How to Clean a Coffee Maker With Citric Acid




Introduction: How to Clean a Coffee Maker With Citric Acid

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If you're the type of person that drinks coffee every morning, chances are your coffee machine could do with a good cleaning! While there are loads of cleaning products made exclusively for cleaning coffee makers, there's a much cheaper solution. The vast majority of commercial cleaning tablets contain citric acid as their main ingredient.

With that in mind, why not cut out the middle man and extra cost and use citric acid instead? Citric acid can be bought in bulk online and used for all sorts of heavy duty cleaning around the house. And best of all, it lasts forever.

Instead of spending $10-15 on a specialty cleaning solution, I was able to purchase a five pound bag of citric acid for $14 on Amazon! Each coffee maker cleaning only requires 2 teaspoons, so I can safely say I won't run out of citric acid anytime soon. :D

P.S. You can also use white vinegar for cleaning and descaling, but I much prefer citric acid when it comes to coffee makers. Vinegar can sometimes leave behind a pretty intense smell if you're not able to rinse every part of the coffee maker super well. Citric acid does not have this issue, and I've never had any left behind to alter the taste of the coffee.

Step 1: Add Citric Acid to the Reservoir

Start with a clean coffee maker - rinse the basket, reservoir and pot before starting to ensure there are no coffee grounds hanging around.

Once that's done, fill the reservoir with 6-8 cups of water and add in 2 teaspoons of citric acid powder.

Step 2: Brew and Clean!

Once the citric acid and water are in the reservoir, turn on your coffee maker and let it go through the brewing cycle as normal.

Once the first brew cycle is finished, remove the basket and coffee pot and dump out any water. Rinse them well under hot water.

Fill the reservoir one more time with clean water and run the brewing cycle a second time to remove any excess citric acid that may be hiding in the coffee machine.

And there you go! Now you've got a clean, scale-free coffee machine and great tasting coffee. Enjoy! :D



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    18 Discussions

    Wow! Works wonders on a kettle and a hot water dispenser. Will try it in the toilet bowl and the bath next. Is there any way to add it to something thicker so that it lingers on the sides long enough to act?

    1 reply

    What if you added the citric acid to a corn starch slurry? I found this article, and if I understood it correctly, it should work as long as you don't add too much citric acid.

    You write:

    "Each coffee maker cleaning only requires 2 teaspoons, so I can safely say I won't run out of citric acid anytime soon. :D"

    Unless you're also using citric acid for bath bombs. Yes, I have some on hand thanks to one of your fizzy recipes. :-)

    BTW, apricot oil and jasmine extract bath fizzies with costume jewelry prizes baked into them were the hit of the Halloween party. I just won't try either flavor in my coffee maker.

    Will lemon or orange juice work?

    Why not try a lemon, just squeeze juice into the machine.

    works on my plunger so should work on your fancy machines.

    Why not? Try regular baking soda first, it is cheaper and works well.

    Just an FYI: while baking soda will work great to remove the old coffee oils, it won’t do anything to the hard water buildup and scale that accumulates in coffee makers over time in places that have hard water. Citric acid dissolves it through acid-base reactions, whereas baking soda is a base so it doesn’t touch it.
    Also, baking soda will leave white powdery residue in some coffee makers that is quite difficult to remove (speaking from experience >_< ). It will also change the taste of your coffee if you don’t get it all out - removes the acidic bite that makes some coffees so good.

    Most water deposits are alkaline (calcium carbonate is a common one), and so is bicarbonate of soda/baking soda. It's not going to work any better than water to dissolve and remove deposits. An acid solution will dissolve the alkaline deposits. Vinegar (acetic acid) works well, but citric acid is what is in most of the manufacturer-supplied solutions, and it doesn't smell like vinegar does.

    This works. It's how I clean my water distiller. Zero scrubbing.

    Hi, I have used Baking Soda (sodium bicarbonate) and it works excellentlty too.

    I add a cup per bag, just pour it over the salt after each bag.

    To do a boost clean add 4-5 cups of citric acid t a gallon of water, then pour this down the tube in the salt tank. Then do a recharge.

    This also will clean out the pipes in the house.

    They have citric acid water softeners now that just require a cartridge change a couple time a year vs the salt now too.

    I have been doing this for years. It works great on calcium and lime scale all over the house and though I have not tested it I have read that it will also remove rust. Which would make citric acid a food safe alternative to CLR. A word of caution: if you use more than a tablespoon or two and you have a septic system, neutralize the acid with diatomaceous earth or sodium bicarbonate (baking soda). If not it can harm the beneficial bacteria in your septic system and use the calcium carbonate in the concrete of your septic tank to neutralize the acid. This is not an immediate issue but it adds up over time.

    1 reply

    I have read in Kodak's publication of photo processing equipment. Citric acid is recommended for removing rust from stainless steel. Another thing it is very good for is removing blood stains from clothes. This I can vouch from my school days adventurers. BTW citric acid is also used in your artificial lemon juice. Like in Lipton's ice tea with lemon.

    I've been buying citric acid in bulk for cleaning everything from my car's cooling system to my water softener. It's a great product and safe to use. The water softener has really improved over time. I add a cup per 40 lbs bag of salt. This is another great use for it.

    1 reply

    Do you add it to salt to prepare the back flushing saline solution to recharge the ion exchange resins? I have a softener that I use for my washing machine and dish washing. It could certainly use a boost !


    9 months ago

    Will do, my Brazen is in serious need of a good cleaning.