This is not as difficult or time-consuming as some would have you believe, so even that troglodyte you’re living with can do it once in a while. On the other hand, the 12-cup Cuisinart DCC-1200 coffeemaker has a signal to alert you when it’s time to clean!
But even if you see the build-up of scale (that disgusting foggy-looking mineral build-up on the inside of the glass carafe) that is so noticeable when the carafe is empty, the rest of the machine also will have a scale that isn’t as noticeable, so it’s time to thoroughly clean the coffee maker.
Ideally, there shouldn’t be any scale build-up at all. Many locations have hard water. Hard water tastes better and is preferable to less hard water as in the southern and western U.S. The point is, if you use filtered water to drink, you eliminate most of the minerals and other organic materials and brew superior coffee. That will also mean that the coffeemaker will require fewer cleanings than using non-filtered water.
Start cleaning the coffeemaker by putting 1/3 vinegar to 2/3 cool water into the reservoir. Pour it in the top where you usually put the water, and let that sit for about five minutes, then turn your machine on and let it run through the brew cycle—no filters, no coffee. Once the water has come out the bottom into the carafe, turn the machine off and let everything cool down completely.
If it’s been a while since the coffeemaker was cleaned or since first used, you may have to repeat the cycle two more times with fresh vinegar and water each time, and then a cycle with water only.
Hint: Do this in the evening before retiring and you probably will not have any after odors of vinegar when you make the first brew in the morning.
Clean the reservoir where you place the coffee filter and grinds in. Clean any removable parts in hot soapy water. Clean the spray heads that sprinkle the water onto the coffee grinds and be sure to rinse everything well.
Stains and any build-up on your carafe can be scrubbed out with baking soda and a wet sponge.
Another hint: Repeat this about every 2 weeks and everything should remain cleaner longer and your coffee will always taste great. Did you get that? Easier to keep clean, and, always a good tasting brew!
Clean and dry the exterior of the coffeemaker to preserve that New look.
This coffeemaker will alert you when it’s time to clean
If the Self Clean light begins to flash when the coffeemaker is turned on, it is telling you that the mineral buildup is interfering with the function of your coffeemaker and the flavor of your coffee. To clean, fill the water reservoir to capacity with a mixture of 1/3 (about 4 cups for this 12-cup coffee maker) white vinegar and 2/3 water, just as it was explained above. Press the Self Clean button.
When the Self Clean light glows, turn the coffeemaker on by pressing the flip switch to ON. The Self Clean light will shine steadily.
The coffeemaker is now in Self Clean mode. One cycle should be sufficient to adequately clean the coffeemaker. When the cycle is completed and the five beeps sound, the coffeemaker will shut off.
Turn the coffeemaker ON to see if the Self Clean light continues to flash. If it does, turn it to OFF and then repeat the cleaning procedure with a fresh solution of vinegar and water. If the Self Clean light no longer flashes, turn the coffeemaker to OFF and then run one cycle of fresh cold water through the unit before using the unit again to brew coffee. That’s it!
Notes on the Self Cleaning Function
Pressing the Self Clean button cancels all other settings. If it is pressed accidentally, press it again to return the coffee maker to all its previous settings. Pressing ON/OFF will also exit the Self Clean mode and turn the coffeemaker off.
Always turn coffeemaker OFF and remove the plug from the electrical outlet and allow the unit to cool before hand-cleaning. Lift up the reservoir cover. Remove and discard the paper filter and ground coffee, of course. The filter basket can be washed in warm, soapy water and rinsed thoroughly, or cleaned in the upper rack of the dishwasher. Dry all parts after use.
Do not put any water in the unit once the filter basket has been removed.
The carafe and lid can be washed in warm, soapy water and rinsed thoroughly, or placed in a dishwasher. The carafe and carafe lid should be placed on the upper rack only.
Do not use any scouring agents or harsh cleansers on any part of the coffeemaker. Never immerse the base unit in water or other liquid. To clean the base, simply wipe it with a clean, damp cloth and dry before storing.
Fingerprints and other blemishes on the stainless steel housing can be washed off with soap and water or a nonabrasive cleaning solution.
Wipe warming plate with a clean, damp cloth. Never use rough, abrasive materials or cleansers to clean the warming plate. Do not dry the inside of the water reservoir with a cloth, as lint may remain.