How to Clean a Coffee Carafe

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Things You'll Need

  • Cold and hot water

  • Bottle brush and/or dish brush

  • Sponge

  • Soft cloth

  • Plus one or more of these items:

  • Dish soap

  • White vinegar

  • Baking soda

  • Ice cubes or crushed ice

  • Lemons or lemon juice

  • Kosher salt

  • Denture tablets


Everyone has an opinion about which method is best for cleaning coffee carafes. Some methods work better for glass carafes and some are best for thermal carafes; most work well on both types of carafes. This article will look at different ways to remove the residue, oils, grounds, mineral deposits and other coffee-related substances that build up in and on coffee carafes. Buying special products to clean either a glass or a thermal coffee carafe is seldom necessary. The simplest methods for cleaning carafes use household products that most people have in their homes.

Step 1

Clean carafes frequently

Rinse the carafe and then fill it with warm water. This should be done after every pot of coffee.

Step 2

Any dish soap will do

Squeeze some of your favorite grease-cutting liquid dish soap.

Step 3

The coffee maker needs cleaning too

Soak the carafe filled with soap and water for a few minutes while you wipe off the coffee maker itself.

Step 4

Use a soft sponge

Wash the inside and outside of the carafe with a sponge or soft cloth. Don't forget to wash the bottom of the carafe and the carafe's lid if there is one.

Step 5


Rinse well, then rinse again, so your next cup of coffee will not taste like soap.

Step 6

Avoid towel lint

Air dry the carafe to avoid towel lint sticking to the inside and showing up in your morning coffee.

Step 7

White vinegar and baking soda

Fill the coffee carafe with water and one-third of a cup of white vinegar. This method lets you clean both the carafe and the coffee maker at the same time.

Step 8

Cleaning with vinegar

Pour the vinegar and water solution into your coffee maker, and turn the machine on as if you were brewing coffee. This will allow the vinegar and water solution to drip into the carafe.

Step 9

Clean your carafe often

After the coffee-making cycle is complete and the vinegar water has filled the carafe, let it soak for about fifteen minutes.

Step 10

Discard the vinegar solution and rinse the carafe.

Step 11

Thermal carafe

Pour plain water into the coffee maker and run the machine through two more cycles to be sure you get rid of any vinegar flavor.

Step 12

Versatile baking soda

Fill the carafe with warm water plus a teaspoon of baking soda and let that soak for a few minutes before thoroughly rinsing the carafe. This will get rid of the taste and smell of vinegar.

Step 13

Air dry the carafe.

Step 14

Fresh lemons

Squeeze a lemon or pour lemon juice into the carafe. This method calls for lemons or lemon juice, kosher salt, and ice cubes or, even better, crushed ice.

Step 15

Kosher Salt scrub

Add two to three tablespoons of coarse or Kosher salt.

Step 16

Ice cubes or crushed ice

Put a handful or two of ice cubes or crushed ice into the carafe.

Step 17

Swirling action

Swirl the the combination of ice, salt, and lemon in the carafe. This vigorous action works with the lemon, ice and abrasive salt to scrub away even the most stubborn coffee stains.

Step 18

Rinse with warm water

Rinse the carafe with warm water. Boiling hot water is fine for rinsing or soaking a thermal carafe, but hot water is not advisable for rinsing a glass carafe. Using cool or tepid water to rinse the glass carafe is safer, especially after the lemon, salt, and ice cleansing.

Step 19

Air dry the carafe.

Step 20

Start with warm water

Fill the carafe with warm water.

Step 21

Denture tablets

Drop one or two anti-bacterial denture cleaning tablets into your carafe and allow the solution to soak for fifteen minutes. Denture cleaning tablets or even a product like Alka Seltzer can provide one of the quickest methods for cleaning a carafe.

Step 22

Dish and bottle brushes

Scrub the inside of the carafe with a dish brush or, if this is a thermal carafe with a narrow opening, use a bottle brush. The denture tablet method is especially effective when you are trying to clean a carafe that has a narrow opening because the denture solution erodes the coffee residue you are unable to see.

Step 23

Soapy sponge

Wash the inside and outside of the carafe with warm water and a little soap.

Step 24

Rinse well to remove any soap remaining in the carafe.

Step 25

Carafe collection

Air dry the carafe.

Coffee carafes really do need to be cleaned on a regular basis. You will be delighted by how much more delicious your coffee tastes when it is brewed in and served from a thoroughly clean carafe.


Carafes are not easy to replace, especially if you have an older coffee maker, and, because they are not usually interchangeable. If your glass carafe breaks, you will have to buy a replacement from the manufacturer. Purchasing a new carafe and having it shipped can be expensive. Consider buying a thermal carafe next time. Thermal carafes or stainless steel carafes are more durable and can't shatter when dropped, bumped, or handled imperfectly. However, thermal coffee carafes are a little more difficult to clean, are not dishwasher-safe, and they might require special cleaners.


Glass carafes are fragile, so, whichever cleaning method you choose, be very careful not to break the carafe. The glass is thin, and, when broken, can create very sharp shards that may cause deep cuts, especially if the carafe breaks while you are washing it.

Maura Wolf

Maura Wolf's published online articles focus on women, children, parenting, non-traditional families, companion animals and mental health. A licensed psychotherapist since 2000, Wolf counsels individuals struggling with depression, anxiety, body image, parenting, aging and LGBTQ issues. Wolf has two Master of Arts degrees: in English, from San Francisco State University and in clinical psychology, from New College.