How To Clean A Coffee Maker With Bleach? – Say No To Overkill

Are you trying to figure out how to clean a coffee maker with bleach? Well, let’s start by affirming that it is not the best idea. Using bleach in this manner without caution can lead to you accidentally ingesting the strong chemical relating to some health risks.

This article is our attempt to provide a comprehensive guide on how to safely use bleach to clean a coffee maker and provide better alternatives.

When Exactly Does Your Coffee Maker Need Cleaning?

Keeping your coffee maker clean is not only important for preventing wear and tear but also crucial for making a tasty and healthy cup of coffee. The machine is the perfect breeding ground for many germs and bacteria because of the warm and moist conditions.

Regular cleaning can ensure hygiene while offering enhanced flavors in coffee. You should commit to cleaning your coffee maker after every use.

This includes getting rid of the grounds, cleaning the brew basket, the carafe, and the lid. Do more thorough cleaning like the removing of mineral buildup once every three months.

But should you really use bleach to clean this beverage machine? Overkill is the word for this method. It is an excessively powerful disinfectant. Using it without caution poses serious health risks.

Its fumes already can cause lightheadedness, irritate the nose and eyes, or even damage your lungs, let alone you accidentally inject it.

Fortunately, other non-toxic ways to clean the machine exist. But if you stick to using bleach for its quick and convenient outcome, these next steps will be the safest ways.

How To Clean A Coffee Maker With Bleach

Before going through these steps, first, you will need some preparation. The required components will be as follows:

  1. One tablespoon of bleach
  2. One gallon of water, five gallons of warm or hot water
  3. One container, for example, a bowl, for diluting the bleach with water
  4. One pair of gloves

Step 1: Mix The Water And Bleach Together

Remember never to put bleach directly into the coffee maker. You must always dilute it first with water.

You will be adding a tablespoon of bleach to around a gallon of water. Following this formula is very important. Generally, you do not need to add more of this strong chemical than this amount because it’s hard to totally get rid of the excess bleach and its smell.

Make sure you carry out this procedure in a well-ventilated area. Exposure to bleach fumes causes damage to your eyes, lungs, and skin. Be careful not to inhale the fumes, or let any droplet touch your bare skin.

Step 2: Run A Full Cycle On Your Coffee Maker

Let your liquid concoction of bleach and water fully run through the coffee maker. The mixture will fill the coffee pot and fully clean it.

Step 3: Pour The Liquid

Get rid of the liquid by pouring it out from the coffee pot. Right after the liquid fills the pot, turn the machine off and pour the mixture out. You will want to turn off the coffee maker because you need to minimize the bleach amount that can hit the heating plate.

Step 4: Repeat Cycling The Liquid

Add The Bleach Mixture Into The Coffee Maker

Repeat steps 2 and 3 until the bleach water is all used up. You have to run the full gallon of the liquid through the system, which will probably take several cycles depending on the drip coffee maker model. Make sure that you run through all of it.

Moreover, keep an eye on the machine during the cleaning process. Someone may use it unknowingly and become sick.

Step 5: Clean Again Using Hot Water

Get one clean gallon of hot or warm water and run this through your coffee maker. This step can take a while; therefore, you will want to use hot water to cut down the time warming the water in the brew cycle. Ideally, you will want the water to boil quickly.

Do this again until you have done running five fresh gallons of hot water through your coffee system. Five gallons of water are enough for zero bleach residue left.

Step 6: Check The Smell

When you are all done with the hot water, go smell the final batch of water to make sure that it gives off no scent at all. Bleach has always had a very distinctive smell.

Having no scent probably means the coffee maker is all cleaned up. You can test its smell further by checking its pH; if the pH is at a neutral 7 or thereabouts, you are good to go.

Step 7: Air Dry

Let it air dry upside down for one day in the sun or several days on the countertop. When it dries in the open air, any final deposits of bleach will eventually turn into solid white specs. When you see these spots, you need to continue running fresh water through the coffee maker.

Non-toxic Alternatives

Many other great alternatives prove to help without carrying a looming risk of poisoning. The other choices are vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice.


Opting for vinegar over-bleach as a cleaning agent for your coffee machine is a brilliant idea. Unlike bleach, vinegar does not have fumes that irritate the eyes or burn the skin. However, vinegar does come with a strong scent.

Coffee machine cleaning with vinegar is a great alternative. The substance’s acidity helps remove buildup inside the machine and is, in general, a very strong disinfectant. Also, it is a rather popular choice as it is pretty much a part of every kitchen.

The first thing you need to do is to mix one part vinegar and two parts water, then fill up the machine’s reservoir with that mixture. Remember the ratio, it will be important. Brew normally, as if you are preparing your favorite cup of coffee.

Then, about halfway through, you can pause this process. And, you will now let it sit for up to 30 minutes. The brewing continues with the mixture inside. You will have to repeat thereafter with only clean water to thoroughly remove the smell of vinegar.

This particular process will also help out with descaling the insides of the machine and lend a hand keeping your coffee maker running smoothly with high efficiency.

Baking Soda

Another one of those popular cooking ingredients is baking soda. Being the staple of kitchens everywhere, especially for people that are into baking, it has been used such as being an ingredient in cooking and a deodorizer cleaner. Most homes are sure to have some.

What’s more, baking soda is relatively cheap and is widely available in a lot of places. Because of its variety of usage, you will definitely find buying baking soda a very worthwhile sum of money spent.

It is very fitting to use baking soda for sanitizing purposes since it has antibacterial as well as abrasive properties. Mix 1/4 cup of baking soda with 1 cup of water in the carafe. Then swirl it and pour it into the reservoir.

Running a full cycle of brewing will pretty much guarantee to allow the baking soda to break down the potential or existing mineral buildup. Do the cycle again with just clean water additionally about 2 to 3 times.

Read more: How to clean a coffee maker with baking soda


Lemon is a great cleaner because of its high content of citric acid. High acid content, specifically citric acid, makes these lemons and limes an amazing cleaner. Acidic conditions can kill or eliminate a lot of dangerous bacteria and mold, all the while smelling fresh.

Create a concoction of haft water and haft lemon juice. The new mixture offers powerful cleaning. Next, you will need to add it to the reservoir, and then you can start brewing. Pause the brewing and allow the liquid to sit undisturbed for an additional 30 minutes.

Next, you need to resume brewing. Do this again with just clean water till when the water runs clear, and the smell of lemon juice is fully gone.

Another way to utilize these everyday cooking ingredients is to mix them with some extra elements. Both vinegar and lemon juice have antibacterial properties, especially in combination with salt and heat. Unlike the alkaline-based bleach, the two are acidic and can remove calcium deposits.

These alternatives do not come without a downside, though. Lemon and vinegar can greatly impact the way the coffee smells and tastes if not washed thoroughly. However, if you ask us, those minor inconveniences are nothing in comparison with bleach poisoning.


It is without a doubt that knowing how to clean a coffee maker with bleach is absolutely crucial, and doing it regularly is even more important.

However, what cleaner you use can also need great consideration as it can affect the performance of the machine, the taste of your coffee, or even your health.

Apart from using bleach as described above, you can always go for other kitchen ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, or lemon with a safer result.

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