How to Remove Hard Water Residue from Coffee Makers

Hard water residue is very common in coffee makers, and can build up when the maker is used on a daily basis. The only problem is that a regular soap and water cleaning will not get rid of it, so it is important to know how to remove hard water residue from coffee makers.

What is Hard Water?

Hard water is water that has a high mineral contract in comparison to soft water, and the minerals can actually deposit on coffee makers, cups, and other pieces of dinnerware. It primarily consists of Magnesium, Calcium, and various metals, and can vary in how hard it is based on the mineral concentration.

Not only can hard water leave residue in coffee makers and coffee pots, but can cause a whole deal of problems for those with hard water as their main source. Hard water can leave deposits in pipes and cause them to clog, cause shower heads and faucets to work differently, and can even cause one’s hair to become tangled and hard to manage.

Natural Remedies for Hard Water

Java Jenius - Clean Hard Water Residue from Coffee MakerEven though hard water residue may seem impossible to get rid of, there are actually many simple ways to learn how to remove hard water residue from coffee makers. Everyday ingredients such as vinegar and water work great, since the vinegar can work to break up the minerals and get your coffee maker back in great condition.

One part of vinegar should be mixed with two parts water, and it should be added to the coffee maker where the water usually goes. A regular brew cycle should be started, and the vinegar solution will run through the coffee maker and clean out any residue and deposits on the inside. A small amount can also be swished through the pot, to get rid of any mineral rings that have built up over time.

Tablets used for cleaning dentures can also have the same effect as vinegar, since they too are able to break up minerals and clean them off of hard surfaces. Two tablets should be added to an entire pot of coffee, and a regular brew cycle will get rid of the problem.

Baking soda and citric acid also work great, but are less effective than a vinegar solution or a solution made with denture tablets. The brew cycle should be run just like a regular pot of coffee, with a filter in place and the solution loaded to where the water usually goes. After using a natural remedy, regular water cycles should be run through the coffee maker to ensure all of the solution is cleaned out. It should be done about once a month, but more often if your coffee maker is used more than once a day.

Store Bought Solutions

Hard water residue is another term for lime scale, which is what many find on their shower doors or around the drain of their bathtub. Special products are manufactured by large coffee companies to get rid of hard water residue, but they can be pretty expensive and are not very strong.

Almost any product that can tackle lime scale can work on hard water residue, but should be mixed with large amounts of water when using them in your coffee maker. It is important to know how to remove hard water residue from coffee makers when using chemicals and products, since they can be harmful if ingested.

When using store bought solutions, you should only use a few sprays to an entire pot of water. After the solution has run through the coffee maker, you should run at least two to three cycles with only water, and replace the filter with each cycle to make sure your coffee maker gets as clean as possible.


Knowing how to remove hard water residue from coffee makers isn’t hard, since there are many different solutions to get your coffee maker clean. The process should be done about once every month, since hard water residue can actually alter the flavor of your coffee and make it taste bitter. Regular cleaning and maintenance of your coffee maker will ensure a perfect pot of coffee every time, and can even improve the overall performance when it is well taken care of.

9 thoughts on “How to Remove Hard Water Residue from Coffee Makers”

  1. We all know that hard water residue is common in coffee makers. This is really a problem to them. Thanks for sharing some ways on how to clean those residue. Keep posting.

    1. Buy and use only distilled water from the grocery store for 0.78 to 0.99 cents per a gallon of water. You’d have great tasting coffee too. This water is filtered, steamed, and ionized so you have no mineral contracts. You wouldn’t have anymore problems with scale build up and clogging of your expensive Bunn coffee maker. If a whole house heavy duty water filter and a water softener units are affordable, all your appliances would be protected from breaking for a long period of time, especially your water heater. Suggestion, Inquire at Home Depot, Menards, or Lowes home improvements.????

  2. My coffee maker smelled horrifyingly rotten, ROTTEN when I opened the lid. I GAGGED and threw out the coffee and swore I would never use it again! Ugh can I save my Bunn coffee maker???? Oh my gosh it was so discussing!

  3. Bunn is the worst for hardware water issues. Clogging spray head can really be a issue with proper brewing and slow brew time down. Almost have to clean head daily in order for small holes on head to remain clear. Besides the added complexity of cleaning a Bunn with a solution because the Bunn has a tank that keeps water hot. Proper flushing is a must after cleaning or your first pot of coffee tastes like vinegar. I don’t recommend a Bunn quick brew in a area where water hardness is a problem unless you use the optional head Bunn provides which has a one hole head which doesn’t clog so fast. Or you plan to buy bottled water.

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