How to Clean a Coffee Maker with Bleach

Your coffee machine might not be as clean as you think. Some warning signs of a dirty coffee machine are clear: Oily sludge and mineral buildup, stains, and bitter-tasting brew.

The good news is that you can learn how to clean a coffee machine and make it look sparkling and in just a few easy steps.

So How to Clean a Coffee Maker with Bleach? Dilute one tablespoon of bleach in a gallon of water. Pour the mixture into the coffee maker through the filter. Now, pour some clean water and run a drip cycle. Let the mixture cool down, and then rinse the coffee maker with plain water until there is no trace of bleach.

Why Clean Your Coffee Maker?

One study by NSF International cites coffee machines as the fifth most germ-infested place in your home. 

These micro-organisms can cause allergic reactions or infections, so without regular cleaning, your coffee maker could make you sick.

The moist, warm environment is a breeding ground for germs like bacteria or mold. Germs love warmth and moisture — two things that your coffee machine produces every morning while brewing your coffee.

To ensure your morning cup contains no hidden surprises, you’ll want to clean your machine daily. You can learn how to remove excessive buildup with a few pantry ingredients.

Cleaning Coffee with Bleach

Cleaning coffee with bleach isn’t the best idea. Bleach is a toxic chemical and unsafe for consumption. Even highly-diluted water and bleach solutions need to air dry for complete effectiveness.

If you think that you must use bleach on your coffee maker, read through our steps on the safest way to use it.

Here are some of the steps we’ll cover:

  • Mix bleach with water
  • Run your coffee maker
  • Pour out the liquid from your coffee pot
  • Use the mixture until gone
  • Rinse with hot water
  • Smell the water
  • Air dry

Materials Needed

  • 1 tablespoon (tbsp) bleach
  • 1 water gallon for mixing with bleach
  • 5 gallons of clean water for rinsing
  • Coffee maker

Step 1: Mix Bleach and Water

Never put bleach directly into your coffee maker. Always dilute it with water. You have to add a tiny amount of bleach (1 tbsp) to an entire water gallon. This formula is important to get right! You do not want to add any more bleach than this.

Make sure you are in a ventilated area when you do this. The bleach fumes are caustic and can damage your lungs, eyes, and skin.

Step 2: Run a Full Cycle on your Coffee Maker

Pour your diluted bleach mixture into the water reservoir and run a full cycle. Allow the mixture to fill your coffee pot for effective cleaning.

Step 3: Pour Out the Liquid from your Coffee Pot

After your coffee pot fills, you can turn off the coffee maker and pour out the bleach mixture from the pot. Turning off the coffee maker minimizes the amount of mixture that hits the heating plate.

Step 4: Repeat until All the Bleach Mixture Is Used Up

You need to run the full gallon of bleach water through the coffee maker. This may take several runs, depending on your coffee maker model.

Protip: Never leave your coffee maker unattended. If someone else uses it to make coffee, they could get very sick.

Step 5: Rinse With Hot Water

Run five water gallons through your coffee machine. This step will ensure the machine has no bleach residue.

Step 6: Smell the Final Batch 

The final batch of water should have no scent. Bleach has a distinctive smell, so you are all set if you detect no bleach smell. To be more precise, you can test the PH level.

Step 7: Air Dry

You can air-dry the coffee maker for a day in the sun or let it dry for several days on your countertop. You can’t skip this step! Any final bleach deposits will turn to solid white specs in the open air. If you notice these, you’ll need to continue running fresh water through your coffee machine.

Which Brand of Bleach should I buy?

If you’re looking for a versatile option, Clorox is a good option. It can clean anything from your coffee machine to your drains.


  • Always follow the package instruction and never mix bleach with ammonia.
  • Be cautious and use the correct dilution ratio.

Other Ways to Clean Coffee Maker

Hard water minerals can build up in your coffee maker, and you may notice that your coffee tastes different and takes longer to drip. To get things back in great shape, you need to cleanse and decalcify the coffee maker.

Our Favorite: White vinegar

Things You Need

  • White distilled vinegar
  • Water
  • Coffee Maker
  • Coffee filter

Step 1: Mix Vinegar and Water

To clean your coffee machine, begin by filling the coffee reservoir with a mixture of half white vinegar and half water. You can increase this mixture if your coffee machine has excessive buildup. The vinegar will sanitize the coffee maker and carafe, and it will also dissolve any accrued mineral deposits.

Step 2: Brew and Soak

Position a coffee filter in the basket, and turn on the brewer. When you are halfway through brewing, turn the coffee maker off, and allow the vinegar solution to soak in the reservoir and the carafe for about 40 to 60 minutes, depending on how much buildup you need to remove.

Step 3: Finish Cycle and Clean

Allow your coffee maker to finish the brewing cycle. Toss the paper filter, and pour out the vinegar solution.

Now you can flush out the vinegar scent and taste from your coffee maker. Fill the reservoir with clean water, put a filter in the basket, turn the coffee maker on, and let it finish the brewing cycle. Pour out the water, and repeat with fresh water for a few more cycles. Wipe down your coffee machine and coffee pot with a clean cloth.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is another affordable and effective option for deep cleaning your coffee maker. All you need to do is make a mixture of a quarter cup of baking soda and a quarter gallon of warm water. Fill the coffee pot and the heating chamber. Then, turn on the machine and scrub your pot with a kitchen pad.

Try to stay away from scouring pads. These will leave scratches in the coffee pot that will serve as a breeding ground for bacteria.

Make your carafe shine and sparkle again with rice.

Always wash your carafe after each use, but if it’s looking dull, fill it with warm water and rice. Swirl this mixture to loosen any gunk. Use a sponge to remove debris and rinse well.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is vinegar safe for coffee machines?

A common cleaning method for coffee machines is to run vinegar through the system. Vinegar has acetic acid, which can easily remove buildup. It can also kill bacteria and mold. Using vinegar is your best bet if you’re looking for a safe and affordable cleaning method.

What is the white buildup in my coffee maker?

Water minerals accumulate in coffee pots, resulting in white buildup. You can rinse the coffee pot before and after use to avoid this problem.   

Can vinegar kill mold?

Vinegar is mildly acidic and can clean, deodorize, and disinfect. It can also kill 83% of mold species, including black mold, on porous and non-porous surfaces. You can use vinegar safely on most surfaces, and its odor goes away quickly.

How can I prevent lime buildup?

You can use a mixture of vinegar and lemon juice to prevent lime buildup by flushing kitchen appliances such as coffee machines, kettles, and espresso machines. This mixture can combat all kinds of limescale buildup.

How often should I clean my coffee machine?

You can clean your coffee machine after every use. Remove coffee grounds and clean the brew basket, lid, and carafe. You should deep-clean your coffee machine to remove mineral deposits every three months.  

Do coffee machines sanitize water?

No. You can’t use coffee makers to purify water. Consider using filtered water to make your coffee.

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