How to Clean a French Press

French press

The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

Overview
  • Working Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 1 day, 10 mins
  • Skill Level: Beginner

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.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Sink or bucket
  • Automatic dishwasher
  • Microfiber cloths
  • Wooden or plastic spatula

Materials

  • Dishwashing liquid with a degreaser
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Citric acid powder
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Dishwasher detergent

Instructions

items for cleaning your French press

The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

How to Quick Clean a French Press Daily

  1. 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.

    Warning

    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.

    emptying out the coffee grounds

    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

  2. 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.

    rinsing the plunger with hot water

    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

  3. Add Dishwashing Liquid

    Once the grounds are rinsed away, add a couple of drops of dishwashing liquid, preferably a brand that includes a degreaser.

    adding soap to the french press

    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

  4. 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.

    carafe filled with hot water

    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

  5. Empty and Rinse Well

    Pour the soapy water down the sink and rinse each component well with hot water.

    emptying out the carafe

    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

  6. 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.

    French press in a drying rack

    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

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.

  1. Dispose of the Grounds

    Empty the grounds and dispose of them properly. Rinse the carafe, filter, and plunger to remove any remaining grounds.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Run the Dishwasher

    Run the dishwasher wash and dry cycles using your regular detergent.

How to Deep Clean a French Press

  1. 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.

  2. Disassemble the Components

    Unscrew the filter from the plunger. You may need to rinse the filter again to remove any remaining coffee grounds.

  3. 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.
  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.