How To Clean A Bunn Coffee Maker – BaristaHQ

If you've found the perfect machine that makes delicious coffee, you never want to let it go.

BUNN coffee brewers are some of the most popular coffee makers on the market, but if you want to keep it working properly then you need to keep it clean. 

If you don't keep your BUNN coffee maker clean it can damage the coffee brewer and ruin your cup of coffee. But don't worry, because in this guide we'll show you how to clean and maintain it, so you can keep it running properly. 

It is important to note that cleaning methods can differ between different BUNN coffee makers. Your model should have come with a manual that you can refer to.  

However, this guide should cover most machines, so let's look at how to clean your BUNN coffee maker.  

1. Standard Cleaning Method  

The standard method for cleaning BUNN coffee makers should be done weekly if you're an everyday coffee drinker. This routine cleaning will keep your coffee tasting great and keep the coffee maker functioning properly.

You don't need any specialist equipment to clean a BUNN coffee maker, but to clean spray head it's worth using the spray head cleaning tool which comes with the machine.

Then, follow these steps:

  • Step 1: Turn The Machine Off 
    The first and most important step is to turn off your machine and unplug it. This is essential to avoid electrocution, remember water and electrics don't mix!  
  • Step 2: Remove Coffee Grounds and Coffee Filter  
    Either dump your coffee grounds, or find a creative use for them, and rinse out the basket to get rid of any lingering grounds.[1 
  • Step 3: Wipe Down the Exterior 
    Use a damp cloth and your cleaning agent to wipe down your machine. Then go back over it with a different soft cloth, just using warm water.  
  • Step 4: Clean and Soak the Carafe 
    When you drink coffee every day, brown stains in the thermal carafe are inevitable. However, they can be removed with a good wipe down. If you have stubborn stains, then leave your carafe to soak for a few hours, rinse off, and leave it to air dry.  
  • Step 5: Run Water Through Your Machine 
    Now you should run a few rinse cycles of cold water through your machine without adding any coffee. If the machine is particularly dirty, add some lemon or vinegar to the cold water you are running through the machine. In particularly bad cases or when you have neglected to clean your machine for a long time, you might want to look at getting some hard-scale coffee cleaning solution to add to your hot water tank during the cleaning process. These mixtures usually contain some more hardcore chemicals for cleaning up those grubby machines. 
  • Step 6: Cleaning The Spray Head 
    During regular use, your spray head can become clogged up with natural mineral deposits from your water. This is especially true for those that have hard water. To clean the spray head, make sure it has cooled down, and your coffee machine is disconnected. Next, take the de-liming spray head cleaning tool from your original kit and slide it inside the spray head to loosen any deposits.  

2. Deep Cleaning & Descaling Method 

Unfortunately, over time, BUNN coffee pots are going to suffer from a build-up of mineral deposits.

This will happen faster if you use regular tap water and slower if you use filtered water, but it will still happen. It will also happen more often if you have hard water.

This build-up leads to a chalky-looking substance forming on your machine's parts(particularly the brew funnel), and over time, this is going to start ruining your coffee or interfering with how your machine works. 

This is what makes deep cleaning your machine such an important task. During the deep cleaning process, you will descale your machine, which removes this mineral build-up.

If you do this regularly, it should be a quick and easy task. However, for those that have never done a deep clean, you might be looking at a tougher job. 

We recommend that you follow these steps at least once every 3 months. 

  • 1: Mix Your Solution  
    The first step is to create the mixture you will use to deep clean your machine. To do this, you need vinegar and distilled water as a descaling solution. Mix it at a rate of 1:1 until you have around 1 cup of solution. 
  • 2: Start Your Brew  
    The next step is to take that descaling solution you have created and empty it into the water tank/water reservoir of your machine. Next, start the machine's brewing cycle and wait for the thermal carafe to fill up with water and sink into the inners of the machine. Once one brewing cycle has finished, you need to let the machine sit for 2 hours. If you are doing this for the first time, you might want to run the mixture through the machine twice. 
  • 3: Wipe Down the Spray Nozzle and Tube 
    Now we are going to look at the spray nozzle and spray head. To clean the spray head, you need a damp soft cloth, some mild dish soap, and a toothpick or sharp cleaning tool. Rinse the tube down with warm water and a cloth, and use the toothpick to descale any of the small deposits stuck in the spray head nozzle. Make sure you check the brew funnel for any lime and mineral deposits too and clean with warm soapy water. 
  • 4: Brew Again 
    Once you have cleaned the inner workings of the spray head nozzle and spray tube, you should reassemble the coffee pot. Once you have reassembled, the next stage is to fill the reservoir with distilled water without vinegar and run another brew cycle. This will remove the vinegar taste and smell as well as any stubborn deposits. If you can still smell vinegar, keep running the cycle with distilled water until you can't smell it anymore. 
bunn coffee maker parts

Why It's Important To Clean Your Bunn Coffee Maker 

Many people don’t realize the importance of a well-maintained coffee machine. Did you know that your coffee machine reservoir is one of the dirtiest places in your kitchen?

Coffee makers and your coffee pot can host more bacteria than some bathroom items. Shocking, right? Not when you consider the elements at play: heat, moisture, and frequent use.  

Cleaning your coffee machine properly has a host of important benefits, including:  

  • Lower Risk of Bacteria
    Coffee machines use both moisture and heat, which are the conditions needed for bacteria to thrive. Yeast and even mold can also build-up, which is especially bad news for those with allergies. In fact, a 2011 study by NSF International found that 50% of household coffee makers had yeast and mold in the reservoir.[2]  
  • Better Tasting Coffee 
    Clean coffee makers make the best coffee. If your coffee machine is dirty, it can damage the internal thermometer, which leaves you with a bitter-tasting cup of joe. 
  • Longer Lifespan
    BUNN coffee machines can be expensive, so you want them to last a long time! The spray head within a BUNN coffee pot can easily become blocked and damaged if it's not cleaning, but proper maintenance of your machine means you can enjoy great-tasting coffee for years to come!
  • Faster Brew Time
    Mineral deposits can back up the flow of water, especially in the coffee pot spray head. Conversely, a clean machine will ensure a steady flow of water and a speedy cup of coffee to start your morning off right. 
  • Proper Function
    Mineral build-up affects water flow, which leads to problems within the machine. A clean coffee maker ensures ultimate functionality. When it comes to coffee, the little things matter!
Clean Bunn Coffee Maker

How To Tell If Your Bunn Machine Needs To Be Cleaned 

The best practice is to clean your coffee maker every time you brew a coffee. However, there are some key signs that your machine needs tending to: 

  • The coffee is taking longer to brew, this usually means there's an issue with the spray head.
  • Your machine is producing less coffee than usual.  
  • Stains on the inside of the BUNN coffee pot.  
  • The water sputters rather than flowing freely, this also indicates an issue with the spray head.  
  • The coffee tastes bitter. 
  • A chalky material on the inside of your machine, particularly in the brew funnel.  

Best Cleaning Solutions For Your Bunn Coffee Maker 

Coffee aficionados like us only want the best for our much-loved machines. Natural products such as lemon juice, baking soda, and vinegar are the best things for your BUNN coffee machine. Let’s delve into why.  

lemon for cleaning bunn coffee maker
  • Lemon
    Lemons are one of nature’s most powerful sanitization tools due to their high acidity and natural antibacterial properties. It has the ability to eradicate sediments in your machine and remove water stains while leaving behind pleasant citrus scents! 
  • Vinegar
    White vinegar is another well-known cleaning agent. It will decalcify your BUNN machine, disinfect it, and remove residue. A white vinegar solution is usually best but there are a few types of acidic vinegar you can use. 
  • Baking Soda
    Baking soda removes stains, eliminates odors, and kills bacteria, making it another great choice for your BUNN coffee maker. 
  • Soap
    Warm soapy water is great for cleaning the outside of the entire coffee pot. We would advise against using washing-up liquid, regular kitchen dish soap, or dishwasher detergent as the residue could affect the taste of your coffee. However, there are some mild detergent, gentle dish soap, or natural soap options that could help keep your coffee pot clean. 
  • Combination
    Each of these ingredients comes with its own benefits, so combining these cleaning agents could make for the best solution to clean a BUNN coffee maker. One option is to mix equal parts lemon juice and baking soda; this combination will disinfect your machine and leave it smelling fresh.  Another great option is to mix ½ cup of vinegar with ⅛ cup of baking soda and allow your mixture to sit until it fizzes. This will decalcify, disinfect and clean a BUNN coffee maker while removing any stains.  

Frequently Asked Bunn Machine Cleaning Questions

How often do you clean a Bunn coffee maker?  

It’s wise to wash the coffee pot and empty the coffee grounds out of the basket each time you use it. It’s recommended that you do a deep descaling coffee maker cleanse every three months. However, this depends on how much you use it and how much mineral content is in the water you’re using. 

How long to leave vinegar in the Bunn coffee maker?  

15 minutes is the sweet spot before the vinegar taste sinks into the machine. If you accidentally leave the vinegar in too long, fill the machine up with water and run it without coffee for a few cycles. 

What are some things to avoid when cleaning your Bunn coffee maker? 

Avoid using either lemon or vinegar pure; instead, make a 50/50 mixture using warm water. 

Can I use CLR to clean my Bunn coffee maker? 

Yes, just make sure you get the ratio of 1 part CLR to 8 parts water correct in order to avoid damage. 


There you have it. Now you know how important it is to make sure that you clean your coffee machine and have the steps to do so, we know you will be back to drinking the perfect coffee in no time.  




Kayla Stavridis

Kayla Stavridis

Kayla Stavridis is the Head of Marketing here at Barista HQ. While keeping up-to-date on the latest trends in coffee, you can find her sipping a cold brew with just a touch of milk on the beach in the afternoon and a Corona with lime in the evening. She is passionate about keeping you informed about what’s new in coffee.

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