Is Vinegar or Baking Soda Better for Cleaning a Coffee Maker?

which is better for cleaning a coffee pot or maker vinegar or baking soda to clean a coffee maker

You use it every day, but how often do you clean it? Coffee pots should be cleaned regularly, but is vinegar or baking soda better for cleaning a coffee maker?

Vinegar is better than baking soda for regularly cleaning a coffee maker to remove germs and disinfect. Baking soda is great for removing stains but does not work to disinfect the coffee maker. Mixing vinegar and baking soda can help to remove stains and disinfect the coffee pot thoroughly.

Both cleaning agents have benefits, but which one is right for you? Read on to learn more about how these products clean your coffee maker and our best tips and tricks!

Is Vinegar or Baking Soda Better for Cleaning a Coffee Maker?

Did you know coffee makers are one of the most germ-covered home items? According to a study by the National Science Foundation, coffee reservoirs are one of the fifth dirtiest household items! 

Coffee makers become so germ-filled because of the warmth and moisture inside. Many people do not realize that a coffee reservoir needs regular cleaning. If you do not clean your coffee maker regularly, more bacteria and mildew can grow. 

While rinsing out your coffee maker’s reservoir frequently with water is a good thing, most manufacturers recommend that you do a deep cleaning of your coffee maker either monthly or after every 40-80 brews. 

Vinegar is the better cleaning agent because it removes germs, leaving you with a disinfected coffee maker. Baking soda, however, will help you remove coffee stains and lingering odors. When it comes to cleaning your coffee maker, choosing the best product depends on your goal. 

Why Clean a Coffee Maker with Vinegar

The top reason why people prefer to use vinegar when cleaning their coffee makers is that it kills over 99% of germs and bacteria. 

Because of how dark and damp a coffee maker can get, it is often home to many bacteria, mold, and mildew. Cleaning with vinegar once a month will remove all these dirty germ infestations from your coffee pot, keeping you happy and healthy.

Another reason people like to clean with vinegar is that it is safe to ingest. If any of the vinegar somehow gets left behind in your coffee pot, you will be completely safe, though the taste might ruin your day- vinegar-flavored coffee? Yuck!

It is also a common household item, so many people already have it. Because it is simple, safe, and effective against germs, it is the top method for deep cleaning a coffee maker. 

How to Clean a Coffee Maker with Vinegar

You only need vinegar and water to clean your coffee maker with vinegar. You will want to use undiluted vinegar, meaning vinegar that has not been weakened by adding water. 

  1. Add, at most, four cups of undiluted vinegar to your coffee maker. 
  2. Leave the vinegar to sit inside the coffee maker, and set a timer for 30 minutes. 
  3. After thirty minutes have passed, you should now run the vinegar through a brewing cycle. 
  4. Pour out the vinegar after it has finished brewing.
  5. Run a few brewing cycles of just water to rinse out the vinegar. It will likely take 2 to 3 cycles of water before the vinegar smell is gone from your coffee maker. 

Leave the lid off the pot to let the coffee maker air dry after you have finished. Allowing it to air dry will prevent mildew or mold.

Why Clean a Coffee Maker with Baking Soda

Baking soda, like vinegar, is a natural cleaning agent. But unlike vinegar, the benefit of baking soda is not to disinfect. 

The top reason why people will sometimes choose to use baking soda to clean their coffee maker is to remove lingering odors. Baking soda also removes stains inside the coffee maker or pot. 

While baking soda is mildly abrasive, it is much safer and less abrasive than regular store-bought cleaning products. However, if you are not careful, baking soda can still damage a glass coffee pot. Remember to be gentle if you are scrubbing a glass pot with baking soda. 

How to Clean a Coffee Maker with Baking Soda

To clean a coffee maker with baking soda, you will need a cup of warm or hot water and a few tablespoons of baking soda. 

  1. Start by measuring out a cup of water. You will want the water to be warm so that it dissolves the baking soda.
  2. Add 4 to 6 tablespoons of baking soda to the water. The amount will depend on the size of your pot and how dirty it is. Stir the baking soda into the water until it has dissolved. 
  3. Pour the cleaning mixture into the coffee maker and start a regular brewing cycle. 
  4. Once the cycle is complete, rinse out the coffee pot.
  5. Lastly, you need to run a cycle of just water through the coffee machine. You may have to repeat this step a few times until the water brewed comes out clear. 

When using this cleaning method, all of the baking soda must dissolve in the warm water before running a brewing cycle. If there are lumps of baking soda in the tank, you risk clogging your coffee maker. 

If you hope to remove tough stains from your coffee pot with this method, you will want to scrub the coffee pot with some water and baking soda mixture after brewing and before you dump it out. 

How to Clean a Coffee Maker with Vinegar and Baking Soda

While vinegar is the better cleaning agent for a coffee maker, baking soda has benefits. Using the two products together creates a powerful cleaning agent for your coffee maker. 

To clean a coffee maker with both vinegar and baking soda, you will need:

  • Four tablespoons of vinegar
  • Half cup of baking soda
  • A cleaning cloth

Now that you’ve gathered your ingredients, here’s how you clean your dirty coffee maker with baking soda and vinegar:

  1. Mix the two ingredients until it forms a smooth paste. You can add water to dilute the paste if you want. 
  2. Apply the paste to any areas with a build-up in the coffee pot. Let it rest for about 20 minutes. 
  3. Remove the paste with a damp cleaning cloth.
  4. Rinse the coffee pot out with warm running water. 

If you would prefer, you can also choose to soak your coffee pot in water after cleaning it. Soaking it overnight will help you get rid of the strong vinegar smell. 

Never run a mixture of baking soda and vinegar through the coffee maker’s brew cycle. Some have noticed that the combination damages the internal parts of coffee makers. 

Final Thoughts

Coffee makers are common homes for bacteria, mold, and mildew to grow, so you should clean them deeply often. But which household cleaning agent is better? 

Vinegar is the best cleaning agent for removing bacteria in a coffee maker. Despite its strong smell (a good rinse gets rid of that completely), it is safe to use and will remove up to 99% of germs.

Baking soda is not a great cleaner for coffee makers but will work in a pinch to remove lingering bad odors or built-up stains in the coffee maker. It is mildly abrasive, so always be careful if you use baking soda. 


2011 NSF Household Germ Study exec-summary 012820. (n.d.). Retrieved August 27, 2022, from

How to clean a coffee maker. TIDY. (n.d.). Retrieved August 26, 2022, from

How to clean a coffee maker with baking soda: The all-natural way • boatbasincafe. BoatBasinCafe. (2022, August 15). Retrieved August 26, 2022, from

Christopher Mize

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