How To Clean Coffee Maker Water Reservoir (A Quick Guide)

Last Updated on April 20, 2022 by John Moretti

Keeping your coffee maker clean increases the lifespan of your appliance and ensures that your coffee always tastes great. If you do not clean your coffee maker’s water reservoir regularly, residue will build up. This can affect your coffee maker and your brewed coffee in all sorts of negative ways. 

Use a solution of equal amounts of white vinegar and water to clean your coffee maker’s water reservoir. Run the machine as if you are brewing coffee, but instead of filling it with water, use the cleaning solution. Flush the machine with fresh water after running a cleaning cycle.  

The process of cleaning your coffee maker’s water reservoir is easy once you know what you are doing. Here, we describe step-for-step how to go about cleaning your coffee maker on a monthly basis. 

how to clean coffee maker water reservoir

Steps To Clean A Coffee Maker Water Reservoir

  1. First, gather everything you will need for the task: hot, soapy water, a sponge or soft cloth, vinegar, clean water, and a paper coffee filter.
  1. If you can remove the water reservoir from your coffee maker, do so by gently pulling it out. Wash the reservoir in hot, soapy water, scrubbing the inside with a sponge or soft cloth.
  1. Rinse all the soap suds from the reservoir, dry it with a clean kitchen towel, and place it back into the machine. 
  1. Next, make a solution of equal amounts of vinegar and water. Make enough to fill your coffee maker’s water reservoir. Add the mixture to the water reservoir and insert a paper coffee filter into the machine (if you use one).
  1. Switch your coffee maker on and run it as usual, as if you are brewing a pot of coffee. After about 30 minutes or halfway through the cycle, stop the coffee maker.
  1. Wait for 30 to 60 minutes with the coffee maker switched off. The water reservoir and all the water pipes will be filled with the cleaning solution, so you need to give it some time to work. 
  1. Then, turn the coffee maker back on and let it finish its brewing cycle so that all the cleaning solution empties from the reservoir. Remove the used paper filter from the machine and throw out the used cleaning solution.
  1. To flush the vinegar out of the system, fill the water reservoir with fresh water, put in a new paper coffee filter, and switch the machine on for a full brewing cycle. When it has finished, throw out the cleaning solution, allow the coffee maker to cool down, and then run another full brewing cycle with fresh water (no coffee). 

Once you have flushed the coffee maker twice, it is clean and ready to brew a pot of coffee! 

The Importance Of Cleaning The Coffee Maker Water Reservoir

importance of cleaning the coffee maker water reservoir

It is absolutely essential to clean your coffee maker on a regular basis, especially if you use it every day. It takes care of you every morning, so you should return the favor!

Coffee contains natural oils which stick to the inner working parts of the coffee maker. Flushing the machine with water is not enough to remove the oils. You must use a cleaning solution.

Minerals from inside the water become deposited in the pipes and inner parts of a coffee maker, especially if the water where you live is “hard”.

If you do not clean your coffee maker on a regular basis, bacteria and mold can grow inside your machine (gross!). The coffee maker must be descaled in order to keep the pipes free of mineral deposits. 

Your coffee may start to taste sour or bitter if you do not clean your coffee maker properly. It is also damaging to your machine if you do not clean and descale it. 

How Often To Clean A Coffee Maker Water Reservoir?

If you brew coffee every day, you should get into a habit of cleaning your coffee maker’s water reservoir once a month. If you use demineralized water for your coffee, you may get away with cleaning your machine every 8 weeks. 

With entry-level coffee makers, you will need to set a reminder on your phone or write a note in your diary to remember to clean your machine. However, fancier coffee makers often have a red light that comes on when your machine needs to be cleaned.

Keep Your Coffee Maker Clean!

keep your coffee maker clean

Practice good hygiene with your coffee maker by following these tips:

  • Every time you brew a pot of coffee, remove the moist coffee grounds and coffee filter from the machine immediately afterwards. Do not leave it in, or bacteria and mold can grow! 
  • Use hot, soapy water to clean all the parts of your coffee maker: the carafe, brew basket, and filter holder. Wipe clean the exterior of the machine with a damp cloth. 
  • Every time you brew a pot of coffee, clean the carafe with soapy water afterwards. Do not just rinse it out with water, as this does not get rid of the oils from the coffee. 
  • Check the hardness of your home’s water supply. Do not use water with more than 60mg/liter of dissolved solids. If your water is hard (61 to >180mg/liter), instead, use demineralized water in your coffee maker. 


Cleaning your coffee maker’s water reservoir is a simple task that can make a huge difference to the flavor of your brew and the lifespan of your appliance. With each use, oils from the coffee beans and dissolved minerals from the water build up inside the coffee maker. Failing to clean it regularly will cause the coffee to taste bad, and the machine may stop working from its pipes being clogged. 

Make the effort of cleaning your coffee maker’s water reservoir with vinegar and water solution on a monthly basis. It really is worth your while. You should also keep the other parts of your coffee machine clean by washing them with hot, soapy water regularly. This will stop bacteria and mold from growing inside!