Cleaning Obsessed,  How To

How To Clean An Old Percolator

I’m an avid coffee lover so when I find vintage pots, I like to grab them. 9 times out of 10 they’re in working condition which is an overall plus! The fact that they need to be cleaned doesn’t bother me. Recently I sold a percolator on Etsy. I know from experience that collectors like to purchase items in ‘as in’ condition so I barely cleaned that one out. But I always put that in the description along with photos. Apparently the woman who purchased the item was not thrilled with the ‘used’ condition. I’m not sure exactly what she thought she was buying but there’s no reason for me not to take it back, I’ll use it. Here’s how to clean an old percolator out if you’re buying ‘used’.

how to clean a percolator

Run water through it first just to make sure everything is working fine. The hot water will loosen any grime and make it easier to scrub with soap and water when you clean it out. I always use:

  • dawn dish soap
  • a sponge with a soft side and a scrubby side ( don’t use harsh scouring pads because they tend to scratch )
  • baking soda
  • white vinegar
  • q-tips for those tiny, hard to clean spots


Anything in vintage condition is going to take at least a few times to clean. I normally never stress because most all things come to a satisfied clean where you can use it again. Allow me to note that this photo above is the exact photo I put in the listing and I personally do not think it is in dirty condition. It’s actually so much cleaner than what it was.

Coffee stains. Baking soda whitens. It’s a very simple process. Taking the time to clean things is the hardest part. If you don’t have the patience then buy new.

After running water through it and cleaning with soap and water, fill the percolator with water (to the line) and pour in a little less than 1/2 cup of baking soda. Put the lid on and place a small amount of baking soda into the filter basket. Close the lid and plug it in.

When it is finished let it sit for a few minutes before dumping the water out. You should see a dramatic difference after this. Simply wipe it with the sponge when you do rinse out.

Now fill half water and half vinegar. Plug in and let it steam. Rinse and use the q-tips to wipe any hard to clean areas. It’s now ready to use.

Baking soda and vinegar should clean it enough for you to enjoy your coffee. I have had things that still smell old after cleaning them and I just don’t use for food or drinks. There’s some things that have had their use and are expired!! But for the things that can be cleaned, baking soda and vinegar will do the trick.


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