How To Clean A Cuisinart Coffee Maker

Tara Williams

Food Writer & Editor For KitchenSanity

Tara Williams is a seasoned food writer and editor who's been with KitchenSanity since its beginning. With a knack for experimenting with food and creating delicious recipes, she's your go-to for straightforward kitchen advice and practical tips from personal experiences. As a mom of two, Tara understands the value of time. She crafts articles that enhance your cooking skills and free up time for what matters most—like family moments.

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In this article, we will discuss the steps necessary to clean and descale your Cuisinart coffee maker.

All kitchen appliances that use water are subject to collecting mineral deposits, which is especially true if you have hard tap water.

For this reason, any coffee maker, kettle, or other water-using appliance you may have in your kitchen to brew coffee will need to be de-scaled of calcification from time to time.

That is true of appliances ranging from old-fashioned stovetop coffee pots and tea kettles to modern coffee makers.

Cleaning Tips For Cuisinart Coffee Makers

There are many different types of coffee makers made by Cuisinart, from one-cup brewers to large office models. Rest assured, you can modify the steps presented here to suit any size coffee maker in any setting.


If you de-scale your Cuisinart coffee maker on a regular monthly basis, you will never see the flashing light that tells you to clean or de-scale your coffee maker.

If you do see this light, it means that your coffee maker is suffering from calcium deposits. You must make haste to remedy the situation!

​Follow the steps below on this page to remove calcium deposits from your coffee maker’s mechanisms. If the “clean” or “de-scale” light continues to flash after you have done so, repeat the steps.

You may need to clean your coffee maker two or three times if you have neglected regular cleaning.

Descale Cuisinart Single Serve:


Pay close attention to the nozzle where the coffee comes out. Keeping this area clean will prevent calcium scale buildup around the nozzle. This could interfere with the delivery of coffee to your carafe or cup and could cause a messy accident.


It is also helpful to keep the exterior of your Cuisinart coffee maker clean. Be sure to rinse out the pot with warm, soapy water after every use. Wipe down the exterior of the machine with a soft, soapy cloth or kitchen sponge.

Follow up with a cloth or sponge soaked in clean water and wipe dry. Leaving your coffee maker clean and dry after every use will help preserve its good looks and useful life.

How To Clean A Cuisinart Coffee Maker With Self Clean Button

The following video is how to clean a Cuisinart coffee maker DCC 1200 that features a self-cleaning option.


  1. Remove charcoal filter
  2. Prepare new charcoal filter in cold water and set aside
  3. Fill the carafe with water and distilled vinegar
  4. Add mixture to water reservoir and place carafe in position to make coffee
  5. Add a new coffee filter (don’t add coffee grounds)
  6. Close reservoir lid and press then “self-clean” button
  7. Turn on the coffee maker
  8. Once finished, discard the coffee filter
  9. Let the carafe cool to room temperature. Rinse with fresh water and fill water reservoir (Note: Never add cold water to a hot carafe, or you will risk cracking it)
  10. Run a brew cycle without coffee
  11. Discard the “brewed” water and turn off the coffee maker
  12. Install the new charcoal water filter as per directions

Now you are ready to brew coffee again!

How To Clean Cuisinart Grind And Brew Coffee Maker

Here is how to clean a Cuisinart coffee maker with grinder:

The steps are similar to the self-cleaning Cusiniart with extra steps for the burr section of the machine. The video explains it best!


  • For every hopper of beans, you should clean it
  • Use a flashlight to see inside where you need to clean
  • Make sure the coffee ground basket is in place before you start cleaning
  • Clean the hopper using the brush attached to the scoop and push the coffee into the hole

How To Descale A Coffee Maker

This is a very simple process that has been made to look complicated by a number of advice articles and videos. To de-scale any water using a kitchen appliance, the basic concept is:

  1. Run the appliance with a mixture of white vinegar and water
  2. Rinse the appliance.
  3. Run the appliance with pure water only.

More Coffee Maker Descaling See: How To Descale A Keurig

After following these steps, your appliance should be free of calcium scale and vinegar taste. If you do still smell or taste the vinegar, run your machine with clean water again.

This should take care of your Cuisinart coffee maker problem. You can use these basic instructions to remove calcium scale from any appliance that uses water.

Tips For Best Results

Use a mixture of two-thirds water and one-third white vinegar.

Some instructions will tell you to use pure vinegar, but this is unnecessary. White vinegar is a very powerful natural cleaning agent, and it will work very well in diluted form. There is no need to be wasteful or to drive yourself out of the house with the smell of boiling vinegar.

Be sure to use pure filtered water throughout the de-scaling process.

It stands to reason that if you simply use tap water for this process, you will be introducing minerals as you remove them.

Dramatic contrast in temperature is dangerous when handling glass.

While cleaning your coffee maker, your glass carafe will get hot. Remember not to rinse it with cold water because this might cause it to shatter. Always use warm water to clean hot or warm glass and cool water to clean cold glass.

Always remember to remove coffee grounds and filters from your coffee maker before performing the cleaning process.

Dispose of your coffee grounds immediately after making coffee to avoid having mold develop.

SEE ALSO: Coffee Maker Mold Is Making You Sick

Remember that coffee grounds make an excellent addition to compost bins. They can also be used directly as plant food for potted plants and outdoor plants from time to time.

Get double duty from your hot vinegar water by using it to clean your microwave. Just pour the hot mixture into a microwave-safe cup or bowl and microwave it for a few seconds to get it steaming.

Don’t open the microwave door. Just leave it shut for five or ten minutes. When you open it, you will find that the vinegary steam has collected on all surfaces.

Wipe it off, along with collected grime and spatters, using a cleaning cloth dipped in hot water and wrung nearly dry.

Remember to pour the hot vinegar water directly into your kitchen sink drain when you’re done with it. Hot vinegar water will cut through any grease deposits that may be in your drain pipe and helps keep your drains from clogging.

Start With Prevention

All water has some minerals, but you can mitigate the mineral content of your tap water by using a good filtration system. This could be a whole house system, a kitchen faucet filter, or an affordable filtration pitcher.

Whatever you do, be sure to make the smart choice of filtering your own tap water rather than purchasing bottled water. You’ll be doing the earth, your pocketbook, and your own health a very big favor by making this wise decision.

Tap Water Filter System

A good tap water filtration system will deliver superior quality water with reduced mineral content for a fraction of the cost of stale, and carcinogen laced bottled water.

Even when you use high quality filtered water, you will need to de-scale your Cuisinart coffee maker on a regular basis. Some purveyors of online advice recommend doing this every three months or waiting until the “clean“ or “de-scale“ light comes on before taking action.

Common kitchen wisdom dictates that you take a proactive stance and de-scale your water-using appliances and equipment about once a month, especially if you use the appliance every day.

Of course, if you only use an appliance occasionally, you should adjust your maintenance schedule accordingly.

Even with appliances you use daily, you are unlikely to have a lot of calcification buildup in just a month’s time, but de-scaling frequently will prevent calcium buildup and help keep your Cuisinart coffee maker and your other appliances in excellent working order.

Written By Tara Williams

Tara Williams is a seasoned food writer and editor who's been with KitchenSanity since its beginning. With a knack for experimenting with food and creating delicious recipes, she's your go-to for straightforward kitchen advice and practical tips from personal experiences. As a mom of two, Tara understands the value of time. She crafts articles that enhance your cooking skills and free up time for what matters most—like family moments.

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10 thoughts on “How To Clean A Cuisinart Coffee Maker”

  1. The inside lid of my CBC 5200PC coffeemaker fills up with what looks like wet powdered coffee. How do I clean this? Can I remove the top to clean it? Instructions, please. Thank you.

    • Hi Richard,

      I’m not sure exactly where your issue is occurring, but when you lift up the lid as you would when preparing a brew, you can clean under it with a sponge and water or an old tooth brush. If it’s real stubborn you can try using vinegar as well but you’ll have to make sure that you rinse/wipe everything before brewing your next cup. You can also try laying the coffee maker on its side as you clean it. That should help things fall to the side rather than deeper. For smaller areas, sometimes a damp paper towel bunched up can get in those areas. Of course, it’s going to take some time and elbow grease with that method.


    • Hi Ara,

      Yes you can use a descaling solution. Some come as powders such as Urnex Dezcal. We often recommend vinegar because it’s cheap, easy to get, and doesn’t leave a chemical smell after you have rinsed well etc. Some descaling solutions may leave a bit of a smell even after rinsing.


  2. We have descaled our Cuisinart SS10, however the descale message is still on. Does that mean it’s not clean enough or is there some way to reset it?

    • Hi Terre,

      It could be that some mineral buildup broke up and is stuck somewhere. I’d try giving it another full descale treatment. Also, after you unplug the machine try to turn it on. That should ensure that the power is fully discharged and might help with a reset when you plug it back in.


  3. in the middle of descaling the coffee maker has stopped drawing water from reservoir. I can here the pump trying but it just doesn’t seem to be drawing water. I don’t know what to do as i cant finish descaling to use my coffee maker again.

    • Hi Cliff,

      The machine might have lost its prime. Sometimes they need a little tap or shake to help push out air bubbles that might be trapped (of course I don’t recommend that while it’s brewing hot water). With other similar coffee machines, emptying it completely, let it dry for a day or two, and then fill it back up with water sometimes does the trick. Let us know if you got it solved!

  4. The red light is flashing on my heated water reservoir. I put vinegar in but it won’t heat up if the light is flashing. I’m stuck any suggestions?

    • Hi Tracey,

      It’s possible that the machine’s memory needs to be cleared or reset before you start the cleaning process. Try unplugging your coffee maker for half an hour, plug it in, and then try again.

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