2 Ways To Clean A Coffee Maker With Citric Acid

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To have the best cup of joe, you will not only need fresh coffee ground and a coffee maker, but the machine also needs to be clean. The reason is coffee stains, oil residue, and stubborn mineral deposits built up over time will linger in your morning cup and make it taste bad.

It’s not hard to clean your coffee-making machine. With the vast of cleaning agents in the market now, you can easily find and choose one to give your coffee maker a regular wash. In this article, we will guide you on how to clean your coffee maker with citric acid, which is one of the favorite, cheap, and effective cleaners of many coffee lovers. 

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How to clean a coffee maker with citric acid?

Citric acid appears in the ingredient board of many cleaning agents. However, if you use the citric acid powder as a cleaner independently, it will be way cheaper, and the result is no different.


The reason why using citric acid to clean is supercheap is because you only need a small amount of citric acid for every washing time. The solution should be diluted, so there will be no harm to your machine. You might need warm water to help dissolve citric acid fully.

First wash

Make sure that all the leftover coffee grounds need to be removed from the coffee maker, then pour the prepared solution to the water tank and let the machine run one cycle as brewing coffee. You can wait for a couple of minutes before turning the machine on to allow the citric acid solution to sit on the water chamber to soften the stains and deposits.

Wash all the removable parts

After the first wash, you can remove all the detachable parts of the coffee maker to washing them in warm water.


Since citric acid is not that acidic, and it won’t leave any odor in your coffee maker, so you only need to rinse the machine one to two times with clear water. Do the same thing as you brew coffee, but with cold clear water to take any leftover citric acid inside the machine.

Clean the exterior

If you clean the outer of your coffee machine regularly, you will only need a damp cloth to wipe it. In case your machine hasn’t been washed for a while, you can use the prepared citric acid solution to clean the outside, too. With these simple steps, your coffee maker will be as shiny as initial.

What kind of citric acid to clean a coffee maker?

In this section, we will point out some typical kinds of citric acid, which are used as a cleaner for the coffee maker by most people.

Citric acid powder

Citric acid is often sold in dry powdered form, and it is available in most grocery stores or online. Besides being an ingredient and preservative in culinary, citric acid is also an excellent cleaning agent, especially to clean stubborn buildups. However, since it is not that acidic, so you might want to repeat the brewing process a couple of times to ensure the citric acid solution will remove the stains in your coffee maker.

The ratio of citric acid and water to create a cleaning solution will be around 1:250, or one tablespoon of citric acid will combine with a gallon of water.

Lemon juice

Citric acid exists in most citrus fruits, especially in lemon. Therefore, if somehow you cannot find a bag of industrial citric acid powder, you can come to homemade citric acid like lemon juice. This way is extremely easy, inexpensive, and healthy. Since lemon juice is a natural cleaning agent, so you will need equal parts of lemon juice and water, like half-cup to half-cup, to clean your coffee machine.

Alternatives to citric acid you can use at home

Citric acid is an effective ingredient for cleaning solutions. However, it’s not the only option. You can choose one of our recommendations below to substitute for citric acid when you want to clean your coffee maker.

Baking soda

Baking soda will help a lot in cleaning your coffee machine. Simply dilute it in lukewarm water, and you have a mixture ready to do its job.


Salt combines with water in a proper ratio will also be helpful in washing your coffee maker, but not suitable for long-time descaling stains.


People will definitely think about vinegar as a cleaner besides being a cooking ingredient. You better rinse your coffee machine several times with water after using vinegar to clean it, or your next cup of coffee will taste weird.


Chemicals should only be the last resort when nothing above works. It will efficiently help remove the hardest dirt inside the coffee machine, but not good at all if you don’t rinse the coffee maker carefully.

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