How to Clean a Cuisinart Coffee Maker – STEP BY STEP

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In this article I cover, in step by step detail, how to clean a Cuisinart coffee maker.  Over time, calcium deposits start to build up inside coffee maker.  It is therefore important to remove this build up by descaling your Cuisinart coffee maker.  

Also included, are step by step instructions on how to replace the charcoal water filter.  (Remember to remove the water charcoal filter BEFORE going through the self clean process.) 

This cleaning method can be carried out on most of the Cuisinart coffee maker models (although do check the manual for instructions specific to your model) including but not limited to the following: 

  • DCC-500 12 Cup Programmable Coffee Maker
  • DCC-1200 Brew Central 12 Cup Programmable Coffee Maker
  • DDC-2800 PerfecTemp 14 Cup Programmable Coffee Maker 
How to clean your Cuisinart coffee maker:​

How often should I clean my Cuisinart coffee maker?

Luckily, your Cuisinart ‘on demand’ coffee maker will let you know when it is time to give it a thorough clean internally.  This is indicated by the flashing self clean light on the front of the machine.  If you do not have a ‘self clean’ button then Cuisinart recommend that you decalcify your coffee maker every 3 – 6 months.

In areas that are supplied with hard water, calcium can build up more quickly, than in areas that are supplied with soft water.  (If you’re not sure which you have, take a look inside your kettle.  If you see white deposits then it is more than likely calcium, and or other minerals, and you have hard water.)

How often your coffee maker needs cleaning also depends on how often you use it.  It stands to reason that the less you use your machine, the less often you will need to clean it.

Not cleaning the coffee maker could mean that it’s lifespan is reduced.  Not only that but your coffee will not taste as good as it should.  

How are coffee stains removed from teeth?

Coffee reservoirs, according to a study conducted by NSF (an independent health organization) were found to be one of the top 10 places to harbour Coliform bacteria.  The bacteria flourishes due to the warm and moist environment provided by a coffee maker.  So, that being said, continue reading below for your Cuisinart coffer maker self clean instructions.  

How to clean your Cuisinart coffee maker:

How to use the clean button on your Cuisinart coffee maker (self clean instructions):

Step 1: Remove charcoal water filter

Before starting the cleaning process, you will need to remove the charcoal water filter from your coffee maker.  (If you are unsure of how to do this, please see further in this article where I explain how to remove and replace the water filter.)

Step 2: Make vinegar solution

Mix together 1/3 white vinegar and 2/3 water.  This should be enough to fill your water reservoir.

Step 3: Pour the mix into the reservoir

Once you have made the vinegar solution, empty it into the water reservoir. 

Step 4: Start the self clean process

Start the cleaning cycle by pressing the self clean button.  

Step 5: When illuminated, turn on the coffee maker

Once the self clean button is illuminated, you can go ahead and turn the coffee makerswitch to the ‘ON’ position.

Step 6: The maker will now be in self-cleaning mode

You will know if this is working correctly as the self clean light will stay on but not flash.  The Cuisinart coffee makerwill beep five times and then turn off once the cleaning cycle is complete.  

Note:  Although this should be enough to decalcify your coffee maker, you may need to do another cleaning cycle .  If you turn your coffee maker on again and the self clean light is still flashing, simply repeat the steps above.   

Step 7: Run the coffee maker with cold water for one cycle

And it’s as easy as that!  It may be a good idea to wipe down any condensation that may have formed in the machine after using the vinegar/water solution.  This will prevent your coffee from having a faint taste of vinegar. 

cuisinart coffee maker cleaning instructions 12-cup

How to clean a Cuisinart coffee maker without the clean button

How do I clean my Cuisinart coffee maker without the clean button?

Some Cuisinart coffee makers, such as the DCC-1000 Filter Brew 12-Cup Coffeemaker, do not have a ‘clean’ button.  In that case, simply run the coffee maker as you would if you were brewing a pot of water*, with one exception.  Instead of using plain water, you will need to use the same ratio of water to vinegar as mentioned above.  This should be placed in the water reservoir.  

Once the cycle is complete, throw out the vinegar-water mix and run the cycle again using plain water this time.  There should now be no traces of vinegar left.  

*Remember to remove the charcoal water filter (instructions below) BEFORE cleaning the coffee maker with the vinegar-water mix.  

Related article:

How often do I need to change Cuisinart coffee maker water filters?

Cuisinart recommend that you change the water filter every 2 months or after 60 uses.  This may need to be more often if you live in an area where your mains water supply provides hard water.  

Not only that but once saturated, the charcoal filters cannot remove chlorine and other chemicals from tap water.  This will ultimately result in poor tasting coffee.

Looking for replacement water filters?

Charcoal water filters can be conveniently bought from Amazon.  The advantage of these particular filters is that they will fit both the old and newer models of Cuisineart coffee makers.  

Follow the steps below to change your filters.

How do I clean my Cuisinart 12 cup coffee maker?

How to replace Cuisinart water filters

Step 1: Remove the water filter holder

Open the lid of your coffee maker and locate the water filter holder.  This should be on the lefthand side of the machine.  

Later models of the Cuisinart coffee makers have a list of months displayed on the water filter holder.  Simply slide the tab to the month after you are in ie.  move the tab to August if you are changing the filter in July.

Step 2: Open the filter compartment

The filter compartment is located at the bottom of the water filter holder (pictured above).

Step 3: Remove old filter

The filter compartment is located at the bottom of the water filter holder (pictured above).

Step 4: Remove new filter from packaging & soak

Remove the new charcoal filter from it’s packaging and allow to soak in a container filled with cold water for approximately 15 minutes.  

Step 5: Insert new filter & rinse

Taking care not to tear the new charcoal filter, you can now insert it into the filter holder.  You will hear a ‘snap’ when closing the compartment that houses the filter and this will indicate that it has been properly inserted.  

Now rinse the filter holder containing the new filter under running cold water for 10 seconds.  Ensure that the holder is vertical as it would be inside the coffee machine.  

Step 6: Drain & re-insert filter

Allow the filter to drain completely before re-inserting back into the coffee maker.  

You may find the following video helpful.  It explains how to clean a Cuisinart coffee maker and replace the charcoal water filters.  

Cleaning the exterior of the Cuisinart coffee maker

After giving the interior of your coffee maker a thorough clean, don’t forget to show the exterior a little bit of tlc.  

How to clean the carafe

To clean the carafe, wash with warm, soapy water and ensure that it thoroughly rinsed before allowing to dry.  Both the lid of the carafe and the carafe itself can be placed in the top rack of your dishwasher if you’d prefer to clean them this way.  

If the carafe is stained and you are finding it difficult to clean it with soap and warm water alone, then try  using baking soda, also known as, sodium bicarbonate.  A small amount on a damp sponge will work wonders.  

Rinsing out the carafe every day is a good habit to get into as it won’t end up with fine coffee deposits or staining as quickly.

How to clean the base and exterior of the coffee maker

The base of the coffee maker can be cleaned with a damp cloth, as can the rest of the exterior of the machine.  This includes the heating plate.  Be careful not to use any abrasive sponges or harsh cleaning liquids to clean the coffee maker.

So there you have it!

Now you know how to clean a Cuisine coffee maker and how to replace the charcoal water filter.  Remember to never use abrasive cleaners on either the exterior or interior of the coffee maker. 

Regular cleaning will ensure that your coffee machine will last many many years and will produce great tasting coffee.