How To Clean A Stainless Steel Percolator Coffee Pot And Make It Shine

How To Clean A Stainless Steel Percolator Coffee Pot And Make It Shine

Last updated on November 22nd, 2023 at 12:31

Being a coffee lover is not all about sunshine and latte’s sometimes, it is pains and coffee stains. This tutorial based article is a detailed look at how to clean a stainless steel percolator coffee pot with baking soda, vinegar and get it sparkling clean.

Sometimes, soapy water or regular dish soap just does not do that deep cleaning that you need. It is dirty work, but somebody’s got to do it!

Let’s get to it!

How To Clean A Percolator With Baking Soda And Vinegar

There are various techniques to get those horrid-looking coffee stains off your percolator using both baking soda, vinegar and some elbow grease! These techniques will work for any stainless steel coffee pot when soapy water is just not getting it done.

Let’s see what we can do with vinegar to shift those stains’ vinegar.

How To Clean A Stainless Steel Percolator Coffee Pot
Clean Your Percolator With White Vinegar

Read: Old fashioned stovetop coffee pot

How To Clean A Percolator With Vinegar

Make sure you have plenty of white vinegar. Mix white vinegar and clean, fresh water in a bowl at a 1:1 ratio, equal parts of water to white vinegar. Mix the solution well.

With the vinegar and water solution you have just made, fill your percolator to the maximum water level. Ensure the bong (the pipe, water valve) is empty. Make sure the coffee filter basket is in place and place it on the stove. If it is an electric percolator, simply switch it on.

Let it percolate for a while if it is an old-fashioned stainless steel coffee pot. If it is an electric one, then percolate it a few times. When you are finished percolating the solution, turn it off or remove the heat. When it is cool, dispose of the cleaning solution.

Rinse and repeat using a fresh round of the vinegar solution and water solution that you made. Again, let it percolate a few times, percolating and “boil washing” with the solution you made. Again, make sure your percolator basket is in place as this is a cheeky, effortless way of getting it clean.

Repeat this a third, fourth and fifth time. Each time, use a fresh load of the water solution.

Once you have done this, be absolutely sure to fill and rinse your percolator coffee pot’s water chamber with clear and clean water thoroughly with both warm water and hot water.

When you are finished rinsing your percolator, fill it with fresh clean cold water and percolate. Once it is percolating, let it percolate for as long as possible, let it cool down and repeat this process several times, at least 6 times. Each time rinse well with warm water and hot water.

You absolutely must get rid of that vinegar-like scent and taste from your coffee making device or your next batch or so will absorb it.

By this point, you should notice a difference in how your coffee maker looks and should be much cleaner looking.

To remove stains inside your percolator, put in a half cup of baking soda and add white vinegar until you start to see the mixture bubble. Your next step is to cover your percolator and then shake it gently for a few minutes. I suggest you shake it for up to 5 minutes and then vigorously shake it for about 3 minutes.

Now rinse thoroughly again as you have previously done by rinsing with fresh water and then percolate. Rinse and repeat this process 3, 4 or 5 times until the scent of the solution has gone.

Done right, you have a coffee pot, clean and shining! Each time you clean, ensure the percolator basket is in place and completely fill your percolator with water to rinse it well. It is incredibly important that you not only clean the water reservoir well but rinse your percolator coffee pot with water. It is of incredible importance.

How To Clean A Percolator With Vinegar
Vinegar Can Get Your Coffee Maker Clean

Read: Stovetop espresso maker stainless steel vs aluminum

How To Clean A Percolator With Baking Soda

I have already touched on the use of baking soda and how you can mix it with a common household condiment.

Baking soda, in all honesty, is a highly underrated product for your health and an alternative tooth whitener to a household cleaning, including your stainless steel, glass or electric percolator.

The Baking Soda Scrub

Most of the dirt should easily come off with the above technique of white vinegar and water. However, having more options is a good thing just in case there is a large buildup of hard-to-remove stains.

This is why a little kitchen science comes into play. The vinegar technique helps to get away the stains that are easy to remove in an acidic environment.

Baking soda helps with the dirt and grime that reacts better to alkalis. Sodium bicarbonate is an abrasive soda that absorbs acidic compounds and will help you to clean up stubborn layers of hard-to-get off dirt and stains.

Use two or three tablespoons of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) in your percolator’s water chamber and add fresh clean water. Mix it well and let the solution sit in your percolator for 10 to 15 minutes, then gently percolate.

Rinse and repeat this process 4 to 5 times each time, rinsing properly and letting it steep for 10 to 15 minutes and percolating.

When you are finished, rise properly and thoroughly. Rinse it more than you would with regular dishes as coffee absorbs scents and flavors easily and will do the next time you put coffee ground in your coffee machine if you do not rise well.

As always, do not use any cleaning tools or equipment that will scratch your coffee maker. Avoid cleaning tools such as a washing dish brush, pot scrubbers, plastic scrubber, steel wool pads, wire brushes, nylon scrubbers that will leave scratches. Only use non-abrasive tools.

Baking Soda With Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is a bleaching agent and, as I understand, reacts to the oxygen in the stains and dirt. Don’t quote me on that as chemistry was never a strong point of mine.

This time, you should use a cup of hydrogen peroxide with a cup of baking soda, stir it and mix it well and let it sit there for half an hour.

I do not advise percolating this mix or using hot water; warm water is fine. I strongly advise against percolating this mix because it is rather explosive at high temperatures (150C, 300F). By explosive, I mean this stuff when concentrated at high temperatures is used as rocket fuel.

You are safe to use it without percolating and with warm water.

As with all the steps, rinse well, very well.

If you have not got your coffee pot clean so far, then you can try coating the tough stains on the surfaces with baking soda when they are damp. Then pour a little white vinegar into the mix. The fizzy, bubbling reaction can help to lift the stains.

When you are finished, rinse your glass or stainless steel coffee maker with fresh water.

How To Clean A Percolator Basket
Use This But Do Not Percolate It.

Using Baking Soda And Cream Of Tartar

You can clean your drip coffee maker or stainless steel coffee pot with a cocktail mix of cream of tartar and baking soda. Fill your with cool water and add 4 to 6 teaspoons of cream of tartar and 4 to 6 tablespoons of baking soda. Mix the solution well.

Then percolate for 20 to 30 minutes. Then allow your water to cool down completely. Once the water is cool, scrub it with a soft cloth. It is essential that you use a non abrasive tool as to not damage your coffee maker.

Clean and rise your coffee pot with water by first adding boiling water and letting it simmer and percolate. Then let it cool down and rinse several times.

How To Clean A Percolator Basket

In all probability, your percolator comes with a permanent filter that forms part of your machine and coffee basket. Let’s have a short discussion on how to best clean those.

Cleaning Permanent Coffee Filters

One part not to be forgotten is your stainless steel or gold mesh coffee filters as they get clogged up quickly with oily residue from your beans.

While you’re scrubbing the rest of your coffee maker parts, don’t forget to clean up your gold or stainless steel mesh filters. They tend to gather oily residue and get clogged up quickly.

If you have followed my instructions so far, it is fairly possible that the coffee filter and coffee basket is already clean. This is why I instruct you to percolate clean with all the items in your machine.


prevention is better than the cure! You are still best to empty and rinse well every time you use your percolator.

Once you have run a vinegar cycle and the baking soda cycles from above, the solutions should cut through the oil and remove it. The next step is to handwash your filter with a sponger with degreasing dish soap. Use a sponge and scrub both sides well. Be careful not to damage the mesh.

Rinse both sides well. If your filter is dishwasher-safe, then run it through a cleaning cycle in your dishwasher. When finished, rinse both sides well as you don’t want your filter to pick up scents from the detergent.

If at this point you cannot remove the oil build up then it is time to start thinking about a replacement.

How To Clean A Percolator Bong

This is the part that is most forgotten about when people think about cleaning their percolators. As per cleaning the filter above, when you are running the baking soda and vinegar cycles, make sure it is in place and then run the cleaning process. Chances are it will already be clean.

The only way to clean the interior is to use a thin narrow brush or a series of pipe cleaners and clean the inside of the tube. Use a soft sponge or cloth to clean the outside. Rinse with warm water, rinse the tube well.

Frequently Asked Questions About – How To Clean A Stainless Steel Percolator Coffee Pot

Is Vinegar Or Baking Soda Better For Cleaning Coffee Maker?

Both vinegar and baking soda are good choices for cleaning your coffee maker. Vinegar is better for difficult to remove blockages caused by limescale and mineral deposits. For a good general clean, over all clean, a baking soda, due to being less acidic, is a better choice.

It all depends on the kind of clean you wish to perform. For stubborn stains, vinegar is much better for a maintenance clean, baking soda is better.

Can You Run Straight Vinegar Through A Coffee Maker?

No, due to being a flammable material and your coffee maker having a heating element, it is best to dilute distilled white vinegar with water. For serious stubborn stains and mineral deposits, use at most a 75% white vinegar solution. This is for only a serious clean-up.

Most people will not need to use more than a 50% vinegar and 50% water mix.

How Do You Get The Vinegar Taste Out Of A Coffee Maker After Cleaning It?

To get rid of the vinegar taste and scent from your coffee maker after cleaning, flush it with an abundance of water. Run 3 to 5 (or more) cycles of fresh water only. Also, when you are cleaning the removable parts, let them air dry to help flush the scent and taste away.

The key is to flush with an abundance of water.

How Many Times Should I Run Vinegar Through My Coffee Maker?

If your coffee maker is reasonably clean, then cleaning it just once every 15 days is enough to keep it clean. Most other sites will tell you once per month is enough.

Mold and bacteria can build up inside your coffee machine and thus giving it a clean is essential. If you clean it every other week, they won’t get the chance to build up. 

Can I Put Vinegar And Baking Soda In My Coffee Maker?


baking soda and vinegar together make a very powerful cleaning solution. Use them in combination if you have not cleaned your machine in a long time, and it is particularly dirty.

Do You Use A Filter When Cleaning Coffee Maker With Vinegar?

There is no harm to keeping your metal coffee filter or filter basket in place when you are cleaning your coffee machine with vinegar. It will help to loosen up some dirt and may even get it clean for you.

It is not essential that you have it in place, but it is advantageous. Still don’t forget to give your filter a good individual clean later.

What Is The Best Cleaner For A Percolator?

In my opinion, mixing equal parts of distilled white vinegar or cleaning vinegar and fresh clean water. Switch it on or put it on your stove and brew a whole percolation cycle. Let it cool and discard the water solution.

What Can I Use To Clean The Inside Of My Coffee Pot?

You have two main options. One is to use one part bicarbonate of soda and four parts of water. Your second option is equal parts white cleaning vinegar and water. Both are cheap and very effective.

Frappé-Ing It All Up – How To Clean A Stainless Steel Percolator Coffee Pot

Now you know how to clean a stainless steel percolator coffee pot and get it coming up spick and span and shining well.

There is only one final tip that you can do to ensure it is clean of any possible scents from the cleaning solutions and that is to use any coffee grounds that you have saved for recycling and let them sit in your percolator water chamber for a few days while dry to absorb any lingering odors.

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Derek Marshall, a certified barista by the Specialty Coffee Association possesses over two decades of experience in specialty coffee shops. He holds professional certifications for coffee brewing and barista skills. Derek is also an author with authoritative books covering various coffee topics including specialty coffee, sustainability and coffee, coffee brewing, coffee recipes, coffee cocktails and books focusing on Brazilian coffee, Vietnamese coffee, Indonesian coffee and Malaysian coffee. As a barista for over two decades, Derek Marshall has worked in specialty coffee shops across the United Kingdom, Spain, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Vietnam. His expertise extends to the distinct coffee cultures, specialty beverages, and brewing techniques of each nation. Functioning as a coffee consultant, Derek charges US$50 per hour. To learn more about Derek Marshall and Latte Love Brew, visit his About Me Page. For coffee inquiries, contact him at +34-639-410-375 or, mentioning your name and location

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