How to Clean The Chemex (7 Different Ways)

By Evelina •  Updated: 07/08/21 •  8 min read

The Best Answer:

There isn’t really the best way to clean the Chemex, but lots of people use vinegar and lemon juice and then rinse it with hot water. You can also use a scoop of baking soda alongside water to clean the coffee maker.

The Chemex is a sleek, innovative glass coffee maker with a wooden collar. It looks great on any table! But don’t forget to take care of the Chemex and it will last you a lifetime. 

A while back I realized that brewing a perfect cup of coffee with my Chemex is impossible if I don’t clean it properly directly afterward. And that’s because all the oil buildup from previous brews kept ending up in my cup, making my coffee taste rather stale.

With this article, I am going to make sure this doesn’t happen to you! But first, let’s find out a few things about Chemex, so you can understand the type of material you are dealing with. 

A bit about the Chemex

Back in 1941, Dr. Peter Schumbolm was a very busy German chemist, constantly working on more than 300 patents for a wide range of products, like cocktail shakers and automobiles. 

One of these patents was the Chemex and with it, he was trying to create a unique and elegant-looking coffee brewer that would brew a cup of coffee full of clear flavor and aroma, without any of the residues. 

The invention of the Chemex was such a big hit that to this day it’s actually displayed in the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Philadelphia Museum!

All about the design

When it comes to the design, the Chemex is a beautiful one-piece vessel, in the shape of an hourglass. It’s made of heat-resistant, non-porous borosilicate glass and is completed with a wooden collar and a leather tie around it.

The collar is placed around the middle of the vessel and serves as a handle. The leather tie on the other hand helps with gripping. The reason why so many people love the Chemex is that it yields a very pure cup of coffee since the coffee only comes in contact with the non-porous glass and scientifically designed filter.

Today, the company that owns the brand makes three types of Chemex, the classic, the glass handle, and the hand-blown series.

How to Clean the Chemex

There are many ways to clean the Chemex. It is very easy to do, but you need a bit of patience. I will show you how to clean your Chemex glass carafe along with how to clean the wooden collar.

Read Also: Chemex Brewing Guide

1. Dish Soap And Water

You can use dish soap and water to clean your Chemex as well as any other glass carafe that you may have. Soap removes the oils that accumulate on the glass. I don’t have to say this, but be sure not to use any abrasive cleaners as they will harm your coffee maker.

Fill the sink with warm water and add a drop of dish soap. Remove the wooden collar from your Chemex and soak the glass carafe in the sink for about 10 minutes.

Alternatively, you can fill your Chemex with warm soapy water, swirl a good few times and then rinse it out. Simple as that!

2. Salt And Water

Salt is a great way for removing oils and dirt from your Chemex. It’s very easy to do this at home. Just fill the sink with warm water and add two teaspoons of salt to it.

You should be able to soak your carafe for about 10 minutes; however, the time may vary depending on how greasy your Chemex is.

3. Vinegar and Water

You can use vinegar to clean your Chemex just like salt. Vinegar is an acidic substance that dissolves away the oils that accumulate on the glass.

Clean both the wooden collar as well as the glass carafe with vinegar and warm water. You can leave the Chemex in vinegar for about 10 minutes, but make sure to rinse it afterward with cold water.

4. Use Baking Soda

Baking soda is a great cleaning agent for removing oils from your Chemex. The Chemex has a wooden collar and glass. Baking soda is a soft substance that can absorb oil; therefore, it works very well in cleaning the coffee maker.

Fill the sink with warm water and add two teaspoons of baking soda to it. Soak both the wooden collar as well as the glass carafe in the water for about 10 minutes; however, make sure to rinse it afterward with cold water too.

5. Use A Cleaning Brush

If you prefer hand washing your Chemex or you have some unused coffee grinds left in the carafe with some grounds, you could use a cleaning brush to clean the wooden collar and glass carafe.

The brush will help remove the built-up oils from the inner parts of your coffee maker.

6. Use Ice

If you have some leftover ice cubes, you can use them to clean your Chemex. Just place some ice cubes inside your carafe and let them melt.

Add a little bit of salt to the ice and let it dissolve. Swirl the glass carafe to release any built-up oils.

By doing this, not only are you cleaning your Chemex coffee maker, but you are also saving water! Just make sure to rinse the glass carafe with warm water afterward.

7. Add The Chemex In The Dishwasher

The Chemex is dishwasher safe. If you do decide to use your Chemex in the dishwasher, make sure you don’t wash it with any other dishes.

Try coming up with a special cycle for your Chemex. If you have any other glassware that you want to wash along with it, you should put them in separate cycles. Anything plastic or wooden you want to wash don’t be afraid to add it too.


How Often Do You Wash Your Chemex?

It is ideal to wash your Chemex after every brew. I usually just rinse it out with warm water and then wipe it down with a paper towel if needed.

If you don’t wash it after every brew it’s more than likely that coffee oils will build up and not only eventually stain the glass but also make your next cup of coffee taste rancid. 

Can You Put The Chemex In A Dish Washer?

Yes, you can, but be careful not to wash the carafe with any other dishes. This is important as the glass might absorb other food leftovers.

You can use a cleaning brush if you prefer hand washing your Chemex.

How do you clean a Chemex Ottomatic?

The Chemex Ottomatic is a glass coffee maker with an automatic pour-over feature. The bottom of the carafe has a valve that automatically opens when you pour hot water into it. To clean the Chemex Ottomatic simply remove the glass carafe from the machine and wash it with soap and warm water.

Last Thoughts

There are many ways to clean the Chemex. It is very easy to do, but you need a bit of patience. The easiest and fastest way is to wash it with soap and water. But you can pick any way you want to clean your Chemex.

No matter which way you choose, what’s more, important is that you clean it after every brew. It only takes a few extra minutes but it guarantees your coffee will taste delicious every single time.

Plus, your Chemex will always look super sleek!

In any case, I hope this article has helped you pick a way how to clean the Chemex coffee maker just by following a few steps.


Evelina’s passion for coffee could never been hidden. Having worked as a barista, she learned the true value of the coffee bean and its secrets. As she continued to evolve as a barista, so did her knowledge, techniques on making different coffee blends and most importantly how to operate every kind of gear when it comes to coffee. Having a degree in biomedicine and being a barista, allows her to provide our community with in-depth knowledge surrounding the topics of coffee.