How To Easily Clean A Cuisinart Coffee Maker – BaristaHQ

Looking to get the most from your Cuisinart coffee maker? Then it's really important you clean and maintain it properly. 

Cuisinart coffee makers are some of the best on the market, but if you don't clean them correctly then they can stop working properly, or even make your coffee hazardous to drink. 

In this guide we'll show you how to properly clean Cuisinart coffee makers, and give you useful tips on getting the most from your machine.

If you don’t regularly carry out a cleaning cycle on your coffee pot, you may need to replace the machine sooner than its standard lifespan. 

Apart from that, coffee reservoirs can contain coliform bacteria. This bacteria grows in warm moist environments, and dirty coffee makers encourage their growth. Nobody wants to get sick from drinking coffee, right?  

To avoid this, follow the steps below to clean a Cuisinart coffee machine, and choose which instruction fits your device.  

Cuisinart Coffee Maker with coffees

1. Using The Auto Clean Button 

Thanks to its self-cleaning function, if you have a programmable Cuisinart coffee maker, the self clean process will be easy.[1] Here's how you can do it:  

  • 1
    Before deep cleaning your coffee maker, make sure you replace the water filter. First, remove the old one from the water reservoir and dispose of it. Then, place the new charcoal filter in a bowl filled with water, and soak it for 15 to 20 minutes.  
  • 2
    Mix 2 cups of warm water and 1 cup white vinegar to make a water/vinegar solution and fill the water reservoir with this solution.  
  • 3
    Put together the decanter as you usually would when doing a brewing cycle. Then, insert a clean filter in your coffee filter basket.  
  • 4
    Press the self-clean button and allow your Cuisinart coffee maker to do a cleaning cycle. One thing you should note is that the self-cleaning process takes longer than brewing, but don't press the self-clean button more than once.  
  • 5
    Once the process is completed, discard the hot water and allow the decanter to cool down before filling it with cold water. Then, remove the used water filter.  
  • 6
    After you fill it with cold water, assemble the decanter again to run another cleaning process.  
  • 7
    Lastly, add the new charcoal filter to the water reservoir. Be sure to rinse it again with cold water and let it dry for a couple of minutes before you put it back into the machine.  

Other Tips: 

  • Apart from the deep clean procedure, it would be best if you also wiped clean the area around the coffee filter to keep the basket free from any residue.  
  • Using a damp cloth, wipe the body of the machine as well to remove any coffee stains. For any tough stains you can use a white vinegar solution, or baking soda. 

2. Cleaning A Cuisinart Single Serve Brewer Manually 

If you are using the convenient single-serve Cuisinart maker, you’ll need to manually clean your machine since it doesn’t have a self-cleaning feature. Here’s how:  

  • 1
    Inspect the nozzle and see if there is any calcium build-up. If there is, pour a vinegar/water solution into the coffee maker. To create the solution, mix 1 to 2 cups of vinegar with 2 to 3 cups of water.  
  • 2
    Without using a charcoal filter, run the brewing cycle. The vinegar solution will decalcify the nozzle, allowing clean and proper flow.  
  • 3
    Once the brewing process has ended (usually about 30 minutes), thoroughly rinse the parts of the machine before adding in coffee grounds or running a brew cycle.

Other Tips: 

  • Don’t forget to clean the outside of your Cuisinart machine when you clean its inside. Just use a damp cloth or sponge to wipe the exterior of your machine clean.  
  • Check the basket area and make sure to wipe it clean using a damp cloth to scrub it with soapy water and sponge if there is coffee build-up.  

3. Cleaning A Grind And Brew Coffee Maker 

Grind and Brew coffee machines have more parts that require cleaning. But don’t worry; the process isn’t too complicated. Just follow the steps below to keep your machine clean:  

  • 1
    Ensure that your coffee maker is turned off. Remove the grinder, filter baskets, and water tank from the machine.  
  • 2
    Remove the parts and scrub them well using a soft sponge with soapy water. Rinse them with cold water and pat dry with a clean cloth.  
  • 3
    Using a damp cloth, clean the exterior. Make sure to check the basket area and clean sticky leftover grounds. Wipe again to remove any coffee stains.  
  • 4
    Fill the decanter with a water/vinegar solution composed of 1 cup vinegar and 2 cups of filtered water. Then, reassemble the decanter.  
  • 5
    Turn on the coffee maker and start a cleaning process. 
  • 6
    Once done, turn it off and discard the hot water. Then, let the decanter cool down to room temperature.
  • 7
    Lastly, fill it up with cold water and let it go through another cleaning process. Discard the water again, and you now have a clean Cuisinart coffee maker.  

How Often Should I Clean My Cuisinart Coffee Machine?

The difficulty and frequency of cleaning your Cuisinart coffee maker largely depend on the quality of water and how much coffee you make.

Most Cuisinart coffee machine models come with a self-cleaning feature. This means the coffee machine itself will let you know when to clean it as the self-clean light will start flashing on the front of your coffee maker. 

Therefore, you'll easily know when it's time to clean your Cuisinart coffee maker with the self clean functionality. 

However, if you don’t own a self-cleaning Cuisinart coffee machine, it is best to complete a descale and cleaning cycle on your machine every 3 to 6 months. However, there are a few factors which influence this cleaning cycle frequency:

How Hard Your Water Is - If you have hard water you must carry out a cleaning cycle on your electric coffee maker more often. This is because the hard water can cause a mineral buildup because of the calcium levels in the water. This mineral buildup can damage the internal mechanism and cause germs and bacteria to spread.

How Often You Use It - If you only use your Cuisinart coffee pot once or twice a week you won't need to do a cleaning cycle as often. Remember, how often you clean the interior of your Cuisinart coffee machine largely depends on how frequently you use it.

Man Pouring Brew From Cuisinart Coffee Maker

How To Clean The Removable Parts of Cuisinart Coffee Makers? 

Some Cuisinart coffee maker models have more parts than the others, such as a Grind and Brew machine. This often requires more steps to clean everything. Here are some tips for cleaning the removal parts of Cuisinart machines: 

  • Coffee ground basket/single-serve holder
    Wash it with warm soapy water. While the water filter basket is dishwasher safe, it is generally safer to wash it by hand. Complete dry the filter basket with a towel before putting it back in the machine. 
Cuisinart coffee ground basket
  • Water filter
    Soak the filter in water./vinegar solution composed of 1 cup of vinegar and 2 cups of filtered water. Ideally, you can soak the charcoal water filter overnight to clean it thoroughly. After that, rinse it with water, and your charcoal water filter should be clean. 
  • Heating Plate
    Some Cuisinart coffee maker table top models have a heating plate to keep your coffee warm. These heating plates can't be washed in the dishwasher, but you can use a damp sponge to wipe them down. If you have any tough stains from the coffee grounds then you should use a white vinegar solution mix, or baking soda. Try to avoid harsh cleaning liquids which can damage the heating plate.
  • Drip Tray
    Remove the cup tray and dispose of any water in it. Rinse it out with water to remove any residue from the tray. Wash it with soapy water and use baking soda if there are tough stains. Then completely dry the tray before putting it back to the machine.

Important reminder: Do not put any wet parts into your Cuisinart coffee maker as it could cause electrical damage to you or the machine.  

14 Vs 12 Cup Models: Is There A Difference When Cleaning Them? 

Cuisinart 12 and 14 cup coffee makers are two of the most bought models from this brand. However, the number of cups they produced isn’t just their distinction.

There are many types of 14, and 12 cup models, and their cleaning process depends on the type of the machine.  

For example, if programmable 12 and 14 cup coffee makers, you just need to follow the Auto Clean Button instructions mentioned above.

If it includes a single-serve machine, you need to add the single-serve coffee maker cleaning process above. 

Lastly, if it’s a Grind and Brew 12 and 14 cup model, simply follow the cleaning instructions for this machine discussed above.  

My Cuisinart Coffee Maker Self Clean Light Won’t Go Off (What To Do?)

So after cleaning your machine thoroughly and ensuring that there is no residue left in it, the clean light is still on. It can be frustrating, especially when you've followed all the steps but still ended up with the clean light on. Don't be annoyed; there’s a solution to this.  

The main reason why the light won’t turn off is that you haven’t fully completed the clean cycle. The machine requires you to go through all the cleaning steps, and terminating it early may cause this problem.

If you have a Cuisinart SS series, just press the  8oz and 6oz buttons at the same time to dispense water. 

This is the most common fix, and this works because it flushes all the water through the machine, removing any leftover vinegar or gunk inside the coffee maker.

This fix has helped many users but if you find that your Cuisinart coffee maker's clean light is still on, it is best to contact Cuisinart support so they can address the issue and find out what’s causing it.  

Cuisinart Coffee Machine Brand (Overview & Benefits)

Cuisinart is one of the most popular coffee maker brands, offering a variety of choices, from budget to luxury machines with all the latest features.[2

Some even come with built-in genders and easy single-serve brewing cycle options, so you won’t have trouble finding the best set of features that will suit your coffee needs.  

One thing that makes Cuisinart a go-to brand for most coffee lovers is that they live up to the brand’s high-quality reputation of making reliable appliances with excellent functionality. 

They have outstanding dependability and build quality, with many users saying that their brewers still run perfectly even after years of purchase. But to achieve this longevity, users must know how to properly care and clean a Cuisinart coffee maker.  

Cuisinart Coffee Maker Cleaning FAQs

How do I descale my Cuisinart coffee maker? 

You can descale your Cuisinart coffee maker by filling the water tank with a water/vinegar mixture (1:2 vinegar and water ratio). Then, run a preparation cycle and rinse the pitcher and filter basket. Next, fill the water reservoir with filtered water and run another brew cycle.  

How much vinegar do you use to clean a Cuisinart coffee maker? 

It depends, but it’s usually a 1:2 vinegar and water ration or 1 cup of vinegar to two cups of water.  

Why is the clean light blinking on my Cuisinart coffee maker? 

Your clean light will blink if the coffee maker requires cleaning. If it still flashes while on, it means that there is calcium build-up, which can interfere with the function of your coffee maker and the coffee flavor.  


Your Cuisinart coffee maker can give you great tasting coffee for years - but only if you get into a habit of regular cleaning.

The good news is that it's an easy process and won't take too much time, especially if you have a model with the self clean function. 

Hopefully this guide has shown you how to clean your coffee machine and you now feel comfortable doing it yourself at home.




Kim Fernandez

Kim Fernandez

Kim Fernandez is a freelance writer whose love for coffee goes beyond just drinking it--she enjoys writing about it too. When she's not writing, you'll find her sitting in a cafe, reading a book while drinking a freshly brewed cup of joe.

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