Can you use apple cider vinegar to clean a coffee maker?

In this article, we will answer the question “Can you use apple cider vinegar to clean a coffee maker?”, and how to clean a coffee maker with apple cider vinegar?

Can you use apple cider vinegar to clean a coffee maker?

Yes, you can use apple cider vinegar to clean a coffee maker. Apple cider vinegar is an excellent and versatile cooking and cleaning agent. 

If you make it a habit to regularly clean your coffee maker with apple cider vinegar, your coffee maker won’t develop the mineral deposits over time. 

Due to its antimicrobial effect, vinegar can be used as a cleaning and disinfection agent in home environmental surfaces. Cleaning and disinfection effects of various agents including vinegar, on common home surfaces, and against two common bacteria, S. aureus and E. coli (2).

This is an important point that drives the efficiency of the coffee maker. The use of natural cleaners rather than chemical descalers to clean your coffee maker benefits you in the longer run. It does not harm your environment and does not pose a safety risk to you as well.

Cider, called “hard cider” in the USA, is a popular alcoholic beverage that has been widely produced throughout the world for over two millennia. Its definition includes a wide range of fermented apple juices, obtained by different processes,and with different organoleptic characteristics. Worldwide, 89.3 million tons of apples were produced during 2016, with China being the leading country with 50% of the world total produce and the United States is the second-leading producer, with more than 6% of world production (1).

Apple cider vinegar vs white vinegar-What is the difference?

Both the apple cider vinegar and white vinegar have versatile cleaning and culinary uses. But white vinegar is a bit cheaper than apple cider vinegar. Moreover, it does not have a distinct smell.

White vinegar is produced from diluted alcohol obtained from the fermentation of grapes. Antimicrobial effect of vinegar was also demonstrated and it was shown that 18 vinegar types (apple, grape, pomegranate, balsamic, blueberry, rosehip, gilaburu, lemon, blackberry, artichoke, mulberry, rice, apricot, date, and hawthorn vinegars) were effective on the inhibition of Salmonella typhimurium, Staphylococcus aureus, and Escherichia coli. A study in the literature indicated that grape vinegar samples had higher antimicrobial activity against S. aureus, E. coli, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa than apple vinegar samples and this was associated with the higher antioxidant capacity of grape vinegar compared with apple vinegar (2).

On the other hand, in addition to being a cleaning agent, apple cider vinegar is hailed for its enormous health benefits. 

How to clean a coffee maker with apple cider vinegar?

Get yourself a bottle of apple cider vinegar

Vinegar helps clean and disinfect different surfaces without being toxic. It is safe if ingested. Moreover, it is very economical as compared to other cleaners. 

The bottom line is that there is no reason why you should not use apple cider vinegar to clean your house or any food-contact surfaces.

Start with the outside

Always wipe clean the outside no matter what your cleaning solution is. If it is not too dirty, a damp towel would do the job. If it has stubborn stains or stuck-on food residues, use an apple cider vinegar cleaning solution. 

Take out the coffee filter and dump the used coffee grounds. Fill a bowl or your sink with warm soapy water and dump the coffee basket in it. If the coffee filter looks a bit too worn out, consider changing it. 

Mix a solution

Make an apple cider vinegar cleaning solution by mixing it with water in a 2:1 ratio, respectively.


Run a coffee cycle with apple cider vinegar.  After about 20 or 30 minutes, when you are halfway through the cycle, stop the machine and let the vinegar sit and do its job. Resume the cycle after a few minutes.

Don’t forget the carafe

Deep clean your carafe while the coffee maker brews the apple cider vinegar. Thoroughly scrub and rinse the carafe in warm soapy water. Use some rice to get rid of the gritty pieces stuck in the carafe.

Finish the cycle

When the brewing time is over, your coffee machine will have been cleaned and descaled.


To get rid of the vinegar smell and residues, run another cycle with plain water.


If you have not been regular in cleaning your coffee maker, one brew may not be sufficient to thoroughly clean it. Therefore, run another brew until you get all the scales removed.

Cycle through with water

After running the apple cider vinegar cycle, you need to run at least 2-3 cycles with plain water. This helps ensure that your brew does not end up tasting like cider.

Let’s talk about water

The type of water you use to rinse your coffee maker is very important. Hard water tends to reduce the efficiency of your coffee maker over time due to mineral buildup. If the water drips too slowly, it is hard water. Hard water is characterized by its high alkalinity. Alkalinity is a measure of the acid-neutralizing capacity of water. Alkalinity in most natural waters is due to the presence of carbonate (CO3 =), bicarbonate (HCO3-), and hydroxyl (OH-) anions (3). The alkaline anions will react with the acid cations of the vinegar, neutralizing it, thus reducing its effectiveness against bacteria. 

Therefore, it is a wise option to invest in a water filter or use filtered water to make your coffee brew instead of tap water. Filtered water leads to a reduced mineral deposit and a less frequent cleaning.

Additional tips

  1. Do not let the coffee filter sit with the coffee grounds overnight. Rinse and wash it thoroughly after each use to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.
  2. If you do not clean your carafe after each use, do not use it to pour and fill up the water reserve.
  3. Remove the K-cups after each use. Use a toothbrush to clean the mess around the K-cup area.
  4. The coffee filter has a limited life. It won’t perform at its best forever. Change the coffee filter when needed to optimize the performance of your coffee maker.
  5. Make a schedule for cleaning your coffee maker. Set reminders on your phone so that you do not forget or become lazy.


In this article, we answered the question “Can you use apple cider vinegar to clean a coffee maker?”, and how to clean a coffee maker with apple cider vinegar?


  1. Zeeshan, M., M. Aziz, and M. Ali. Effect of aeration on acetic acid fermentation of apple cider at 25 to 30 C. J Food Technol Pres, 2021, 5, 5-18. 
  2. Cavdaroglu, Cagri, and Banu Ozen. Authentication of vinegars with targeted and non-targeted methods. Food Rev Int, 2021, 1-18.
  3. Wilson, P. Chris. Water quality notes: Alkalinity and Hardness. University of Florida. 2011.