Written by Grove Collaborative

How to clean a coffee maker: Ninjas, Keurigs, and more.

Last Updated: November 30, 2021


Whether you’re heavily dependent on your at-home coffee maker or not, they become filthy. Find out some quick tips to clean it up for a super fresh cup of coffee.

Each morning loads of us sleepwalk to the coffee maker and depend on it to fuel our day with one (or many) cups of coffee. While the trendy and seasonal drinks of today are newer, coffee making dates back to ancient times.


An Ethiopian legend goes that a goat herder discovered berries where coffee beans were on the Ethiopian plateau. Their goats ate them and were so energetic that they didn’t sleep at night. Soon after, the berries were consumed by humans, leading to increased alertness.


What we know as coffee now took the world by storm, moving east and rapidly spreading from coffee cultivation and trade in the Arabian Peninsula. In no time, coffee was enjoyed in homes and what we would call cafe-like settings. Popularity continued to grow, and by the 17th-century, coffee became popular in Europe.


Most people favored tea in the eastern hemisphere until 1773 when colonists revolted against the tax of tea (The Boston Teaparty), and from there, coffee became number one. Over time coffee production ramped up, and competition increased, and by the end of the 18th century, coffee was one of the most profitable export crops.


Fast forward to today, where many of us can’t go a day without our Keurig or Ninja coffee maker or the Starbucks drive-through. Whether you’re heavily dependent on your at-home coffee maker or not, they become filthy. A study found the water reservoir of coffee makers is one of the dirtiest parts of the kitchen if not cleaned regularly.


So, buckle up and learn a couple of quick tips to clean your coffee maker back to new.

How do you clean a coffee maker?

Depending on which coffee maker you have, there are various pieces to take apart and clean. Be sure to get each piece adequately clean to ensure you wash away any build-up or even signs of mold or yeast.


The best way to clean the inside of a coffee maker is by taking it apart to get everything and running it with cleaners or natural household products.


What do you need to clean a coffee maker?


Here’s a basic list of items you’ll need to clean your coffee maker:


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Start by taking apart your coffee maker and cleaning every piece. You may do this after every use, but regular coffee drinkers should aim to do this every week.


Wash your coffee maker pieces (champer, burner, coffee pot, any extras) with warm soapy water, or opt for the dishwasher if your appliance is dishwasher safe. When leaving to dry, keep the machine in pieces, and keep the water chamber open to let water properly evaporate and get completely dry.


To deep clean your coffee machine, you can use vinegar and run your coffee maker through a brew or two. Read on for a step-by-step guide.

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How do you clean your coffee maker with vinegar?

We love cleaning vinegar for its cleaning and disinfecting properties, but for a coffee maker you’ll need plain old white vinegar to do the trick.


To clean your coffee maker with vinegar, follow these 6 steps:


  1. Fill the water reservoir with half water and half vinegar.
  2. Turn the coffee maker on, and allow it to brew with the mixture inside until it is halfway done.
  3. Turn off the coffee maker and let the mixture steep for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Resume brewing cycle.
  5. Once complete, dump your solution and replace it with regular water.
  6. Go through another brewing cycle with clean water.

There may be vinegar left, and you don’t want that showing up in your morning coffee! To identify any trace of vinegar left in your appliance, use some of your final brewed water and sprinkle baking soda into the cup. If it sizzles, you’ll know your coffee maker needs another brew of water.


If you don’t have vinegar on hand or are looking for another solution, there are alternatives, including lemon juice and baking soda. Like cleaning with vinegar, you will create a half and half solution and run your coffee maker the same way.

How do you clean a Keurig coffee maker?

Keurigs range in sizes and pieces, but overall the steps to cleaning a Keurig remain the same. Along with taking apart your Keurig and cleaning each piece with soapy water, cleaning the interior of the coffee maker is just as important.


To clean your Keurig, reassemble your coffee maker and fill it with a cleaning solution of half water and half vinegar.


Run the machine without your filter, to brew your cleaner. Run your Keurig a few times until the water runs clean.


Pro tip: Use a toothbrush for a more thorough cleaning!

How do you clean a Ninja coffee maker?

The Ninja coffee machine will be almost identical to the Keurig clean, but most Ninjas have a “clean” button.


You will create the same cleaning solution of half vinegar and half water and pour it into the water chamber … then your Ninja does the rest.


The Ninja will run a 60-minute cleaning cycle, and when it’s done, the clean light will turn off. We recommend running a clean water cycle through the machine to rinse any lingering vinegar, and then you’re good to go!

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