How To Clean A Coffee Pot: {Plus Tips}

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ExampleIf your favorite small appliance is looking a little grungy lately, here’s an easy way to make it look brand new again:

  • Fill the tank with 6 cups of vinegar, then top up with water. Turn on the machine as you would when making coffee (minus the grounds). The machine will heat the vinegar and water as it normally does. This is for a 12 cup machine, if yours is a different size, just use 50/50 vinegar and water.
  • Once it has finished running, pour the hot vinegar mix back in the tank and run through the process again.
  • Dump the hot liquid then scrub the pot inside and out with hot soapy water. There should be no signs of brown film at this point.
  • Next add plain water in the tank and turn on the machine. This will run through and rinse out the vinegar. I do this step twice using fresh water for the second rinse cycle.

That’s it! It should be as new again with any brown buildup or grunge washed away.


  1. The vinegar not only helps clean the inside of the glass, but also flushes out any buildup in the tank and tubes.
  2. Use this method regularly and you’ll prolong the life of the machine as well as keep the glass sparkling.
  3. If it is especially coated in film or liquid has accidentally been burned in it, fill the pot with vinegar and leave overnight. In the morning dump the vinegar in a pail and wash the pot in hot soapy water. If there are still some stubborn brown film stains, fill it again with the saved vinegar and soak overnight again. Repeat the process until it is sparkling again.
  4. If you have a thermos or carafe, fill it with 50/50 hot water and vinegar and allow to soak overnight. This helps remove the film inside as well.

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6 Comments to “How To Clean A Coffee Pot: {Plus Tips}”
  1. Moira Bruce says:

    As a waitress, I learned to clean coffee carafes by putting a layer of ice cubes (crushed or whatever is available) and a generous dose of salt. Swirl until cleaned, empty, and rinse well. Might be OK for a ‘make-do’ cleaning, but the above method is much better for a thorough cleaning.

  2. donna says:

    i use denture tabs to clean my coffee pot,i fill the pot with hot water, put one tab in. i also so clean thermus bottle this way to. let set about 30 mins. rinse. so clean

  3. Lynn Bishop says:

    I just use baking soda on a damp paper towel just for the pot, just rub about 1 teaspoon around inside and out, it leaves the glass sparkling clean, without scratching the glass. Baking soda and vinegar is an awesome cleaner for just about everything, as I’m sure it says here on another page.

  4. kristy says:

    when I worked in a restaurant we used ice and lemons to clean burnt coffee pots. worked great.

  5. Lisa says:

    Another waitress tip: left the pot on, and now you’ve got that burnt on layer of coffee that is so hard to get off? Let the pot cool down a bit, then put a few pennies in, and enough vinegar to cover the burnt stuff. Go about whatever you are doing, but whenever you pass that coffee pot, pick it up and swirl the pennies and vinegar around a bit. The pennies rub the burnt coffee and the vinegar eats at it. You can dump it and repeat if necessary, but once all the burnt coffee is removed, just wash the pot as you normally do, and use. No scrubbing needed!

  6. Rob says:

    I use a small amount of Washing Soda to clean my coffee equipment.

    Commercial coffee pot cleaner, such as Urnex, is Sodium Carbonate with a little blue dye added. Arm & Hammer Washing Soda is exactly the same thing, without the dye, and is very inexpensive. Put a couple of tablespoons in your coffee pot and fill it. Let it sit for an hour or two and then the brown residue will just wipe off. Sodium carbonate is strongly alkaline, and will irritate your skin, so take appropriate precautions.

    Note that I am *not* talking about Sodium Bicarbonate, which is baking soda.

    I’m also not talking about removing mineral buildup. You need something acidic, like vinegar or citric acid for that.

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