clean inside of thermal coffee pot


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Are you looking for a way to clean your thermal coffee pot the easy way? I sure was. And I tried all kinds of different methods, some of which didn’t really work at all and some that kind of sort of did the trick. None of them were anywhere near as effective and easy as the method I want to share with you today.

We opted for a coffee maker with a thermal carafe for ease of use. Because one of us often gets up much earlier, having a coffee maker with an open glass container on a burner, doesn’t make sense. Thermal pots keep coffee warm for a longer time and since they have fairly tight fitting lids, air cannot get into the coffee and oxidize it.

The only drawback is that the thermal coffee carafe is more difficult to clean than a conventional tempered glass one.

When I first heard of this cleaning hack, I didn’t believe it would be any better than all the other things I had already tried. But I don’t give up easily and since it sounded so simple, I had nothing to lose.

pinterest image how to clean your thermal coffee pot without scrubbing


The simplest way to clean any coffee pot is of, course to just wash it with soapy water and a brush after each use. But this is real life. At our house, washing the coffee pot essentially consists of rinsing it. I know we are not alone!

Thermal coffee pots are more difficult to clean and many people resort to the rinse and go method, resulting in that pesky residue.

There are actually a couple of good reasons why this kind of pot is harder to clean and keep clean.

smaller opening at the top of the coffee pot

To conserve heat, nearly all thermal carafes have a much smaller opening at the top. And it does a great job with heat conservation, although the lid usually never comes off until the pot is empty.

Those smaller openings make getting to the inside of the pot much harder. Who wants to get their hand stuck? While it’s easy to reach into a glass pot to wash it out with a soapy dishcloth, getting inside a thermal pot is often impossible. Even brushes are tricky because they lack the proper design to reach every angle.

different material inside the thermal pot

Another significant difference that makes thermal coffee pots a little harder to clean is that they are lined with a metal surface. Not nearly as smooth, this surface material hangs on to coffee residue in ways that glass cannot. Coffee also contains oils that bond the particles to this surface, making it harder to rinse off.

Even though we rinse it out daily, after a while it still winds up looking like this:

image of inside of coffee pot with brown residue

cleaning methods that didn’t work well

Cleaning is not one of my favorite things to do. Having clean stuff, however, is important. When it comes to any cleaning chore, no matter how large or small, getting the best result with the least effort is pretty much always my main goal.

Through the years I tried several different ways to clean a thermal coffee pot, including:

  • scrubbing with baking soda and dish soap
  • sprinkling the inside of the pot with baking powder, letting it sit and scrubbing with a metal scrub brush
  • using other scrubbing agents like bon ami and bar keepers friend

Don’t’ waste your time on any of those methods! Each is much more labor-intensive than the one I am about to show you and none will yield nearly as good of a result!

Before we go on to cleaning your thermal coffee pot, I have to tell you all about my FREE Resource Library. It is filled with many more useful cleaning tips, printable recipes, even cute labels to use for your own homemade cleaning recipes. Just sign up here and the password is on its way to your inbox!

* This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase by clicking on an affiliate link, I may earn a small commission at absolutely no additional cost to you. You can view my complete affiliate link policy HERE.


When I first heard about this method, I was justifiably skeptical, because it sounded way too easy. You might feel the same as I did when you read this post. After all, I had seemingly tried it all and the results were never as good as I had anticipated. But low and behold it worked every bit as well as promised.

I have to confess, I was elated and a little bummed at the same time. Elated, because I finally found a way to really clean it and make it look like new without hardly lifting a finger, bummed because I didn’t know this much sooner. So what is the magic tool that makes the inside of your thermal coffee pot sparkle like new without all of the scrubbing?

Well, here it is! The humble dishwasher tablet.

Yep. Who’d have thunk it?


The process is super simple.

Take one dishwasher tablet and put it in the empty coffee pot. Fill the pot with boiling water. This is important. The water needs to be boiling hot. I tried the same method with hot water and it didn’t work nearly as well.

coffee pot with dishwasher packet at the bottom

You can see how the dishwashing detergent begins to dissolve almost immediately.

coffee pot with boiling water and dishwasher detergent

Set a timer for 30 minutes to allow the dishwasher tablet to do its magic. After waiting the proper amount of time, pour out the cleaning liquid. See how much of the residue is dissolved into the water? Like a super weak cup of coffee.

coffee pot and small cup with dirty liquid

Here is the final result after pouring off the cleaning liquid followed by a good rinse with clean water.

Remarkable, don’t you agree? Depending on how stubborn the residue is, you may have to use a brush to loosen up some stuck areas, but they come right off and rinse out beautifully. It couldn’t be any easier! Doesn’t it look like new?

Now, you may wonder if this works equally well with all kinds of dishwasher tablets. From my experience, I can answer that with a yes. It also works with powdered dishwasher detergent. Just use the same amount to clean the thermal coffee pot that you would use for a load in the dishwasher.

I have not tried this method with liquid dishwashing detergent. If you do and it works well, please let me know in the comments!

Always curious, I put an alternative recipe for “emergency dishwasher detergent” to the test to see what would happen. That recipe consisted of a mixture of baking soda, dishwashing liquid, and salt. It did not work at all. I will stick with my detergent.

But I am happy to report that I had the same outstanding results with gentler dye-free versions of detergent from my local Trader Joe’s.

So here is one more before and after shot to demonstrate just how well this scrub free cleaning method works.

Before and after pictures of thermal coffee pot

Pretty amazing, right? Turns out just like new every single time.

And that is how you clean a thermal coffee pot without scrubbing!

For some of my other helpful cleaning tips, be sure to check out these posts.




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  1. Marlies Martin

    Omg. Who knew? It me and I’m old!! Thanks!! Love this little blog of yours!! It plays a big role in my life!! Marlies

    1. WittyGrittyGirl

      No more coffee pot scrubbing:) Not missing that chore! Thank you for your support and keep spreading the word!

  2. Many years ago while working in restaurants …we used to clean our glass coffee pots with a small bit of vinigar, salt and add in a few pennies…swish around for a minute or so and you have a shiny clean pot…..I am wondering if this method would work on these pots…..

    1. I remember doing that when I worked at a restaurant – forgot all about that! If you do it every day, it would probably work. Glass is easier to clean because it is a smooth surface. It’s the combination of the slightly rougher metal surface and the oils that makes it more challenging to clean.

  3. I used liquid dishwasher liquid and boiling water in a heavily stained Mr. Coffee thermal pot. It works perfectly! It took two tries to completely remove all the black residue, but it is amazing. Thank you!

    1. I have not tried that. But it is a good option if you don’t have the dishwasher detergent on hand. How much did you use? I like that the dishwasher tabs clean everything on the first try.

  4. I can’t believe it but you were right. I had tried a multitude of things like you but they were fruitless. Your method, not only EASY, worked! My thermal decanter/pot hadn’t been cleaned in years and had an enormous amount of residue. This method got almost all of it out, except a couple of really tough spots. I am very pleased 🙂
    Thank you!

  5. What works for me is hot water (doesn’t have to be boiling) and a half scoop of Oxygenated laundry powder. Leave it in the sink overnight (the stuff foams up and out). Then clean it with liquid dish soap – like new

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