How to Clean a Warming Plate on a Coffee Maker?

A clean coffee maker equals a delicious cuppa every morning. It’s a pity hot water, burnt grounds, and your neglect can ruin a perfect machine in a few short months. While most coffee maker brands claim to use stainless steel, hot plate rust is still one of the most common kitchen issues. It looks horrible; it makes your coffee cool down too quickly and can ultimately ruin your coffee maker for good.

Luckily, there are plenty of ways to remove rust and make your coffee machine look and work great again. You can use DIY home remedies or professional cleaning products–both ways work wonders with a bit of elbow grease.

Before you put any of our solutions to use, unplug the machine, let the hot plate cool down, and use a towel or sponge to clean any remaining water or coffee grounds from the surface. You should also wear gloves, protective glass, and a mask, as most of these methods will have you working with chemicals.

How to Clean a Warming Plate

How to Remove Rust from Coffee Maker Hot Plate - 6 Ways

White Vinegar

The most affordable and straightforward way to get rid of rust is by soaking the hot plate with white vinegar. Pour it onto a rag or kitchen towel, lay it on the rusty parts, and let it rest for an hour. If any rust remains after you scrub the vinegar off, try one of the more efficient methods below.

In case homemade remedies don’t help, you should get your hands on a chemical rust remover, like Naval Jelly. It works wonders in under an hour as long as you use it on a clean and dry surface. As the product contains powerful chemicals, you should be extra careful when handling it and thoroughly wash the hot plate before turning the coffee maker back on.

Aluminum Foil

This method is perfect for loose rusty flakes growing on your hot plate, as it requires gentle scrubbing. You’ll need to scrunch up a strip of foil, wet it with water, and start scrubbing. You might need to moisten the foil again or discard the pieces that get dirty. Don’t try rubbing too hard, or you might damage the hot plate surface too much.

Oxalic Acid

This is another useful product to have at hand, as it removes rust, works as a bleach, and even wood stain remover. It looks like white powder and needs to be watered down before use. Mix one part of oxalic acid with nine parts of water, cover the warming plate with the mixture, and let it work its magic for around half an hour. Rinse the machine thoroughly after the rust is gone, and be extra careful not to let oxalic acid touch your skin or get in your eyes. It’s a powerful chemical, so a little goes a long way.

White Vinegar, Baking Soda, and Soap

In case vinegar isn’t enough to get rid of rust on its own, you can throw baking soda and soap into the mix. First, sprinkle soda on the hot plate, spread it around, and spray some vinegar on top of it until you see the bubbles start forming. Once the reaction is done, use a soapy sponge to scrub rust off. This process is more effective than using plain vinegar, but it’s also messier, so you might want to remove a hot plate before cleaning.

Coca Cola

Any soda drink containing orthophosphoric acid will do, but Coca Cola is a prime example. Thanks to its relatively high acidy, Cola works similar to vinegar or lemon juice. It reacts with rust particles and restores iron to its original form. It may take thirty minutes to an hour for Coca Cola to soak the plate and remove the rust, but at least it doesn’t have that pungent vinegar smell that will stay in your kitchen for days.

How to Remove Rust from Coffee

How to Keep Coffee Maker Hot Plate from Rusting?

Rusting happens when iron reacts with oxygen in the presence of water, and heat accelerates the process. Therefore, the only way to keep a clean warming plate free of rust is by minimizing its contact with moisture. It may sound boring, but wiping the hot plate after every brew cycle and removing the grounds to prevent dripping are two of the most efficient ways to prevent rust.

Sometimes, rust is unavoidable. For example, if you live in a humid climate or can’t convince your coworkers to wipe the hot plate after pouring a cuppa, you’re more likely to deal with rust. Luckily, you now know six ways to combat it.

How to Keep Coffee Maker

Do You Need to Paint a Coffee Maker Hot Plate?

Paint stands guard against oxygen and water, so it’s a good idea to paint the hot plate to prevent corrosion. However, you need to get rid of the rust first. Once the plate is clean, cool, and dry, you can apply a coat or two of paint. Just make sure it’s water, heat, and rust-resistant. Brands like Rust-Oleum offer a couple of options that should work great for a coffee machine warming plate.


There are plenty of efficient ways of cleaning coffee maker parts of rust, including home remedies and store-bought chemicals. However, preventing the issue from arising is your best bet to ensure the machine’s long life. Keep it dry and clean, restore the paint coat, and you won’t need to resort to rust removal.

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Renat Mamatazin

Renat Mamatkazin


Founder and owner of Lion Coffee and 3ChampsRoastery, 1st place winner of Ukrainian Barista Championship 2017. Interested in travelling, football and Formula-1 (besides coffee, of course).

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