Every now and then you should be cleaning your coffee maker from the inside out. Cleaning your coffee maker with baking soda sounds like a good idea too because it cleans stains and smells so well but is it the right thing to use on the inner workings of your coffee maker?
For one cleaning your coffee maker shouldn’t be done once every few years it should be done regularly, like once a month or two depending on how often you use yours.
To efficiently clean it out that often you want the process to be simple, effective, and you don’t want want to risk damaging your machine.
With baking soda the process is harder and you do risk messing up your machine. This may not be that big of a deal if you use an inexpensive Black & Decker but for those of us with premium machines its not worth risking a clog.
It’s possible to use baking soda if you make sure it’s fully dissolved and the water is still very thin… I just wouldn’t do it this way on my machine.
Make sure the following article for my full instructions on cleaning any coffee maker properly.
Will Baking Soda Clean a Coffee Maker?
When it comes time to clean your coffee maker stop and think for a moment – is it the carafe and exterior that needs a good cleaning? Does the filter basket need cleaning?
Or do you need to clean the entire system out?
If you need to clean the carafe and stains on and around the exterior areas of the pot then yes, you can safely use baking soda to get those areas sparkly again. But if you haven’t descaled your coffee maker in years (if ever) then I would not consider dissolving the powder in water and turning the machine on.
If you are a gambler however and you want to give it a try then yes, baking soda will clean it out pretty good although it won’t do very good at removing mineral deposits.
To clean out mineral deposits there are better options than baking soda.
How Baking Soda Cleans Things
Cleaning the kitchen, equipment and appliances will never be a burden because baking soda is one hardworking cleaning agent. Here are the main ways to use baking soda for cleaning.
- Baking Soda is a Deodorizer – With so many activities going on around the household, various odors can accumulate leaving unpleasant smells on your curtains, rags, surfaces, and yes, in your coffee maker too. Sprinkling baking soda on linens, chairs and carpets. Let it sit for 15 minutes. Vacuum it up and they instantly smell fresher. A coffee machine will be similarly deodorized if you run baking soda through it.
- Baking soda is a Great Stain Cleaner – You can easily clean and shine tile grout and kitchen countertops with baking soda just as you can the interior of your coffee makers water reservoir. No need to worry about scratching surfaces because baking soda is none abrasive. Sprinkle baking on the surface. Scrub it with a rag or a brush and you will see how dirt comes off easily. In a coffee maker’s interior stains aren’t usually a concern but possibly this could help for a water reservoir, or drip cone with stubborn coffee stains.
- Baking Soda is an Excellent Grease Cleaner – When you cook, steam travels all around your kitchen. It carries odor and grease that can stick on the surface of the walls and cabinets. If your coffee maker is located close to the stove that it too can slowly build up grease deposits on or in it which vinegar may have a hard time breaking up do to it’s acidity. Baking soda is highly alkaline and it can help remove this build up. Sprinkle baking soda on a damp sponge and wipe off the grease. Of course it’s unlikely grease will get in your coffee maker so this may not apply to most people.
Deep cleaning your kitchen appliances will help extend the life of your equipment and you can maximize its usability. Cleaning may take a few minutes of your time, but the results are priceless.
You’ll notice however that all of the main cleaning uses of baking soda do not include descaling hard water deposits or mineral build up. This is because baking soda is alkaline. You really need acidity to break this stuff up and that’s why its not a great descaler.
On the other hand here are some better ways to descale mineral buildup without vinegar.
Why You Should Not Descale Your Coffee Maker with Baking Soda
Baking soda, although great for getting rid of those nasty stains, is not going to work well on a water cycle. It can clog many machines, especially those which have mineral deposits in the water lines already, and then you’ve got a bigger problem on your hands.
Not only that but baking soda is great at cleaning stains and smells but the acid of vinegar or a dedicated descaler is the best at actually breaking apart the calcium deposits and limescale that can slowly accumulate inside the water tubing and on the heating element.
If you use baking soda and it doesn’t clog up the water intake then you will probably still have some mineral deposits that still need to be broken up with a separate vinegar cleaning cycle.
Although you may not run vinegar through your machine every time doing it occasionally can help a lot with performance. Here’s a guide I made explaining how much vinegar you should use.
If you do Want to Try Cleaning Your Machine with Baking Soda
Baking soda is a wonderful household ingredient that can turn dirty kitchens and equipment spic and span. Use baking soda the same way as you use vinegar for cleaning your coffee machine but just keep in mind that this will only clean your machine and not descale it.
Here is a step-by-step guide in using baking soda for cleaning your coffee maker.
What you will need:
- ¼ cup baking soda
- lukewarm water
- Remove the filter of the coffee maker and set aside.
- Put one cup of lukewarm water in the carafe.
- Dissolve ¼ cup baking soda. Lukewarm water will help dissolve it fast amd ensure no lumps of baking soda.
- Transfer the baking soda solution in the water chamber.
- Return the carafe on the plate, as if you are going to brew coffee.
- Turn the “brew” button on and wait for the brewing process to complete.
- Discard the used water.
- Put fresh water into the water chamber and begin the brewing cycle anew. It often takes two full brewing cycles to fully wash up the coffee maker. The water that returns to the carafe should be as clear as the water you put into the chamber. This indicates that the coffee maker is all cleaned up.
If you are trying to clean an alternative coffee brewer like an Aeropress or French Press baking soda can be an even better solution. Make sure to see my guides to cleaning an Aeropress here and/or my guide to cleaning a French press here for more detail.
The Better Way to Clean Your Coffee Maker
Personally I would just use vinegar or apple cider vinegar to clean my coffee maker as you can clean the entire machine and carafe at once with one product. If however you are in a bind and don’t have access to vinegar or a proper descaler like CleanCaf then baking soda will at least get the outer areas of your machine (and possibly the water reservoir) clean again.
Have at it – but first you may want to see this post which explains how often you should be cleaning your coffee maker in the first place.
Cleaning your coffee maker regularly will prolong its life. Here are three simple reminders to keep your coffee maker in tiptop shape.
- Always wash removable parts after use. Discard coffee grounds after you brew. Don’t let it sit on the filter for hours because it will be a breeding ground for molds.
- Remove minerals build up every month. These calcium build up affects the speed of coffee drip and it will turn your coffee into a sour drink.
- Make the carafe shine bright as new. You can rinse it with water after usage. But if you want to deep clean it, fill the carafe with hot water, add some mild detergent and a little rice. You can even do the same thing to your travel mugs to clean stains and residue out of them too.
Additional tip: If you don’t want to use vinegar to break up calcium and mineral deposits in the water lines and on the heating element then you can choose any number of natural alternatives including lemon juice.
Lemon juice has a natural cleaning agent that helps manage stains, disinfects, and descales like a dream… or you can just fork over a few bucks and use a dedicated cleaner/descaling product like I do. 🙂