Once upon a time you invested in a smart, stainless steel coffee pot. You loved its industrial chic – and you knew it would great for keeping your coffee hot.
Or perhaps you have a coffee maker with a stainless steel carafe? It sits on your kitchen counter all the time, and you love its shiny exterior.
But it’s been a while now, and you and your coffee pot share a dark secret. While it looks clean and shiny on the outside, take off the lid and it’s a different story…
Lurking inside is a dark brown coating of old, stale coffee. You can hardly bear to look at it! You remember the days when your coffee pot was shining and new. Why can’t it be like that again?
And what if the next time you have friends over, someone offers to make the coffee? Will you be able to stop them before they discover your disgusting coffee pot?
Don’t despair – you’re not alone! We too have lived with the shame of a stained coffee pot. And we have good news! It doesn’t have to be this way.
Just follow our step by step guide to how to clean a stainless steel coffee pot. Before you know it, yours will be as good as new once again!
What you will need to follow this tutorial
It doesn’t matter whether you use a tab or powder, but choose an environmentally friendly brand.
You’ll also want to avoid concentrated formulas, or anything with a fragrance added to it. The method we’re going to show you will have the inside of your coffee pot gleaming again with no effort – but there is a risk. If you use a strong or scented tab or powder, you may find it hard to get rid of a soapy taste afterwards. No-one wants that in their coffee!
If you don’t have a dishwasher, it’s worth buying a small pack of tabs or powder anyway. Your coffee pot will thank you for it! As an alternative though, you can use denture cleaning balls if you have them. You’ll just need to leave them to work for longer. We’ll explain the difference at step 3.
You won’t be drinking this, so don’t worry what it tastes like! If you’ve got a brand you don’t like, feel free to use that. Or perhaps there’s an old, stale pack of ground coffee at the back of your cupboard?
As long as it smells of coffee, it will do the job we need it to!
Related Post: What's the Best Coffee Maker for RV?
How To Clean A Stainless Steel Coffee Pot - Step by step instructions
Step 1: Put the kettle on to boil
Pour enough water to fill your coffee pot into your kettle. Put it on to boil.
Pro tip: You can of course fill the kettle straight from the tap. But there’s a better way to avoid wasting energy by boiling water you don’t need. Just fill your coffee pot with water – it needs to reach the very top – then tip it into the kettle. That way, you’ll know you have precisely the right amount.
Step 2: Add a dishwasher tab or powder, or denture cleaning balls, to your coffee pot
Place your dishwasher tab inside your coffee pot. If you use dishwasher powder instead, place a quarter of a cup in the coffee pot.
Alternatively, you can use denture cleaning balls. Use one or two depending on the size of your pot. We recommend two balls for a one quart carafe.
Now place the coffee pot in the sink and wait for the kettle to boil.
Step 3: Add boiling water and wait for the magic to happen
When the water is boiling, fill the coffee pot right up to the brim.
Pro tip: If you have an electric kettle, hold down the switch for a few seconds after it would usually cut off. The water will be slightly hotter and will do an even better job of cleaning your coffee pot.
If you’re using dishwasher tabs or powder, you’ll now need to wait for half an hour with the lid off. You might want to take a peek after a few minutes. You’ll be able to enjoy the satisfying sight of some of that gunk breaking off and floating to the surface.
If you’re using denture cleaning balls, you’re in for a longer wait. Hold on for at least an hour. If you can leave it overnight, so much the better.
Step 4: Swirl the water in the coffee pot
You’ll need to put on kitchen gloves at this stage. Although it’s been at least half an hour, the stainless steel is designed to keep the water hot. You don’t want to risk scalding.
Now swirl the water gently around the coffee pot. You should see sediment that was once staining the bottom and sides of your coffee maker floating on the surface.
After you’ve swirled it around a couple of times, gently pour the water down the plug hole. Remember to pour slowly so that it doesn’t splash and risk burning you.
The water that emerges will be a dark brown color – just like coffee, in fact!
Step 5: Rinse the pot with clean water
Fill the pot with clean water, swirl it around again, then tip it down the plug hole.
Take a look inside and prepare to be astonished! The inside of your coffee pot should now be as clean and shiny as it was when you first bought it.
Take a moment to congratulate yourself. You’ve achieved all this without trying to fit your hand into a pot it’s too big for, and without any scrubbing at all. You’re a genius!
Step 6: Brew some coffee you don’t like
This is the moment that old packet of coffee someone gave you three Christmases ago comes into its own.
If you’ve avoided strong fragrances or concentrated formulas with your dishwasher tab or powder, chances are your coffee pot is now ready for use. But some people using this method have reported unpleasant soapy flavors in their pot afterwards.
That might seem strange: after all, shouldn’t stainless steel repel any aromas? In fact, the coating on stainless steel can form metal salts when it comes into contact with some substances. Those salts can be responsible for unwanted flavors and odors.
Avoid this by brewing a full pot of coffee. Use a blend you don’t like and make it strong – try using twice as much coffee as you would normally.
Now let it sit in the coffee pot for half an hour.
Step 7: Tip away the coffee and rinse the pot
When the thirty minutes are up, just tip the unwanted coffee down the sink. It’s done its job! As before, be careful as you do this. That stainless steel pot will keep the liquid very hot, and you don’t want the coffee splashing up and burning you.
Don’t worry that this stage is going to undo all your hard work. One brew of coffee isn’t going to stain your lovely pot again.
Now give the pot a final rinse with warm water. It will be sparkling clean and ready to go, with no risk of soapy flavors.
Step 9: Experiment with alternative approaches
We think this is by far the easiest way to get a gleaming coffee pot. There are, though, other options using different household substances as cleaning agents.
The key one is vinegar, which has been noted for its cleaning properties for centuries. Just fill the coffee pot with equal parts of vinegar and hot water and leave it overnight. Then rinse to remove the stains.
The process takes a little longer than using dishwasher detergent, but if you want to stick to natural ingredients, it’s an excellent alternative.
You can also add salt to the vinegar. Unlike the other cleaning methods, this one doesn’t use heat. Place the vinegar and salt in the coffee pot, then add ice cubes. Shake it vigorously until the ice cubes melt.
The idea is that the abrasive action of the salt and ice cubes combines with the cleaning power of the vinegar to lift the stains. It might work – but all that shaking sounds like hard work to us!
We hope you’ve enjoyed our step by step guide to how to clean a stainless steel coffee pot.
If you’ve ever tried scrubbing your coffee pot, you’ll know what a nightmare it is. Even if you can fit your hand inside, there isn’t room to properly manoeuvre a cleaning pad. The result is a pot that’s still grubby, and sore hands for you.
We think our no-scrub method is far superior. You’ll get much better results with the minimum of effort. And when you’ve finished, why not reward yourself with a cup of coffee?
We’d love to hear if this method worked for you. And if you’ve enjoyed this tutorial, please share it with others. Together we can save more coffee pots from landfill!
My name is Kathy Gallo, Editor of Ag Ferrari, a Coffee buff. The guide you find here is designed exactly for you, and it is our hope that you find it not only interesting but also actionable.