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How to Clean a Stainless Steel Coffee Pot

coffee pot and white sugar on wooden background

Stainless steel is the king of materials for many different pieces of kitchen equipment because it’s durable, easy to clean, and doesn’t stain. Most people use their coffee pots every day and therefore need a sturdy pot that can withstand the wear and tear of heavy use.

Even though stainless steel is easy to clean in general, many people have some questions about properly cleaning and caring for their stainless steel coffee pot. Can it rust? Should I put it in the dishwasher? We’ll answer these questions and more in this guide and leave you with a few tips for making your stainless steel pot last for years.

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Basic Cleaning

Coffee pots present a unique cleaning challenge because they have small openings that make it hard to fit your hand in to clean it. Most people resort to splashing some soapy water inside, half-heartedly swishing it around a bit, dumping it out, and calling it a day. That’s better than nothing but won’t cut it if you use your coffee pot every day.

A better option is to use a soft brush with a handle to make it easy to scrub the inside of the coffee pot.

You could also put it in the top rack of the dishwasher, but it’s not the best choice. Stainless steel is prone to rust, and if you leave your coffee pot wet for too long, it will start to rust. If you choose to put your coffee pot in the dishwasher, remove it immediately when the cycle finishes. Most dishwashers have a dry cycle, but it doesn’t dry everything thoroughly. Even small amounts of lingering water can spell trouble for a stainless steel coffee pot.

Deep Cleaning Method

Sometimes life gets busy, and it’s easier just to give the coffee pot a quick rinse before you run out the door. We get it, but over time you’ll notice your coffee pot getting less sanitary. Eventually, you’ll have to bite the bullet and give it a deep cleaning.

This technique works for general deep cleaning and removes any burnt coffee caked inside your coffee pot. Burnt coffee can be difficult or impossible to remove with traditional methods, but this method can handle it easily.

What About Water Stains?

Some people will find white deposits in their coffee pot depending on their water’s mineral content. Hard water is water with a high concentration of calcium and other minerals in it, and these minerals get deposited in your coffee pot when water evaporates. Removing hard water stains can be a pain, and the boiling detergent method is ineffective. Luckily, there is an equally easy way to deal with them using only vinegar and crushed ice.

Hard water can be a nuisance, but, thankfully, removing mineral deposits is easy once you know the proper technique. We recommend using this method once a month in areas with moderately hard water and once a week in places with very hard water.


coffee pot and white sugar on wooden background
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How to Clean a Stainless Steel Coffee Pot

Even though stainless steel is easy to clean in general, many people have some questions about properly cleaning and caring for their stainless steel coffee pot. Can it rust? Should I put it in the dishwasher? We'll answer these questions and more in this guide and leave you with a few tips for making your stainless steel pot last for years.
Prep Time5 mins
Active Time35 mins
Total Time40 mins
Yield: 1 clean coffee pot
Cost: $2

Equipment

  • Gooseneck kettle
  • Soft cloth

Materials

  • Dishwashing powder
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 1/8 cup salt
  • 1/2 cup crushed ice

Instructions

Deep Cleaning Method

  • Boil water in a kettle or pot on the stove. Make sure to use a pot with a pouring spout if you don't have a tea kettle to make it easy to pour the boiling water into your coffee pot later.
  • Put one dishwasher pod or one load's worth of dishwashing powder into your stainless steel coffee pot.
  • Fill your coffee pot with boiling water.
  • Let the boiling water and dishwasher detergent sit for at least 30 minutes. It takes time for the detergent to work, so be patient.
  • After 30 minutes have elapsed, gently swirl the coffee pot to loosen any particularly stubborn coffee gunk determined to stay stuck to your coffee pot.
  • Pour out the soapy water and be prepared for a lot of coffee and other dried nastiness to come out with it. It's perfectly normal to see a lot of residual dried coffee, especially if you haven't cleaned your coffee pot in a while.
  • Rinse the coffee pot thoroughly with cold water. Dishwasher detergent is strong, and you don't want to have any in your next batch of coffee. We recommend filling your coffee pot with water several times before using it to brew coffee.

Removing Water Stains

  • Add ½ cup of vinegar to your coffee pot.
  • Add about ⅛ cup of salt. The exact amount is unimportant.
  • Add about ½ cup of crushed ice.
  • Swirl the mixture for 30 seconds. Most deposits will loosen from gently swirling, but you might have to use a soft cloth to scrub the more persistent ones.
  • Dump the mixture out and rinse thoroughly to remove any lingering vinegar taste.

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Conclusion

Stainless steel is mostly forgiving but does require some special attention to keep it in good shape. Coffee pots are high-use kitchen items for most people, and stainless steel is a great choice for a coffee pot. The best way to keep your stainless steel coffee pot like new is to wash it after every use. We realize that is unrealistic sometimes and hope that our deep cleaning guide will help you deal with even the most stubborn coffee stains.

How to Clean a Glass Coffee Pot
We're going to teach you how to remove stubborn stains from your glass coffee pot. Even if you regularly wash your coffee pot with soap and water, old coffee stains and mineral deposits can still form, and once they're settled in, they can be a pain to remove. The tips in this guide will help make removing the most difficult stains easier and make your glass coffee pot stain-free once again. 
See the simple steps!
A little coffee at the bottom of the glass coffee maker

Featured Image Credit: Andrew Safonov, Shutterstock

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Sean Brennan

Sean’s obsession with coffee started when he received his first French press as a gift almost ten years ago. Since then, his love of coffee – and the number of coffee gadgets he owns – has grown considerably. A scientist by training, there is no stone he has left unturned in the never-ending quest for the perfect cup of coffee. He has spent many hours tuning his pour-over technique, thinking about how to best compare grind quality, and worrying about whether the Nicaraguan or Kenyan beans will make the best cold brew. These days he favors the Hario V60, and starts each day by hand grinding his coffee before enjoying a cup prepared with care and attention to detail.

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