In their continuing quest to make the best possible cup of coffee at home, many coffee drinkers have turned to a French press. Devotees swear that it makes the perfect cup of coffee. Perhaps it is because the brewing time can be adjusted to create a cup of coffee that suits their taste. Or, since the coffee maker does not use a paper filter like most drip machines, more oils are left in the coffee, adding a more robust flavor.
A French press works by placing coffee grounds in the bottom of the glass or metal brewing chamber and then allowing them to steep in hot water. When the coffee has brewed to your satisfaction, the plunger is slowly pressed down and a metal filter traps the coffee grounds so they don't end up in your cup.
How Often to Clean Your French Press
Just as drip coffeemakers and single-cup makers should be cleaned regularly, so should a French press. The grounds should be emptied after every use and the vessel, strainer, and plunger washed daily.
At least weekly, a deeper cleaning should be done to remove the build-up of oils and any mineral residue left by the water. Coffee oils can become rancid and ruin the flavor of the next cup.
Whether you have a metal or glass press, cleaning a French press is easy to do and requires just a few supplies to give you a great cup of coffee.
Equipment / Tools
- Sink or bucket
- Automatic dishwasher
- Microfiber cloths
- Wooden or plastic spatula
- Dishwashing liquid with a degreaser
- Distilled white vinegar
- Citric acid powder
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Dishwasher detergent
How to Quick Clean a French Press Daily
Empty the Coffee Grounds
Most of the coffee grounds will be concentrated at the bottom of the carafe. Use a wooden or plastic spatula to loosen the grounds so they can be emptied easily. Do not use a metal utensil as that can leave scratches.
While there are many ways to use leftover coffee grounds around the house and garden, the one place they should never go is down the sink or into a garbage disposal.
Rinse Components With Hot Water
Rinse out the few remaining coffee grounds in the press with hot water. Leaving the filter and plunger connected, rinse them well with hot water.
Add Dishwashing Liquid
Once the grounds are rinsed away, add a couple of drops of dishwashing liquid, preferably a brand that includes a degreaser.
Add Hot Water
Fill the carafe half-full with hot water. Put the plunger/filter into the carafe and gently plunge it up and down about three times to help remove oils and residue.
Empty and Rinse Well
Pour the soapy water down the sink and rinse each component well with hot water.
Dry the French Press
Separate the components and allow them air-dry in a dish drainer. Or, use a lint-free microfiber cloth to dry each piece.
How to Quick Clean a French Press Daily in a Dishwasher
If the French press is dishwasher safe, you can skip handwashing and place it in the dishwasher. If you're not sure, check the manufacturer's website.
Dispose of the Grounds
Empty the grounds and dispose of them properly. Rinse the carafe, filter, and plunger to remove any remaining grounds.
Disassemble the Press
It is best to completely disassemble the components before placing them in the dishwasher. Unscrew the plunger from the filter and place each piece in the silverware basket of the dishwasher.
If you choose to leave the filter and plunger intact, fully extend the plunger and place the entire piece on the top rack of the dishwasher.
Load the Carafe
Place the carafe on the top rack of the dishwasher. If it won't fit on the top rack, be sure to place it safely away from anything on the bottom rack that might scratch the surface.
Run the Dishwasher
Run the dishwasher wash and dry cycles using your regular detergent.
How to Deep Clean a French Press
Empty Coffee Grounds and Rinse Well
Dispose of the coffee grounds and rinse the press well with hot water to remove all the loose grounds.
Disassemble the Components
Unscrew the filter from the plunger. You may need to rinse the filter again to remove any remaining coffee grounds.
Prepare a Cleaning Solution
In a sink, large bowl, or bucket, prepare one of these mixtures:
- Mix two cups of hot water, two teaspoons of dishwashing liquid, two teaspoons of citric acid powder, and two teaspoons of hydrogen peroxide.
- Mix one cup of distilled white vinegar and three cups of hot water.
Soak the Filter and Plunger
Completely submerge the filter and plunger in one of the cleaning solutions and allow them to soak for at least four hours or overnight.
Wash the Carafe and Lid
Add a few drops of dishwashing liquid and fill the carafe about half-full with hot water. Use a microfiber cloth to thoroughly wash the interior of the carafe.
If you see white spots or deposits on the interior of the carafe, fill the carafe with three parts hot water and one part distilled white vinegar and allow the mixture to sit in the carafe overnight.
Wash the lid in a bit of soapy water.
Rinse Well and Dry
Once all of the components have completed the required soaking time or cleaning, rinse each one well with hot water. Allow the pieces to air-dry in a dish drainer or dry with a microfiber cloth.