How Do I Clean a Chemex?

Regular deep cleaning and maintenance of the Chemex prolongs its lifespan and makes for a more enjoyable cup of coffee. Here's how!
How To Clean Chemex
✍ Written by: Jon Clark
📅 Published: April 17, 2022
🗃 Filed under: EQUIPMENT

The cool beaker-like design of the Chemex gives it a unique aura, but it’s also a bit tricky to clean. From the special filters to the lack of words written on it, this coffee maker has a simple, minimalist style while being slightly confusing at the same time.

While some may advise you not to wash your Chemex, I found that to be false. If you start to notice a cloudy residue or are a heavy user, a once or twice yearly deep cleaning is probably in order. This will ensure a consistent brew and well-balanced coffee every time.

However, it can get tricky when it comes to properly cleaning. The glass carafe can be fragile and hard to access, but this doesn’t mean that it can’t get clean.

Cleaning the Chemex is easy if you know what to do and how to do it. This post will give you a step-by-step guide on how to clean your Chemex properly so that you can enjoy many years of use.

Note* Whichever option you choose, make sure to untie and remove the wooden belt. This will prevent it from getting water damaged.

1. Specialist Brushes

Chemex Brush Clean
Wooden Handle Cleaning Brush

To clean your Chemex, why not choose the method recommended by the brand itself. You’ll need:

In a similar way to how you clean other kitchenware, such as cups and plates, you will need to invest in specialist brushes that will fit through the narrow, central segment of the flask. But make sure the handle is plastic or wood to avoid scratching or, worse, breaking your Chemex.

Bottle cleaning brushes are widely available, low cost and can make cleaning your Chemex a lot easier. They tend to consist of bristles attached to a thin, malleable piece of metal that allows the bush to bend while cleaning, maneuvering through hard-to-reach areas.

Use the brush as you would any other dish brush, rubbing the sides of the flask with the cleaning solution to remove stains and marks.

Finish by rinsing the Chemex with warm water and allowing it to air dry.

2. Cold Rinsing

A straightforward way to clean your Chemex without specialist brushes is to give it a cold rinse.

For this cleaning technique, you will need:

  • A pint of ice
  • Two tablespoons of table salt
  • Two drops of liquid dish soap
  • Water

Ideally, you should use this cleaning method straight after using your Chemex.

After disposing of any remaining coffee and allowing the flask to cool, start out by rinsing it with cold water to ensure that there isn’t any coffee remaining inside the flask.

You should then place your Chemex upright and pour the ice, salt, and liquid dish soap and fill the flask two thirds full with water.

Use a wooden spoon, stirring stick, or gently shake the flask to ensure that the liquid is well mixed; it should begin to froth.

While you do this, the ice should rub against the walls of the flask, scrubbing oils and leftover coffee residue from its walls. The salt will also act as a mild abrasive, further helping to remove coffee stains.

Finish by emptying the ice and rinsing the Chemex.

3. Hot Rinsing

A second option you could try is hot rinsing. You will need:

  • Hot water

Start out by boiling your water, then pour it into your Chemex.

Swirl the water around the flask for roughly two minutes, then pour the hot water out. This should remove old coffee and ensure that its taste doesn’t impact your next brew.

Please note that while hot rinsing will clean your Chemex, it won’t sanitize it. This cleaning technique is ideal for simply rinsing your Chemex between batches of coffee in the same day, rather than giving it a deep clean.

4. White Vinegar Flushing

White vinegar flushing is another highly effective means of getting your Chemex squeaky clean.

For this approach, you will need:

Simply fill your Chemex to the brim with equal parts white vinegar and water. Leave it to stand for thirty to forty minutes. For really tough oil stains or mineral buildup, an overnight soaking may be in order.

Pour the vinegar mixture out and scrub the insides while pouring hot water into the carafe. l

Once again, pour out the liquid and fill again with warm soapy water. You may want to move your Chemex in a swirling motion to allow the mixture to rub against its edges. Rinse thoroughly to remove any last remnants of vigar.

If you find that your Chemex still smells of vinegar, give it a further rinse with soapy water.

Allow it to dry naturally, overnight.

5. Dishwasher

Broken Chemex Chipped
Chipped Chemex from the dishwasher

Chemexes are dishwasher safe. However, you should make sure to remove the handle and place upside down in the top rack while making sure your glass Chemex isn’t in close contact with other dishware.

While your Chemex is dishwasher safe, you would be well advised not to.

Dishwashers can be hard on delicate glassware, and what might be a cleaning shortcut could result in a cracked or severely scratched coffee maker.

In order to keep your Chemex in the best condition, I recommend choosing one of the four alternative cleaning choices above.

Bottom Line on Cleaning Your Chemex

At least one of these cleaning methods should tick your boxes and leave you with a clean Chemex between uses.

While each will leave you with a sufficiently clean flask to brew your next cup of coffee, it’s worth giving each a try to see which best suits your needs and preferences.

Garrett Oden

Garrett Oden

Coffee Industry Writer

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The entire purpose of this coffee blog is to empower you to explore the wonderful world of coffee. There’s much to learn and experience, so get to reading!

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