How To Clean A Drip Coffee Maker Without Vinegar?

How To Clean  A Drip Coffee Maker Without Vinegar

Have you always used vinegar to clean your drip coffee maker? Vinegar is commonly used to clean coffee machines because it is effective, affordable and kills molds and bacteria. However, it is acidic and has a very strong and unpleasant odor. In this article, let’s explore other options to clean your drip coffee maker just as effectively as with vinegar.

These are great options on how to clean a drip coffee maker without vinegar:

1. By using baking soda.

Baking soda is a non-toxic and natural cleaning agent that you can use to clean your drip coffee maker.  It effectively removes grease and dirt due to its mild alkali levels.  

Here are the steps on how to use baking soda to clean your coffee maker:

  • First, detach the filter from the coffee maker and set it aside.
  • Place one cup of lukewarm water in the coffee pot or carafe.
  • Add one-fourth cup of baking soda to the pot and stir it to dissolve.
  • Transfer the solution to the water reservoir and place the empty coffee carafe back in its place. 
  • Next, switch on the machine and run a full brew cycle. 
  • Take out the dirty water from the pot.
  • Finally, pour water into the water reservoir and run a cycle until it is complete. If you notice that the water is not clear yet, run another cycle.

2. By using lemon juice. 

Lemon juice is a good cleaning agent and has the same level of acidity as vinegar. The good news is that it does not have a strong odor and taste. You can use pre-packed lemon juice or freshly-squeezed lemon juice to clean your coffee maker.

Here are the steps on how to use lemon juice to clean your drip coffee maker:

  • First, run a cycle by filling the water reservoir with water only to remove coffee residue and switch off when the cycle is complete. 
  • Mix together one-half cup of lemon juice with one-half cup of water. 
  • Place the lemon and water solution to the water reservoir and let sit for 15 minutes. 
  • Put a clean filter to the coffee maker and switch it on to run the cycle with lemon solution. 
  • Next, run a cycle or two using water to remove the lemon juice residue. 
  • Wash the coffee carafe interior and the basket with a sponge dipped in lemon juice. 
  • Finally, wash the detachable parts with soapy water.  

3. By using hydrogen peroxide.

Hydrogen peroxide is a common and cost-effective disinfectant that you use at home. It is a mild antiseptic for the skin to prevent infection from wounds, scrapes and cuts. It can also be used as a mouth rinse to relieve mouth irritation due to gingivitis. 

Here are the steps to clean your drip coffee maker with hydrogen peroxide:

  • First, pour one cup of hydrogen peroxide into the coffee carafe. 
  • Pour water into the carafe and place it in the coffee maker. 
  • Put the coffee pot under the brew basket.
  • Switch the coffee maker on and run a complete cycle. 
  • Finally, repeat two more cycles using only water to clean out the residue. 

4. By using the cream of tartar. 

This natural ingredient is powdery and acidic which makes it a good stain remover.  It can also erode your coffee maker’s limescale buildup.

Here are the steps to clean your drip coffee maker with cream of tartar:

  • First, fill the coffee pot with water and place three tablespoons of cream of tartar.
  • Stir the solution until the cream of tartar is completely dissolved. 
  • Run water through the machine. 
  • Allow the water to cool once the pot is full. 
  • Finally, scrub the pot with a sponge and rinse well.   

5. By  using CLR or calcium, lime and rust remover.

CLR can remove the calcium buildup and rust caused by hard water. It also dissolves and removes lime deposits. Aside from coffee makers, it can also remove rust stains from glass, chrome, fiberglass, humidifiers and dishwashers. However, avoid using it with a coffee maker that holds water permanently. 

Here are the steps to clean your drip coffee maker with CLR:

  • First, run clean water in your coffee maker to remove any residue from your recent brew. 
  • Mix one part CLR with eight parts of water and place the solution to the reservoir. 
  • Run a full brew cycle.
  • Finally, run the coffee maker with water only for three or four cycles to remove the CLR smell. 

6. By using Borax. 

Borax is a combination of boron, sodium and oxygen. It is a well-rounded household cleaner since it is used to clean the sink, floor, refrigerator and coffee maker.  It does not leave any chemical residue at all. 

Here are the steps to clean your drip coffee maker with borax:

  • First, add water to the water reservoir of the coffee maker. 
  • Place water in the water reservoir. 
  • Add two tablespoons of Borax to the water reservoir. 
  • Run the coffee maker to a complete cycle. 
  • Finally, run clean water through the machine for three to four cycles.

Why should you clean your coffee maker?

You may not be aware of it but your coffee maker can accumulate a lot of dirt and grime with continued use.  The National Science Foundation or NSF states that the highest concentration of germs is found in the kitchen and this includes kitchen appliances like the coffee maker. You should clean your coffee maker to remove mold, bacteria, hard water deposits and coffee oil residue.


Vinegar is commonly used to clean and descale coffee makers but it has certain setbacks since it has a strong and unpleasant smell and taste.  You can opt to clean your drip coffee maker with baking soda, cream of tartar, lemon juice, borax or hydrogen peroxide.

Image: / cherrybeans