How to Clean a Ninja Coffee Maker: Quickly and Completely

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Is your Ninja Coffee maker flashing a green ‘Clean’ light in your face? Ninja coffee bars do a great job of telling you when to clean them. Unfortunately, though, they don’t really tell you how. And sometimes that light just won’t go away!

In this guide, I’ll show you how to clean a Ninja coffee maker, including the interior of the machine, the casing, and the milk frother.

Why You Should Descale Your Coffee Maker

Descaling is the most important part of coffee maker cleaning, and it’s also the part that a lot of us ignore.

Hard water leaves mineral deposits like calcium all over the inside of your coffee machine. Even with filtered or bottled water, calcium, limescale, germs, and other bacteria can infiltrate your Ninja. Those deposits can harm your machine, ruin the flavor of your coffee, and even cause health problems. 

That’s why descaling your Ninja Coffee Bar is important. Thus using the Ninja coffee maker clean cycle, we can remove these calcium deposits, bacteria, and germs from our coffee maker. The process is relatively straightforward, and there are a few methods to do it.

Cleaning Ninja Coffee Maker With Vinegar

Most of the time, you can get rid of the Ninja clean light by cleaning your machine with white vinegar and water. You’ll want to get this done soon, as the machine will stop functioning three days after the clean light comes on. That’s Ninja’s way of making sure you properly maintain your Ninja coffee bar to avoid health issues or a broken machine.

To clean your Ninja brewer using vinegar, just follow these simple steps.

  1. Remove any remaining coffee/grounds from the carafe (coffee pot) and filter basket.
  2. Fill the water reservoir halfway with a 50/50 mixture of white vinegar and filtered water.
  3. Hit the clean button.
  4. Once the clean cycle is done, wash the reservoir, carafe, and brew basket with warm soapy water then rinse them thoroughly.
  5. Fill the reservoir with clean water (no vinegar this time). Press the clean button again. Do this 2 – 3 more times to ensure no vinegar residue or smell could give you future coffee drinks a bad taste. 

Descaling Ninja Coffee Bar Using Descaling Solution

Depending on how frequently you clean your machine and how hard your water is, vinegar might not be enough. Descaling solution is more expensive, but it does a much better job of eliminating mineral buildup from your coffee maker.

You can use a descaling solution with almost exactly the same steps I laid out above for vinegar. The only difference is that instead of a 50/50 mixture, you should follow the dilution specifications on your descaling liquid container. Usually, they’ll have you pour in the entire bottle and fill the remainder of the reservoir with water.

There are other ways to clean your coffee maker without vinegar, but a descaling solution is by far the best option. I suggest using vinegar for regular cleaning and keeping a descaling solution around to use every 1–3 months, depending on the hardness of your water.

Cleaning the Exterior of Your Ninja Coffee Maker

The outside of your Ninja coffee maker needs cleaning just as much as your interior. So don’t forget to wipe down the outside of the machine along with the measuring spoons and the heating pad underneath the carafe. You’d be surprised how dirty that can get, affecting the overall operation of your machine.

How to Clean the Milk Frother

Some machines come with milk frothers. These should be cleaned after each use to avoid bacteria buildup.

To clean your frother, simply fill a cup or glass halfway with warm water. Put it under the milk frother, turn the frother on, and let it run for about 20 to 30 seconds. This will clear the frother of any remaining milk residue. Those few seconds will save you a lot of sick days and sour-tasting lattes down the road.

What is the Flush Cycle?

Some models contain the Flush cycle.

The Flush cycle is an additional cycle that is prompted after the official cleaning process is done. A light will come on next to the clock display, showing the word Flush. When you see that light, follow these steps.

  1. Dump the liquid that is in the carafe or cup out. Rinse it off. Clean under the spout, too, where the coffee comes out.
  2. Add water into the reservoir until you hit the max line, then press the ‘CLEAN’ button again. (Do this right away, as you have a 15-minutes before the entire process times out.)
  3. The machine will then go into its 8-minute flush cycle. Once the lights shut off, the process is complete. 
  4. After this run, the clean cycle again. Fill the reservoir with water and do another flush cycle for a thorough cleaning.
  5. Lastly, take out your filter using warm soapy water and wash and rinse it. Do this with your Ninja carafe and water reservoir, too. Dry them and and return them to the brewer. 

That’s it; now you’re ready to make some awesome Ninja-grade coffee!

(Again, if your machine doesn’t have a flush cycle process, simply run the cleaning cycle like stated above at least twice to flush any remaining cleaner out of the tubes.)

What’s Next?

Even the best Ninja coffee bars require a bit of maintenance now and then. That’s true of any coffee maker, whether you get a Ninja or a Nespresso. In fact, these machines are pretty easy to care for compared to an espresso machine.

With your Ninja back up and running, it’s time to make some Ninja espresso or a cup of cold brew. And if you’re still having troubles with bitter coffee or your Ninja just won’t come back online, it might be time to upgrade your older Ninja coffee bar to a Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker.

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