How To Clean A French Press (Step-by-Step Guide)

Ah, if there’s one thing I love, it’s a good cup of coffee. Even on the darkest of days, a hot coffee will make me feel a little better. The most popular pick for my daily goodness is a French press. But, cleaning said French press can be remarkably difficult—even when the coffee making is fairly easy to do.

Cleaning a French press starts with letting the coffee cool, then throwing out the coffee grounds. Then, add a couple of drops of dish soap, plunge the press a couple of times to foam it up, then rinse it with water. Once a week, pull the press apart and rinse it with a 50/50 combination of vinegar and water.

If you clean your French press well, it’ll serve you for generations. All you need to do is use the right cleaning products to make it work. This guide will help coffee newbies get the most out of that shiny new French press.

How Should You Clean A French Press?

There are a lot of cooking items that are difficult to clean, but a French press is not one of them. As long as you act relatively quickly, you can keep your French press fairly clean within a matter of minutes. Here’s how you can clean a French press the right way:

  1. First, finish drinking your coffee and let the press cool down. You don’t want to get burned by errant coffee grounds, do you?
  2. Open up the press and remove the coffee grounds. To do this the easy way, fill the coffee maker with water, grab a sieve with smaller holes, and pour the contents of the press through the sieve. The sieve will catch the grinds without you having to scoop them up from the kitchen sink.
  3. Get rid of the coffee grounds. If you have a compost, place them there. If you have plants like roses or hydrangeas, your soil might be able to use them for nourishment too. Waste not, want not, right? Of course, you can also just choose to drop the grounds in the garbage if you feel like it.
  4. Add some dish soap to your press, then add some water. You don’t need too much dish soap. I find that one squirt’s usually enough.
  5. Pump the French press several times. This will build up the froth and help clean out the interior.
  6. Open up the press, dump out the water, and rinse. Once you’ve rinsed it, add more water, pump the press again, then let it pour out.
  7. Let the French press air dry. No need to towel it off!

Can You Put Your French Press In A Dishwasher?

There’s some good news for people who are looking for a speedy way to get their French press clean. Most modern French presses are manufactured to be dishwasher-safe. To find out if yours is, take a look at the bottom (or side) of the press. Usually, the manufacturer will have cleaning instructions there.

When putting your French press into a dishwasher, remove the plunger and the screen. Place the plunger and metal parts in the utensil holder. This will help you get the best results possible and also prevent any damage that could happen to the press while it’s being jostled around by water.

How Often Do I Need To Clean A French Press Coffee Maker?

With some coffee machines and coffee makers, you can let the machine rest for a long time before you’d ever need to clean it. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case with French presses. If you want to make sure that your coffee tastes good, that your coffee maker won’t look awful, and that your drink is sanitary, you need to clean your French press every time you use it.

So the frequency of your cleaning schedule will match the frequency of your coffee drinking habit. If you drink daily, you’re going to need to clean your French press daily. If you only use it once a month, then you’re going to need to clean it monthly.

Give Your French Press A More Thorough Cleaning

If you are a regular coffee drinker, then the simple act of getting your French press rinsed out might not be enough to get it truly spotless. To make sure that your French press remains good as new, you will need to do the following once a week:

  1. Take apart your French press. Grab a rag, some white vinegar, and a spray bottle.
  2. Mix a solution that’s half white vinegar and half warm water. Shake it in the spray bottle until it’s adequately mixed.
  3. Spritz the vinegar and water solution on the press’s parts. Let it soak for around two minutes.
  4. Use a paper towel to wipe down the French press with the vinegar. This is the easiest way to get rid of the white stains related to hard water buildup.

An Alternative Cleaning Method For Your French Press

Don’t want to use vinegar, or just feel like you’re running low? Don’t worry, there’s another alternative that you can use. Another way to clean off your French press is to make a paste of baking soda and water, and use that to scrub each individual part. It’s a gentle yet abrasive cleanser that will lift up rust and debris.

Should You Take Apart Your French Press Every Time You Make Coffee?

Traditionally, most people would take apart their presses every time they brewed a cup, but this really isn’t necessary. Most people will find that just using the “plunge” method is more than enough to get the stains out. However, if you’re fairly persnickety, then you might as well go with the traditional route of cleaning.

Can You Dump Your Coffee Grounds Down The Drain?

Coffee grounds are uniquely bad for drains, even if you have a garbage disposal. The small size of the ground-up beans are known for clumping together rather than spreading out. Coffee grounds also don’t dissolve or break down too easily. Over time, pouring coffee grounds down the drain will lead to buildup in your plumbing, which can turn into seriously nasty clogs.

How Can You Get Mold Out Of A French Press?

If you have a French press that’s plagued by mold, the best way to get rid of it is to place your French press in the dishwasher, add detergent, and run it on hot. If you don’t have a dishwasher available for you to use, soak the affected part of your French press in a large tub of vinegar and hot water. The heat and acidity should kill off the mold.

After leaving it to soak in the tub for a bit, use a scrubbing sponge to brush away the mold. Clean it once again with some dish soap, and then rinse it off with water.

Related Questions

Why does my French press coffee taste like soap?

Believe it or not, the coffee’s soapy flavor might not have anything to do with the dish soap you used to clean it. This is actually a sign that the water in your coffee needs to be hotter, or that you need to boil your coffee. The heat is what will kill off the soapy flavors you’re tasting.

What type of coffee does a French press require?

For the most part, the only real major requirement that you have to be aware of is to use coarsely-ground coffee. If your local grocer has a coffee grinding service, choose “Coarse” or “French Press” as your setting. Other than that, most people seem to prefer darker roasts when they use a French press, however any roast can work well if you’re a fan of it.

Why did my French press explode?

French presses that are made out of delicate glass have a risk of exploding if water temperatures become too high or if the pressure inside the press reaches a critical point. Moreover, if your French press gets stuck and you continue to try to plunge it, you might have an explosive result simply because it’s too much for the press to handle.

Why is my French press plunger stuck?

This can be caused by several things. The most common reason is a clogged press filter, which can be fixed with a quick cleaning. If your screen has been thoroughly cleaned and your plunger is still stuck, try to see if the press was assembled correctly before you try to plunge again. Some presses might also get jammed if they’re neglected to the point of rusting.

Why can’t you use finely ground coffee in a French press?

If you have been struggling with keeping your plunger unstuck, finely-ground coffee may be to blame. The “fines” in the coffee can combine with the natural oils found in roasted coffee water, creating a clumping effect. Those clumps get stuck in the filter, which in turn, causes pressure to build up and your plunger to get stuck.