How To Clean A Ninja Coffee Maker (Bar Machine Cleaning Tips)

The Ninja company is well-known for producing some of the best kitchen appliances on the market, including coffee makers. Ninja coffee machines range from pod-style, single-cup brewers to large 12-cup drip coffee makers. They even have options that combine both brewing methods into an all-in-one coffee maker.  

One thing that sets Ninja appliances apart from others on the market is the brand’s dedication to using quality materials for creating durable, long-lasting appliances. Their coffee makers can brew robust, great-tasting coffee for years to come... but only if you keep up with maintenance and regular cleanings.  

Find out the exact steps as well as helpful tips and tricks on how to clean Ninja coffee maker appliances in this complete how-to guide.  

Every time you brew coffee, the grounds leave behind a residue, and the water (especially if it's hard water) can leave behind lime and calcium deposits. Over time, this residue and mineral deposits start to build up, which can negatively affect the way your coffee tastes. 

Plus, the water won’t be able to flow through the grounds as it should, and this can even result in a leaking coffee maker.  

More importantly, though, failing to clean your coffee maker can have a negative impact on your health.

Bacteria and mold can thrive within the appliance; it’s warm, damp, and dark, which is the trifecta of ideal conditions for bacteria to live and grow.

Luckily, you can prevent all of these things from happening by keeping your Ninja coffee machine clean. 

cleaning ninja coffee maker

How To Clean A Ninja Coffee Maker (DIY Deep Clean Guide) 

The first indication that it’s time to clean your Ninja is when the unit’s ‘Clean’ light becomes illuminated. That’s right… Most Ninja coffee makers come with an automatic indicator that tells you exactly when the appliance needs to go through a cleaning cycle.  

Once that Ninja coffee maker clean light turns on, there are two different methods for cleaning the internal mechanisms of your machine:  

Deep Cleaning With Vinegar  

The first option for cleaning your Ninja is to use a DIY vinegar solution. If you have a 12-cup machine, fill the water reservoir with 16 ounces of vinegar (up to the travel mug line) and then dilute the vinegar by adding water to fill up the rest of the reservoir (up to the max fill line). It’s best to use distilled white vinegar, not only because it’s an effective cleaning ingredient but also because it's cheap. 

Once you’ve filled the water reservoir with the vinegar-water solution, place the carafe back into its docking position under the coffee filter basket. Then, select the full carafe size, push the ‘Clean’ button on the machine’s console and let it work its magic.  

Most Ninja coffee makers take about 8 minutes to go through a full cleaning cycle, but yours may take longer depending on the model. During the cleaning process, be sure not to push any buttons or remove the carafe as this can disrupt the cycle.  

Once the cleaning cycle is complete, remove the carafe and empty the water-vinegar solution. Clean it with warm soapy water, rinse it well, and do the same for the water reservoir. In Ninja’s official cleaning instructions, it's recommended that you flush the system with two more clean cycles using fresh water only.   

Cleaning With A Descaling Solution  

If you prefer to clean your Ninja coffee maker without vinegar, the other option is to use the brand’s official descaling solution. This is the more expensive cleaning method, but the solution is specifically designed to remove buildup within your Ninja machine.  

According to Ninja, the descaler “removes naturally occurring calcium buildup and other impurities that could affect the flavor of your coffee and the performance of your brewer.” Just as you would with a vinegar-water solution, dilute the descaler with water, add it to the machine’s reservoir, and select the ‘Clean’ button.  

To find the right ratio of descaler to water, it’s recommended that you check the bottle’s concentration instructions.  

Recommended Regular Cleaning Routine 

In addition to using either the vinegar or descaling solution when the clean light indicator turns on, it’s also a good idea to do a quick clean of your coffee machine after each brew.

To do this, just rinse out the carafe, the water reservoir, and the removable filter basket with warm water. These components are all dishwasher safe, so feel free to wash them in your dishwasher.  


How To Clean The Ninja Coffee Bar Removable Parts 

The steps above focused on cleaning the main brewing components of your Ninja, but it’s also a smart idea to give the machine’s removable parts a deep clean as well. 

Depending on the Ninja model you’re using, you might have extra accessories, like a milk frother or coffee pod compartment. 

Here are some guidelines for cleaning each of your appliance’s removable parts: 

ninja coffee maker water reservoir
  • Frother
    If you’re lucky enough to have a milk frother attachment on your coffee maker, it’s extremely important that you keep it clean. This part needs to be cleaned after each use, but luckily, the steps are easy. Start by removing the frother and rinsing it with warm water. Then secure it back into place, fill a cup with warm water, and submerge the frother in the water while running it for about 30 seconds. 
  • Glass Carafe
    The Ninja’s carafe (coffee pot) is 100% dishwasher safe, so if you aren’t a fan of washing it by hand, just add it to each load of dishes and run your dishwasher on its regular clean cycle. 
  • Filter & Basket
    Both the filter and filter basket are dishwasher safe, so the easiest way to keep them clean is to load them onto the top shelf of your dishwasher. If you prefer to wash them by hand, rinse them in warm soapy water and allow them to air dry or use a soft cloth to wipe them down.
  • Warming Plate
    Unfortunately, you cannot wash your coffee maker’s warming plate in the dishwasher. The good news is that you can get this component clean by giving it a quick wipe down after each brew cycle. Use a damp cloth or paper towel and a few drops of mild cleanser - just make sure it’s cool before wiping it down!
  • Water Reservoir
    The water reservoir of your Ninja is another dishwasher-safe component. However, this piece is large (especially if you have a full 12-cup brewer), so it will take up a lot of space in your dishwasher. For that reason, many people prefer to wash it by hand in the sink with warm, soapy water. 
  • Exterior Part
    The easiest way to clean the exterior components of your machine is to use a wet paper towel or cloth to wipe them down. It’s best to do this after each brew to remove coffee splatters, grounds, and streak marks. 

My Ninja Coffee Maker Clean Cycle Is Not Working: What To Do 

Cleaning Ninja CM401 Specialty 10-Cup Coffee Maker

One of the most common problems experienced by Ninja users is that the Ninja coffee machine clean light won’t go off, even after the cleaning cycle is complete.

There are a few explanations for this, but it usually has to do with a calibration issue of the coffee maker’s electronic components.  

In order to recalibrate the machine so that the clean light will stop illuminating, try unplugging it from the outlet.

Allow it to remain unplugged for at least 5 minutes, then plug it back in and reset the appliance to give it a fresh start. If that doesn’t work, the issue probably has to do with the cleanliness of the machine itself.  

By that, we mean that the coffee maker hasn't been properly cleaned, even after a full cleaning cycle. If that's the case, you'll want to try going through 2 or 3 full cleaning cycles to get rid of the buildup of coffee residue and mineral deposits.  


Frequently Asked Ninja Coffee Cleaning Questions

Can I use CLR to clean my Ninja coffee maker? 

Yes, it’s possible to use a CLR and water solution to clean your coffee maker. To do this, mix 1 cup CLR with 8 cups water, add the solution to the water reservoir, and run the machine through an entire brewing cycle. Once that's complete, make sure to flush your coffee maker by brewing 2-3 batches of fresh water.  

Why doesn't the clean light go off on the Ninja coffee bar? 

This might be related to an issue with the coffee maker’s electronic system. If that’s the case, you should be able to fix it by unplugging and resetting the machine.  

How do I reset my Ninja coffee maker after cleaning? 

To reset your Ninja, unplug the machine from the wall out and wait at least 5 minutes before plugging it back in. Once you’ve plugged it in, reset the clock - that’s it! 

Why is there mold in my Ninja coffee maker? 

Mold in a Ninja coffee maker - or any coffee maker for that matter - generally means you’re not cleaning it regularly enough (or well enough). Deep cleaning at least once a month (or every other month for less frequent coffee drinkers) is recommended.  


Conclusion

Whether you use an official descaler solution or a DIY vinegar solution for going through the Ninja coffee maker clean cycle is up to you.  

Both cleaning methods work well. Just remember to clean your Ninja regularly. Cleaning every other month is enough for most Ninja users, but if you use your machine more often, it's recommended to go through the cleaning cycle every month (or when the clean light indicator illuminates).