10 coffee maker cleaning hacks that are as amazing as coffee tastes

Cooler than an iced latte

An espresso portafilter on a yellow background with coffee beans
(Image credit: Getty)

When I’m sleepily brewing up my coffee in the morning, it’s always at the back of my mind that I’ll need to clean up my coffee maker at some point. But obvi, the priority is getting my drink down quickly and then trudging through my work, fully caffeinated.

Then, cleaning time comes around. Yuck. I always aspire to make cleaning my coffee machine an easy breezy process so I can fully make the most of my caffeine hit, before my 2 pm cut-off (it’s legit so hard being an adult who needs her beauty sleep). That’s what these coffee maker cleaning hacks are all about.

They’re perfect for a range of makers, so whether you’re a pod princess or a French press lover (I fall into the latter category personally — as instant as possible and ready for desk top-ups), I’ve got tips and tricks aplenty.

Wake up and smell the coffee — your cleaning game is about to go to a whole new level.

These coffee cleaning hacks will make your cup of joe so much fresher

I've rounded up hacks for drip coffee machines, espresso machines, stovetop coffee makers, French presses, and coffee pod machines. So, no matter how you get your caffeine, there's plenty of inspo here.

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Use baking soda to get the stains out

Chances are that you already have baking soda in your cabinets, especially if your hobbies include whipping up desserts and other goodies. If not, no stress — I highly recommend Arm & Hammer from Amazon, which is great for getting coffee stains out of coffee pots. Simply put a tablespoon of baking soda into the coffee pot and fill it up with warm water. Leave it overnight, then rinse it out in the morning. It's so much better than scrubbing for hours and potentially scratching the glass.

Rinse vinegar and water all the way through

White vinegar is an essential ingredient for cleaning your home (we're into the one from Heinz, which you can get from Amazon). It's amazing at cleaning pretty much anything, including drip coffee makers. Fill the water tank with one part vinegar, three parts warm water, and turn your coffee maker on to its normal brew cycle. Once it’s about halfway through, turn it off and let the mixture sit for half an hour. This gives the vinegar time to work its magic through the machine, using its acidity to get rid of all those gross germs. When the timer is up, carry on with the rest of the cycle, then brew again with water alone to flush out the vinegar. After all, there’s nothing tasty about vinegar coffee. 

Stovetop coffee maker cleaning hacks

Scrub with a toothbrush and baking soda

Stovetop coffee makers are so cute and always make me feel so snazzy and Italian, but they can be seriously annoying to clean. This is because they have lots of corners and crevices that you just can’t get to with a regular ol’ sponge. Create a paste of baking soda (again, Arm & Hammer from Amazon is our fave for this type of stuff) and water. Keep it fairly thick and dip your toothbrush in it, and gently scrub around the inside, including the filter plate. Once you’re done, simply rinse the whole thing with regular water.

Boil lemon juice and water

Want to freshen up your stovetop coffee maker without going in on a full deep clean? Pour two tablespoons of lemon juice (bottled is all good if you don’t have a whole lemon available) into the boiler with warm water, then put onto the stovetop to boil. Don’t put coffee in — just let the stovetop maker flow through with all that lemony goodness. Afterward, give it a wipe-down with a dry cloth, as the condensation will create enough moisture to wipe around the whole maker.  

French press cleaning hacks

Plunge with soap and water

You no longer have to spend centuries over the sink trying to wash out all the granules that get stuck in your French press. I have a much simpler solution that’s actually made with, well, a very simple solution. It's just water and unscented dish soap, like this giant bottle from Seventh Generation at Walmart. Squeeze a couple of drops into the French press, fill it with warm water, and just keep plunging up and down for a good couple of minutes. The pressure will push through any grim gritty granules that are clinging on. Bye bye!

Use denture cleaning tablets for a quick refresh

Okay, I know you probably don’t have dentures, but Polident denture cleaning tablets are a decent price on Amazon and totally worth having in your cleaning arsenal. They’re fab for smaller appliances that need cleaning but aren’t really worth wasting a ton of baking soda on, like the French press. Put three tablets into the French press, then pour over hot water. Let the tablets dissolve completely before putting the parts in. You can leave them for just an hour if you want speedy results but overnight is best if you have time. Either way, once you're done just rinse the container out with warm water.

Espresso machine cleaning hacks

 Scrub the portafilter with a dish cleaning brush 

The portafilter has so many tiny holes that can get really clogged up, which means it needs a little more work than rinsing with water once you’re done. Try using a dish cleaning brush with unscented dish soap to go all around the inside and outside. This Oxo brush from Amazon is the perfect size and has a great grip, meaning it won’t be slipping and sliding as you’re getting all into those tiny holes.  

Leave parts to soak overnight in hot water

I used to work at a coffee shop, where it was super important to soak parts of the machine overnight. This would include the steam wand, drip tray, and filter basket. Even if you don’t do this every day — you're definitely not making as many coffees as an actual shop — it’s worth doing at least once a week to keep everything clean. I recommend placing them all in just plain hot water. You don't want anything too abrasive otherwise you could damage the delicate parts. 

Pod machine cleaning hacks

Clean the pod holder with a toothbrush

While you may be cleaning the exterior of your pod machine pretty regularly, I bet you totally forget about cleaning the pod holder itself. This is again another one where a toothbrush will come in real handy. Use a damp (new) toothbrush to get into the really difficult-to-clean spots and remove any dirt. If there is debris left over, unplug the machine, tip it over the trash can, and tap to get rid of it. 

Descale with white vinegar

Every time you use your machine, you should be flushing it out with it water (if you don’t, this is your sign to start doing so), but every three months you should also be descaling. While you can get descaling liquid, a much cheaper and natural alternative is using, you guessed it, Heinz's white vinegar. Similarly to the drip coffee machine, fill the water tank with a solution made of half water half white vinegar, and let the cycle run through on a large cup setting. Repeat again with just plain water, and you’re all done. No scaly, gross drinks here.

WARNING: Check the guidance from your coffee maker manufacturer to ensure that vinegar can be used to clean your machine as some prefer you to use store-bought or brand-specific solutions.

What you'll need to try out these coffee maker cleaning hacks

Check out our best cleaning supplies guide for more cleaning product recommendations that have been tried, tested, and loved by us.

Eve Smallman
Content Editor

Hi there! I’m a content editor at Real Homes. I've been a lifestyle journalist for over five years, previously working as an editor across regional magazines. Before this, I graduated from Nottingham Trent University a degree in journalism, along with an NCTJ gold diploma. I love running, decorating my rented Victorian home, and discovering new cheeses. For Real Homes, I specialize in interior design, trends and finding the best viral buys.