How To Clean Chemex Coffee Maker (Best Methods Explained)

Love drinking coffee? If so, you've likely got a Chemex at home. While they're a fantastic way to brew delicious coffee, there’s nothing worse than dealing with stains and marks from a dirty Chemex.  

If you've scrubbed and tried different methods without any luck, we're here to help. In this guide, we'll provide you with tips on how to clean a Chemex and more.  

While there’s nothing quite like a Chemex for brewing delicious coffee, its unique shape does make it difficult to clean. Here are some methods on how to go about cleaning your Chemex.  

1. Soap And Water Cleaning 

What’s required:  

  • A soft-bristled brush / bottle brush 
  • Dish soap 
  • Warm water 

Cleaning steps:

  • 1
    Take a soft-bristled brush/ bottle brush and dip it in some unscented dish soap and warm water. 
  • 2
    Proceed to scrub all of the internal walls and corners in your Chemex. Make sure that you’re getting every crevice, and don’t miss any spots. 
  • 3
    Rinse thoroughly with warm water before allowing it to dry. It's essential to make sure that you've rinsed your Chemex properly, or you run the risk of having some soapy flavors in your next coffee batch. 

It's recommended that you do this hot water and soap cleaning so every time you've used your Chemex to avoid any bacteria build-up and to keep your Chemex coffee brewer clean.  

2. Hot Rinse Cleaning 

What’s required:  

  • A kettle 

Cleaning steps:

  • 1
    This method is a tad simpler and only requires a kettle for you to boil some water. 
  • 2
    Once you’ve gone ahead and boiled your water, proceed to pour hot water into the Chemex. 
  • 3
    Swirl your Chemex around (making sure to hit every nook and cranny) before disposing of the hot water. 
  • 4
    The hot water won’t assist with any sanitization, but it will help to flush out old coffee. 

If you're looking to just make sure that your next batch of great tasting coffee isn't tainted, this is the method for you. If you're looking to ensure that your Chemex is pristine, however, it’s not the best method.  

3. Cold Rinse Cleaning 

What’s required:  

  • A pint full of ice 
  • Two tablespoons of table salt  
  • About three drops of liquid dish soap 
  • Water 

Cleaning steps:

  • 1
    Make sure that you have no residual coffee in your Chemex. If there is, go ahead and flush out the old coffee with some water. 
  • 2
    Pour in the ice cubes followed by the salt and the liquid dish soap. 
  • 3
    Mix all of the ingredients above with a spoon. 
  • 4
    Fill the Chemex with water until it’s about a third full. 
  • 5
    Swirl for about a minute or two until you start to see froth. Swirling the mix will help to gently scrub any coffee oils or residue that might be on your Chemex. 
  • 6
     Once that's done, go ahead and rinse out the mixture with clean water and leave it to air dry. You can dry it with a paper towel if you wan't to get it done more quickly.  

The mixture of ice cubes, table salt, and liquid dish soap really helps to get rid of any stubborn coffee stains that might be in your Chemex.  

4. White Vinegar Flush Cleaning 

What’s required:  

  • 60ml of white vinegar 
  • Soap 
  • Water 

Cleaning steps:

  • 1
    Pour about 60ml of white vinegar cleaning solution into your Chemex and allow it to soak for about an hour. If you’d like, you can swirl the vinegar solution around your Chemex to ensure that it’s covered every spot. 
  • 2
    After an hour has passed, rinse your Chemex thoroughly with soap and water. 
  • 3
    Once you've thoroughly rinsed your Chemex, allow it to air dry upside down overnight. 

Even the best Chemex cleaning brush can't reach every inch of the glass carafe, so this deep cleaning method is especially effective as white vinegar is known to be excellent at cleaning. It's acidic (like lemon juice) so not only does it dissolve minerals and oil build-up with ease, but there's nothing else you need - just vinegar will do the trick!  

How To Clean Chemex Coffee Maker (Best Methods Explained)

Hand Washing Or Dishwasher: Can You Machine Wash A Chemex? 

If you’re not a fan of cleaning the dishes, then it's no problem, because a Chemex is dishwasher safe. 

All you’ve got to do is make sure that you’ve untied the leather strap and removed the wooden collar and wooden handle. Then, go ahead and place your Chemex glass carafe upside down and ensure that no other dishes are touching your Chemex.  

While you can place your Chemex in the dishwasher, it’s important to note that it can shorten the lifespan of your Chemex in the long run. This is because dishwashers can be hard on the delicate material of a Chemex, and it's possible that your Chemex could end up being cracked or scratched. This is the same for French press and some of the best coffee makers unfortunately, and can be inconvenient.

If your focus is keeping your Chemex pristine, we recommend proceeding with handwashing your Chemex with soap and water instead.  

modern kitchen dishwasher

How Often Should You Clean A Chemex Coffee Maker? 

If you’re someone that enjoys drinking delicious coffee and uses a Chemex daily, you should most definitely clean your Chemex daily. 

Of course, you won't need to deep clean your Chemex, but it's recommended to at least wash it with soap and water to avoid bacteria build-up when brewing coffee.  

Over time, however, oily coffee residue along with mineral deposits will start building up on your Chemex. If you don’t deep clean your Chemex, this would result in a change in the flavor of your coffee. If you'd like to avoid that, it's best to give your Chemex a deep clean at least once or twice a year 

Not sure when you should be cleaning your Chemex? If you’ve started to notice deposits around your Chemex, or something different about the coffee taste, then it’s time for a good clean. Otherwise, whenever the inside starts to become cloudy.  

dirty chemex ready for cleaning

Frequently Asked Chemex Cleaning Questions 

Why is my Chemex coffee cloudy? 

There could be a number of reasons why your Chemex coffee is cloudy. It could be either because the water that you’re using to filter your coffee isn’t fresh or your Chemex is dirty. Another alternative is that you’ve got some leftover residue from a previous drink.  

Can you clean a Chemex with baking soda? 

Yes, you can clean your Chemex with baking soda. You’ll go ahead and add about a tablespoon of baking soda to hot water. Make sure that you’re swirling it around before scrubbing it with a scrub brush. Then, give it a proper rinse and allow it to dry.  

Can you clean a Chemex with Oxi Clean? 

Yes, if you'd like, you can clean your Chemex with Oxi Clean. You'll go ahead and add Oxi Clean to your Chemex before filling your Chemex with hot water. Allow it to soak for about four hours or so before rinsing thoroughly.  

Can you clean a coffee maker with salt? 

As mentioned in one of our earlier methods, you can mix salt and ice water together to clean a coffee maker. After you’ve mixed salt and ice water together, rub it against the interior of the carafe to scrub off any grime. Then, rinse and wash your carafe as per usual.  

How to clean reusable chemex filters? 

You’ll go ahead and mix one part white vinegar with two parts cold water before soaking your filter in this mixture for about six hours. Then, rinse your filter before allowing it to dry. Make sure that you’re rinsing your filter every time you brew your coffee. It’s important not to let old coffee grounds or water sit in your filter.  

How do you clean a Chemex Ottomatic? 

The best way to clean your Chemex Ottomatic is with warm soap and water. However, if you'd like, you can also place it in the dishwasher as it's both BPA free and FDA approved. If you choose to place it in the dishwasher, make sure you remove both the wooden collar and rawhide.  


Coffee lovers and coffee enthusiasts appreciate a Chemex and thankfully, it's easy to clean. All you need is a Chemex cleaning brush, some soap, or some distilled white vinegar. Plus, they're even dishwasher safe! 

It's recommended that you give your Chemex a light clean after every use, and a deep clean every few months. This should keep it in great condition and give you a delicious cup of coffee every time. 

Karmy Widjaja


Karmy Widjaja
Karmy Widjaja, holding a degree in Hospitality Administration, combines her academic background with a profound passion for the world of coffee. Her work is enriched with a wealth of insights, not only about the art of coffee making but also about the broader aspects of the coffee industry. Her quest for coffee perfection is a central theme in her engaging articles, as she continues to explore the vibrant coffee scene in Perth. And when it's time for a coffee break? Karmy's all about a laid-back flat white with almond milk – it's her go-to for a tasty coffee kick.

My favorite drink? I'd go with... flat white with almond milk.

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