a man cleaning a coffee pot or coffee machine with a damp rag

How to Clean a Coffee Pot (and Why You Should)

Author: David Kelley
a man cleaning a coffee pot or machine with a damp rag
Cleaning your coffee pot or machine regularly gives you better-tasting coffee.

Coffee machines come in many styles and forms, and they make it easy to brew a cup of Joe in the morning to get you started for the day. In households with more than one coffee lover, there is a good chance that their coffee maker is the most heavily used appliance in their kitchen. However, a there is a study which indicates that coffee pots are one of the most unclean objects in North American kitchens. If you want to know how to clean a coffee pot, read on and you will have all the information you need to ensure your coffee maker shining like it is new.

Cleaning a coffee pot is important as coffee makers not only accumulate the coffee residues and oils from the coffee grounds, but over time, and depending on your water quality, there will be a build-up of minerals from the water. The residues rapidly get stale, and mineral deposits can become breeding grounds for mildew, yeast, bacteria, and mold. These things can affect the taste of your coffee as well as being potentially unhealthy. So, getting to know how to clean a coffee pot will not only ensure you are brewing the best tasting cup, but it may also prevent you from putting health-damaging organisms in your body.

Here are some simple yet effective ways for cleaning a coffee pot:

Soap Water

Remove the carafe of your pot and soak it in warm water. Clean the inside of the pot by wiping it with a dish soap-soaked sponge and run it through clean water. Do the same for the filter basket and lid as well. After the carafe has been soaked for a couple of minutes, wipe down its front and rinse it thoroughly.

Make sure all the parts are dry before you assemble them back. You can also clean the carafe in the dishwasher but only in the top rack.

French Press Carafe

If you have a French press coffee maker, you can clean it with the same method. Just add some water to the pot with the leftover grounds and discard the mixture. Add soap and water into the pot and pump it up and down with the plunger along the edges of the French press. The oil and minerals get cut through with soap and you can rinse the pot with fresh water to get a shiny clean French press coffee maker.


You might have heard about cleaning a coffee pot with vinegar. It is most effective for the standard drip coffee makers, but it seems many do not know how to properly do this. Here is how to clean a coffee pot using vinegar:

You need standard white vinegar, tap water, and a disposable coffee filter. Fill the water reservoir with half-part vinegar and half-part water. If your pot is heavily stained with coffee residue or mineral build-up, you can increase the ratio of vinegar to 2-parts vinegar and 1-part water.

The vinegar optimizes the coffee maker’s performance by dissolving the clogging mineral deposits and sanitizing and cleaning the interior of the coffee pot and water reservoir. Now, add the empty filter and turn on the machine. Let the machine run through a brew cycle with the water-vinegar mixture, and wait for it to complete the cycle and fill the pot. Let it sit in the pot for up to an hour depending on how dirty it is.

The filter would have some of the old coffee residuals on it along with water minerals, like calcium and magnesium that the vinegar cut through inside the reservoir. Discard the filter and empty the pot by pouring the vinegar water down the drain.

Now place another filter and run the cycle again but this time with only pure water. This is to remove any vinegar left inside the reservoir and the pot as its taste and smell can ruin the next batch of your coffee. Run pure water through the brew cycle and let the pot get filled. If you find the water to be cloudy though, run the whole cycle again with some more clean water.

Throw away the clean water and scrub the inside and outside of the reservoir and the pot with a soapy sponge. You can wipe the exterior of your coffee maker with a vinegar-dabbed cloth as well. Run all the parts through clean water and let them dry out before you put them back together.

There are also a variety of commercially available coffee pot cleaners on the market. These are used in a similar fashion and to the same effect as simple white vinegar. Just be sure to follow the included instructions.

baking soda in a glass jar tipped and partially spilled on a table

Cleaning a coffee pot with baking soda makes it spotless.

Baking Soda 

Baking soda is another effective ingredient against tough coffee stains. Add ¼ cup of soda to 1 cup of clean water and swish the mixture in the carafe until baking soda completely dissolves in water. Add it to the reservoir and run a brew cycle and follow the same process as the vinegar one. You can use this mixture for cleaning your coffee thermos as well by swiping the bottom and sides of the thermos with a cleaning brush.

How Often Should you Clean your Coffee Pot?

You should clean all the removable parts of the coffee maker with soap and water after every use. Disassemble the parts and rub each of them with a soapy sponge before rinsing them with clean water. However, a deep cleaning is only required once every three months or so if you are using the appliance just once every day and you are not making coffee with hard water.

Hard water contains more minerals and the coffee pot gets contaminated with scale build-up much quicker so you might want to deep clean your coffee maker every month if you use hard water. Some coffee makers alert you when it is time to clean but it is better to do it as often as you can to be safe.

Cleaning a coffee pot is not just for allowing the coffee maker to function properly and give a better-tasting coffee, but it is a health concern as well. If you do not clean your coffee maker regularly, it is possible to have bacteria infest your water reservoir and coffee pot. Vinegar not only descales, but also disinfects the appliance from all kinds of bacteria.

Now that you know how to clean a coffee pot, you can enjoy better-tasting coffee and keep yourself and the people around you safer and healthier.

Be sure to shop Two Bit Rush Coffee Roasters' coffees. We offer a selection of single origin coffees, curated blends, and flavored coffees. Roasted daily and delivered fresh.

Button link to Two Bit Rush Coffee Roasters coffee collection page

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