How To Descale Cuisinart Coffee Maker The Right Way

Mike C
Written By Mike C

I've been writing about coffee and espresso machines for 3 years. My goal is to provide you with helpful content that you can trust based on my own personal experiences, information from manufacturers, and tips and tricks I've gathered from other coffee and espresso machine users.

I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

How To Descale Cuisinart Coffee Maker The Right Way

The water used to brew your coffee has minerals that build up inside your Cuisinart. These are not toxic but they can impact the flow, temperature and performance of your brewer. They can affect the taste of your cup of coffee too. Descaling is the process of removing those minerals and can help extend the life of your Cuisinart coffee maker. Keep reading to learn how to descale Cuisinart coffee maker models.

How Often To Descale Cuisinart Coffee Maker

Cuisinart says that you should descale your coffee maker every 3 to 6 months. If your coffee maker starts making unusual noises, or if your coffee starts to taste bitter, it’s a sign that you need to descale. Regular descaling is needed whether you are using filtered, bottled or tap water with a low to normal mineral count. If your tap has “hard water,” meaning it contains higher level of minerals, then you should descale your brewer more often. If you are not sure about the mineral content of your water, you can get a low-cost water testing kit.

Some Cuisinart coffee maker models, including the SS10, will have a DESCALE message on your display. Other Cuisinart coffee maker models will have a CLEAN light. These alerts will be triggered by sensors that detect that mineral buildup is interfering with performance. When you see this warning you should descale as soon as possible. Even though you can still make coffee, ignoring this will ultimately damage your brewer.

Cuisinart Descaling Solutions

The best way to descale your coffee maker is with one of these solutions. They contain safe and effective types of cleansing acids that won’t damage your machine.

Impresa Coffee Machine Descaler

Impresa Descaler to descale cuisinart coffee machine

The Impresa descaler is a top selling coffee machine descaler. It has citric and sulfamic acids. Both are gentle on metal. A pack has two bottles. Each bottle has enough solution to use twice.

Essential Values Coffee Machine Descaler

Essential Values Descaler to descale cuisinart coffee machine

The Essential Values descaling solution contains a concentrated citric acid that is both odorless and powerful. Each bottle is good for two uses. A two pack will provide four doses. That’s a year supply if you descale every three months. 

Can You Descale Cuisinart Coffee Maker With Vinegar?

descale with vinegar

If you look at your user manual, you will likely see that Cuisinart’s instructions include steps on how to prepare a descaling solution with vinegar. Most coffee machine manufacturers do not recommend this. That’s because vinegar contains harsh acids that can wear down metal components inside the unit. This can eventually cause leaks. Vinegar is also not as effective as commercial solutions in removing coffee residue and oils. It can also leave a lingering odor and affect the taste of your coffee.

That said, if you are comfortable using vinegar then go ahead and do it. You can still follow the same steps below. To prepare the solution fill the water tank with 1/3 white vinegar and 2/3 fresh water. You may have to run the rinse cycle a few extra times until the vinegar smell is gone.

How To Descale Cuisinart Keurig SS10

  1. Empty the water tank and remove the water filter holder
  2. Disable the AUTO OFF and OFF TIME features
  3. Remove any K-cup from the brewing chamber
  4. Mix the solution with cold water per the instructions on your bottle.
  5. Place a large mug or bowl on the drip tray.
  6. Press and hold both the HOT WATER and RINSE buttons to start the cycle. The water-solution mix will begin to dispense into the mug or bowl.
  7. When it completes, discard the water-solution mix. Then repeat step 6 until the machine prompts you to ADD WATER.
  8. Remove the water reservoir and rinse it thoroughly. Fill it with fresh drinking water only.
  9. Next, you will want to run a HOT WATER cycle to rinse the machine of any solution residue. Lift and lower the handle. When the machine says READY, press the RINSE button.
  10. Repeat step 9 until ADD WATER is displayed.

How To Descale Cuisinart Coffee Maker SS15

How to descale Cuisinart Coffee Maker SS15
Cuisinart SS15 Coffee Center

12-Cup Coffee Maker Descaling

  1. Empty the water tank and remove the water filter holder
  2. Mix the solution with water per the instructions on your bottle.
  3. Press and hold both the CLEAN button to start the cycle. The water-solution mix will begin to dispense into the carafe.
  4. When it completes, 5 beeps will sound and the machine will shut off. Discard the water-solution mix.
  5. Turn the machine on. If the CLEAN light is still on, repeat steps 2 and 3.
  6. Turn the machine on again. If the light is off, you need to rinse your machine. Rinse the tank thoroughly and fill it with fresh drinking water only.
  7. Press the CLEAN button to start the rinse cycle.
  8. Return the water filter holder to the tank, fill the reservoir with fresh water, and turn the machine on.

Single Serve Descaling

  1. Empty the water tank and remove the water filter holder.
  2. Remove any capsule from the brewing chamber.
  3. Mix the solution with water per the instructions on your bottle.
  4. Place a large 16 oz cup on the drip tray.
  5. Press and hold both the 6 oz and 8 oz buttons to start the descaling mode. The water-solution mix will begin to dispense into the mug or bowl.
  6. When it completes, discard the water-solution mix. Then repeat step 5 until the machine prompts you to ADD WATER.
  7. Descaling is complete when all lights turn on.
  8. Remove the water reservoir and rinse it thoroughly. Fill it with fresh drinking water only.
  9. Next, you will want to run three rinse cycles to rid the machine of any solution residue. Just repeat steps 5 and 6 three times with only fresh water in the tank.

Cuisinart PerfectTemp DCC-3200C Descale Instructions

  1. Empty the water tank and remove the water filter holder
  2. Mix the solution with water per the instructions on your bottle.
  3. Press and hold both the CLEAN button to start the cycle. When the light starts flashing, release the button. The water-solution mix will begin to dispense into the carafe.
  4. When it completes, 5 beeps will sound and the machine will shut off. Discard the water-solution mix.
  5. Turn the machine on. If the CLEAN light is still on, repeat steps 2 and 3.
  6. Turn the machine on again. If the light is off, you need to rinse your machine. Rinse the tank thoroughly and fill it with fresh drinking water only.
  7. Press and hold the CLEAN button to start the rinse cycle.
  8. Return the water filter holder to the tank, fill the reservoir with fresh water, and turn the machine on.

How To Reset Cuisinart Descale Light If It Won’t Turn Off

If the descale light blinking is still on after you have run a descaling cycle and it won’t turn off, there are a couple things you can try to reset it:

  • Turn the machine off. Unplug it from the power outlet. Let it sit for 15 minutes before plugging it in and turning it on again. There is no reset button on your Cuisinart coffee maker so this is the only way to attempt to do this.
  • If you have a Cuisinart SS model like the SS10 or SS15, place a cup under the single serve outlet. Next, press the 6 oz and 8 oz buttons at the same time. This should run some water through the Cuisinart coffee maker and reset the descale light.

If you’ve had your Cuisinart coffee maker for more than 3 or 6 months and have never descaled or if you have hard water, a descale light that won’t turn off could also mean there is more mineral buildup remaining that needs to be cleared. You should repeat the process once or twice more using new descaling solution. If the light continues to stay on, then you should contact the Cuisinart Consumer Service Center at 1-800-726-0190.

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