about vinegar residue poisoning your coffee. Plus, it’s good for the environment. I’d say that are pretty good reasons to use it for cleaning!

Finally, apple cider vinegar has antimicrobial properties. That means it can kill off harmful bacteria that get lodged in your coffee maker.

The vinegar cleaning solution will remove the stale coffee ground debris from your coffee maker. Plus, it will descale your machine, removing the mineral residue that was formed because of the hard water.

Regular Vinegar vs. Apple Cider Vinegar: What’s The Difference?

white vinegar
Differences between regular vinegar and apple cider vinegar

Now, wait just one minute.

Isn’t apple cider vinegar the same as regular vinegar?

Not quite.

Let’s go over the differences between regular vinegar and apple cider vinegar.

Regular Vinegar 

Regular vinegar (white, distilled, or spirit vinegar) is a clear liquid like water.

It’s made by fermenting ethyl alcohol, which is then diluted with water. This compound contains 93 to 96% water and 4 to 7% acetic acid.

The taste of white vinegar is highly acidic.

Vinegar has antimicrobial properties, which makes it an excellent disinfectant and cleaner.

Apple Cider Vinegar 

Apple cider vinegar has a brownish hue and is often a bit cloudy. That’s thanks to the pulp of the apple it’s made out of.

Thanks to the components of apple cider vinegar, it has natural intestinal bacteria and digestive enzymes. As a result, many health experts recommend it for digestive health.

Apple cider vinegar contains 5 to 6% acetic acid and 94 to 95% water.

It’s made by crushing apples, extracting the juice, and fermenting it.

Most often, you’ll find this type of vinegar used in dressings or as a health supplement. However, you can also use it to clean your coffee maker!

White vinegar is made from ethyl alcohol, but apple cider vinegar is made from fruit. Because of that, apple cider vinegar will have a more pleasant (fruity) smell than the (alcoholic) smell of white vinegar.

How to Clean Drip Coffee Maker With Apple Cider Vinegar

Now that you know a bit more about the benefits of vinegar as a cleaning agent, it’s time to get to work!

Here’s how to clean a drip coffee maker with apple cider vinegar.

1. Put a Filter in the Brew Basket

First, you need to put a paper filter in the brew basket. The filter will help keep any large debris from getting through.

This prevents the spray head from getting clogged while we clean.

2. Add Apple Cider Vinegar to the Water Tank

Next, add equal amounts of water and apple cider vinegar to the water tank. If you need a stronger descaling solution, add a bit more vinegar than water.

Make sure to fill the water tank to the maximum fill line.

3. Run the Brew Cycle

Now, run a brew cycle as if you were making a pot of coffee. Allow the machine to empty the water tank completely.

As the solution flows through the brewer, it will clean the pipes of mold residue, mineral build-up, and grime. When the pot is full, drain the water.

4. Rinse the Machine With Water

To remove any residual vinegar odor or residue, run one or two rinse cycles. Keep running rinse cycles until you no longer smell vinegar in the machine.

5. Wash the Carafe

Finally, wash the carafe using hot water and soap. Once the coffee stains disappear, dry the pieces with a clean, delicate cloth.

You should clean every other removable part on the machine in the same way.

How to Clean a Reusable Coffee Filter With Apple Cider Vinegar

reusable coffee filter
Steps in cleaning a reusable coffee filter

Coffee makers are just some things you can clean with apple cider vinegar.

You can also clean a reusable coffee filter, such as steel or cloth mesh.

Here’s how to go about it.

1. Add Apple Cider Vinegar and Baking Soda to a Bowl 

The first step in cleaning a reusable coffee filter is to fill a container with baking soda and vinegar. Mix the two ingredients together well. The mixture should bubble once it’s ready.

2. Submerge the Filter

Once the mixture is ready, submerge the coffee filter. Make sure the filter is completely covered in the solution.

Allow the filter to rest for 10 to 15 minutes, depending on the severity of the stains. When the time is up, the water should have turned cloudy and coffee-colored.

3. Rinse With Hot Water

Now, remove the filter from the vinegar solution. Wash it out with hot water and dish soap. Before you put the filter back in place, make sure it’s completely dry.

How to Clean French Press With Apple Cider Vinegar

french press
The apple cider vinegar mixture should have removed the tough stains

The French Press is one of the easiest coffee makers to clean with apple cider vinegar.

Here’s what you need to do.

1. Add Apple Cider Vinegar and Baking Soda to the French Press

Mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda with a cup of apple cider vinegar together in your French Press. Push down the plunger until it’s completely submerged in the solution.

Let the solution stand for approximately 15 minutes.

After the time is up, plunge the plunger a few times to remove loose grounds and stains from the walls of the French Press.

2. Wash and Rinse as Usual 

Remove the vinegar and baking soda solution. Wash your French Press as you normally would.

The apple cider vinegar mixture should have removed the tough stains, especially the ones on the mesh filter.

For better and deeper cleaning, I recommend washing each of the removable parts separately. That way, you can scrub out any loose coffee particles.

How to Clean a Pod Machine With Apple Cider Vinegar

coffee maker
You can also clean your device with apple cider vinegar

If you’ve got a pod machine such as Keurig or Nespresso, you can also clean your device with apple cider vinegar.

Let’s go through the steps on how to do this.

1. Empty the Pod Compartment

First, make sure that there are no pods in your machine. If you do have one left in there, remove it and throw it away.

Otherwise, you’d just be brewing coffee with vinegar in it!

2. Add Apple Cider Vinegar to the Reservoir

In this step, you have to add apple cider vinegar to the machine’s water reservoir. You can use either pure or diluted apple cider vinegar.

Either way, make sure you fill the reservoir completely.

You can actually add a teaspoon of baking soda as well. However, this is just an added step if you want and isn’t necessary.

3. Place a Container Under the Spray Head

Place a container under the spray head. This can be a pot or a large cup. It will collect all the liquid that comes out of the pot, so make sure it’s big enough.

4. Run a Half-brew Cycle 

To prevent your container from overflowing, run batch brew cycles. This allows the vinegar to run through the pipes and the coffee pot to be cleaned from the inside.

5. Run the Rinse Cycle 

Finally, it’s time to run a rinse cycle. This just means using fresh water to run a brewing cycle in your machine.

Doing so flushes the vinegar out of the system. Rinse the machine until it no longer smells sour.

Wipe down and wash the removable components as you normally would.

FAQs About How Can You Clean a Coffee Maker with Apple Cider Vinegar  

Still not sure about how to clean out your coffee maker?

Here are a couple of frequently asked questions on the subject to help you out.

What Can I Use Instead of Vinegar to Clean My Coffee Maker?

One of the most affordable and non-toxic vinegar alternatives is baking soda. This compound has alkaline properties, which makes it a good product for cleaning.

For this method, mix ¼ cup of baking soda with 1 cup of warm water. Run the solution through your coffee maker twice. Then, flush the system out with clean water at least twice.

Does Vinegar Damage a Coffee Maker?

Vinegar can damage the coffee maker if not used properly. If you add too much vinegar to your machine, the acidity can damage the internal parts of the coffee maker. So, make sure to correctly dose your cleaning supplies.

How Often Should You Clean Your Coffee Maker?

You should clean your coffee maker about once a month. Otherwise, you might face some functional problems with your machine. Cleaning and descaling the coffee machine can solve some usual troubles the machine might have.


So, can you clean a coffee maker with apple cider vinegar? Yes!

Apple cider vinegar is a natural cleaning agent that can kill bacteria and flush goop out of your coffee machine.

Just make sure that you fully rinse your coffee machine when you’re done. Otherwise, you could wind up with sour or spoiled coffee the next time you make a brew.

Do you need help cleaning out a Nespresso machine specifically? Check out this guide to descaling a Nespresso machine!

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Jessica Fleming-Montoya
Jessica is a seasoned caffeine-addict who spent 3 years behind the bar. Her early coffee days took her from the commercial Starbucks scene in urban DC all the way to helping launch a craft coffee shop in California. Today she prefers sharing her years of coffee capers through media, although you’ll find she does it with a trusty cup of coffee by her side.