How Often Should You Clean Your Coffee Maker?

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Coffee Maker
Coffee Maker. Photo:

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For those of us who really need that first cup of coffee to get our brains moving in the morning, a reliable home coffee maker is a non-negotiable piece of kitchen equipment. If you find yourself using your coffee maker on a regular basis, you might be curious about how frequently you should clean this machine in order to keep it in good working order. We spoke to a group of professional cleaners and expert baristas to find out exactly when we should be cleaning the most popular coffee maker models available, and exactly what those cleaning processes should entail. 


The Keurig’s massive popularity is linked to its ease of use, but because it’s a more complex machine than some of the other coffee makers on the market, users sometimes wonder when it needs a serious deep-cleaning.“ For Keurig machines, it's important to clean the exterior regularly,” says Juliana Rocha, owner of Amazing Maids. A soft, damp cloth can be used to wipe any errant coffee drips off of the outside of the Keurig. When it comes to interior cleaning, just be sure to dispose of the pods after they’re used (or to wash reusable pods) and give the water chamber a thorough rinse. Otherwise, make sure that you “deep-clean [and descale] the internal components (such as the water reservoir and brewing chamber) once a month. This will help to prevent the buildup of bacteria and other contaminants,” Rocha adds. Refer to your Keurig’s user manual for detailed descaling and cleaning instructions for your particular model.

Drip Coffee Maker

While some home coffee drinkers (or office java fiends) don’t see a point to cleaning out a standard drip coffee maker (aside from throwing away the filter and grounds at the end of a brew cycle), Angela Lee, cleaning expert with Hellamaid in Ontario, Canada, assures us that periodic cleaning is a necessary step: “Over time, mineral deposits from the water and coffee oils can accumulate in the machine, affecting the taste of the coffee and the machine's efficiency. If these deposits are not cleaned regularly, they can also clog the machine, causing it to malfunction or stop working altogether.” Lee says that “the frequency of cleaning your drip coffee maker depends on how often you use it. If you put it to work daily, it's best to clean it once a month. However, if you use it less frequently, you can clean it every two to three months.” 


Similar to Keurigs, Nespresso machines can stay hygienic and well-performing with minimal daily cleaning, just rinse the water compartment, dispose of the pods, and wipe off any drippage/residue with a damp cloth. In order “to maintain the pristine condition of your machine, it's recommended to descale it every two to three months,” says April Jamison, barista and founder of Brew That Coffee. Descaling is the process of removing calcium deposits from the machine, so Jamison urges you to “take into account the hardness of your tap water.” The harder your water, the more frequently you should descale. Each Nespresso model has slightly different descaling instructions, but we have a solid overview here

Manual Coffee Makers

Digital coffee makers like the Keurig and Nespresso are very trendy these days, but plenty of people still prefer to use coffee equipment that’s powered by hand (or by gravity). We’ve broken down the cleaning expectations for several of the most widely-used manual coffee makers on the market.

French Press

A glass (or, in some cases, plastic) carafe paired with a metal and mesh plunger, the French press has a passionate following, due to its ability to make rich, intense coffee with many flavor dimensions. In exchange for that robust taste experience, Paulo Filho, owner of Celestial Cleaning Service, tells us that French press users need to be ready to clean their equipment after each brew. “It’s highly important to clean your French press after each use to prevent the oils from build up, causing the coffee [to become] bitter and unpleasant,” Filho says.

How to clean: Discard the grounds, take the plunger apart, then use warm water and gentle dish soap to clean each piece of the plunger, along with the carafe.


Pour-over coffee-making is a favorite option among professional baristas; it’s not as fast and efficient as the Keurig or even a drip coffee maker, but the coffee that comes out of this process boasts a far more complex flavor profile. Pour-over coffee makers come in a variety of forms, from the aesthetically-pleasing Chemex to more utilitarian visions like the Hario V60 or the Kalita Wave Dripper

If you’re using a pour-over model that comes with a carafe or pot, “I recommend cleaning the carafe and pot after every use,” says Chi Ip, owner of Tidy Here Cleaning Service in Boston, Massachusetts. That cleaning can be done with hot water, gentle dish soap, and a soft sponge or rag. Most pour- overs require paper or reusable filters, and Ip advises that you change your filters after every use if you have disposable filters. For reusable filters, depending on how often you use your coffee maker,  I recommend changing it every month or two. For metal filters, make sure to clean [with soap and water] every week.” According to Ip, these cleaning processes “should be done to avoid coffee oils and mineral buildup that can change the taste of your coffee. [It’s] also to prevent the disruption of the flow of water, which results in slower brewing time, producing either a bitter cup of coffee or one of lower quality.”


A simple, travel-friendly plunger model, the Aeropress coffee maker is a hit among on-the-go coffee fanatics. Another favorable attribute of the Aeropress involves the fact that it’s “easy to clean and requires minimal maintenance,” explains cleaning expert and founder Justin Carpenter of Modern Maids.

How to clean: Dispose of the filter (or rinse and reuse it), and “rinse the plunger with warm water after each use,” says Carpenter.

Moka Pot

The moka pot is a metal carafe that brews coffee or espresso on the stovetop with the help of pressurized steam. While the moka pot can be cleaned with gentle dish soap and warm water, it serves as an example of a coffee maker that, according to legend, should never encounter a cleaning solution. Anne Ruozzi, co-founder of Therapy Clean, explains the don’t clean your moka pot theory like so: “I remember a time when I was staying at my aunt’s house in Reggio Emilia [in] Northern Italy, and while helping do the dishes, I washed her moka pot. The upper container that the coffee brews into was dark with coffee stains. I proudly showed her how sparkling clean I had left the pot for her, only to find out [that I had] just upset the entire family. I didn’t know that she had spent years building up the coffee patina inside her machine. [According to her,] the darker, the better. After each use, she would simply rinse with water and leave the container open to air dry, [which would] prevent bacteria from growing. Don’t remove the oily coffee film with soap or hands - that film adds richness to the flavor of the coffee. Who knew!”

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