How To Clean Your Stainless Steel Coffee Pot

Stainless steel is durable and keeps coffee warm, but follow these tips to keep it clean.

Stainless steel coffee pot on an Oster coffee maker

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Last Updated on December 8, 2023

A stainless steel coffee pot keeps your fresh coffee hot for much longer than a regular glass vessel, and it doesn’t impart yucky flavors into your brew like plastic does.

In order to prolong its lifespan and protect the taste of your morning cup of joe, you do need to properly clean the pot after every use. Leaving it too long will result in semi-permanent coffee stains.

In most cases, mild soap and water is a good option for cleaning a stainless steel coffee pot. It’s also the most likely for day-to-day use. However, it isn’t necessarily the best. 

Let’s take a look at some tips and tricks for how to clean a stainless steel coffee pot.

Cleaning a stainless steel coffee pot

How to clean a stainless steel coffee pot with baking soda

Depending on the size of the carafe, pour about a half cup to a full cup of baking soda into the stainless steel pot, and then add warm or hot water to the top. Let it sit for a few minutes (five minutes is enough time), and then scrub with a bottle brush. Rinse thoroughly.

If that doesn’t work, try half a cup of hydrogen peroxide with just a couple of tablespoons of baking soda, then fill with hot water and let it sit. Hydrogen peroxide acts effectively as a disinfectant as well.

How to clean a stainless steel coffee pot with dish soap

You can either use a pod of dishwashing powder or a good squirt of liquid soap, then fill the pot with hot water from the kettle. Let it sit for a time, then use a bottle brush to scrub and rinse thoroughly.

How to clean a stainless steel coffee pot with vinegar

Put about six large ice cubes into the stainless steel coffee pot. Add two tablespoons of regular table salt, and then a half a cup of white vinegar. Gently swirl everything around in the pot until the ice has completely dissolved. This will apply some abrasion to those stubborn stains. Rinse thoroughly (you may want to rinse a few times or even soak with warm water to completely remove the vinegar taste).

How to clean a coffee pot with stainless steel cleaner

Several brands such as Bar Keepers Friend make a cleaning product designed specifically for stainless steel products. Just make sure that whichever one you choose is meant to be used on eating utensils (some are made only for the outside of appliances, for example). Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning.

How to clean a stainless steel coffee pot with denture tablets

You can use denture tablets or denture cleaning balls to clean your stainless steel coffee pot. They’re helpful because they’re designed to remove stains such as those from coffee, and to kill bacteria. Follow the instructions they come with to use them on your pot.

What is the best coffee pot cleaner?

The best coffee pot cleaner, generally, is baking soda and water. Baking soda has no harsh chemicals and no bad-tasting elements that will risk imparting unpleasant flavors to your coffee. It’s also easy and inexpensive.

Hydrogen peroxide with baking soda is a good second choice.

However, the choice will depend a little bit on your needs and on your water—hard water, with more minerals in it, will need a more hard-working cleaner such as vinegar. 

Things to remember when cleaning stainless steel

Many people choose a coffee maker with a stainless steel carafe for its durability. However, there are some specific steps to follow and also some things to avoid if you want to preserve your coffee pot’s quality.

Hand wash only.Put stainless steel in the dishwasher; it probably won't damage it, but it doesn't need to go in there and hand washing is preferable.
Clean after each use; otherwise coffee stains can build up and become gross.Use harsh chemicals or rough brushes and sponges.
Use a soft instrument such as a clean sponge or a bottle brush.Leave coffee or anything else sitting in it for too long.
Dry thoroughly.

Can you use bleach to clean a stainless steel coffee pot?

Bleach is a tremendous cleaning agent because when you use it, you know that you have killed every germ, virus, bacterium, and any other undesirable element on your surface. But is bleach safe or smart to use on a stainless steel coffee pot?

You should not use bleach to clean a stainless steel coffee pot, or anything from which you will eat or drink. Bleach is a very harsh chemical and it’s extremely unsafe to ingest, even in small quantities. Bleach can also stain and damage stainless steel, and will leave it looking cloudy and dull at best. For these reasons, we recommend against using bleach under any circumstances.

A good alternative is the vinegar solution, which has similar germ-killing capabilities. Or if you must, use the dishwasher, since the heat in the appliance kills almost everything, too.

There once was a pot made of steel,
Whose cleanliness had such appeal.
With soda and brush,
In a swift, gentle rush,
It gleamed with a coffee-lover’s zeal.

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