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Can You Clean a Coffee Maker with Apple Cider Vinegar?

Apple cider vinegar

Coffee makers are prone to mineral and oil buildup due to calcium deposits from water and oils from coffee beans. This buildup can lead to bad-tasting coffee and clogging if you don’t clean the coffee maker regularly. 

Apple cider vinegar makes an excellent natural cleaner because it’s acidic enough to break down oils and mineral deposits without damaging your machine or leaving any chemical residue.

In this article, we explain why you might want to clean your coffee maker with apple cider vinegar and the steps you need to follow to use it properly. 

Why clean a coffee maker with apple cider vinegar?

With dedicated cleaning products available, why would you use an ingredient like apple cider vinegar to clean your coffee maker?

  • It’s natural: Apple cider vinegar doesn’t contain harmful chemicals, which means it is better for you and the environment.
  • It’s an antibiotic: Just like a cleaning product, apple cider vinegar will kill bacteria and germs.
  • It breaks down mineral deposits: The acetic acid in the vinegar will remove calcium deposits from your coffee maker, which could otherwise cause blockages.
  • It contains fruit enzymes: Enzymes help to break down organic material like oil leftover from coffee beans.
  • It’s convenient: You probably already have a bottle of apple cider vinegar at home, so you don’t need to go out and buy any special products to clean your coffee maker. 

If this sounds good and you’re ready to clean your coffee maker with apple cider vinegar, read on to find out what you need to get started and the steps you need to follow.

What you need to clean a coffee maker with apple cider vinegar

To clean your coffee maker with apple cider vinegar, you’ll need:

  • A bottle of apple cider vinegar: Ideally, you want the bottle to be at least half the size of your coffee maker’s reservoir or carafe.
  • Cold water: To mix with the apple cider vinegar in a 1:1 or 2:1 vinegar-to-water ratio.
  • Hot, soapy water: To clean external parts of the coffee maker.
  • A cloth or sponge: To wipe external parts of the coffee maker.
  • A towel or paper towels: To dry the external parts after cleaning.

Once you’ve got everything you need, simply follow our 9-step process to clean your coffee maker with apple cider vinegar.

How to clean a coffee maker with apple cider vinegar

To clean your coffee maker with apple cider vinegar, you’ll first need to mix the vinegar with water, then run it through your coffee machine on a brew cycle, pausing halfway through.

Next, you’ll need to flush out the coffee maker by running at least four brew cycles with fresh water.

Here’s the step-by-step process:

1. Empty your coffee maker

Remove all water and coffee grounds from your coffee maker so it is ready for cleaning.

2. Mix the apple cider vinegar with water

The mixture should be at least 50% apple cider vinegar. If you want a really thorough clean then you can use up to 66% apple cider vinegar (i.e., two-thirds vinegar and one-third water).

3. Run half a brew cycle

Let the machine brew until halfway through its cycle, then switch it off.

4. Wait 30 minutes or more

Leaving your coffee machine for at least 30 minutes (if you have time, you may want to wait up to an hour). This will allow the vinegar-water mixture to dissolve grease and calcium buildup inside the machine.

5. Resume the brew cycle

After at least 30 minutes, restart your coffee maker and resume brewing until the cycle is complete and all of the vinegar-water mixture has passed through the machine.

6. Remove the vinegar mixture

Pour away the vinegar-water mixture, leaving your coffee maker completely empty. 

7. Run several hot water brew cycles

To remove any trace of apple cider vinegar taste or smell, run four brew cycles using clean, fresh water

8 Clean other parts with hot soapy water

Now that you’ve cleaned the inside with apple cider vinegar, you can clean other parts of your coffee machine with hot soapy water.

Wipe the carafe or reservoir thoroughly with your cloth or sponge to ensure it is clean and does not smell of vinegar.

You may also want to clean the exterior of the machine with hot soapy water to remove any marks and fingerprints and leave your coffee maker looking shiny.

9. Wipe the coffee maker dry 

Use a towel or paper towels to dry the carafe or reservoir and any other parts that may be wet after washing them with soapy water.

And that’s it! Once you’ve followed those nine steps, your coffee maker should be ready to make some more delicious coffees.

We recommend running through these nine steps once every three months to ensure your coffee maker stays clean and free from calcium buildup.

Final Verdict: Should you clean your coffee maker with apple cider vinegar?

Utilizing apple cider vinegar is an effortless way to ensure that your coffee maker continues running efficiently and produces the best cup of joe.

The acidity in this natural product cuts through calcium buildup and leftover oils from beans, ensuring that you enjoy fresh tasting coffee for longer.

Whether you should use apple cider over other products depends on your personal preference and what you have available. 

Sure, white vinegar is a cost-effective alternative to apple cider vinegar and it’ll provide your coffee maker with an intense clean. Not to mention that its acidity level surpasses ACV’s; But keep in mind that the taste and smell of white vinegar may linger for longer.

Overall, apple cider vinegar offers a good balance between natural ingredients, leftover tastes and smells, cost, and convenience.

FAQs about cleaning a coffee maker with apple cider vinegar

Can you clean a coffee maker with white vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar?

You can clean a coffee maker with white vinegar instead of apple cider vinegar. White vinegar is more acidic, so may remove calcium deposits more effectively. However, it also has a stronger taste and smell, so you will need to rinse the coffee maker more thoroughly after cleaning.

Can I use any vinegar to clean my coffee maker?

You can use any vinegar to clean your coffee maker. All kinds of vinegar are acidic, so they will all do a good job of cleaning your coffee maker.

Is apple cider vinegar stronger than white vinegar?

White vinegar is stronger than apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar is usually around 5% or 6% acid, whereas white vinegar contains 5% to 10% acid.

Can vinegar damage a coffee machine?

Vinegar is acidic and could damage parts of a coffee machine – such as the rubber gaskets – if used in high concentrations or left in the machine for too long. This is why we always recommend diluting vinegar in a 50:50 vinegar-to-water mixture before cleaning your coffee make and rinsing out thoroughly after cleaning.

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