How To Clean A Bunn Coffee Maker The Right Way

Mike C
Written By Mike C

I've been writing about coffee and espresso machines for 3 years. My goal is to provide you with helpful content that you can trust based on my own personal experiences, information from manufacturers, and tips and tricks I've gathered from other coffee and espresso machine users.

I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

How To Clean A Bunn Coffee Maker The Right Way

How To Clean A Bunn Coffee Maker
Bunn Coffee Maker

Making coffee with your Bunn machine is probably an important part of your morning ritual. Make sure you never have to go a morning without a cup of joe by regularly cleaning your coffee maker to keep it operating at its best. Some parts need to be cleaned daily or weekly, while deeper cleaning for other parts is needed less frequently. Keep reading to learn all you need to know about how to clean a Bunn coffee maker.

Basic Cleaning For A Bunn Coffee Machine

Regular Cleaning For Bunn Speed Brew Models

Wash the glass Bunn coffee pot and brew funnel are every use. Wash by hand with a sponge and mild soap. You can also clean them in the dishwasher, but be sure to separate the carafe lid from the carafe and keep both in the top rack.

Wipe down the outside of the coffee maker weekly with a soft, damp towel. Be sure to wipe the area above the brew funnel. Afterwards, check to make sure you did not accidentally turn on the warmer switch while wiping.

Regular Cleaning For Bunn Thermal Models

With thermal models that have the stainless steel carafe, you need to use a bit more caution while cleaning. Never use an abrasive sponge or other tool to clean the carafe since they will scratch the steel. Use a gentle sponge and mild soap to clean by hand after every use.

Every week you should clean the brew-through valve. To start, grab the edges of the valve and lift up to remove it. Clean it with a gentle sponge and mild detergent. Also clean the passage where the valve is located.

Over time you may notice coffee stains forming inside the thermal carafe. To remove them, you will need some powdered dishwasher detergent. Once you have that, follow these steps:

  1. Put a paper filter in the brew funnel and add two teaspoons of the detergent.
  2. Pour one pot full of water into the coffee maker.
  3. Place the carafe under the funnel and close the lid.
  4. Let the brew cycle begin. When it ends, remove the funnel and throw away the filter.
  5. Rinse the funnel thoroughly clean clean water.
  6. Let the water with detergent sit in the carafe for at least 15 minutes.
  7. When the time has passed, use a soft bristled brush to clean the carafe’s inner and outer rim.
  8. Use a soft cloth, gentle soap and warm water to clean the carafe pour lip and lid.
  9. Pour out the contents of the pot. Rinse the pot and lid well with fresh water.

Descaling / De-Liming A Bunn Coffee Maker

The water used to brew coffee causes mineral limescale buildup inside your Bunn coffee maker. While not toxic, this can impact the machine’s water flow, temperature and performance. It can even affect the taste of your coffee. Descaling, also known as deliming, is the name of the deep cleaning process that removes these minerals to extend the life of your machine. You need to do this deep clean in addition to the basic cleaning described above. You will need to find the Bunn deliming tool that came with your machine or order a replacement in order to complete this.

How Often To Delime A Bunn Coffee Maker?

A good rule of thumb is that a you should descale Bunn coffee makers after 3 months. This is true if you are using filtered water, bottled water or tap water with a low to normal mineral count. Regular deliming will extend the life of your coffee machine.

You should descale your machine more often if your tap has “hard water,” meaning it contains higher level of minerals. This will cause the limescale to buildup inside your machine even faster. If you are not sure about the level of minerals in your water, you can always get a low-cost water testing kit.

If you start to experience any of these issues, you will also want to deep clean your Bunn coffee maker and sprayhead ASAP:

You’ll also want to descale your Bunn coffee maker if you’ve left it unused for an extended period of time and did not empty the water from the internal tank. Limescale likely built up during this time.

Can You Descale A Bunn Coffee Maker With Vinegar?

If you look in your user manual, you will see that Bunn’s descaling instructions use vinegar. If you have some around and you are comfortable with that, go for it. Other manufacturers will advise against using vinegar. White vinegar contains 5-8% acetic acid and apple cider vinegar has 5-6%. This type of acid can wear down metal and cause leaks. Vinegar is also less effective than other cleaners at removing oils left by used coffee beans. Plus, it may leave a lingering taste or odor which may make your drink unpleasant.

Instead, I think the best way to clean your Bunn is with one of the below cleaners. They have safe and effective types of acids and they are odorless too and won’t impact the taste of your coffee.

Bunn Coffee Maker Descaling Solutions

Impresa Descaler

Impresa Descaler - how to clean a bunn coffee maker

The Impresa descaler is a top selling cleaner. It has citric and sulfamic acids. Both of these are gentle on metal. Each pack contains two bottles. Each bottle can be used twice.

Essential Values Descaler & Cleaner

Essential Values Descaler - how to clean a bunn coffee maker

The Essential Values cleaning solution has a citric acid that is both odorless and powerful. Each bottle is good for two uses. A two pack will provide four doses. That’s a year supply if you clean your machine every three months. 

How To Descale Bunn Coffee Makers

Once you have your descaling solution and the Bunn deliming tool, follow these simple steps on how to clean a bunn coffee maker to get rid of limescale buildup.

  1. Slide the brew funnel into the funnel rails. Place the carafe under.
  2. Open the lid, and then:
    • If you are using vinegar, add 32 fl oz of undiluted white vinegar in the coffee maker.
    • If you are using a descaling solution, follow the instructions on the packaging to prepare the solution-water mixture in a container. Then add it to the coffee maker.
  3. Close the lid. The vinegar or solution will begin to dispense into the carafe. When done, empty the pot and clean it with a gentle sponge and mild soap.
  4. Flip the switch on the tank to the OFF position. Unplug the unit. Let it sit for at least two hours in order to give the vinegar or solution time to clean the inside of the machine.
  5. Remove the brew funnel. Unscrew the sprayhead. Use a toothpick to clear any visible deposits. If you there is a lot of buildup, you may want to use the Bunn deliming tool instead a toothpick. Insert it into the sprayhead tube. Pull the tube back and forth five times. Then clean the sprayhead with dish soap and a damp cloth, then rinse.
  6. Now you need to rinse out the vinegar or solution. To do this, fill the carafe with fresh water only. Pour it into the machine. Place the carafe under the funnel. Reinsert the funnel and close the lid. The machine will start rinsing.
  7. When done, discard the contents of the carafe. Rinse it thoroughly.
  8. Repeat step 6 three more times. If you used vinegar, you may need to repeat this more to get rid of any lingering odor.
  9. Remove the funnel. Reattach the sprayhead.
  10. Replace the funnel. Put the carafe under the funnel.
  11. Plug in the unit and flip the tank switch to ON. After 15 minutes, the machine will be ready to use.

How to Clean A Bunn Coffee Maker Sprayhead

The minerals from your water can also build up in your Bunn’s sprayhead and cause blockages if not cleaned regularly. Bunn recommends cleaning the spray head every three months. If you have hard water, you may need to do this as often as twice per month. You’ll need a toothpick, the Bunn deliming tool, soft cloth and dish soap. Then follow these steps on how to clean a Bunn coffee maker sprayhead:

  1. Switch the tank to OFF. Unplug the unit from the wall. If it was recently used, let it cool for two hours.
  2. Remove the funnel. Use your fingers to unscrew the sprayhead.
  3. Insert the deliming tool into the sprayhead tube. Leave about 2 inches of the tool out of the tube. Slide the deliming tool in and out of the tube 5 or 6 times. Twist, turn, and use some force when pushing in the tool. This will remove any mineral buildup from inside the tube.
  4. Reinsert the funnel into the machine.
  5. Pour a carafe full of fresh water into the unit, leaving the lid open when done.
  6. Place the empty carafe under the funnel. Close the lid. Water will start to flow.
  7. Take the sprayhead. Use a toothpick to clear any mineral deposits you can see in the holes.
  8. Clean the sprayhead with a soft, damp cloth and gentle dish soap. Rinse thoroughly.
  9. Discard the water from the carafe and place it back under the funnel.
  10. Remove the brew funnel. Screw the sprayhead back in. Return the funnel to the unit.
  11. Plug in the machine and switch the tank power button to the ON position.
  12. After 15 minutes, the water in the water reservoir will have reached brew temperature. Your machine is ready for use.
How To Clean Bunn Sprayhead

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