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How to Clean a Chemex Coffee Maker (Quick & Simple)

how to clean Chemex

The Chemex is a beautiful and effective coffee maker. Its stylish glass design is perfect for displaying on kitchen counters or brunch tables — but if you don’t clean it well, you will have to hide it in a cupboard instead. Plus, the distinctive shape can be a little tricky to clean.

That’s where this guide comes in. We’re going to show you how to easily clean your Chemex until it shines — or is ready to be displayed at the Museum of Modern Art!

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How Often Should You Clean Your Chemex?

This depends on your kitchen cleaning preferences. The best way to prevent potentially unhealthy bacterial buildup in your coffee maker is to wash it with soap and water every time you use it.

If you’re less soap-inclined or more time-strapped, you can quickly rinse your Chemex out with hot water after you use it. But you will still want to scrub it with soap and water at least once a week. In between deep cleans, we recommend rinsing it regularly. After you brew a pot of coffee and throw away the filter, take off the handle, and run your Chemex under warm water. This will keep a film of coffee from building up on the glass.

cleaning a Chemex

Dishwasher or Hand Washing?

If you really hate doing the dishes, we have good news for you! The Chemex’s glass carafe can go in your dishwasher. Just untie the leather strap, remove the wood handle, and place the carafe upside down on the top rack. You’ll also want to make sure no other dishes are touching your Chemex.

Washing your Chemex in the dishwasher is convenient, but you may not want to do it. Why? You might end up shortening the lifespan of your beloved coffee maker. Dishwashers can be hard on the glass and your Chemex may end up cracked or scratched in the process.

If your priority is keeping your Chemex pristine, we recommend hand washing with soap and water. Scroll down to see the simple process:

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The 5 Steps to Clean Your Chemex:

  • Soap
  • Warm water
  • White vinegar (optional)
  • Bottlebrush
  • Sponge

1. Remove the wooden handle.

Remove Chemex handle

Before you get your Chemex wet, you’ll want to remove the leather tie and wooden handle. Keeping these pieces dry will help them avoid water damage and keep you from having to buy replacements.

2. Scrub the outside of the carafe.

scrub Chemex with soap and sponge

Once you have the handle off, you can easily scrub the carafe’s outside using soap, water, and a sponge.

3. Optional: Add white vinegar to the carafe.

add white vinegar to Chemex and let soak

This step is optional but highly recommended, especially if you have hard water. Fill the bottom of your Chemex with white vinegar and let it sit for at least 30 minutes. This will dissolve any oils or minerals that have built up on your Chemex’s glass walls. Then dump out the vinegar.

4. Wash with water and soap.

wash Chemex with a bottle brush and dish soap

Pour dish soap and warm water into the carafe. Then push the bottle brush in and scrub the sides. The bottle brush is important here because it can reach all of the sides of the carafe.

5. Rinse out and let dry.

let clean Chemex dry

Rinse the soap out with water and let the carafe dry. We suggest flipping it upside down on a dishtowel. To make sure your Chemex dries completely, you may want to put a spoon or other utensil under the lip. This will keep the glass from sealing to your counter and potentially growing mold.

When it’s dry, put the handle back on. That’s it! Your clean Chemex will now be sparkling and ready to brew another pot.

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Cleaning a Chemex: FAQ

Is the Chemex dishwasher-safe?

Yes! Just remove the handle and tie and place your Chemex upside down on the top rack of your dishwasher.

How do you get coffee stains out of a Chemex?

Washing your Chemex regularly will help keep stains away. Luckily, glass doesn’t stain easily, so even the thickest coffee buildup can be removed from your Chemex with a little scrubbing. Rinse or wash with soap and water every time you use it, and soak it in white vinegar if there’s a lot of buildup.

What’s the best Chemex cleaning brush?

To clean your Chemex, we recommend a soft-bristled bottle brush with a long handle. The soft bristles won’t scratch the glass, and the long handle will help you reach the bottom of the carafe.


Kate MacDonnell

Kate is a lifelong coffee enthusiast and homebrewer who enjoys writing for coffee websites and sampling every kind of coffee known to man. She’s tried unusual coffees from all over the world and owns an unhealthy amount of coffee gear.

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