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

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 getting 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 steelcoffee 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

Coffee Curiosity: 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. Ensure 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 steelcoffee 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 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
You’ll be surprised and how clean vinegar can get your coffee maker

Must 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 to 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 you 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 tool such as a washing dish brush, pot scrubbers, plastic scrubber, steel wool pads, wire brushesnylon scrubbers that will leave scratches. Only use non abrasive tools.

How To Clean A Percolator With Baking Soda
Baking soda, another product that can clean your percolator

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 on the mix. The fizzy, bubbling reaction can help to lift the stains.

When you are finished, rinse your glass or stainless steelcoffee 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 steelcoffee 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 tartare 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 nonabrasive tool as to not damage your coffee maker.

Clean and rise your coffeepot 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.

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.

Coffee is love, it's more than love — it's a passion of mine. I've had the luck to have travelled and enjoyed the most exotic of coffee's and unique flavors, brewing methods and techniques of making the perfect coffee from Thai hill tribe coffee to Indonesian volcanic coffee, Malaysian coffee that comes in a tea bag and the array of flavors in Vietnam, from Vanilla to Orange to Coconut to Avocado to even salt coffee and the famous egg coffee. The best part of my coffee adventures is getting to mix with the locals over a nice brew and learning how they make it! I'm cited and referenced on Google Scholar for the topic of coffee.

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