How To Safely Clean A Coffee Maker With Bleach – BaristaHQ

A new coffee maker can get dirty quickly and the germs and bacteria can make it hazardous for you and your family. That's why cleaning coffee makers properly and regularly is important.

One of the most effective ways to clean a coffee maker is with bleach, but bleach is also hazardous so you have to use it safely. 

This guide will provide you with everything you need to know about how to clean a coffee maker with bleach.  

To clean a coffee maker or coffee pot using bleach, you would need to follow the steps below:  

1. Start by mixing bleach and water together 

It is crucial that you use diluted bleach and water, do not put bleach directly into your coffee maker to avoid damaging its components. For the dilution ratio, you would want to add one teaspoon of bleach to a gallon of plain water. Make sure that you create your bleach solution in a well-ventilated area.  

2. Run a full brew cycle on your coffee machine  

Once your mixture has been diluted, go ahead and pour the diluted bleach solution down the water reservoir and let your coffee maker run.  

3. Pour the liquid out  

Completely fill up the coffee pot, then turn the coffee maker off and drain out the solution. Ensure that your coffee maker is switched off for a couple of minutes, as this will minimize the bleach mixture that settles down the heating plate.  

4. Repeat until you have used all the bleach liquid  

Repeat the steps above until you have used the entire gallon of water and bleach solution. This might take a good amount of time but make sure that you have used all the liquid. It is also important to ensure that your coffee maker is attended at all times for safety reasons.  

5. Clean with hot water 

After you have used all the liquid, run a gallon of hot or warm water through your coffee maker to remove any bleach residues. Repeat this cleaning process at least five times to ensure that your coffee maker is free from any bleach residue.  

6. Test the final batch of water  

Once you have run all five gallons of water, smell the final batch of water to ensure that there is no scent. If you want a more accurate test for your own safety, use a litmus paper to test the pH level. If it falls within the safe levels, your coffee maker is all good to use.  

7. Air dry your coffee maker  

Then, go ahead and air dry it by putting it the coffee maker upside down for at least 24 hours, either in the sun or for a couple of days, or on your kitchen countertop. You can also use a machine air drying device. Air drying shouldn't take too long, but make sure that your coffee maker has dried completely.  

If you notice that there are white deposits after your coffee maker has dried, it means that there is leftover bleach in your coffee machine. To get rid of it, you would need to clean the coffee maker with another full cycle of warm water.  

cleaned bunn coffee maker

Why Use Bleach When Cleaning A Coffee Maker? 

If you haven't cleaned your coffee maker in a while, you might likely have some coffee stains and residues on your coffee pot from the coffee grounds. While you might think that it's harmless, these stains and residues could very well be a colony of bacteria.  

Mold and mineral buildup aren't something that can be easily cleaned by natural cleaning agents or detergent, and that's where bleach comes in. Not only will bleach effectively get rid of stubborn buildup, but it's also an inexpensive cleaning method to ensure that your coffee maker remains safe to use.  

While bleach is a good option to use to clean a coffee maker, there are a couple of points to consider, from how often you use bleach to clean a coffee maker, how much bleach you use, and more. If properly used, however, you can be assured that it will efficiently and effectively eliminate any residues, germs, and bacteria.  

making coffee with clean machine

Other Cleaning Solutions For Coffee Makers (Alternatives To Bleach) 

Other alternative solutions to cleaning a coffee maker with bleach include lemon juice, vinegar, and baking soda. While these are all great alternatives for cleaning coffee makers as they are naturally antibacterial and safe, they may not be as effective as cleaning a coffee maker with bleach.  

  • Vinegar 
    You can use both white vinegar and apple cider vinegar to clean your coffee maker. Simply add run white household vinegar with warm water through your coffee maker. Once your coffee maker has run, flush it twice with clean water, and make sure the white vinegar smell has fully gone. Then, you’re all good to go.  
  • Baking Soda 
    Baking soda is a great option for getting rid of stains and odors in coffee makers. You can use baking soda for both the interior and exterior of your coffee maker. Simply sprinkle your coffee maker with baking soda before scrubbing it clean with a nylon sponge and leaving it to dry.  
  • Lemon Juice 
    Lemon juice is another great alternative way to clean your coffee maker without any harsh chemical ingredients. Mix a mixture of lemon and water and leave it in your coffee maker for about 20 minutes. Then, run a brew cycle with a paper filter, and your coffee makers should be all set.  

The Importance Of Cleaning Your Coffee Maker 

If you’re regularly using your coffee maker, it’s important to ensure that you’re deep cleaning it regularly. A dirty coffee maker will not only have mineral deposits building up on the inside, but it can also become a breeding ground for bacteria. 

Some other reasons to clean your coffee maker with bleach (or other methods) include:  

  • Faster Brew Time 
    Mineral deposits and scaling can back up water flow and cause a longer wait time for your coffee. However, If you clean a coffee maker regularly then your morning cup of coffee will be ready in no time at all.  
  • Proper Function 
    Scaling buildup can hinder the flow of water to brew coffee. When your water isn’t flowing properly, it can also lead to problems with the coffee maker machinery. A clean coffee maker will help ensure that everything is working properly.  
  • Better Tasting Coffee 
    Nobody likes drinking a bitter cup of coffee. At times, a dirty coffee maker can be the culprit for a bitter-tasting coffee, as buildups within the machine can damage the internal thermometer.  
  • Longer Lifespan 
    Want to ensure that your coffee maker lasts for many years to come? Cleaning your coffee maker will not only help to protect the machinery, but it will also ensure that your coffee maker has a longer lifespan.  
  • Lower Risk Of Bacteria 
    Both heat and moisture are required to brew a cup of coffee. Unfortunately, this also makes your coffee maker a prime breeding ground for germs, bacteria, yeast, and more. Regularly cleaning your coffee maker will help keep these germs and bacteria at bay. 
How To Clean A Coffee Maker With Bleach

Cleaning Coffee Maker With Bleach FAQs

How often can you clean the coffee maker with bleach? 

You shouldn't be cleaning your coffee maker with bleach too often. Doing so once every three months should be more than sufficient. 

Can I use Clorox Bleach to clean my coffee maker? 

You can use a mild Clorox bleach to clean your coffee maker. In terms of the mixture, you'll want the bleach to be about one teaspoon to a gallon of water.  

Can you run soapy water through a coffee maker? 

Yes, you can run dish soap and water through the coffee maker. However, you want to make sure that you're using hot water instead of cold water. After you've run soapy water through your coffee maker, make sure that you're also rinsing it out with clean water.  

How can I be sure that no bleach remains in my coffee machine after cleaning? 

Make sure that you’re running your brewing cycle with clean water several times after you’ve washed your coffee machine with bleach. If you’re unsure, you can also test it with litmus paper. 


Bleach is a safe and effective way to clean your coffee maker if you use it effectively. Just make sure you dilute it properly and run plenty of water through the device so there's no risk of you ingesting any. 

Hopefully the cleaning tips in this guide have shown you the best way to clean a coffee maker and you now feel confident doing it yourself. 

Karmy Widjaja


Karmy Widjaja
Karmy Widjaja, holding a degree in Hospitality Administration, combines her academic background with a profound passion for the world of coffee. Her work is enriched with a wealth of insights, not only about the art of coffee making but also about the broader aspects of the coffee industry. Her quest for coffee perfection is a central theme in her engaging articles, as she continues to explore the vibrant coffee scene in Perth. And when it's time for a coffee break? Karmy's all about a laid-back flat white with almond milk – it's her go-to for a tasty coffee kick.

My favorite drink? I'd go with... flat white with almond milk.

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