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Clean Coffee Maker With Apple Cider Vinegar: The Unusual But Useful Ingredient

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As the bug for cleaning strikes, or whenever there is enough time, I try to get the coffee maker cleaned up. Procrastination can strike as fast as inspiration. And the former is faster acting!

There is a possibility of not having the right cleaning materials available. When in a pinch, you can get a clean coffee maker with apple cider vinegar. When it comes to cleaning the coffee maker, distilled white vinegar is usually favored. However, you may not have it at hand. 

This is when the unusual ingredient that is apple cider vinegar comes in handy. It is far more common in homes and fairly effective in cleaning coffee makers.

Vinegar And Cleaning Coffee Makers

The active component in vinegar is acetic acid. It does a fairly good job of cleaning on several counts. 

  • It sanitizes the coffee maker by killing 90% of the mold and 99.9% of bacteria.
  • It descales the coffee maker by removing mineral deposits.
  • Being non-toxic, it does not pose a health risk.
  • Vinegar is easily available.
  • Using vinegar is cost-efficient.

As you see, there are plenty of points in favor of using vinegar. There are several non-vinegar cleaning options, many of which use some hard chemicals. Many times, they do a better job of cleaning. 

One thing that really works in the favor of vinegar over other methods is that it’s edible and non-toxic. This is helpful in case the cleaning agent isn’t completely removed from the coffee maker. The worst that can happen with vinegar is that you get a bad-tasting, but non-toxic cup of coffee. 

It should be pointed out that white vinegar is the preferred cleaning method. It is cheaper and easier to remove after its cleaning duties are done. 

Can you use apple cider vinegar to clean coffee maker? 

Yes. Apple cider vinegar offers the same benefits as white vinegar and has the same acidic content at 5%. 

The one downside is that apple cider vinegar tends to linger in the coffee maker and you risk getting weird-tasting coffee for some time. 

Steps To Cleaning With Apple Cider Vinegar

Preparation: Things You Need

  • Enough apple cider vinegar to fill half the carafe (or half the water reservoir)
  • Sponge
  • Hot soapy water
  • Dry kitchen towel
  • Wet kitchen towel

Step 1 – Empty The Carafe, Filter, And Water Reservoir

Start by emptying the contents of the carafe and the coffee filter/portafilter. You probably already have them empty for cleaning, but it’s good practice to do a quick check.

The water reservoir for your coffee machine should be empty as well. That’s where we’ll place the cleaning solution and it is better to do this from scratch.

Step 2 – Mix Water And Apple Cider Vinegar

Mix water and apple cider vinegar in a 1:1 ratio. This means you add one cup of vinegar for one cup of water. 

There is a fairly good chance that the carafe and water reservoir are of the same volume. If so, you can simply mix the ingredients in the carafe. If you have doubts, create a solution that fits the reservoir.

In case you want to be more thorough, add two parts of vinegar for one part of water. This is usually not necessary and can be wasteful. For our current case, we want to clean the coffee maker with apple cider vinegar. However, the same ratios apply to white vinegar as well.

Step 3 – Run Half Brew Cycle

Once the solution is ready to go, run your coffee maker for a half brew cycle. The goal here is to heat the cleaning solution so it is more effective. You can switch off the coffee maker before the solution is dispensed. The hot solution will soften calcified areas and remove any possible stains.

Shut off the coffee maker and let it stay for an hour.

Step 4 – Run A Full Brew Cycle

After the hour is up, turn on the coffee maker and run a full brew cycle. As the cycle runs, the softened calcified areas and stains will be removed and flushed out. Let the cycle run its course and allow the machine to empty itself.

Step 5 – Discard The Cleaning Solution

It can be useful to collect the cleaning solution in the coffee carafe. It plays a small role in cleaning the carafe as well. After the machine has run its full brew cycle, switch it off and dump the contents of the carafe.

Step 6 – Run Fresh Water Cycles

Once the cleaning is done, you’ll want to run a few fresh water cycles. This will remove all traces of vinegar, including its smell and taste. While 1-2 cycles are enough if you used white vinegar, apple cider vinegar requires a more thorough effort.

When cleaning coffee maker with apple cider vinegar, consider running 4-5 water cycles. There’s still a chance of lingering smell and taste, which is why this should not be your preferred cleaning ingredient.

Step 7 – Wipe And Wash

Now is the time to clean other parts of the coffee maker. Wash the carafe and filter in hot soapy water. In some cases, you may want to keep the carafe and filter soaked in the soapy water for some time.

Use the damp kitchen towel to clean the surface of the machine. The dry kitchen towel can be used to clean up the wet areas created by the damp towel. It helps minimize the chances of streaks or marks on the coffee maker showing up due to the damp towel.

Where To Buy Apple Cider Vinegar?

The best place to buy apple cider vinegar is your local brick and mortar store or big box store. Given the nature of the product, you’re likely to get more options and a better price at the store. In case that is not the option, you can also order it online. Some top-rated options are:

Bragg USDA Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar

This is a popular apple cider vinegar. Bragg Organic Raw Apple Cider Vinegar is made from organically grown apples and claims to be a healthy choice. That doesn’t matter much for a coffee maker cleaner, but it does make a big impact for regular vinegar use.

Lucy’s Apple Cider Vinegar

This is another quality option. Again, this is great for pantry use, but you can call upon it for cleaning duties in a pinch. The apple cider vinegar is made from organic, non-GMO apples sourced from Washington State. It’s a family-owned and family-run company.

Cleaning With Apple Cider Vinegar

So there it is, you can get a clean coffee maker with apple cider vinegar. It is as useful and adept at cleaning the machine as white vinegar. The added advantage is that you might already have it at home. Do remember not to use this as the primary cleaning method. Apple cider vinegar can leave an aftertaste that lasts several coffee cycles.

Adept at cleaning as it is, use apple cider vinegar only rarely!

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