How To Clean A French Press

How to Clean a French Press in 5 Hassle-Free Steps

Though using a French press allows you to make delicious coffee perfectly brewed for your specific tastes, the cleanup can be a hassle. With a normal coffee machine, the grounds are held in the filter, making disposal and cleanup a breeze.

This is not the case with your French press, since the grounds are loose at the bottom of the carafe and pressed into the filter as well. When it comes time to clean it, many people dump the grounds into the toilet or down the drain, which can wreak havoc on your plumbing.

That’s why knowing how to clean a French press properly, from the messy grounds to all the internal pieces, can make this dreaded task a simple one that even the newest coffee connoisseur will be able to handle, without destroying your plumbing in the process.

What You’ll Need to Clean Your French Press

How to Clean a French Press

Cleaning your French press is relatively easy, requiring only a few items you most likely already have in your home and a little bit of your time to complete. To get started, gather together:

  • A mesh strainer
  • A rubber spatula or a wooden spoon
  • Dish detergent
  • Warm water
  • A soft dish brush
  • A towel or dish rack for drying

Some French presses are dishwasher safe, but if yours is made of glass, using one could crack or break your carafe. That’s why following steps are the safest way to do clean one, to be sure it will last for as long as possible.

Step-by-Step Instructions on How to Clean a French Press

​After you’ve gather all of your cleaning items, you are ready to begin cleaning your French Press.

1. Disposing of the Coffee Grounds
How to Clean a French Press

​To easily dispose of the grounds, remove the lid and the plunger from your French press. Fill the carafe about halfway with water, and swirl it around a bit to collect as many of the grounds inside as possible. Be careful not to spill.

​Holding the mesh strainer over the sink, dump the water and grounds into it. The strainer will catch the grounds while the water will run through into the sink.

​Then dump the grounds collected in the strainer into the trash can or your compost bin. Tap the strainer if there are still grounds trapped inside.

​If you find there are still quite a bit of grounds in the carafe, you can repeat this process as many times as necessary to remove them all. You can also use the spatula or a wooden spoon to scoop out any extra grounds that won’t come out with the water.

2. Clean Your Carafe

​Once your carafe is rinsed free of the majority of the grounds, fill your sink with warm, soapy water. Using the dish brush, gently scrub the inside of the carafe, making sure to remove any leftover grounds as well as the oils that may have collected inside.

​Rinse out the carafe with warm water, checking to be sure there is no residue left inside. Then wash the outside of the carafe, since there may be drips along the sides. Place the carafe on a towel or in a dish rack to await drying.

3. Disassemble and Clean the Components
How to Clean a French Press

​Take apart the plunger, filter screens, and the disks, and place them with the lid and holder beside the sink. Now you’ll need to wash each of these components. The best piece to start with is the lid, since it should be the cleanest part.

​Using your brush, scrub the lid, making sure it has no coffee residue on it. Rinse it off, and then place it with the carafe on your towel or drying rack.

​Next, move onto the plunger, repeating the process. When it is clean and rinsed, it can join the previously cleaned parts.

​The disks and the filter screens will take the most time, since grounds will have been trapped in them that a simple rinse will not remove. Using your dish brush, scrub each component until it is free of the build-up of grounds and coffee residue. Rinse and place with the other parts.

4. Drying Your French Press
How to Clean a French Press

​You can leave your French press to air dry if you’d like, though it may have some water spots if you choose to do this, though this is more of an aesthetic concern and won’t affect the coffee brewed inside.

​If you need to use your French press right away, you can also dry each of the components, so they are ready to use once the cleaning process is complete.

5. Reassemble Your French Press
How to Clean a French Press

​Once cleaned and dried, slide the carafe into the holder. Reassemble the internal parts by placing the retaining disk on your counter or table. Put the mesh filter screen on top and follow this with the spring disk.

​Put the lid into the rod. Then screw the rod into the stacked disks. Put them back into the machine for storing, or brew your next pot of coffee.

​Pro Tips on How to Clean a French Press

​Though the above way to clean your French press is an easy and safe way to do so, there are a few things the pros would recommend you alter. This is not only for a more streamlined cleaning method, but to ensure your coffee is the best tasting it can possibly be.

1. Replace the Dish Soap With Baking Soda
How to Clean a French Press

​Some coffee aficionados recommend using baking soda to clean your French press instead of dish soap. This is because there is the risk of soap residue remaining in your carafe or components, which could alter the taste of the coffee you’re brewing.

​As long as you rinse the dish soap off the various parts thoroughly, this should not be an issue, but if you are concerned about changing your coffee’s taste, try out the baking soda the next time you clean your French press, to see if the difference is noticeable.

2. Clean Your Machine Without a Dish Brush
How to Clean a French Press

​Rather than cleaning your carafe with a dish brush, keep the plunger and other components attached and use them to clean the inside. You’d start by cleaning out the grounds as before, but then you fill the carafe with soapy water and put the plunger back inside.

​Use the plunger, lifting it and then pushing it down again a few times. This will clean the inside of the carafe, removing any oils and residue from this area. Then dump the water and rinse it out. If you find it is still a bit dirty, you can repeat this process.

​When the carafe is clean, then take apart the plunger, disks and filters and wash them as specified above.


​I hope you enjoyed reading this article on how to clean a French press. If you love coffee, you want to enjoy the best tasting brew you can, without the bitterness of a dirty coffee press ruining the flavor. But the messy grounds can make cleanup an unwanted hassle.

​That’s why knowing the best, and safest, method to clean your French press can make this job a bit more enjoyable, so you’re ready the next time you want to savor your favorite brew.

**​If you have any suggestions to make this process even simpler, please feel free to let us know in out comments section. And don’t forget to share it with your coffee-loving friends who you feel may be in need of this stress-free method of cleaning their own machines.

Steps photos by BY

Tips photos by | | CC BY

About the Author Miguel Garriga

My name is Miguel Garriga and I’m a self-made barista! Coffee is my passion and I made this website to share that to the world!

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