Master The Art of Cleaning Your Ninja Coffee Bar Like A Pro!

Ninja are known for producing some of the best kitchen appliances on the market and true coffee lovers appreciate the quality of a Ninja coffee bar.

Ninja coffee makers are made with fantastic materials and can last a long time, but only if you maintain them properly.

If you aren't cleaning your Ninja coffee bar regularly then it could become damaged, and could even mean you have to replace it. 

In this guide we'll explain how to clean it fully, and give you some useful tips and tricks for keeping your Ninja coffee maker in tip top condition.

Ninja coffee machines range from pod-style, single-cup brewers with a unique brew through lid option, to large 12-cup drip coffee makers.

They even have options that combine both brewing methods into an all-in-one coffee maker.

Whichever type of Ninja coffee maker you have, 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 clean cycle.  

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

Ninja Coffee bar making a large coffee drink at home

How To Clean A Ninja Coffee Bar With Vinegar  

The first option for cleaning your Ninja coffee bar is to use a DIY white vinegar solution.[1]

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 have the right cleaning solution, follow these steps: 

1. Fill The Reservoir

If you have a 12-cup machine, fill the water reservoir with 16 ounces of white vinegar (up to the travel mug line) and then dilute the white vinegar by adding water to fill up the rest of the reservoir (up to the max fill line). 

2. Replace The Carafe In The Coffee Maker

Once you’ve filled the water reservoir up to the max fill line with the white vinegar-water solution, place the carafe back into its docking position under the coffee brew basket.

Make sure it's in the Ninja Coffee Maker properly.

3. Select The Cleaning Option

Then, select the full carafe size, look through the various brew cycles and 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 clean 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 clean cycle of your Ninja coffee bar.  

4. Empty The Vinegar Cleaning Solution

Once the cleaning cycle is complete, remove the carafe and empty the water-vinegar solution. 

Clean the carafe and the brew basket with warm soapy water, rinse it well, and do the same for the coffee bar water reservoir. 

5. Flush With Clean Water

In Ninja’s official cleaning instructions, it's recommended that you do a flush cycle at least twice with fresh water only.[2]

It's best to use the carafe classic brew option, and this should help to remove the white vinegar and descaling solution and leave it sparkling clean.

Person pushing the clean button on a Ninja coffee bar next to a bottle of vinegar

How To Clean Ninja Coffee Bar With Descaling Solution

If you prefer to clean your Ninja coffee bar without vinegar, the other option is to use the brand’s official descaling solution.[3]

This is the more expensive cleaning method, but the solution is specifically designed to remove buildup within Ninja coffee bars.  

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.”

1. Dilute The Descaling Solution  

Just as you would with a vinegar-water solution, add the descaling solution to tap water to create the specific cleaning solution for this cleaning and descaling process.

To find the right ratio of descaling solution to water, it’s recommended that you check the bottle’s concentration instructions (you can use a coffee scoop for measurements).

2. Start The Cleaning Cycle

Add the to the machine’s reservoir up to the max fill line, and select the ‘Clean’ button. 

You don't need to press the 'Clean' button more than once, and don't touch any other buttons while the descaling cycle is running.

3. Empty The Descaling Solution

Pour out the solution from the glass carafe and clean the Ninja coffee bar brew basket. 

4. Flush With Fresh Water

Run the clean cycle with clean water to remove all the descaling solution from the Ninja coffee bar. 

You may need to run this more than once to get rid of all the remaining cleaning solution.

Ninja Coffee Bar clean light on

Our Recommended Daily 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, including the removable components.

We recommend doing a daily clean so you can get back to making your favorite copycat Starbucks sweet drinks and other espresso beverages. 

To do this, just rinse out the carafe, the water reservoir, and the removable coffee filter brew basket with warm water.

These components are all dishwasher safe, so you can safely wash them in your dishwasher.

If you have a model with a hot plate then it's important to clean that too using a cloth, soapy water, and a bit of lemon juice (the acid from the lemon juice kills germs).   

Don't Neglect The Removable Parts! (Easy Guide For How To Clean Them)

The steps above focused on how to clean a Ninja coffee maker with fixed parts, 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 and a few hacks for cleaning each of your appliance’s removable parts properly:

  • Frother
    If you’re lucky enough to have a milk frother attachment or frothing whisk 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 permanent 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 the 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. 
  • Brew Through Lid
    Some Ninja coffee makers have a travel cup with a brew through lid. This allows you to brew coffee directly into your cup to minimize heat loss, and gives you a delicious cup of coffee on the go. Make sure you're cleaning this travel cup and lid in the dishwasher (or by hand with soapy water) after each use. 
  • Exterior Parts
    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 from the coffee bar. 
ninja coffee maker water reservoir

Ninja Coffee Bar Clean Light Won't Go Off? Now What!

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.[5]

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.  

Ninja CM401 Specialty 10-Cup Coffee Maker sitting in a kitchen on a countertop

What Happens If You Don't Clean Your Ninja Coffee Maker?

Every time you brew coffee, the coffee 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 scale deposits start to build up, which can negatively affect the way your coffee tastes, and produce an unpleasant odor.

Plus, the water won’t be able to flow through the coffee 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.[4]

Luckily, you can prevent all of these things from happening and have a better tasting coffee by keeping your Ninja coffee machine clean. 

Ninja Coffee Bar with coffee drinks next to it on a countertop

Related Ninja Coffee Bar Cleaning Questions

How often should I deep clean my Ninja Coffee Bar?

You should deep clean your Ninja Coffee Bar when the clean light comes on. How often the clean light comes on will depend on how hard your water is and how often you use your machine.

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.

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.  

Keep Your Ninja Coffee Bar Sparkling Clean!

You can use an official descaling solution or a DIY vinegar solution to clean your Ninja coffee maker as both will work well.

The real key is getting into a habit of cleaning it regularly, at least once a month, and not just waiting until the clean light indicator comes on.

Hopefully this guide has shown you how to clean your Ninja coffee bar properly, and you'll be able to have great coffee at home for years to come.







Caitlin Shaffer

Caitlin Shaffer

Caitlin has always had a passion for writing with years of scribbling short stories and journal entries while simultaneously sipping coffee. When Caitlin isn’t writing, she’s hopping on the first flight to a new destination, preferably one that is known for its coffee. She has had the pleasure of drinking Kopi Luwak in Indonesia, espresso in Italy, and fresh brews in Colombia.

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