Coffee Facts

How to Clean A Stainless Steel Coffee Percolator Easily

Many coffee drinkers may not know how to clean a stainless steel coffee percolator. You might have one and not even know it! Well, we are here to help with that problem. In this blog post, we will discuss some of the methods and give you the best cleaning tips. More importantly, we will give you recommended method to clean a stainless steel coffee percolator.

The easiest way to clean your stainless steel coffee percolator is with water and baking soda. Just fill the pot up, add one tablespoon of baking soda, let it sit overnight (but at least 6 hours), then rinse thoroughly in fresh hot water before using or re-scraping off any leftover residue from the last time you made a cup of joe!

It’s always a good idea to clean your coffee pot after each use. Stainless steel percolators are great because they don’t absorb smells as other materials do, so cleaning them is easy! Once you have a clean percolator, the next thing to do is grind some coffee beans, add kettle water to the grounds and percolate to produce a good tasting morning cup of coffee.

Let’s dive right into it.

Recommended Method To Clean Your Stainless Steel Coffee Percolators: 6 Simple Steps

The best and most simple appliances are also some of the most difficult to take care of if you don’t know what parts to clean. The coffee carafe will be what sticks out as it has the most surface area in plain view. The big thing to look for is staining left by coffee or the build-up produced when the coffee is brewed.

Step 1. Get All Your Supplies Together Before Cleaning

With the wide variety of cleaning tools available, it’s easy to find something that will work for your coffee percolator. Size is important here as you’ll need a tool small enough to fit in those nooks and crannies where liquid can get trapped after spills. You will also need some coffee pot cleaner so bacteria doesn’t build up on surfaces like plastics or metals.

Here are the supplies you will need to clean a stainless steel coffee percolator:

  • Water – Water is an integral part of the cleaning process. Use tap water that is clean and free of any particulates or debris. Dirty water will ruin your work and force you to start over. For percolators, cold water is fine, although some recommend using warm water.
  • Brush – Use a toothbrush or small soft bristle brush on the percolator’s body. Using stiff bristles could scratch the casing or the inside while cleaning. Scratches in the coffee pot could house dangerous bacteria that will taint the coffee and may cause you to fall sick. Using steel wool pads may seem to be a good idea, but it is really not.
  • White Vinegar – White vinegar is one of the strongest and most used cleaning products on the market. It is an acid that is powerful and can break up grease and dirt deposits with ease. Another big plus of using white vinegar is that it is strong enough to kill bacteria that may cling to the stainless steel coffee pot.
  • Baking Soda – Combined with water, baking soda makes a concoction that removes some of the toughest coffee stains and build-up your coffee pot has ever seen.
  • Bowls – Having a few bowls to store all your ingredients before and after mixing is a great idea. With bowls, you have a better chance of keeping the area clean and saving yourself a headache during clean-up after the job. 

Useful Tips: Work in an area that is well lit and has all access to all the water you could need. Having a water source allows you to make several passes at cleaning, which could be necessary if you have an older percolator or one that makes a high volume of coffee.

Step 2. Fill Up the Pot with Water

After removing the coffee grounds, the first step in the cleaning process is to fill the coffee pot up with cold water. Some pots have a fill line, and you should come up just short of the line so that the vinegar solution or baking soda will not overflow.

Spills are bad with coffee makers as the water will be extremely hot. Keep away from the pot if there is a spill and back off until you feel like the water is safe to touch. If you like to play it safe, you should give a good four to five minutes to let it cool before you jump back in.

Step 3. Use Baking Soda to Act as an Astringent

Baking soda is an excellent stainless steel pot cleaner that people don’t often consider. Once the water starts boiling around on the inside of the coffee pot, the soda will bounce around off the particles and act like a sandblaster on the tiny bits of the machine. The most stubborn of coffee stains will bow down before the power of baking soda.

baking soda in a wooden bowl, how to clean a stainless steel coffee percolator

Once you have filled the percolator with the mixture, turn it on and let it percolate. The boiling water combined with the astringent will create the perfect environment for cleansing the insides with a brush in the next step. While the machine cycles, don’t touch it or disturb the boiling process, or you could be in for a longer wait time.

It would be best to let the pot cool down thoroughly before moving onto the next step. The mixture on the inside will be scalding hot and may severely burn the skin if spilled. Give the percolator several minutes to cool, and when the outside of the coffee pot is cool to the touch, you can continue with the next step of the process.

Step 4. Brush the Inside of the Percolator

Using a soft-bristled brush, clean the inside of the coffee pot with even strokes to rid of the coffee stain. Using a stiff brush creates grooves that could be home to bacteria. Some percolators could have a couple of layers, so you should ensure that all layers are clean and their connections are solid. If there are bad connections or cracks in the layers, steam could escape early and ruin the process. 

Take the time and go over the percolator as many times as possible. It may get tedious but be diligent with your work to ensure that the device lasts for several years of service. Taking care of the percolator properly helps in making consistent and good-tasting coffee. For the enthusiast, the taste is everything, and cleaning brings flavor to the forefront. 

Dump out the contents of the coffee pot and make sure that there are no remnants of baking soda on the inside. Take a rag and wipe around the bottom of the lid. Lids on percolators are often a source of tremendous pressure, and keeping astringents off of their connection to the coffee carafe is essential to longevity.

Step 5. Clean the Percolator with White Vinegar and Water

It would be best to fill the coffee percolator with white vinegar and water for the next cycle. Vinegar works great on corners and grooves and will make the coffee maker smell brand new on the inside. When water is added to the vinegar, it becomes a great coffee pot cleaner to get rid of mineral deposits and coffee residue.

a bottle of white vinegar with a brush and sponge at the background, how to clean a stainless steel coffee percolator

Some say to let the percolator sit overnight after running a cycle with vinegar and water. This allows the mixture time to work on the coffee stains. If the smell of vinegar is too overpowering after the initial cycle, repeat the step with an extra water cycle. 

Step 6. Final Run with Water

For the last cycle, all you need to do is run a percolating cycle with water. This last cycle works to remove any odors from the cleaning and primes it to make great tasting coffee. Remember to let the water cool down before dumping it out.

Useful tips: Simple washing and wiping down the percolator after each use will save some time and effort when you decide to give your beloved coffee maker a good clean.

Different Ways to Clean Stainless Steel Coffee Percolators

There are many different ways to clean your coffee maker, but the baking soda and vinegar method is popular because it’s available in most homes. If you don’t have those two ingredients handy at home or they’re not working for you, then there may be a few things from around your house that could work just as well!

Some other things to try when cleaning your stainless steel coffee percolator are:

  • Hydrogen Peroxide – Like vinegar, hydrogen peroxide is an additive in some household cleaners. Instead of running several cycles, all you have to do is let the mixture soak for a few hours and rinse out once you are finished.
  • Dishwasher Detergent – Using dishwasher soap or dish detergent is another great idea for cleaning a percolator. The grains and water scrubbed with a brush will scour the machine’s insides and give it an excellent cleaning.
  • Table Salt and Vinegar – Having something that will work like sandpaper on the inside of the machine is often needed. If you haven’t had time to clean the machine, go with salt and vinegar as the duo makes a strong cleaner that eradicates the brown stains.
  • Denture Cleaning Balls or Tablets – The denture balls or tablets that fizz from the old commercials are extraordinarily good at cleaning stainless steel coffee pots. They are made of diluted sodium hypochlorite and baking soda, and several other cleaners. Plop them in, add some water, and you are ready to get rid of those stubborn coffee stains.

Regular Service Improves the Life of Your Stainless Steel Coffee Pot

One of the most important things to remember is that your percolator needs a regular servicing schedule. Take some time each month and ensure everything’s functioning correctly, from its electrical connection to any loose or missing tongs on the plug!

New coffee maker and cup of fresh drink on wall background, how to clean a stainless steel coffee percolator

The best ways to service the stainless steel percolator are:

  • Check the Basket – Inside the carafe should be a basket containing all the coffee grounds and bags. It is usually covered with a filter and looks like something that would come with a deep-fat fryer. Use a small brush to fit in between the slots in the basket to sweep away any corrosion.
  • Inspect the Plug – The cord for the machine should have a standard plug that fits snugly into your outlets. If there is any wiggle in the connection between the stainless steel coffee pot and cord, you should tighten it with a screwdriver.
  • Browse over the Joints – The places where the machine connects to plastic or other pieces of metal need to be looked over. The thinnest parts, the machine’s connections, wear much faster than the rest of the bits and going over them with a brush and a cleaner is recommended.

While most people don’t think that a coffee maker needs regular service, taking the time to make sure it works will improve the taste of the coffee and extend the percolator’s life. If you have sunk money into a nice percolator protecting your investment is a no-brainer.

How Do You Clean an Aluminum Coffee Percolator?

Cleaning your aluminum percolator is pretty much like cleaning your stainless steel coffee pot. It would help if you had the same tools and a different chemical that won’t leave any scuffing or scratches on the percolator. Aluminum is not as rugged as stainless, and the outer portions of the device could suffer from using an astringent.

The most significant difference between the two is that you use a mixture of baking soda and cream of tartar. The cream of tartar is a by-product made from fermenting grapes and can be found in the local supermarket. The mixture of the two isn’t as rough as the baking soda and white vinegar, but it works excellent and is easy to make.

Fill the Aluminum Percolator Coffee Pot with the Mixture

The first thing to do is fill the coffee carafe with water and the soda/tartar. Ensure that you swirl the water around first to prevent any clumping. If it clumps, the machine could have large gunk deposits entrenched among the inside and require more cleaning to make it work the right way. You can also use a long spoon or ladle to prevent clumping.

It is best to stay away from overflowing the coffee pot. If there’s an overflow when the boiling starts, it will flood over the lid and begin to spill out onto the kitchen top. If this happens, remove the plug from the wall and back away until the water is warm to the touch.

Set the Aluminum Coffee Percolator to Boil

Let the aluminum coffee pot work its way through an entire boiling cycle. The boil’s cleaning action works to loosen debris and sludge that could house in the coffee pot. Another thing that helps the process along is the heat. Heat takes solids and breaks the chemicals down until they change to different forms like liquid. This helps in removing the stains.

Use a Wash Rag to Clean the Inside of the Aluminum Coffee Pot

Use a rag to clean the inside of the stainless steel coffee pot. Using something with bristles will scratch the inside of the machine and cause a world of trouble for your coffee percolator. The rag protects the much softer aluminum.

For those coffee pot stains that survive the first wave, you should use something like a rubber sponge or cleaner that won’t scratch the coffee pot. Scratches are unsightly and could be a significant detriment to tasty coffee.

Rinse the Aluminum Coffee Percolator with Water

The last step in the process is rinsing the coffee percolator with another bout of water. This last dip should allow the machine to free up any remaining bits of coffee and dispose of them when the water is emptied. Please don’t allow the water to sit for too long as some bits of debris could reharden while it is waiting. There you go! You are now ready to enjoy your morning coffee from your aluminum coffee percolator.

How To Clean A Percolator Basket

We often think that the whole coffee percolator needs to be deep cleaned when all it really needs is a clean percolator basket.

The percolator basket is one of the most important parts of brewing a great cup. It’s where all those tasty oils and bittersweet flavors are captured, so it’s essential to keep this part sparkling clean at all times! To do that, you’ll need your favorite dish soap followed by some water from the tap – then rinse with warm water before patting dry with an old rag or towel.

Another unconventional way to clean your percolator basket is by leaving it in hot vinegar water. To do this, pour some of the 50/50 mixtures you used before into a pot or bowl and allow the basket to sit there for a while. When ready, wash off with cool water.


Cleaning your stainless steel coffee percolator is an easy job that only takes about a half-hour to complete. You should make a concoction of baking soda and white vinegar added to the water in the carafe, which is excellent at cleaning stainless steel. You can also use various other things, like dishwasher pods, to get a different type of clean and get rid of the coffee stains.

And when you’ve finished, why not reward yourself with a cup of coffee? You deserve it!

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