How to Clean a Coffee Percolator – 2 Tips

How to Clean a Coffee Percolator

If you are into coffee then you certainly know that there is no better feeling than taking a hot cup of coffee after a long day at work or in the morning when you wake up. Imagine a scenario where you have gone camping, with no electricity but still, need coffee, what do you do? This should not be a problem if you have a coffee percolator. As part of maintenance, this post will walk you through the various ways on how to clean a coffee percolator.

What is a coffee percolator?

The truth quite a number of people don’t know what a coffee percolator is. It would be absurd if learning how to clean a coffee percolator without first understanding what it is, bringing us back to our question, what is a coffee percolator?

A coffee percolator is a pot used to brew coffee working by recycling the brew through the ground using the law of gravity until the coffee is at its preferred strength. Unlike most other coffee making machines, a percolator need not be electric. It was famous back in the late 70s but somehow fell out along the way. However, as the saying goes, old is gold, most coffee lovers are going back to coffee percolators.

Why you should clean the percolator?

The obvious answer to this is hygiene. Over time, hard water sediments, oily residues, and other impurities may collect on the walls of the percolator not only making the coffee made bitter but also slow down the process.

For these reasons, it is advisable that you clean the coffee percolator on a regular basis. Ideally, this should be every time after making coffee for a simple wash and once every two weeks for a thorough cleaning that includes disassembling it.

Why you should consider using a coffee percolator?

The love for coffee has made sure that there are various types of ways to make coffee. At the end of it all, it is the quality of the coffee that matters. Here are reasons why you should consider using a coffee percolator.


Coffee percolators are long-term investments, they are durable and require little to no maintenance. In fact, the only maintenance needed is cleaning it which is not too much to ask. With proper cleaning, a good percolator can last a lifetime.

No need to buy filters

With other coffee making machines, you are required to replace the filters every now and then. Well, this is not the case with coffee percolators; the ground basket acts as a filter and with proper cleaning, there will be no need to replace it. This will save you quite a fortune in the current hard economic times.

Buy coffee in bulk

With this coffee making tool, you can purchase a coffee in bulk need not be ground grounds. You can purchase course coffee grounds in bulk and grind them yourself as long as you store them in a vacuum to ensure that they stay fresh always.


What can be better than being assured that as long as you can make a fire you can make coffee? Percolators are easy to carry around and allow you to make coffee on the gas fire, firewood fire or electricity. How can it get more convenient than that?


Compared to most coffee making machines, percolators are very cheap and this can be quite a great deal where one is on a fixed budget.

How to use a coffee percolator?

We are still going to get to how to clean a coffee percolator but, it first has to get dirty. How do you use a coffee percolator? It is pretty basic but it doesn’t hurt putting across the right way to do it.

Make a fire

As we mentioned earlier, you can use a coffee percolator on wood fire, grill, gas or electricity. If you are outdoors and have no access to electricity or gas then its high time you gather some firewood to make a fire. Assuming that gathering firewood isn’t a problem, make a fire.

Prepare the percolator

Fill the percolator with water. The water should run just below the top portion of the filter basket. If you are not sure where this is don’t worry. New models have a mark indicating where the water should not exceed. If water goes above this point it will leak or a worst-case scenario burst.

Add in coffee grounds

Add fresh coffee grounds on the basket. The ration should be one tablespoon per cut depending on the type of coffee. It is recommended that you use fresh coffee grounds to give a fresh aroma and taste. How do you go about this? Store the freshly purchased coffee grounds in a vacuum carrier.

Place the basket back

Once you have added fresh ground coffee you are required to get it back on the percolator. Lock well to ensure that it is not loose then place it on the fire or rather turn on the power if it is an electric coffee percolator.

Give it time to brew

This is where most people get it wrong. How much time is needed for the coffee to brew? If you overdo it, it will get bitter, if not given enough time you will only get a mild taste. Ideally, it takes a percolator 7-10 minutes to brew coffee.

Ready to be served

Don’t stress yourself with the expensive K-cups; an ordinary cup will do the trick on this. Serve the coffee and drink it hot.

How to improve the taste of the coffee?

Making good coffee is a skill that is mastered over time. The following is a guideline on the things that you should do to improve the taste of the coffee.

Clean it well

Yes, for your coffee to have the right taste you should ensure that you clean the coffee percolator. Hence the purpose of this post, to educate you on how to clean a coffee percolator!

Perfect coffee brewing skills

Making good coffee is all about timing. Keep an eye on the coffee through the translucent dome. You should know the ideal color of good coffee. Too dark means that the coffee will be bitter, for pale coffee you will miss the flavor. It all about timing and instinct, don’t worry this shall come naturally with more practice.

Don’t pour too deep

Coffee grounds settle on the bottom. It is therefore recommended that you avoid pouring the coffee too deep. Well not unless you like your coffee bitter which is totally okay.

How to clean a coffee percolator?

Here is the long-awaited part, a complete guide on how to clean a coffee percolator.

1. How to clean stains from the inside of a coffee percolator?

a. Using baking soda

  • Fill the holding pot with water up to the required mark that is, below the basket filter.
  • Heat it until it perks. Ideally, this should be between 7-10 minutes. Trust your instincts.
  • Remove the percolator from the heating source ensuring that you are careful; you certainly don’t want to get burnt by hot coffee.
  • All it to cool then pour the water.
  • Using a soft dishwasher cloth and soap wash off the disturbing stains that didn’t dissolve. This is not always necessary since scrubbing it will have, always avoid scrubbing the stainless steel surface.
  • Rinse with clean water and your percolator is clean as new

b. Vinegar

Alternatively, you can use vinegar.

  • In a separate bowl, mix equal portions of water and vinegar in the ratio 1:1.
  • Transfer the mixture into the coffee percolator up to the recommended mark.
  • Hit the mixture until it boils then allow it to cool
  • Pour the mixture on the sink the repeat the procedure
  • Feel free to do it a third time if not certain with the results.
  • Finally, rinse with clean water.

2. Ways to clean the percolator basket

A percolator basket is what holds the coffee grounds and also acts as a sieve.

a. Simple cleaning procedure

  • Disassemble the percolator to remove the basket. This should be easy but if not sure refer to the instruction menu on how to go about it.
  • Discard the coffee grounds
  • Using dishwasher detergent, water and a cleaning cloth wipe the percolator basket.
  • Wash it until its sparkling clean then rinse with clean water.
  • Dry it with a clean towel or leave it to dry on the open

b. Deep cleaning

  • Mix an equal solution of water and white vinegar
  • Fill the percolator pot with the solution to its maximum
  • Rather than having the percolator basket in its usual place disassemble it and place it inside the pot with the vinegar solution. (with no coffee grounds in it)
  • Heat the mixture and let it perk.
  • Let it cool then remove the basket.
  • Using dish wash detergent and washer clean up the basket to remove stubborn stains that didn’t dissolve.
  • Rinse with plenty of clean water.


Most coffee percolators are made of steel that can get pretty hot. When heating, be careful not to get burnt especially if the handles are not well insulated. Also, you are required to pour the mixture slowly and careful to avoid it spilling all over you.

Final verdict

There you have it on how to clean a coffee percolator. As a matter of fact, cleanliness is second to godliness. There is nothing stopping you now from making that mouth-watering coffee.

Bryon Isbell

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