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How to Clean a Percolator Coffee Maker

Updated: Jul 5, 2023 6:09 PM
How to Clean a Percolator Coffee Maker
Difficulty Easy
Steps 7
Time Required 15min
Tools Needed

Learning how to clean a percolator coffee machine is an essential part of maintaining your stovetop or electric percolator. This simple process only takes a few minutes, most of it happening without your direct supervision.


  • Cleaning your coffee maker regularly removes leftover coffee grounds, prevents stains from forming, and allows your percolator to stay like new for years to come.
  • The first step is adding natural cleaning ingredients into a few cups of water. Mix this separately, and then add it into your percolator.
  • Turn your percolator on and allow it to run through its cycle with this mixture. From there, you’ll run a couple more cycles until it’s spotless of coffee granules and oil.

Even the best coffee maker will require deep cleaning to keep every cup of coffee fresh and delicious. Your stainless steel coffee maker is no different so be sure to learn about how to use a coffee percolator to ensure you get a nice, fresh cup every time.

How Do You Keep a Coffee Percolator Clean?

Stainless steel percolators are far different from an auto-drip coffee maker. Because of this, they require different types of regular cleanings. The primary cleaning method for stainless steel coffee percolators is relatively simple. You can purchase a commercial cleaning product, but these can be abrasive cleaners. Keeping your percolator clean is important for it to function properly. However, sometimes problems will come up, if it does you can check out our article on coffee percolator not working.

Insider Tip

Some coffee makers are dishwasher-safe. This means that you just need to throw it in the dishwasher with regular dish detergent for a thorough cleaning.

Instead, creating your vinegar solution will do just fine. You can use a few ingredients from your kitchen and a nonabrasive tool for scrubbing, like a lint-free towel.

If you drink French Press coffee, we have a great article on how to clean a French press coffee maker.

Tools Needed: Clean water, baking soda, vinegar mixture, dish brush, dish soap, soapy water, soft cloth, or lint-free towel


The first step in learning how to clean a coffee maker is figuring out what ingredients will work in your water solution. For a percolator coffee pot, combine baking soda and vinegar with hot water or warm water in a separate container.


Mix the water solution, taking care to break up any lumps from the baking soda. This can cause clogs in your percolator coffee pot.


Pour the warm water solution into your percolator coffee pot. Then, turn the stainless steel coffee percolator on if it uses electricity. If it’s a stovetop coffee maker, place it on the stove.


Allow it to run through the brewing cycle, turn it off and allow the water solution to cool off. Hot water can burn you, especially if it is a mixture of water and other ingredients.


Empty the water chamber and use a damp cloth to wipe away loose debris, like leftover coffee grounds or coffee residue. This time, fill the stainless steel coffee percolator with water and a bit of dish soap. Place it back onto the heat, or turn it on.


After this round, dump the soapy water and fill the percolator with nothing but fresh water. This will help get your coffee pot clean and clear of leftover cleaning solutions.


The last step is taking your cloth or lint-free towel and drying the appliance thoroughly. Always towel dry any excess moisture thoroughly.


Fresh water from your tap might contain minerals that can build up in your water reservoir. If you have hard water, try only to use distilled water in your appliance.


What should I do if I live in hard-water areas?

Excess minerals in water can cause additional water damage to appliances and the formulation of water spots. Adding white vinegar to your routine cleaning methods helps immensely.

How do you clean a coffee maker with vinegar?

Never use undiluted vinegar in your appliance. Instead, add a cup of vinegar soapy water. This vinegar mixture will help clear up any buildup of mineral deposits.

How do you remove coffee stains from your stainless steel coffee pot?

A stainless steel coffee pot isn’t immune to tough stains. It’s just resistant. Cleaning stubborn stains requires a few abrasive sponges and a little bit of time to work out the brown coffee stains. Go slowly and carefully to avoid scratching the stainless steel.

Can you use apple cider vinegar to clean your coffee pot?

Apple cider vinegar might be more effective than white vinegar. However, it has a far more distinct vinegar smell and is far more expensive. You can use it, but the price will add up with the amounts of vinegar you’re using.

STAT: In 2020, Folgers was the leading coffee brand in the US, holding over 25% of the market for ground coffee. (source)

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