How To Clean A Ninja Coffee Maker With Vinegar (Full Guide!)


For the perfect cup of coffee, keeping your Ninja Coffee Maker clean is key.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on descaling with vinegar, ensuring your brews stay tasty and your machine lasts longer.

How To Clean And Descale A Ninja Coffee Maker With Vinegar?

Here is the short answer:

  • First, prepare by filling the reservoir with a mix of white vinegar and fresh water. For the Ninja Dual Brew, set up according to your frequent use (coffee grounds basket or K-cup holder).
  • Turn on the machine and press the “clean” button followed by the start button. The machine will run a descaling cycle, after which you should rinse the machine by brewing a full carafe of plain water.
  • For the Ninja Coffee Bar, select the full carafe size and press the clean button for a 60-minute cleaning cycle. After the cycle, rinse with plain water. Regular descaling every three months is recommended for optimal performance.

Let’s get into some more detail below!

ninja coffee maker cleaning with vinegar

Things To Know Before Cleaning Your Ninja Coffee Maker

There is a ‘clean’ light on your Ninja coffee maker that indicates when it needs to be descaled. However, you don’t always have to wait for this light to come on. A good rule of thumb is to descale your machine at least every three months, especially if you’re using unfiltered hard water.

You might need to do it more often if, for example, you find that the coffee starts to have a strange taste or when your Ninja coffee is getting a little colder than usual.

How To Clean The Ninja Dual Brew With Vinegar

Descaling your Ninja Dual Brew Is similar to descaling a Coffee Bar. The main difference is that the Dual Brew also has a section for K-cups.

Prepare For The Descaling Process

If you mostly use the coffee grounds basket, put the brew basket in without a filter. If you mostly use K-cups, make sure the capsule holder is empty and positioned in the coffee maker. Whichever you don’t use for descaling, just clean it by hand with mild soap.

First, empty the reservoir. Fill it up to the travel mug mark with vinegar, which is about 16 ounces. From there, continue filling to the full mark using fresh water.

Ensure all components are correctly positioned and seated.

Run The Descaling Cycle

Turn on your coffee maker, make sure the drip stop is open, and turn the knob to a full carafe. Then press the “clean” button, then the start button.

The machine will start the descaling process using the vinegar-water mixture. During this, the machine might start and stop multiple times to run the mixture through.

In case you need to halt the process for any reason, press the “clean” button. If you wish to resume, press the “clean” button again and then the start button.

Run The Rinse Cycle

After descaling, wash the tank and coffee basket with soap in the sink. Clean them well. Then, fill the tank with clean water. Put everything back on the coffee machine.

Select the carafe brew size again and choose a classic brew. Press the start button. This will run the fresh water through the machine, rinsing out any remaining vinegar.

Although one rinse usually does the trick, it might be beneficial to run a second rinse cycle to ensure no traces of vinegar remain in your machine.

How To Clean The Ninja Coffee Bar With Vinegar

Descaling your Ninja Coffee Bar is slightly different than the Dual Brew.

Prepare For The Descaling Process

Empty the reservoir. Pour white vinegar into the reservoir, then fill the rest of it with fresh filtered water up to the max fill line.

Place the empty carafe in the unit and select the full carafe size.

Run The Descaling Cycle

Press the clean button. The clock display will begin counting down the clean cycle time, which takes 60 minutes to complete. There will be pauses during this 1-hour cleaning cycle for maximum cleaning. Do not remove the carafe from the unit during this time.

After one hour, the unit will brew the remaining cleaning mixture into the carafe. The word “End” will appear on the clock display, and the clean light will then turn off.

Run The Rinse Cycle

After the cleaning cycle is finished, clean the carafe, water reservoir, and filter holder. Then, run a full carafe on classic brewed with water only, to remove any residual vinegar or cleaning solution.

If necessary, repeat step 6 to ensure no traces of vinegar remain in your machine.

ninja coffee

My Ninja Coffee Maker Says ‘CLN’

When your Ninja coffee maker displays the ‘CLN’ message on the screen, it means it is in cleaning mode. To remove the message, you can either let it complete the cleaning cycle or press the clean button again to exit the cleaning mode.

Alternatively, you could unplug the coffee maker for 5 minutes to reset it. When you plug it back in, the coffee maker should have exited cleaning mode.

My Ninja Coffee Maker Says ‘Flush’

After descaling your Ninja coffee maker, you will see ‘FLUSH’ displayed on the screen. This message indicates that you need to rinse out the coffee maker.

To fix this, simply fill the water tank to the max fill line with water, select the full carafe setting, and press the classic brew button. Your Ninja coffee maker will then flush out any remaining cleaning solution.

What To Do When The Descaling Light Stays On After Descaling?

If the clean light remains on after you’ve run a cleaning cycle, try running the cycle again to see if the light turns off. If it doesn’t turn off after the second attempt, there might be a more complex issue with the coffee maker.

I wrote a comprehensive guide on what to do if the clean light on your Ninja coffee maker won’t turn off. You can find all the troubleshooting steps in that article.

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

Neglecting to clean your Ninja Coffee Maker can have several negative consequences.

  • Over time, mineral deposits from water can build up, affecting the taste of your coffee, making your brew taste metallic or bitter.
  • Scale buildup can restrict water flow, causing your machine to work harder and possibly brew slower.
  • Prolonged accumulation of minerals and debris can cause wear and tear on the machine’s internal components, leading to potential malfunctions and a reduced lifespan.
  • Leftover water and coffee residue can be a breeding ground for mold and bacteria inside the water reservoir and the coffee maker, which can be harmful if ingested.

For the best-tasting coffee and to ensure the longevity of your machine, regular cleaning, and descaling are essential. Don’t let neglect shorten your coffee maker’s life or compromise your morning brew!


The key to consistently great coffee is a well-maintained machine.

By regularly descaling and cleaning your Ninja Coffee Maker with vinegar, you’ll ensure both the longevity of your appliance and the quality of your brews.

It’s a small investment of time for countless perfect cups ahead.

Thanks for reading!