Ways To Descale Coffee Maker Featured

5 Ways to Remove Calcium Deposits From Your Coffee Maker (ByeBye to Hard Water Buildup) 

If you’ve owned your coffee maker for a long time now, then chances are, you’ve encountered those annoying white flakes in your machine. 

These are undesirable calcium deposits, infamously known for wreaking havoc on the taste of your coffee beans and potentially depreciating the health value too.

Having owned different coffee machines before even becoming a barista, I have dealt with these calcified culprits in different ways, which I’ll be sharing with you in this guide. With these methods, you’ll not only revive that crisp morning brew flavor but also ensure your coffee maker has a longer appliance lifespan.

Let’s get started.

Recognizing Calcium Deposits in Your Coffee Maker

Keeping your coffee machine clean isn’t just about it looking nice; it is essential for ensuring that your daily cup of coffee has the best taste and quality.

If you’ve noticed white, chalky deposits on the inside of your coffee pot or a decrease in the flavor of your favorite coffee beans, it’s likely due to calcium deposits or limescale.

Limescale Coffee Maker

Identifying calcium buildup isn’t difficult once you know what to look for. These mineral deposits usually appear as a white or yellowish substance on various parts of your machine such as:

  • Coffee pot
  • Water reservoir
  • Filters
  • Heating elements
  • Pipes
  • Valves
  • Everywhere that water passes through

If you’re observing white spots forming where they shouldn’t be within your appliance, don’t worry. It’s probably just pesky calcium getting comfortable where it doesn’t belong and you can flush them out with a few steps.

5 Methods to Remove Mineral Deposits from Your Coffee Maker

I wouldn’t want you to invest in a pricey espresso machine or drip coffee maker and just lose them to damaging elements such as calcium buildup, so here are my five tried-and-tested methods for removing unwanted mineral buildup in your machine:

1. White vinegar

Half Vinegar Half Water Salt Descale Solution

Vinegar is an excellent natural cleaner that helps break down calcium deposits in your coffee pot or machine.

It is one of the easiest and most effective methods is using white vinegar as a descaling solution. It is also very quick to act, you can literally hear the deposits melting away.

  1. Begin by filling the water tank with equal parts vinegar and water.
  2. Run a brewing cycle until halfway through, then turn off the machine.
  3. Let it sit for 20-30 minutes.
  4. Finish the cycle and discard the mixture.
  5. Run multiple cycles with fresh water to rinse out any remaining traces of vinegar.

Warning: Vinegar is acidic, which can degrade rubber seals if you use it too often. This means don’t descale with vinegar every week, just every month or so.

2. Lemon juice

Lemon Coffee Maker Cleaning

Another option involves utilizing lemon juice as an acidic ingredient to dissolve calcium deposits effectively.

This isn’t as effective as vinegar though.

  1. Fill your coffee pot with half a cup of lemon juice followed by warm water until full.
  2. Start a brewing cycle without adding any coffee grounds or coffee filters, allowing the lemon juice-water mix to clean out all those stubborn mineral residues in your machine.
  3. Afterward, thoroughly wash out both the carafe and filter basket.
  4. Run additional cycles with clean water to eliminate any lingering lemon flavor.

3. Baking soda

Baking Soda Box

If you prefer a different approach, baking soda can do wonders for cleaning your coffee maker.

Baking soda needs much more time to break down the hard water buildup, so be patient.

  1. Create a baking soda mixture by combining a quarter cup of baking soda with hot water.
  2. Fill the reservoir with this solution.
  3. Run two full cycles through your machine. This will help break down the calcium deposits and leave you with a clean, deposit-free pot.
  4. Rinse everything well with warm water to ensure no residue is left behind.

4. Hydrogen peroxide

For those who have hydrogen peroxide on hand, it can also be used as an effective cleaner for removing calcium deposits from your coffee maker.

  1. Simply add one cup of hydrogen peroxide to the reservoir and fill the carafe with hot water.
  2. Run as many cycles as needed until all traces of calcium are dissolved.
  3. Once finished, dump out the solution, and rinse everything thoroughly
  4. Run at least 2 additional cycles with fresh water to make sure any remaining peroxide is completely removed.

This is my least favorite method, but it does work. However, you need to be extra careful with handling it, and make sure it is thoroughly rinsed out of your coffee maker.

5. Commercial descaling solutions

Commercial descaling solutions which are specifically designed for removing mineral deposits are also effective for cleansing your machine from that white mineral buildup.

Just follow the instructions on the package of the descaling product such as the Impresa Descaler. Oftentimes, these solutions are easy to use: just mix them with water, run them on your machine, and rinse your coffee maker’s insides by running fresh water within it in multiple cycles.

By regularly using these cleaning methods which I can vouch for through personal experience, you’ll be able to keep your beloved coffee maker in excellent condition while enjoying consistently delicious cups of coffee every day.

You can also check out more alternative cleaning solutions for your coffee machine if you don’t have vinegar.

How to Prevent Calcium Deposits in Your Coffee Maker

Now that you know how to get rid of those annoying deposits, make sure that they don’t return and haunt you again with these tips:

  1. Use Filtered or Softened Water – Hard water contains high levels of minerals like calcium and magnesium, which contribute to those stubborn white deposits. By opting for filtered or softened water, you’re providing a cleaner and purer liquid for brewing.
  2. Clean Regularly – Embrace an ethos of cleanliness. Every month (or maybe more often if required), give your machine a good clean and descaling. Regular cleaning stops residue from building up inside parts we can’t see. Regularly Clean Removable Components like carafes, filter baskets, and reservoirs with warm soapy water to remove any trace of residue buildup before it becomes hard-to-remove deposits.
  3. Avoid Chemicals and Buildup from Household Cleaners – Harsh household cleaners might be effective for harsher dirt in your home but they can spell disaster for your coffee makers. Stick to gentle alternatives like white vinegar, lemon juice, or baking soda when it’s time to clean up. This way you avoid harmful residues from those chemicals.
  4. Follow Proper Cleaning Techniques – To clean your coffee maker effectively and prevent calcium deposits, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and maintenance. This includes using the right amount of cleaning solution (such as a mixture of vinegar and water) and properly rinsing after each cycle.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are answers to some common questions about cleaning calcium residue on coffee makers:

Can I use Borax to clean my coffee maker?

No, it is not recommended to use borax as a cleaner for your coffee maker. While borax has been proven effective at removing certain stains and buildup, it poses potential health risks if not rinsed thoroughly from surfaces.

Is it safe to use CLR (Calcium Lime Rust Remover) to clean my coffee maker?

Although it can effectively remove calcium and other mineral deposits, CLR is a strong chemical cleaner that may leave behind residues if not thoroughly rinsed out. Using CLR in certain types of coffee makers, such as those manufactured by Gevalia, Keurig, or Cuisinart, is also explicitly stated as unsafe.

How many times should I run vinegar through my coffee maker?

It depends on the level of mineral buildup in your machine. Running vinegar through your coffee maker once every few months should be sufficient for routine descaling. However, if you notice excessive scaling or lingering taste issues in your brewed coffee even after running one cycle with a vinegar-water solution, you might need to repeat the process a couple more times until all the mineral deposits are removed.

And make sure to run 2 clean cycles afterwards, or else your coffee will taste like vinegar…


If you’re not wary about what type of water you’re using in your coffee, then you can expect calcium deposits to appear in your brewer. But this shouldn’t be a big issue if you clean your coffee maker regularly and take the necessary steps to prevent them from thriving inside your machine.

With common household items that you probably have in your kitchen right now, these white scales can easily be dealt with. So give my recommended cleaning methods a try and you can enjoy your brew with all of its delicious flavors and health benefits without worrying about limescale.

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