Ninja Coffee Bar: DEEP CLEANING/Enhanced cleaning [SOLVED]
The Ninja coffee bars are great devices but they do require descaling and sometimes the normal descale clean does not alleviate the clean light coming on. Thankfully, there is a longer deeper cleaning option available! (See below)
Oddly, Ninja seems to make it very hard to find their deep “enhanced cleaning” instructions for the Nina Coffee Bar. I checked their FAQ and support pages with minimal success.
Finally, I found the full instructions! 🙂 Here they are for your reference:
ENHANCED CLEANING STEPS FOR YOUR NINJA COFFEE BAR
Applicable to all CF080Series and CF085Series
Cleaning is recommended before or as soon as the Clean button illuminates. Cleaning your Ninja Coffee Bar™ is recommended to keep your brewer brewing hot, rich, and smooth coffee. The Clean button will illuminate when your Ninja Coffee Bar™ senses there is a calcium build up on your machine, which could be affecting the flavor of your coffee. To clean your machine and keep the same great taste of Ninja® coffee, follow the directions below:
- Select the carafe size and set the carafe in place beneath the brew basket.
- Use a descaling solution or powder and follow the directions on the package and fill up to, but not exceeding the Max Fill line (43 oz.)
- Press the Clean Button to activate the clean cycle; after one minute press again the Clean Button to manually pause the clean cycle.
- Let the cleaning solution rest for 30 minutes in your brewer. Note: This will allow cleaning solution to break up any calcium buildup.
- After 30 minutes, Press the Clean Button to activate the clean cycle; after one minute press again the Clean Button to manually pause the clean cycle.
- Let the cleaning solution rest for another 30 minutes in your brewer. Note: This will allow cleaning solution to break up any calcium buildup
- Press the Clean Button once more to resume and complete cleaning cycle. Note: A full clean cycle will take approximately 65 minutes.
- Fill the water reservoir with fresh water up to, but not exceeding the carafe line (43 oz. Max Fill line). Run 2 or 3 clean cycles with fresh water to rinse using clean button to execute rinsing. Discard the water in the carafe after each cycle. Please take special care to thoroughly clean the carafe and water reservoir to remove any cleaning solution that could affect the flavor of your coffee
I hope these steps are helpful to you and that they keep your Ninja coffee bar in tip-top shape 🙂 -J.D.
Thanks for the information
Thank you for your comment Ziaul. I am very glad the Ninja cleaning info was helpful 🙂
Have a great week!
Thanks for this info. I followed the procedure, 2 days later the light came back on. When I called Ninja I was told that they are aware of a problem with the sensor and are no longer replacing machines with this issue. I was told to just clean it on a regular basis and it should be fine. I will never buy anything else from Ninja.
Thank you for the update from Ninja.
I am sorry to hear they Ninja not have a better answer for you, but at least they are admitting that the sensor is defective!
Same here.. I was told same and I haven’t had the machine 6months.. So now I have a machine I can’t set a clock on or set a brew time.. Complete waste of money.
Thank you for sharing your experience. I am sorry to hear that you had the same experience 🙁
It would be nice if Ninja would offer a free replacement for all their customers impacted by these issues.
The newer machines (cf091 and above) will automatically do that procedure when you press the clean button. It will automatically run the 60 minute cleaning cycle and then the display with change to “flush” and will run an 8 minute flush cycle.
BUT… That is not the problem… This is a message I left on the Ninja FB page today.
I got the Ninja Coffee Bar (CF091) in late Feb and was amazed at the machine. The “Clean” light came on in late march and I ran the clean cycle using white vinegar as per instructions and the light went out. About 2 or 3 weeks later it came back on so I did a clean again. Then within a week the light again came on. I cleaned it a 3rd time and it came back on in about 2 or 3 days.
I called your company and they had me run the clean cycle again and it came back on the next day. I called again and they told me that there was a problem with the machine so they sent me another one to replace mine in May.
I started using that one and after about a month the light came on again. I cleaned it using white vinegar and again the light went off. About a month later it came on again so I cleaned it again. Three weeks later it came on again so I decided to try the Brew Rite Coffee Pot Cleaner. The light went off and came back on in a few days. I called again on Thursday, Aug 10th and was told that I needed to clean again and this time to run it through 2 additional flushes to make sure the sensor was clean.
Well I did it that evening and the light went off. I made coffee on Friday morning and then again this morning. The light came back on after brewing the coffee.
I just called and this time I was told that the sensor was probably bad and the light will stay on, so I need to learn to live with it!!!
Since I got the Ninja I only use water that has been softened (much less minerals than normal water) and also filtered with a Brita filter. There should be minimal mineral deposits in the machine with the type water I have SO I just don’t understand why the sensor (on a machine that’s only 3 months old) could be bad. And then to be told that I just need to “Live With It” really upsets me.
This is my first complaint but there will be many more on Amazon, Bed, Bath and Beyond and other sites that sell this machine. People need to know how Ninja stands behind the machines and what to expect if you have a problem.
Unbelievably horrible customer service and people need to know before they by this machine.
Thank you for sharing your Ninja experience. I appreciate the detailed info and I am very sorry to hear about your poor customer service experience with Ninja 🙁
I have the same problem – i am now on Ninja coffe bar #3 – and it will be my LAST. Mine was purchased in January of 2018, by March (after cleaning several times before) the clean light kept going on after i cleaned and flushed several times. I give up – this coffee machine is one expensive piece of crap! Onward and upward to something better!
Thank you for sharing your past experiences, Sue. I hope that since then you found a coffee machine that is perfect for you. 🙂
I have the same exact problem! Every detail you wrote is exactly my experience with Ninja. I am baffled.
Thank you for your comment. I am sorry to hear that you are having the same issue that Tim had 🙁
I hope your coffee maker is working well for you in other respects and that you have a good week 🙂
THANK YOU!!!! These instructions worked! Why-oh-why doesn’t Ninja include them WITH the coffee bar?!? One single, stinkin’ page. Even a note as to where to find the instructions online would have been helpful. None of the other instructions I found online worked. Yours did. Finally!
Thank you for your kind comment. I am very glad these steps worked for you!
Have a great day and enjoy you Ninja coffee bar 🙂
Add me to the list of people for whom the clean light will not go off. I only use filtered bottled water in my machine, so there should not be mineral buildup. It seems that it’s setup to sell lots of the descaling solution.
I am sorry to hear you are having the same problem.
Thank you for sharing your experience with the Ninja coffee bar.
Hi ninja people I love your coffe bar .unfortunately after the clean light stays on for a month it just stops working at all.i have bought 4 coffe bars in 6 months average bar lasts 6 weeks. I have tried every cleaner and every 3 days the light is back on.Great idea great coffe.Customer service sucks and why not just solve the problem.
Thank you for sharing your experience. I am very sorry to hear that you have been having trouble with Ninja coffee makers 🙁
If you want to try an alternative brand, I recommend the Moccamaster with a permanent filter. They seem to not have the reliability issues that are plaguing the Ninja Coffee Bars.
I can attest to Tim’s August 2017 post above. I am on my second machine through Ninja since buying new in October 2016. In both machines, I can go about 4 to 5 months without seeing the Clean light. I marked on my calendar to do monthly vinegar cleans and these did well until that light comes on. Ninja states you should clean every 100 cycles, so I was ahead of the curve. The light then will go away for a day or two and I’m again chasing the light for months. As Tim said as well, this second machine is a newer model and does the 60 minute clean cycle and is sort of an automatic version of your description. Yet the light still returns. In March of this year I contacted Ninja out of frustration with my light chasing, they had me clean and contact again. The light returned in 3 days and I reached out as instructed. This time I was told, “If you are still able to brew no need to worry about clean light.” Their concern is if you get the Clean Light and can not brew. If they light just keeps returning, I’m told to ignore. I’ve used Vinegar. I’ve used Descal. It never changes.
Thank you for your detailed account! I am very sorry to hear that you had the same issues as Tim 🙁
It sounds like Ninja’s eventual response to these issues is to just ignore the light.
I hope your week is going well in all other ways, and thank you again for taking the time to comment 🙂
My clean light came on so I cleaned it per instructions, light came on again. Cleaned it again. Now it won’t run cleaner or water or anything through it, just keeps flashing flush. Not impressed, and I used to love Ninja products…
Bummer that you are having the same clean light issue 🙁 Hopefully your Ninja Coffee Bar is still working in all other respects?
I think most people have just given up on the cleaning at this point and they use it “as is” with filtered water.
Have a great day and thank you for taking the time to comment 🙂
I am quite satisfied with my Ninja Coffee Bar but must comment on the cleaning cycle. Ninja’s contention that the machine needs cleaning because of scale buildup is nonsense! I only use reverse osmosis filtered water, which is essentially distilled water with NO impurities. I am positive that the coffee bar does NOT have a scale sensor (way too expensive) but just turns the cleaning light on after so many cycles of brewing. If you use filtered, bottled or reverse osmosis water, just run the cleaning cycle with your water (without vinegar or descaling agent) just to get the warning light turned off.
Thank you for your comment. I agree with you, for everyone that uses filtered water… it seems that Ninja just has a bad (or nonexistent) sensor.
Thanks again and have a GREAT week!
Wouldn’t it be a whole lot simpler to just hold in the clean button for five seconds to run the built-in clean cycle, as explained in the owners manual?
Thank you for your comment.
I think most people do that first. The issue is that it does not resolve the issue (i.e. the clean message/light never goes off) for a lot of people .
This a terrible machine. The clraning messages will not go away. No matter how many times I clran it . I even went out and got some special cleaning powder ( extra expense) Viniger Worked fine on any other Coffee Mashine.
Thank you for your comment. I am sorry to hear about the problems with your Ninja Coffee Bar 🙁
I have also tried extensive cleaning, and eventually just decided to use it while ignoring the cleaning message.
I always use filtered water and I think it is just a bad sensor?
Anyway, I hope everything works our for you one way or another!
I bought a Ninja and first thought was, “What a flimsy machine for the price they charge!”. From the first pot it only fills the carafe about 2/3 while leaving water in reservoir. I cleaned the machine and it still says “clean”. What a scam selling cheap quality material coffee machines that don’t work properly. A coffee machine for half the price works much better. This one is going in the trash. I’ll never purchase Ninja again.
I am sorry to hear about the issues you experience 🙁
I do wish Ninja had made their machine more rugged and with a cleaning light that worked properly. However, in my opinion, there ARE a couple really nice aspects of the machine:
#1 permanent filter (i.e. filter that works well and does not need to be replaced, saves on cost and waste)
#2 ability to specify brew type (regular, specialty, etc. which I use regularly to make lattes and other drinks)
With that being said, I am sorry that Ninja has not met your expectations and I hope you find a perfect coffee maker!
I found the permanent filter did not reduce waste that much as I was using a lot of water to clean it. Yeah, I wasn’t using paper filters, but cleaning it wasn’t exactly convenient.
Thank you for your comment! I usually dump the used grounds into a small tub that I keep in the sink, then when the tub is full I empty the grounds into the garden as compost. For removing remaining residue off the filter, you are correct that some water is used. However, I did not find it to be excessive. Also if you have a greywater drain for irrigation then that is a great use of such water.
Have a GREAT day Amanda and thank you for sharing your thoughts 🙂
I loved my Ninja Coffee Bar at first. Then the clean light came on—and forever after, it came on every 2-3 days, and it would not brew while that light was on. It was a very expensive paperweight.
I have a very basic Keurig now. It has its own water filter, I use reusable pods, and it works like a charm.
Thank you for your comment. I am glad you found something that works reliably for you!
PS if you still have your Ninja and you want to try a tip to fix it, check out Matt’s Ninja fix listed above 🙂
Hi….SAME HERE ….. SOOOOO UPSET cln light will not go off ….ONLY used bottled water in this thing…… only now dripping but does fill my cup…..I researched this coffee for a good week against a whole lot of other ones……Hate it Hate it…. family members won’t use it cause they think it is dirty…..AND this was a moving to Florida gift for me…Really is it that hard to make a reliable coffee maker…AND it wasn’t CHEAP
Thank you for sharing your experience. I hope you can find a better coffee maker in the future!
I have had my ninja coffee bar since January 2017 (or close to there anyway, maybe I got it in February or March of ’17).
Anyways, I’ve been having the same issues with the cleaning light coming on very frequently. I live in Wisconsin and there’s no water softener in my apartment building so I’m putting some pretty hard water in this machine, making frequent cleanings a necessity. However, when the cleaning light comes on a mere 2 days after I run a cleaning cycle per the machine’s instructions, I knew I had to do something different.
I use a cleaner/de-scaler for drip coffee machines that I find in the local grocery store. What I did for my Ninja was I put the cleaning solution in at full strength (undiluted) for the first portion of the cleaning cycle – making sure it was pure cleaning solution that was ran through the machine and was sitting in there dissolving minerals for 30 minutes. I would then add enough fresh water to complete the cycle. When the first 30 minutes was up and the machine ran more solution through, I couldn’t believe the amount of minerals that came out of the machine, even though I just “cleaned” it two days prior per the machine’s instructions.
More mineral deposits came out when the cycle completed. I ran the flush cycle and then an additional brew cycle with fresh water. The cleaning light turned off and stayed off for around a month.
I follow this procedure on or around the 1st of every month whether the cleaning light comes on or not. And since I’ve been doing this, I’ve only seen the cleaning light 3 times. The only issue with taking this rather drastic cleaning method is that it can take several rinse cycles to make sure all the cleaning solution has been washed away.
I hope this information helps other Ninja owners once again enjoy great tasting coffee!
Thank you for the great Ninja cleaning tips! I am very glad you found a solution that worked so well for you 🙂
Enjoy your delicious coffee and have a GREAT day!
Thank you, Amanda! I bought my Ninja in March of last year. Then the clean light became constant late last summer, despite regular cleaning. It allowed me to make coffee, so I just ignored the light. In October or so, the dreaded ‘5 beeps’ began, and no coffee unless I was standing over it constantly pressing the button. Somehow (I found so many different ideas online that I don’t remember exactly what worked – and maybe whatever it was might just have been a fluke!), I managed to get it to actually make a pot while I was out of the room! It continued to work until just after Christmas, and then it went back to needing my full attention again. I tried every trick I could find… nothing worked. Can’t tell you how many times it escaped being launched into the back yard…
Yesterday, I found this site and Amanda’s solution in the comments. Hallelujah, it worked! I didn’t see much in the way of scale or debris, but I think the way this is designed that it doesn’t take much to block it – just tiny pieces of scale in the wrong place gums up the works. Thanks again, Amanda!
I second Amanda’s approach, and I can say that white vinegar is just not strong enough in many cases. I blasted 50% white vinegar through my machine repeatedly, but the Clean light refused to go off. I used CLR, but a dedicated descaler solution or espresso cleaner would probably be preferable. As Amanda noted, there’s a lot more mineralization in these Coffee Bar machines that vinegar doesn’t seem to budge.
Thank you for sharing your Ninja experience. I am glad you were able to eventually get your Ninja coffee maker working properly!
I’m going to just cover the light up with a small piece of black tape. But has anyone else had an issue with coffee not being hot enough? I do put cold milk into cup with sugar and let the coffee pour over that and I also put very cold water into reservoir is that why my coffee isn’t hot.. although when it was newer it was hot even though I did the same thing?
Thank you for your comment. I generally find the coffee to be hot enough, but I generally wait at least 3-4 minutes before doing a specialty brew (even though the machine will run it earlier). Have you tried letting the machine “warm up” for a few extra minutes? This seems to let the water heat up enough.
That is my experience, though I could be mistaken as I often heat my (specialty brew) coffee back up in the microwave after I add milk.
PS one other tip for extra warmth is to pre-heat your ceramic coffee cup in the microwave for 10-20 seconds before putting the coffee in. A cold coffee cup can really sap the heat from a liquid 🙁 Whereas a warm coffee cup can keep the heat longer 🙂
****POSSIBLE SOLUTION TO HELP THE LIGHT ISSUE****
****LIKE TO SEE A FEW OTHER PEOPLE GIVE THIS A TRY AND REPORT BACK****
**** YOU NEED TO HAVE AN AIR COMPRESSOR, A SMALL ONE IS JUST FINE .. DON’T NEED MUCH PRESSURE AT ALL***
For all those of you with the Clean Light Issue… I can’t guarantee this will help, but I tried this and so far, it’s been about a week+ and I haven’t had a problem yet. Prior to that, I was having major CLEAN light issues, I could not get it to turn off to save my life, Long Clean Cycles, Short ones, Start them, Stop them, Restart Them…same results, Light would still be on. Then it started to reallly act up. I couldnt get the clock to display sometimes, and then when it would finish a Clean cycle, it would just keep beeping and beeping and beeping. I’d have to unplug it. So here’s what I’ve tried, maybe it will help maybe it won’t little to soon to tell yet.
First, just use Vinegar to clean it, Def no CLR, and even the special cleaning tabs and solutions don’t seem to work much better. So, when I clean it, I’ll fill up the reservoir with I’d say 3/4 of Vinegar, then top off with water to the MAX FILL CLEAN LINE. Press the Clean button. Let it start and run for about a 1 min. then press the clean button again (puts it on pause), let it sit for 30 mins to an hour, the do the same thing again, press the clean button, runs for about a minute. then press the clean button again to pause. Wait for about 30 mins to an hour. Now hit the clean button and let the cycle finish. Now it should be showing FLSH (must be done within 15 mins after the CLN completes – if you miss it, then you have to re-rerun the clean cycle again). If you do, you just press CLN and let it run to completion. You must catch the FLSH within that 15 min window remember ! For Flush, remove the water tank and fill it all the way up to the top to the MAX fill line (not the MAX CLEAN LINE), all the way up to the top. Leave the Selector (coffee size) alone. With the tank back on, the the pot back in place, just press and release the Clean Button and the Flush Cycle will run until it finishes.
In a perfect world, when that finishes the CLEAN LIGHT Should be off. Now here’s something that I’ve just tried, and like I said so far so good, but well see. I don’t promise you won’t do something bad to the Ninja by accident, so proceed with caution. During the repeated clean and flush, the the light would stay on, so during the middle of one of the CLN cycles, I would basically stop the process and unplug the Ninja. Remove every thing that’s removable. Take the coffee bar outside, or in the garage. HOT WATER… SO BE CAREFUL. I’ve done either or and a combination (I mean sometimes, I’ll dump the water in the unit first then blow pressure trough the intake nozzle for the water tank). So, basically what I do is to hold the coffee maker, with a firm grip on it, tip it on its side, slowly (HOT WAS COMES OUT OF THE WATER HEAD ABOVE THE COFFEE FILTER BASKET) of tip it on it’s side, now with a finger, push down on the spring-held “stopper” or seal where the middle of the water tanks sits down in and feeds the water in. Now, when you push down on that, it’s gong to open the system and start to tip the coffee marker farther upside down, you see the water start to rush out from the where it brews out off into the grounds. HOT WATER .. Be Careful. So now twist and shake while holding the stopper in, and get all that water shaken out. Now, with the air compressor and a nozzle, set the coffee make down, and push the stopper down, and put the tip of the AC nozzle down in that stopper and squeeze the AC trigger. I don’t know how big your Compressor is, but I would error on the side of caution here. Don’t use full blast of air on this step, coul maybe damage something. I turned my AC down quite a ways and give repeat shots of air . Do that a good number of times… then if you’d want repeat that cycle, just run again, part of a clean cycle (if the light doesn’t want to go off), and stop it and empty and air compressor blow the stopper being pushed down. That’s it. Hopefully you’ve ended at a spot where the CLN light is off. so Put it back together…and brew, guys and gals… .! Brew away !
Hope this works for others… Let me know please !
Thank you for the detailed instructions and the cool air compressor tip!
My wife and I recently cleaned our water faucet filters using a similar method (air compressor to remove some fine mineral residue) so I am very curious to try this on the Ninja.
Have a very merry Christmas and a happy new year!
Can CLR be used on the Ninja coffee machine? I live in Calgary and we have hard water and I also have the clean light come on frequently.
Great questions! The CLR brands FAQ says not to use CLR in espresso machines, therefore, I would be hesitant to use it on your Ninja.