How to clean an electric percolator coffee pot

The act of brewing coffee has evolved over centuries, and many credit its origins to present-day Ethiopia. Along with the rise and significance of coffee consumption came the numerous devices used to brew this highly regarded and tasty elixir.

Along the historical timeline of brewing devices, percolators came onto the scene in the late 1880s, and electric percolators followed closely in the 1920s. As with other devices before it, the electric percolator produces the best-tasting coffee when it’s properly cared for and cleaned.

Maintenance and deep cleaning are necessary not only to maximize the longevity of this appliance but also to brew the best-tasting coffee possible. If you own one of these gadgets or you are contemplating purchasing one, read on to learn the proper cleaning procedures and preservation techniques.

A Dirty Percolator

Repeated and daily use of an electric percolator, although that’s what it is made for, can result in a buildup of residual oils. On top of this, mineral calcification, bacteria, and even mold can start to grow along the inside of the device if it’s not properly cared for.

If this buildup is not tended to, it can start to create a repulsive layer that will not only smell horrible, but also interfere with the coffee brewing process and potentially prevent the filter basket from working properly. This thick deposit can also block the flow of coffee. All these things combined can result in a foul-tasting cup of coffee.

Cleaning An Electric Percolator

There are several methods that can be used to clean out this electric coffee brewing device. Whether you are looking for a quick cleanse or an intense cleaning, there are steps you can take to properly care for your appliance and preserve your morning coffee’s flavor. It should also be noted that each electric percolator should come with its own set of dos and don’ts straight from the company.

Quick Cleanse

When it comes to the inside of the electric percolator, simply washing it out with a little hot water and soap can help keep the interior clean and bacteria-free. When using this method, be sure to unplug the device. It should never be fully submerged in water. Rather, simply wash out the inside with a rag or sponge and rinse out the soap suds.

The filter basket and tube can be cleaned in the same manner and gently washed with a non-abrasive cloth. Since the outside of the electric percolator cannot be submerged in water, it should be cleaned with a damp cloth. When washing is complete, the parts can be left to air-dry, or they can be dried with a soft, dry cloth.

Depending on the type of material the electric percolator is made from determines how to proceed with a quick cleaning session. For example, some appliances are made of stainless steel. For those devices, the brewing basket and tube can be placed in the dishwasher for quick cleaning. If the appliance is made of aluminum, however, this is not recommended.

Regardless of whether you utilize a dishwasher for cleaning the removable parts of your percolator or rely on hot soapy water to clean the entire device, this process should be repeated daily. This will keep odors and buildup at bay, allowing the electric percolator to brew the best-tasting coffee that it possibly can.

Intense Cleaning

Even if you keep up with regular daily cleanses, intense cleanings should be performed as often as every month, or as directed by the company. Deep cleaning involves removing any buildup from the tube, filter basket, and interior of the percolator. It also rids the appliance of any coffee stains, residual oils, and potentially unhealthy bacteria.

To remove any solid buildup from the tube or filter basket, a toothpick, small knife, pin, or needle can be used to pick the particles away. Be careful with this method, however, so you don’t score or scratch the percolator (or poke yourself).

To deep clean the inside of the electric percolator, there are different mixtures that can be used. One set of instructions suggests running the percolator with a 50/50 mixture of vinegar and water and, after the brewing cycle is complete, allowing the solution to sit for 15 minutes before rinsing the percolator thoroughly. Other mixtures that people have used to clean the inside of a percolator include water and a measured-out portion of baking soda or cream of tartar.

Unlike quick cleanses, some of these deep cleaning cycles involve allowing the percolator to run multiple times. It also involves extensive rinsing to wash out any cleaning ingredients, so as not to taint the coffee’s taste when the next cup is brewed. Intense cleaning is important, however, as it removes pesky coffee stains from the interior of the percolator, dislodges any buildup, and leaves your appliance looking and running like new.

Wrapping It Up

Part of being a responsible electric percolator owner involves cleaning out the device after each use, once it’s cool enough to handle. Not allowing extra coffee to sit inside of the vessel or used grounds to hang around in the filter basket can make monthly intense cleanings easier. It will also reduce the amount of oil buildup and the potential for mold to grow.

Monthly deep cleanings help remove any stains from the inside of the percolator and rid the appliance of any residual buildup that may be hard to remove with daily cleanses. If you keep up with the regular maintenance and cleaning that electric percolators require, the machine will produce wonderful-tasting coffee. Not only that, but the smell will be pleasant and the device should work as intended. 

Although cleaning your appliance is important, remember to NEVER submerge your electric percolator in water. Be careful when cleaning your electric percolator to ensure you don’t get burned or injured, always allowing the appliance to cool down before handling. Also, remember to unplug the machine when washing out the inside – water and electricity do not mix.