How to Clean a French Press and Make It Spotless

Updated: November 17, 2021 by Owen Richardson

how to clean a french press

Don’t you just hate it when you make yourself a great cup of coffee and instead of enjoying it without any distractions, you keep thinking about how you need to clean your French press? As a perfectionist, this happens to me all the time, which is why I decided I needed to come up with the how to clean a French press in only a few minutes!

Cleaning your French press does not have to be something you dread. It can be very rewarding when you see the results – a sparkly and shiny device that looks brand new! The first time I used this cleaning method in my press, I almost did not believe how good it looked and how much better the coffee I brewed afterward tasted.

So I think you should know my quick and easy method for cleaning French presses. You do not need anything more than a couple of minutes and a few ingredients you probably already have at home. So get ready, and let’s get right into the cleaning!

How to Clean a French Press – Step-by-Step Guide

If you have been using your French press for a while now, I hope that you have been cleaning it after using it. Leaving your used coffee grounds in the carafe for a long time is a big no-no! If you have been doing that, you need to stop it immediately.

However, this does not mean that you have to thoroughly clean your press every time you use it. You can give it a quick rinse after every use, and you should thoroughly clean it every two or three weeks. Luckily for you, not even the thorough clean-up requires a lot of time and effort, so you will be able to do it without any problems.

Now that I have cleared that up, I want to get right into the guide and tell you all about the French press cleaning process that you simply must know if you use this device daily. Let’s get started!

How to Clean a French Press – Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1 – Gather All the Things You Need

To do a thorough clean-up of a French press, you will need a few ingredients that you probably have at home or you can buy from the store for a few dollars. You do not need to buy any special cleaning solutions. All you need is some water, dish soap, baking soda, vinegar, a soft sponge, and a microfiber cloth.

Step 2 – Prepare the French Press

If you have just brewed some coffee using the French press, you cannot clean it right away. You have to let it cool down before you can get into it. However, if it is not hot, you can immediately proceed to what is next.

I recommend that you take the lid off the press and you remove the plunger. Next, you should remove the used grounds from the carafe. You can do that by using a spoon, or you can fill the carafe halfway up with water, stir it with the grounds, and dump everything in the trash.

Once the carafe is empty, you can take apart the parts that can be disassembled. This will make it easier for you to give everything a thorough scrub, but be careful not to damage or break anything when you disassemble it.

Step 3 – Rinse the Separate Parts

This step is essentially where you have to decide if you want to give your French press a thorough wash or if you would rather do a quick wash. I will tell you what you need to do for the quick wash first.

You should rinse all the separate parts of the press using nothing more than lukewarm water and mild dish soap. If you are using a sponge to scrub them, make sure that you are not scratching them too hard or you will damage them.

You can rinse the parts as many times as you need to remove all the grinds and make them spotless. This is where you would stop if you are doing a quick wash. If you are planning on doing a thorough wash, please follow me to the next step.

Step 4 – Make a Cleaning Paste

If you want to get into the separate parts and give them a nice scrub, what I like to do is make a paste from baking soda and water. Mix the two ingredients until they turn into a thick paste, and then, using a sponge or an old toothbrush, apply the paste to the parts and scrub them.

Step 5 – Clean Hard Water Deposits

Using a mixture of water and white vinegar, you can remove the hard water deposits from your French press. Mix equal amounts of the ingredients and then use the mixture to rinse the separate parts. If you want to, you can also rinse them with clean water afterward.

Step 6 – Towel-Dry Everything

You can choose to air-dry the separate parts, but I think it is better to towel-dry them right after washing them and store them properly. You should use a microfiber towel for the best results.

Step 7 – Prepare the Press for the Next Brew

After thoroughly cleaning your French press, there is only one thing left to do – reassemble the device and prepare it for the next brew. Rest assured that your French press will last that much longer if you clean it and maintain it properly. The better you treat your press, the better coffee you will get from it!

Prepare the Press for the Next Brew

FAQs on Cleaning a French Press

As you can see from the guide above, it is very easy to clean a French press once you learn how to do it. The whole process is so simple that you basically cannot go wrong with it. However, just to be sure, I want to share a few key pieces of information with you before I let you go.

Can you flush coffee grounds?

I did recommend that you throw away coffee grounds once you use them, but I did not exactly specify where to throw them. Flushing them down the toilet or dumping them down the sink might not be a good idea because the grounds can easily clog them.

You would be better off collecting your grounds in a bag and throwing them right in the trash can. Another great idea would be to compost them or use them as fertilizers for flowers and plants. You do not always need to throw them away!

How do you get mold out of a French press?

If you have a moldy French press, the first thing you should consider is whether it is too late to save it or not. If the press is old and quite dirty, you might be better off throwing it in the trash can. However, you can also try to save it by cleaning the mold from it.

To clean mold from your French press, I would suggest that you turn to Step 5 of my guide. The mixture of water and vinegar is the perfect solution to this type of problem. You might need to rinse your press a few times, but in the end, you can make it as good as new!

Can I put my French press in the dishwasher?

There are differences between French presses. Whether you can put your press in a dishwasher or not will depend on the manufacturer. The safest bet would be to check the instructions or manual provided by the manufacturing company so that you do not make a mistake.

If you cannot find anything about this in the manual, I would recommend that you stick to hand-washing. It is better to be safe than to risk it and damage your favorite French press. In this case, handwashing is as good as machine washing, so you do not have anything to worry about!

Ready to Brew!

French presses are one of the easiest coffee brewing devices you can use, but they are also the easiest devices to clean. All you need is a couple of minutes of free time and a few ingredients to turn your dirty old press into a sparkly one that looks brand new.

I hope that you liked my detailed guide on how to clean a French press. Let me know in the comments below if you tried it out and what results you got from it. I would love to read all about it, and I am even open to suggestions and recommendations that would make my guide better!

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