The first step when cleaning a Cuisinart coffee maker with vinegar is to identify whether the coffee maker has a self-clean button. This cleaning guide explains how to clean both Cuisinart coffee makers with an auto-clean clean feature and those without it.
To clean a Cuisinart coffee maker without the clean button skip to this part where we provide a chart to help you activate the cleaning mode in your coffee maker.
Activating the cleaning mode in a Cuisinart coffee maker with self-clean is straightforward as you simply press this button for the brewer to start pumping the vinegar solution through the inner lines.
Vinegar is the recommended cleaner for a Cuisinart coffee maker as it descales the brewer, removes water and coffee stains, and also removes any molds and bacteria that could be present in the internal water lines of the coffee maker. Vinegar also cleanses the water reservoir.
Steps to Follow When Cleaning a Cuisinart Coffee Maker With Vinegar (Self-Clean)
What you need:
- White vinegar
- Tap water
- A damp lint-free cloth
- A dry lint-free cloth
- Warm soapy water
- A nylon brush or a tooth brush
1. Empty the Carafe
Empty the carafe and rinse it with tap water in readiness for the cleaning cycle.
2. Remove the Charcoal Filter
Cuisinart coffee makers have a charcoal water filter in the water tank that removes undesirable odors, chlorine, and other impurities from the water. Removing the charcoal filter before running a vinegar cleaning cycle prevent it from absorbing the taste of vinegar that can end up in your coffee.
To remove the charcoal filter from a Cuisinart coffee maker, open the lid of the water tank and locate and pull out the plastic holder that carries the charcoal filter.
3. Mix the Vinegar With Water
Mix one part vinegar with two parts tap water and add the mixture to the water tank. The best way is to mix enough amounts of vinegar and water to fill the water tank to capacity.
For example, when using a 12 cup Cuisinart coffee maker, add 4 cups vinegar to 8 cups water. For a 10 cup Cuisinart, add 3.5 cups vinegar to about 6.50 cups of water.
However, don’t get hung up trying to get the ratio of water and vinegar to a tee as vinegar will not damage your brewer.
Using more vinegar simply means that it will take more water-only rinsing cycles to fully cleanse the coffee maker of vinegar.
4. Run the Cleaning Cycle
Place the carafe on the carafe plate and switch the coffee maker on. Press and hold the self-clean button down until it starts flashing. This puts the Cuisinart coffee maker in a cleaning mode so that it starts running the vinegar through the inner parts.
The cleaning cycle will run until all the vinegar solution is pumped through the coffee maker and the water tank is empty.
5. Water-only Rinse Cycles
Empty the carafe and place it back on the holding plate. Fill the water tank to capacity with fresh water and repeat the cleaning cycle to rinse the coffee maker.
This means that you press the clean button to initiate the cleaning mode when rinsing with water for a coffee maker with a self-clean button. Repeat the water-only flushing cycles at least three times so that your coffee will not taste like vinegar.
6. Clean the Coffee Chute
Remove the coffee hopper and ensure the coffee filter is inside the coffee maker. Use a nylon brush or a toothbrush to wipe down any left-over coffee grounds.
Open the coffee channel by lifting the cover tab and continue brushing the grounds. Then, push the chute’s lever sideways, so that the grounds fall through to the coffee filter and continue brushing until there are no more left-over grounds.
Release the chute’s lever and close the coffee channel by lowering the cover tab and locking it in place. Left-over grounds in the chute are already stale and they weaken your coffee.
7. Clean the Carafe and Other Removable Parts
The removable parts of your Cuisinart coffee maker include the carafe, coffee filter, coffee filter holder and cover, coffee hopper and lid, and the charcoal filter holder. Use warm water, dishwashing soap, and a microfiber cloth to clean the removable parts.
Discard the charcoal filter before cleaning the filter holder. Rinse the removable parts under running tap water and dry them.
Alternatively, clean the removable parts in the top rack of a dishwasher.
Here is our post that explains the meaning of top-rack dishwasher safe.
8. Wipe Down the External Parts of the Coffee Maker
Use a damp microfiber cloth to wipe down the exterior of the coffee maker. Also wipe down the carafe plate. Use a mild dishwashing soap to wipe down any stains on the external surfaces of the coffee maker.
9. Replace the Charcoal Filter
Most people forget to remove the charcoal filter from the brewer when cleaning and this causes the filter to trap some of the taste and smell of the cleaner. These tastes and smells are bad for your coffee: it tastes like a cleaner.
It’s also advisable to change the charcoal water filter every time you clean the Cuisinart coffee maker with vinegar so that all the components of the coffee maker are cleansed and fresh.
The filter accumulates bacteria over time and whereas the vinegar disinfects the coffee maker, the old filter reintroduces the bacteria if it is not replaced.
Insert the water filter holder into the water reservoir and lock it to its position.
10. Ensure all the Removable Parts are Dry
Avoid replacing the removable parts such as the hopper and the coffee filter and holder before they are completely dry to prevent the growth of molds. A wet hopper will also stale the coffee beans.
Use a lint-free cloth to dry the removable parts to prevent lint from ending up in your coffee.
11. Replace the Removable Parts
Replace the filter holder, the filter and the lid as well as the hopper and its lid. Place the carafe on the drip plate.
How To Clean Cuisinart Coffee Maker Without Clean Button
Cleaning a Cuisinart coffee maker without a clean button can be frustrating when you don’t know how to activate the cleaning mode. However, once you know how to activate the cleaning mode, the cleaning process is identical to what we have discussed above. You also need similar cleaning materials.
There are at least 12 models of Cuisinart coffee makers that do not have a clean button. Moreover, some Cuisinart dual coffee makers such as the SS-15 and SS-20 have a clean button for the carafe brewer and no self-clean feature for the single-serve brewer.
When cleaning a Cuisinart coffee maker without the clean button, you need to know how to activate the cleaning mode for that particular model as each model has a different way to activate it.
The table below shows the different models of Cuisinart coffee makers without the clean button and how to put each model in cleaning mode.
|Cuisinart Coffee Maker Without Clean Button||How to Activate the Clean Mode|
|SS-20||Press and hold the 6oz and 8oz buttons simultaneously for 2 seconds|
|SS-15||Press and hold down the 6oz and 8oz buttons simultaneously for 2 seconds|
|SS-10||Press and hold the HOT WATER and RINSE buttons to begin the cleaning cycle|
|SS-5||Press the POWER and 6oz buttons simultaneously for 2 seconds|
|DGB-850||Press the PROGRAM button twice and hold it down to show the ‘CLEAN’ icon on the screen|
|DGB-800||Press the PROGRAM button 3 times and hold it down to show the ‘CLEAN’ icon on the screen|
|DGB-650BC||Press the ON button to begin cleaning|
|DGB-625BC||Switch the coffee maker on to start a cleaning cycle|
|DGB-550BK||Switch the machine on to commence a cleaning cycle|
|CPO-800||Press the MENU button 5 times to display Clean Start on the screen. Press the BREW/OFF button to commence the cleaning cycle|
|CPO-850||Press the MENU button 4 times to display Clean Start on the screen. Press the BREW/OFF button to commence the cleaning cycle|
|DCC-450BK||Press the rocker switch to turn on the brewer and commence the cleaning cycle|
1. Identify the Specific Model of the Cuisinart Coffee Maker Without Clean Button
Different models have different ways of activating the cleaning mode. Identify the specific model number of the Cuisinart coffee maker that you are using to quickly find the process of activating the cleaning cycle from the chart above.
Some of the models such as the Cuisinart DGB-550BK, DGB-625BC, DGB-650BC, and the DCC-450BK require that the coffee maker is switched off before adding the vinegar mixture so that the cleaning mode activates automatically when you switch on the coffee maker.
Therefore, identifying the coffee maker model number is an important step so that you don’t run into hiccups as you go along.
2. Turn the grinder off
Usually, when cleaning a Cuisinart coffee maker that has a clean button, you don’t need to turn the grinder off as the clean button deactivates the grinder.
However, when cleaning a Cuisinart coffee maker that does not have the clean button, you have to manually turn off the grinder otherwise the grinder will start grinding when cleaning is in progress.
Now that you know how to activate the cleaning mode and you have turned the inbuilt grinder off, follow the normal cleaning procedure as we have already explained above.
Be sure to follow the chart that we have provided to activate the cleaning cycle of a Cuisinart coffee maker without a clean button.
Why is the Cuisinart Coffee Maker Clean Light Blinking?
The clean light of a Cuisinart coffee maker blinks to alert you that the coffee maker has accumulated a lot of calcium deposits in its inner water lines and is due for descaling. If the clean light won’t turn off even after descaling, then the coffee maker still has calcium deposits that need further descaling.
Therefore, repeat the descaling cycle with vinegar if the clean light of the Cuisinart coffee maker continues blinking even after cleaning.
See our comprehensive troubleshooting guide for Cuisinart coffee makers.
How to Find Cuisinart Coffee Maker Model Number
You can find the model number of your Cuisinart coffee maker on the bottom of the coffee maker, on the shipping box, or on the manual that is shipped with the coffee maker.
How to Clean a Cuisinart Coffee Maker Without Vinegar
1. Lemon juice
- Cut 3-4 lemons into wedges and boil them to make a solution that will fill the water tank of the coffee maker
- Strain the lemon juice and wait for it to cool
- Remove the charcoal filter from the water tank
- Add the lemon juice to the water tank and run the cleaning cycle as if you are using vinegar
- Rinse the coffee maker with fresh water by running water-only cleaning cycles
2. Baking Soda
- Remove the water filter from the water reservoir of your coffee maker
- Dissolve 1-3 cups of baking soda in enough water to fill the water tank
- Add the baking soda solution to the water tank
- Run cleaning cycles as if you are using vinegar
- Run water-only cleaning cycles to rinse the coffee maker
How Do you Reset the Clean Button on a Cuisinart Coffee Maker?
The cleaning light resets itself when the Cuisinart coffee maker is completely descaled. If the cleaning light is still flashing, run a descale cycle with vinegar and it should reset when the process is done.