How to Clean a Cuisinart Coffee Maker (Step by Step)

How to Clean a Cuisinart Coffee Maker

If you are a coffee lover, there is nothing better than the feeling of making your own coffee. And when you make your own coffee, there is no tool better than your Cuisinart coffee maker.

But, when you are a regular coffee drinker and use the coffee maker multiple times almost every day, you would need to ensure that the coffee maker is kept in its best working condition.

The only way to ensure that is to stick to a regular cleaning routine.

Read on to learn how to clean your Cuisinart coffee pot in only a few simple steps, using simple things available right at home.

Now that we know the two parts of cleaning the Coffee Maker, we can now break down these parts into how to descale and decalcify your Cuisinart coffee maker and then how to clean it with soap and water.

Let us look at the detailed steps in a part-wise and step-by-step manner.

Related: Make sure you know how to use your Cuisinart coffee maker by checking our guide on How to Use a Cuisinart Coffee Maker.

(Part 1) – Descaling and Decalcification Process Using Vinegar

The first part of the cleaning process involves decalcifying and descaling the coffee maker using a vinegar solution.

If you use your Cuisinart coffee maker at least twice or thrice a day, you will need to do this at least once a month. The reason is that your Cuisinart coffee makers will get calcium deposits on their inner surface due to increased usage.

This is due to the availability of calcium and magnesium salts in water which is also the cause of the hardness of the water.

So, this also depends largely on the hardness of the water.

If you do not use the coffee maker regularly, the mineral deposits would be less, and hence you can just do decalcification once in 6 months.

Depending on the tap water’s hardness, your cleaning frequency may increase or decrease.

If your Cuisinart has a Clean button, the button starts flashing if it needs decalcification.

However, it is always recommended to check the machine and the water reservoir from time to time.

One peculiar sign that the machine needs decalcification is the taste of the coffee. If your coffee tastes bitter even after adding the right portions of every other ingredient, it’s time to decalcify the machine.

The steps to carry out this cleaning operation are as follows:

Step 1: Empty the machine carafe and the grounds of excess coffee

If you see that there is any coffee remaining in the carafe, you may discard the coffee (no matter how tempted you feel to retain it).

Discard the coffee grounds and rinse the carafe with clean water. Once done, remove the basket from the coffee maker and throw away any paper filters or grounds.

Step 2: Use 1 part of Vinegar and 2 parts of water to fill the reservoir

In this step, you have to use vinegar to decalcify and descale your machine.

You have to mix enough proportion of vinegar along with regular tap water and make sure that the reservoir is full to its maximum capacity. While doing so, use the carafe to measure the solution and pour it into the water reservoir.

White Vinegar used to Clean Cuisinart Coffee Makers

But how do you know what is the exact measure of vinegar that you need to use? There is no exact amount, and it largely depends on the type and size of the coffee maker you use.

For standard size, 12-cup Cuisinart coffee makers like the Cuisinart DCC-1200 or Cuisinart DCC-3400P1, you would only need to use 4 cups of vinegar and about 8 cups of water so that the reservoir is fully filled.

You might need to mix a little more for the Cuisinart DCC-3200, which has a capacity of 14 cups.

Step 3: If your Cuisinart Coffee Maker has the Clean Button – Press it

The clean light will start glowing and that is when you would need to press it.

Press the On/Off button and start the cleaning cycle.

The clean light would continue to shine and that would mean that the machine is currently running in cleaning mode.

Upon finishing the cleaning cycle, the machine would beep 5 times before it turns off.

The Cleaning cycle takes longer than the normal brewing cycle as the machine pauses several times between the cups it prepares.

Step 4: If the Clean option is absent, run a normal brew cycle manually

Many variants of Cuisinart Coffee makers do not have the self-clean option. Hence with these machines, once the reservoir is full, you can simply turn on the machine and run a normal brew cycle.

For best results, turn off the coffee in the middle of such a brew cycle and allow it to sit for an hour, and then turn on the coffee maker one more time and let the brew cycle finish. This would ensure a deeper cleaning effect.

Step 5: Repeat the clean/brew cycle if the build-up remains

Usually, one cleaning cycle with the white vinegar and water mixture in the reservoir shall be enough to completely clean the machine.

If however, the coffee maker has been very dirty and not cleaned for quite some time, the mineral build-ups may still remain after one cleaning cycle. And, in that case, you may need to run a fresh brew cycle.

To ensure that the cleaning is complete, inspect the inside of the tank once the vinegar and water mixture is cooled. If you still see the build-ups, let the coffee maker cool down completely, then run a fresh brew cycle with a fresh mixture of water and white vinegar.

Step 6: Run a Cold Water Cycle to Rinse

After the cleaning cycle is completed throw away the white vinegar-water mixture and allow the coffee maker to cool down completely.

Then fill the reservoir with fresh running cold tap water and run a normal brew cycle with just the water.

Repeat this cycle a few times to ensure that all the vinegar is washed out from the coffee maker.

So, that covers Part 1 of cleaning the coffee machine, let us now look at Part 2

(Part 2) – Cleaning with Soap and Water

Now that the coffee machine is descaled and decalcified and all the mineral build-ups are cleaned from the insides of the tank, it is time to wash the rest of the machine completely.

To do this, all you need is a soap or detergent solution and of course water. The step by step instruction about how to do it is as below:

Step 1: Turn Off the Coffee Maker Unplug It from The Power Source

If your coffee machine has been in use until a few minutes back you will have to allow it to cool fully before you dismantle or remove the pieces to wash it.

Usually, your machines take up to 30 mins to cool fully once they are turned off and unplugged. Some may take longer and you may want to test it by touching its back gently.

Always ensure that the machine is plugged off from the power source before you start cleaning because not doing so can result in a nasty shock or damage to the heating system of the Cuisinart coffeemaker.

Step 2: Remove the Carafe and The Filter Basket

You can either lift or slide out the carafe from the coffee machine. Once done discard any coffee that may have remained in it and throw away any filters or grounds from it.

Some models that come with an inbuilt coffee grinder allow the basket to be taken out as well. You may remove that as well in this step.

Step 3: Wash the Removable Parts Using Warm, Soapy Water and Dry Them Fully

Now, in this step, it is all about simple cleaning of all removable parts of the coffee maker using a warm soap solution in the sink like you would wash your other usual dishes.

Ensure that you are not using any harsh cleansers or scouring material such as steel wool as it may damage the body of the coffee maker.

The best option is to use a sponge to soak the detachable parts and wash them thoroughly.

Once washed, it is time to dry them thoroughly. Let them dry completely in the air.

Step 4: Wipe the Rest of The Coffee Maker with A Damp Cloth Soaked in Soap Water

While the detachable parts are left to completely dry, wipe the rest of the coffee maker unit with a damp cloth to clean the Cuisinart coffee maker including the coffee filter basket.

Ensure that every part of the unit is thoroughly wiped with the cloth. Make sure that the stubborn stains are cleaned from the heating plate using the dishwashing soap and damp cloth and once done use plain water to rinse.

Step 5: Reassemble the Cuisinart Coffee Maker

Now it’s time to reassemble the unit. Reassemble the unit by putting the parts back to where they belong.

Replace the basket by either sliding the basket back in or re-inserting and put the carafe back on the heating plate. Then turn it on and test if it is functioning.

Video from Cuisinart showing how to clean a Cuisinart DCC-3200


As such, it is fair to say that cleaning your Cuisinart Coffee Maker is not a tough thing to do, provided you know the logical sequence of the required steps.

Make use of this comprehensive step-by-step coffee maker cleaning guide and you shall never miss a detail.

We suggest you consult your specific Cuisinart Coffee Maker’s user manual as well, to see any related specifics.

Happy Brewing!!

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