How to Clean Coffee Maker Hot Plate

Are you looking for a method that’s all of these: cheap, easy, safe, and effective? Not to mention all natural?

Let’s dive right into it:

Method 1: Baking Soda and Vinegar

baking soda and vinegar

It’s not surprising that baking soda and vinegar can remove coffee stains and rust from coffee maker hot plates. After all—they’re a popular combination for cleaning other kitchen items such as fridges and stovetops.

Here’s my favorite home method (Lexi even created a Youtube video above):

  1. Turn off and unplug your coffee maker to prevent injuries. Wait for the hot plate to cool down if it’s hot.
  2. Sprinkle a bit of baking soda over the hot plate. You don’t need much: I just add a bit more to areas with stains or rust.
  3. Pour enough vinegar over the baking soda until you see fizzling. This will dissolve the dirty spots!
  4. Wait a few minutes for the baking soda + vinegar to work their magic.
  5. Use an old toothbrush to scrub off the mixture. Don’t scrub too hard, but scrub a bit harder on the dirtiest areas.
  6. Repeat as needed. After some of my lazy periods where I don’t clean my coffee maker, I’ll repeat up to 3 times before I’m satisfied!
  7. Wipe off any remaining residue with a damp cloth.
  8. Last but not least: wait for the coffee maker and hot plate to dry off before using. If you’re in a rush, use a dry cloth to wipe off remaining moisture.
fizzling is the best sign for cleaning your hot plate

That’s all folks! It’s a simple and easy method. It’s safe too— especially for drip coffee makers which are not dishwasher safe.

You can clean most coffee makers’ hot plates with this method. If you have a metal hot plate though, the next method might work better for you.

Method 2: Sandpaper and High Heat Paint

This method works best for metal hot plates that are rusty or even peeling off. Here we’ll try to replace the hot plate’s coating, so that it’s more rust proof and heat resistant.

  1. Turn off and unplug your coffee maker to prevent injuries. Wait for the hot plate to cool down if it’s hot.
  2. Use sandpaper or a power sander to remove the old hot plate coating.
  3. Use warm water and dish soap to clean off remaining dust and dirt.
  4. Tape over the areas surrounding the hot plate so that you don’t accidentally paint them. I prefer masking or painter’s tape. Since it’s easy to put on and remove later.
  5. Repeat this process a few times: shake and spray high heat paint (like Rust-Oleum) onto the hot plate. Wait for the paint to dry (about 15 minutes) before spraying the next layer.
  6. Let the coffee maker and hot plate sit for a few days.
  7. Remove the tape and enjoy your refurbished, fully clean hot plate!

Other Good Options

Dish Soap

You might be able to replace method 1 above with just dish soap and water. Then maybe scrubbing with a sponge instead of a brush.

Coca Cola

Some people suggest soaking your coffee maker hot plate in Coke! Then using the old toothbrush like in method 1 to brush off the mixture, dirt, and rust.

Citric Acid

Instead of Coke—mix a tablespoon of citric acid with a cup of water. Then soak the hot plate for a few minutes. And brush off the solution.

What I Would Avoid

Some people suggest using oxalic acid. I would definitely avoid it though!

Why? It’s a strong chemical that can irritate your eyes and skin. You should use gloves, googles, and a mask when handling it.

I just don’t trust oxalic acid nearby my kitchen or food/drink accessories. While there’s no doubt it can remove dirt and rust from coffee maker hot plates, it’s just not worth the risk to me.

Why You Should Clean Your Coffee Maker Hot Plate

The hot plate is important for these 3 main reasons:

  1. Keeping several cups of coffee warm over several hours
  2. Preventing burnt smell and taste
  3. Preventing damage to your coffee maker

I love to share coffee with my family throughout the morning. From say around 8am to 12pm. This means we rely on our coffee maker’s hot plate to keep the coffee hot and fresh.

Whenever we put off cleaning the hot plate, we get coffee that doesn’t stay hot! Sometimes there’s even a burning smell around the coffee maker.

lots of dirty coffee on brush

The coffee stains and rust make my coffee maker look awful too.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How often should I clean my coffee maker hot plate?

Every few months is ideal. Prevent your coffee maker from getting dirty and ruining your coffee quality. Make it part of your descaling and deep cleaning process!

How can I clean my coffee maker’s glass carafe or pot?

Use a mixture of equal parts water and white vinegar. Let the mixture soak in the carafe for around 30 minutes. Then rinse with water, wipe, and dry.

How can I prevent rust on my coffee maker plate?

Try wiping your coffee maker hot plate after you’re finished brewing and the hot plate has cooled down. Use a damp cloth and optionally a bit of vinegar.

Is there a best way to clean my coffee maker hot plate?

I suggest just wiping with a damp cloth every time you’re done brewing coffee. 

Chances are if you’re reading this article though, you’ve tried that and using dish soap. That’s why we started off with the baking soda and vinegar method!

Bryan Han

By day, Bryan is a software engineer with experience at startups and top software companies. By night, he runs and writes for My Kitchen Sensei. Bryan is especially proud of his cheap excursions to cheap Michelin rated restaurants throughout Asia and in Hong Kong during his exchange there. His favorites include nitro-cold brew coffee and steak.

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