In this brief guide, we will answer ‘how to clean a thermal coffee pot?’ Also, we will look into why cleaning it is so difficult and some easy ways to remove stubborn coffee stains.
How to clean a thermal coffee pot?
Thermal coffee pots are advised to rinse with soap and water after every single use. However, due to our busy lifestyle or simply due to laziness, this advice is often neglected and is replaced with, rinse when it feels like it. Over time, this results in nasty stubborn coffee stains. However, residues of spent coffee grounds are not harmful to health. They contain phenolic compounds that can benefit health, such as chlorogenic acid, a potent anti-oxidant compound (1).
Why are thermal coffee pots difficult to clean?
Thermal coffee pots have a smaller opening at the top. This smaller opening is revolutionary as it conserves heat better making your pot stay hot for longer. However, it makes cleaning so much more difficult.
It’s harder to reach the bottom with your hand (if by any miracle you manage to put inside) and the brushes cannot reach all the nooks and crannies as they lack the proper design to reach every angle.
Another problem with thermal pots is that they are lined with different metal surfaces. These internal surfaces are not as smooth on which coffee residue tends to hold on. Coffee oils also have a tendency to bind with the particles of this surface. All of this makes it harder to rinse off.
How to wash your thermal coffee pot?
Washing your coffee pot is easy. All you need is a kettle, dishwasher pod/tablet and water. Simply put water to boil in the kettle. Add the dishwashing pod to your pot and pour in the boiling water. Wait for half an hour, so this will loosen up any stubborn residue. After 30 minutes, give the pot a careful swirl and rinse. Dishwashers contain sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), an anionic surfactant commonly used as an emulsifying cleaning agent in household cleaning products. Since the early 1990s, misconstrued information on the human and environmental toxicity of SLS has led to consumer confusion and concern about the safety of SLS. However, the review of SLS toxicity profiles confirms that SLS is an acceptable surfactant for use in household cleaning product formulations from toxicological and sustainability perspectives (2).
What other ways can you clean your pot?
Following are some easy and alternative ways through which you can clean your coffee pot as a brand new (5).
Using baking soda
Baking soda is a kitchen essential to clean any stubborn stain whether on your stovetops, oven or your pots. Baking soda is an excellent cleanser as it not only breaks down the grime and dirt but also works as a gentle abrasive that gently cleans your surface without leaving any damage to your surface.
For this, you will need a cup of baking soda, warm water and a bottle brush. Simply pour the baking soda into your coffee pot and fill it with warm water. Using your bottle brush gently scrub the inside of your pot, making sure to scrub the bottom and the sides well with the baking soda solution. Dump the solution in the sink and rinse with cold water.
White vinegar, another kitchen essential and savior against stains. Its acidic nature makes it easier to gently remove any tough stubborn stains on any surface you possibly can imagine.
For this you simply need to fill your coffee pot with water and vinegar in a 1 to 1 ratio, meaning half of your kettle needs to be water while the remaining half with vinegar. Place your pot on the stove or switch it on, depending on your pot, let it boil for a few minutes. Remove the pot from heat and allow it to cool down till it reaches room temperature. Using a scrubber scrub inside. Dump the dirty water out of your pot and rinse with cold water.
Using salt and vinegar
For this, you’ll need ½ cup of vinegar, 1/8 cup of table salt and 6 ice cubes. Place the ice cubes in your coffee pot and then add vinegar and salt into your pot. Move the pot around in a swirling motion until all the ice melts. Vinegar will break down any stain while salt will gently scrub the inside.
Using dishwashing liquid
You may clean your coffee pot by filling your pot with hot water and squirting some dishwashing liquid in. Using a scrubbing brush, scrub the insides of your pot and rinse thoroughly with cold water. Other methods are preferred, since dishwashers can pollute water and are toxic to aquatic organisms (3).
Using hydrogen peroxide cleaning solution
You can use hydrogen peroxide with baking soda, this not only removes water stains but also coffee stains. For this, you’ll need ½ cup of hydrogen peroxide, 2 tablespoons of baking soda and a bottle brush.
Pour hydrogen peroxide and baking soda into the coffee pot. Using a bottle brush scrub the insides of the pot till all the stains are cleaned. Rinse with cold water. Hydrogen peroxide must be handled carefully. Although nonflammable, it is a powerful oxidizing agent that can cause spontaneous combustion when it comes in contact with organic material. Inhalation of household strength hydrogen peroxide (3%) can cause respiratory irritation (4).
Using vinegar and baking soda
You can use vinegar with baking soda too. When both the ingredients are mixed it results in a fizzing reaction which removes any tough stains left behind. For this, you’ll need ½ cup of vinegar and 1 tablespoon of baking soda. Add this in your pot, let it fizz for a few minutes. When the fizzing has ceased use a brush to gently scrub and rinse with water.
In this brief guide, we answered ‘how to clean a thermal coffee pot?’ Also, we have looked into why cleaning it is so difficult and some easy ways to remove stubborn coffee stains.
- Mussatto, Solange I., et al. Extraction of antioxidant phenolic compounds from spent coffee grounds. Sep Purif Technol, 2011, 83, 173-179.
- Bondi, Cara AM, et al. Human and environmental toxicity of sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS): evidence for safe use in household cleaning products. Environ health insights, 2015, 9, EHI-S31765
- Wang, Zhen, et al. Critical review and probabilistic health hazard assessment of cleaning product ingredients in all-purpose cleaners, dish care products, and laundry care products. Environ inter, 2019, 125, 399-417
- ToxFAQsTM for Hydrogen Peroxide. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. July 27, 2015.
- Sabharwal, Jyotie. Health issues and environmental impact of cleaning agents. Int J Novel Res Life Sci, 2015, 2, 31-38.