How to Clean Chemex

Chemex coffee maker is a beautiful glass vessel that allows you to prepare a delightful cup of pour-over coffee from the comfort of your own home. However, its unusual shape can make a Chemex very tricky to clean. If you are struggling to clean your Chemex or are anxious to buy one because you are afraid it is tricky to maintain, don’t fear! Here I’ll explain how to clean Chemex and get rid of those annoying stains and coffee residue.

Use water and salt

The water and salt method is a great way to give your Chemex a quick wash in a pinch. To clean a Chemex with water and salt, mix four teaspoons of salt and two cups of hot water in a jug. Next, fill the Chemex right up to the collar and swirl it around for a few minutes. Salt acts as a mild abrasive, so it will help to remove any coffee residue that might be tricky to clean.

If you find that you’ve still got stains on your Chemex, try adding a little dish soap to the salt-water mixture, and try again. You could also leave the mixture in the Chemex for a few hours to work on any oils or stains that aren’t coming off.

Make sure to rinse Chemex with hot water after cleaning and let it dry for an hour or two. You can also scrub your Chemex to remove the most stubborn coffee stains. If this method does not work, the following methods may be a better option to get your Chemex shining!

how to clean chemex

White vinegar flush

White vinegar can be a great option to combat tough dirt and coffee that builds up in your Chemex. The great idea is to use a vinegar flush right after brewing coffee in your Chemex, as this will prevent any deep stains from forming. Add around 2 ounces of white vinegar to your Chemex, and then fill to the collar with boiling water. Let the mixture rest for at least 30 minutes, and then pour out.

Next, rinse any excess white vinegar out of your Chemex by flushing it with warm water a few times. If you’ve still got grime on the glass, consider another vinegar flush.

Let your Chemex dry overnight, making sure to prop the lid open to prevent condensation. Airdrying it will eliminate any vinegar taste or smell, which of course, no one wants in coffee. White vinegar flush is a great way to clean a Chemex, but you can always clean it with ice if you are still not seeing results.

Clean a Chemex with ice

Ice and salt can be a great combination that can help clean your Chemex because the salt will keep the ice cold and lift any coffee from the glass. To use this cleaning method:

  1. Add two tablespoons of salt to your Chemex.
  2. Half fill with crushed ice (smaller ice cubes will mean a greater surface area and therefore better cleaning), then add water.
  3. Add some dish soap and swirl for a couple of minutes. The more you swirl, the more coffee stains you’ll remove.
  4. Pour out your mixture, rinse with cool water and leave to dry.

This process can only be used on a high-quality Chemex, as the ice temperature could crack the glass of a low-quality one. An excellent way to check is to see if your Chemex is dishwasher safe, as this will signify that it can handle extreme temperatures.

The ice method is a great way to clean a Chemex, but it could also ruin it, and no one wants broken equipment and glass all over the floor, so make sure you check before trying this out.

ice cubes for cleaning chemex

Give it a hot rinse

Sometimes, there’s no substitute for a bit of hot water and elbow grease! Boil water and pour it into your Chemex. It is an easy method to try if you don’t have any other cleaning supplies on hand.

But why does a hot rinse work so well? Well, hot water acts as a solvent for dirt. It means that residue can dissolve in water and therefore clean the glass.

A great advantage of this method is that you don’t risk getting a vinegar taste in your coffee, and you certainly won’t smash your Chemex.

Use soap and water to clean your Chemex

Using soap and water is one of the best ways to clean your Chemex because of its simplicity yet excellent effectiveness. Add a splash of dish soap and warm water and swirl around for a couple of minutes to clean the coffee from your Chemex.

After every use, using soap water to deep clean your coffee carafe can be a great way to prevent sediment from building up and ruining the taste of future batches. Don’t forget to rinse it with hot water to get rid of any soapy residue.

A great tip is to use a brush to scrub the walls of your Chemex. It will further aid in combating oils and grime, keeping your Chemex free of all the nasty stuff! Also, if you use a soft brush, you’ll prevent scratching the glass of your Chemex. To keep your brush clean, rinse thoroughly after each use and leave it to sit in some soap water to remove any coffee residue and bacteria.

Rinse it with sodium bicarbonate

Rinsing a Chemex with sodium bicarbonate allows for a great clean without having to scrub away extensively. Add around three tablespoons of bicarbonate to your Chemex and swirl for a good minute or two before leaving the carafe to sit for about 30 minutes.

Sodium bicarbonate should keep your Chemex clean, and it’s an excellent method to use if you are experiencing a constant build-up of coffee. However, don’t forget to thoroughly rinse out the bicarbonate with water before leaving the Chemex to air dry completely overnight.

But how does sodium bicarbonate work? First, it’s got a balanced Ph, which means that it’s able to neutralize acids. In addition, it eliminates any odors instead of just masking them, ultimately making it an excellent choice for a deep clean.

Sodium bicarbonate is very versatile, so you can use it to clean any other coffee gadget, such as Moka Pot or prime Keurig coffee maker.

sodium bicarbonate jar

Put your Chemex into the dishwasher

The mighty dishwasher is one of the most convenient methods for cleaning pretty much any utensil you can think of. However, you’ll need to make sure that your Chemex is dishwasher safe before you put it in for a wash, or you may crack the fine glass it is made of, and you won’t be able to brew your favorite coffee anymore. You’ll also risk getting broken glass everywhere, which is a safety hazard and could hurt someone.

Before you put your Chemex in the dishwasher, you’ll want to remove the wooden handle as the pressure and heat from the dishwasher will damage it. Also, it’s a good idea to give your Chemex a rinse beforehand, as this will help to remove any residual coffee from your previous brew.

Something to note is that even if your Chemex is dishwasher safe, constantly putting it through the dishwasher may reduce its life. So, it may not be the most sustainable method to keep your Chemex clean.

How often should you clean your Chemex?

Having your Chemex clean is vital because it will keep your brew with great taste and increase the lifespan of your pour-over coffee maker. It’s a good practice to wash your Chemex after every use thoroughly. Any residue will wash away instantly, and you’ll be able to keep your Chemex clean using simpler methods, like soap and water, rather than having to scrub it with vinegar and salt or risk breaking it in a dishwasher.

However, even if you clean your Chemex after every use with soap and water, oil and grime will inevitably build upon your coffee vessel. Proper cleaning is, therefore, a necessary step to maintaining the life and longevity of your Chemex.

It would help if you washed your Chemex with one of the alternative methods every one to two months for maximum effectiveness. If you don’t, your Chemex may start to go cloudy, which can be an irreversible change.

Cleaning after every use may seem like an inconvenience, but it will save you a lot of time in the long run.

chemex on a table

How do you dry your Chemex the right way?

There are a few options to consider when drying your Chemex. The first and easiest is to let it air dry. To do this, you’ll need to make sure that the top of the Chemex is exposed to allow air in and prevent any condensation.

Any water drops should completely evaporate within a few hours, without you having to do anything. You can also leave your Chemex to dry overnight.

Another easy way to dry your Chemex is with a tea towel. It helps dry the surface and absorbs moisture. However, it can be hard to get to all of the crevices of your Chemex with a tea towel, especially if you have bigger hands, so you still may be left with some moisture inside.

There are many ways to clean your Chemex, so try them, and see what works best for you. Add cleaning your Chemex into your daily wash-up routine, and enjoy your favorite brew from a sparkling coffee maker!

About The Author