How to Clean a Cuisinart Coffee Maker – Easy Guide with over 15 Pictures

The secret for many of us to starting our days with the right foot is with a delicious cup of your favorite coffee. Every three months or so you need to give some love to your coffee machine. One of the best coffee maker brands is Cuisinart. If you own a machine by this brand, this guide on how to clean a Cuisinart coffee maker will show you how easy it is to descale it.

Clean light Cuisinart coffee maker

One of Cuisinart’s best selling coffee makers is the 14 cup model, which is the one used for our guide. When the Cuisinart coffee maker clean light turns on it means it’s time to descale your machine.

Cuisinart started in the late 1970s with food processors, but since then the company has grew to make hundreds of kitchen applicances. Some of Cuisinart’s appliances have been endoresed by the likes of James Beard and Julia Child.

Cuisinart Coffee Maker Clean Light

Most Cuisinart coffee maker include a Clean Light that informs the user when it’s time to descale the machine. Don’t use the machine for too long after the Cuisinart coffee maker clean light turns on as this may damage it.

The flavor of your coffee being produced may suffer. The time it takes for your coffee maker to produce your daily coffee will be longer.

Steps on How to Clean a Cuisinart Coffee Maker

Step 1: Empty Water Reservoir and Carafe

The first thing we have to do is make sure the water reservoir and the carafe of the Cuisinart coffee maker is empty.

Dirty Carafe of Cuisinart Coffee Maker

Step 2: Remove Carbon Filter

To do the descaling process on the Cuisinart coffee machine please remove the charcoal water filter (pictured below). it is not a good idea to pass vinegar through this filter.

Make sure the coffee basket is clean and remove any coffee filter if any.

Remove Carbon Filter on Cuisinart Coffee Maker

As you are removing the charcoal water filter (pictured below), you can check to see if it needs changing.

Change Carbon Filter on Cuisinart Coffee Maker

Step 3: Mix Vinegar with Fresh Water

To clean or descale the Cuisinart coffee maker we are going to use white vinegar (Pictured below). You can use any white vinegar from any supermarket near you.

White Vinegar to descale Cuisinart Coffee maker

To make the mix with vinegar and water you need 1/3 vinegar and 2/3 fresh water. In this case as we are using a 14 cup carafe we will fill with vinegar to the 5 cup line and water to the 14 cup line (both pictured below).

Five cups of white vinegar for cuisinart coffee maker
Ten cups of fresh vinegar on cuisinart coffee maker

Go ahead and fill with 5 cups of vinegar (left picture below) and then to the 14 cup line with fresh water (right picture below).

Fill to 5 cups with white vinegar
Fill to 14 cups with fresh water

Step 4: Fill Water Reservoir with Vinegar/Water Mix

With the mix in the Cuisinart carafe go ahead and pour the 14 cups into the water reservoir of your Cuisinart Coffee Maker.

Fill the water reservoir of cuisinart coffee maker with mix

Make sure the coffee basket is clean and close the lid of your machine. Place the carafe back in its place in the Cuisinart Coffee maker.

Clean coffee basket in cuisinart coffee maker

Step 5: Run the Cleaning Cycle

Press and hold the “clean” button until a red ring light turns on around the button.

Press and hold clean button on cuisinart coffee maker

In the picture below you can see the red ring light. It will start flashing and this means the cleaning cycle has begun.

Clean light flashing on cuisinart coffee maker

It takes around 30 minutes for the cleaning cycle to complete. Once complete you will have your carafe full like in the pciture below.

Finished brewing vinegar and water on cuisinart coffee maker

Step 6: Run a Couple of Rinse Cycles

To remove any vinegar residue in the Cuisinart machine system you will have to run at least 2 rinse cycles with fresh water. To do this just fill the carafe to the 14 cup line with fresh water, no vinegar this time. Pour the 14 cups of fresh water in the water reservoir. Press the Brew button on your Cuisinart coffee maker. Do this 2 times.

Press brew button on cuisinart coffee maker

Step 7: Wash Carafe and Removable Parts

Now it is time to wash the carafe, coffee basket and base. If your carafe has brown coffee stains you can follow our guide on how to clean a glass coffee pot to completely remove this stains and have it looking like new.

Dirty Lid on Cuisinart Coffe Maker carafe

Use hot water with soap and a cloth or sponge to clean all removable parts, including the base. Let them air dry and then you can put them back to your Cuisinart coffee machine.

Tips for Maintaining your Cuisinart Coffee Maker Clean

The following tips will help in maintaing your coffee maker giving you great tasting cups of coffee for a long time.

Use Filtered Water

Use filtered water in your Cuisinart Coffee maker to both clean and brew coffee so that it takes longer for mineral buildup to occur. Filtered water has much less minerals that can build up so it you will have to clean your machine less often.

Always Allow Carafe to Cool

The carafe is made of glass so abrupt temperature changes can crack the carafe. Each time you use your Cuisinart coffee machine you have to allow the carafe to cool down before putting cool water in it so you avoid abrupt temperature changes.

Clean Your Machine Frequently

Clean the removable parts, charcoal filter, coffee filter basket and carafe after each use of your Cuisinart coffee maker. Remove coffee grinds from coffee filter basket after each use. Use hot water with soap and air dry each part, including the base. By doing this you are preventing mold and bacteria to grow in your machine.

Use Glass Cleaner or Vinegar to Clean Outside of the Machine

To keep your Cuisinart clean form the outside you can spray glass cleaner or vinegar onto a clean microfiber cloth.


Will this work for any brand of electric coffee maker?

Most probably. If you have a coffee maker from the following brands you can check our cleaning guide for each specific brand:
Black and Decker
Hamilton Beach
Mr. Coffee

What to do if I followed all the steps, but my Cuisinart Coffee Maker clean light came back on?

Don’t panic, if the clean light is still on after you complete the cleaning cycle you have to do the process again. This happens when your Cuisinart coffee machine has built quite a bit of calcification that it needs the cleaning cycle with vinegar to be done more than once.

How often should I clean my Cuisinart coffee maker?

It depends on how hard, soft or filtered is your water. It also depends if you use your Cuisinart daily or not. The average is that you have to clean it every 3 months. If your water is hard and you use it daily maybe you will have to clean it every month.

Why do I need to use vinegar?

Vinegar is used to descale the pipes where water passes throught on your coffee machine. Over time, the water pipes will accumulate a buildup of minerals.

I don’t have a clean light on my coffee maker, how do I know when it’s time to clean it?

The taste of your coffee will change. The more mineral buildup there is the more the taste will change. When you percevie this change in taste it is time to do a vinegar clean up.

What do I do if my coffee tastes funny after I clean it?

If you have just cleaned your Cuisinart coffee maker using our guide and it still tastes different, it means you have to run the process again. Sometime it takes 2 or 3 cleaning cycles to completely remove the mineral buildup.

Final Thoughts

The process on how to clean a Cuisinart coffee maker is easy and only has 7 steps. If you follow our guide and tips you will have to do this cleaning less often.

Don’t continue to use your Cuisinart coffee maker if the clean light starts flashing. This will lead to more mineral buildup and the cleaning process will be a lot more difficult. As soon as you see the Cuisinart coffee maker clean light start flashing, go ahead and follow our guide to clean your machine.