Thou Shalt Clean Thy Zojirushi Water Boiler

When I acquired my first Zojirushi I read somewhere that it might occasionally need cleaning. By the time I received my second Zojirushi water boiler a couple years later, I read it again.

Here we are yet a couple years later and they’re in need of cleaning again. Somewhere along the line I realized I never once wrote anything about cleaning either of the Zojirushi CV-DSC/CV-DYC water boiler units I happen to have.

So, here we go. Something you should always know how to do, and basic maintenance I tend to perform every six to eight months depending on water hardness and ph level.

Zojirushi Citric Acid (before mixing)

Using Citric Acid

While some people online have claimed success using baking soda and vinegar, that combination has a propensite for leaving odd smells in the unit. I highly recommend sticking to citric acid.

While I happen to buy the official Zojirushi Citric Acid cleaning packets on Amazon… you’re not obligated to do either. I’ve seen people use other brands of citric acid, and I’ve heard of still others who buy the stuff very cheaply by the pound to save money longer-term. Still, at only about $8 USD for four packets at the time of writing this, It’s a good deal to help your Zojirushi Water Boiler live longer and boil stronger.

Zojirushi Citric Acid (pre-mixed)

I use a small plastic container to mix the citric acid with how water before pouring it into the Zoji unit, but others have no problem pouring the citric acid directly into their Zoji. For what it’s worth, Zojirushi officially suggests pre-mixing.

This Zojirushi Needing Cleaning

Cleaning your Zojirushi Unit

The water boiler unit shown above was actually the cleaner of the two I own (yikes.) The other had been in a corporate office for an extended period and shared with dozens of others who used it as frequently as I did.

It may be difficult to see at first, but there’s a lot of calcification at the bottom of this unit and a little on the sides. This is only 6mo between cleanings.

I’ve seen some boilers (Zojirushi and others) with all kinds of stuff floating around inside because they’d never been cleaned. If this is the case with your unit… it may be tempting to just toss it and buy a new one. DO NOT do that. It’ll generally take only two or three cleaning cycles to cleanse the worst offenders! So for less than $10 you can definitely get yours up and running without nasty floaties!

Filling the Zojirushi After Adding Citric Acid Pre-Mix

These units are fairly simple to clean. Most Zojirushi units within the past decade or so have a cleaning mode built in which reboils several times to make sure everything inside breaks up properly.

To clean the unit normally, just pour in the citric acid pre-mixed, add water to the max fill line in your unit and let it boil as you normally would. You can activate the built-in cleaning mode of your Zojirushi water boiler by holding down the reboil button until the temperature indicator looks like it kinda bugged out.

A Shiny Clean Zojirushi Water Boiler

Tidying Up

Once the boil cycle is completed, or the cleaning cycle returns the temperature indicator back to a normal numeric reading you can empty your Zojirushi water boiler.

It is important however that you run all the cleaned water through the normal spout and not dump it from the top of the unit like abucket. Using the dispense mode allows the citric acid remaining to clean the tubing which leads to the dispenser spout. This will lead to cleaner tasting brews.

Also, while Zojirushi doesn’t officially recommend it, I also suggest running an extra boil cycle with fresh water in your now-clean water boiler in order to ensure everything is flushed out. Once again, running the entire vacuum empty of water using the dispense mode on the unit.

My Dual Zoji Setup

Conclusion - Enjoy Fresh, Clean Water Again

Now that your Zojirushi water boiler unit is completely clean, you can use it as you normally would, boiling up you water for tea, fresh pressed coffee, oatmeal, hot cocoa and anything else you need variable temperature water for.

Have at it!

  11 comments for “Thou Shalt Clean Thy Zojirushi Water Boiler

  1. Lynn
    April 16, 2016 at 7:28 PM

    Thank you for these directions! I've own my Zoji for 6-7 years and did NOT know about the cleaning cycle. I would just boil it and let it sit for a while. I just followed your directions and it's doing exactly what you described. Directions? Who knew? 🙂

  2. Debbie Warren
    April 25, 2016 at 7:14 PM

    I have a Panasonic 2.2 water boiler. Do you know if I can I use the same instructions to clean my unit?

  3. July 1, 2016 at 4:24 PM

    Yes, you should be able to use the citric acid with any sort of kettle or boiler unit.

    Whether the Panasonic unit has a special "cleaning mode." I'm not sure.

  4. Shelley
    August 16, 2016 at 8:42 PM

    Could you please tell me if it is super important to have the filter on because i have been given a Zoji and it does not have a filter?

  5. Debbie Warren
    August 25, 2016 at 11:13 PM

    Thanks for your reply!

  6. September 10, 2016 at 10:10 PM

    The small metal/mesh filter which attaches to the water outlet at the bottom of the unit is not essential to the unit's operation. So no, it's not "important".

    However, the filter does prevent debris from entering the outflow tubing and getting stuck which can significantly hamper the flow of water from the unit, so it's worth contacting Zojirushi and seeing what the replacement part would cost.

  7. crystal
    January 23, 2017 at 4:24 PM

    Thank you so much for the instructions! The product/process worked great to clean out my Zoji 🙂 It looks brand new again!

  8. Sonya
    March 7, 2017 at 8:35 AM

    The letters inside the boiler in ours seem to be fragmenting and we can see small black particles float on the water. Anyone else has seen this?

  9. March 7, 2017 at 9:20 AM

    I have not seen this issue myself. I would recommend reaching out to Zojirushi support and verifying with them whether it is an issue with your unit, something with all units, or just a cleaning issue.

  10. Julie
    May 4, 2017 at 9:36 AM

    I have followed your awesome directions - but this time for some reason it's been 4 days already and it's still on the wash cycle!? Has it ever taken you this long?? I've done this before and it's never taken this long! Any advice? Thanks in advance!

  11. May 4, 2017 at 11:01 AM

    It sounds like your Zoji has probably gotten stuck in the cycle. The longest cycle I have had run is about 2 hours.

    You could probably unplug your Zoji for a minute and run the cycle again and expect the usual runtime.

    If you continue to have issues with the cleaning cycle, I recommend contacting Zojirushi support.

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