Using a Chemex each morning to brew my coffee is the best start to my day. It’s ritualistic, gives me the most delicious cup of coffee, and is so easy to clean up after.
With its beautiful glass curves and oak collar neck, a Chemex doesn’t take up much space in your kitchen and is one of the easiest brewing devices to maintain – it really is a coffee lover’s dream come true.
How To Clean a Chemex
If you use a Chemex coffee brewer, you know reaching down to the bottom half of this pour-over device is no easy feat. Thankfully, there are several easy ways to clean a Chemex, which I will outline here.
But honestly, you really only need to deep clean your Chemex once or twice a year. Because of its simple design and glass quality, the Chemex does not retain much calcium or coffee oil buildup if you give it a rinse with hot water after each use.
Simply dump out the residual coffee grounds and rinse with warm or hot water after brewing with your Chemex, swirling the water in the base for a minute.
Use a sponge with soap for the outside of the Chemex if necessary, removing the wooden collar and rawhide tie beforehand. Let air dry.
If you do this after each use and don’t often leave coffee sitting in your Chemex, you will only need to deep clean your Chemex once a year. I have had mine for over six months now and have yet to see any buildup, even with daily use.
Deep Cleaning Your Chemex
Method #1: Soap, Water, and a Brush
If you notice residue in your Chemex (either a slight brown tint to the glass or a smudgy/foggy-looking base), you can add hot tap water with a small squirt of unscented dish soap. Fill the base about halfway and let it sit for a few minutes.
Then use a long-handled dish brush to scrub the sides of the base. We recommend either a bottle brush or a sponge/bristle combo brush.
Method #2: White Vinegar and Water
Let your Chemex soak for 30 minutes with equal parts distilled white vinegar and hot water.
This will loosen up any bacteria and oil buildup. Dump the vinegar mixture and scrub with a bristle brush. Rinse and let air dry.
Method #3: Baking Soda and Water
Baking soda is great for breaking down the oils that build up in your Chemex base.
Simply add warm water to just under the neck of your pour-over device, then add a teaspoon of baking soda. Let sit for 10 minutes before dumping and rinsing.
Method #4: Ice, Lemon, Salt
Add ice to your Chemex until the bottom half of the carafe is halfway full.
Add a tablespoon of salt and a tablespoon of lemon juice. Swirl the mixture for up to 15 minutes or let it sit until the ice is mostly melted, and then swirl for a minute or two.
Dump the mixture and rinse. Let the brewer air dry.
Method #5: The Chemex Way
Of course, Chemex provides a cleaning solution and a brittle brush made specifically for their product.
Simply follow the instructions on the cleaning solution for the best results. These come highly recommended but may not be the most budget-friendly for all.
Frequently Asked Questions
We hope these five cleaning methods will help you maintain a sparkling clean Chemex.
Below are some answers to our most commonly asked questions about cleaning a Chemex.
How often should I clean my Chemex?
If you rinse your Chemex thoroughly with hot water after each use, you should only need to utilize soap once every 10 to 15 uses.
Deep cleaning is only required when there is residual buildup from bacteria or coffee sediments. This should only be needed once or twice a year if you maintain daily rinsing.
Can I put my Chemex in the dishwasher?
Yes. It is dishwasher safe. Just remember to remove the oak collar and rawhide cord.
This will help avoid oil buildup in your Chemex, but it is not the best deep cleaning method.
What’s the best Chemex cleaning brush?
Using a bottle brush specifically will help you reach all the angles of your glass carafe.
You can get a Chemex-specific brush from their website or check out our Amazon recommendation above.
What’s the best way to dry my Chemex?
Air drying is your best bet. Simply place the carafe upside down in your kitchen drying rack or on a paper towel and let it sit until it’s dry.
If you’re in a hurry to use it, use a paper towel or clean hand towel to dry the outside and as much as you can reach of the inside.
How do I clean a metal Chemex filter?
Many of the methods listed above also work well for a metal Chemex filter, but the easiest way is to simply boil it in water for a few minutes.
This will easily break down the oils and coffee grinds that get stuck in the metal mesh of the filter. Just be sure to let the filter cool completely before touching it with your bare hands.