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How to Clean a French Press (in 4 Easy Steps)

How to Clean a French Press Coffee Maker

Coffee from a French press is one of the best ways to enjoy your coffee. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the hardest to clean. Here is how to clean a french press so that you can enjoy cup after cup of that delicious coffee goodness.

Before I learned how to clean a french press coffee maker properly, I would rinse out the coffee grinds down the sink. Which you shouldn’t do, otherwise you will need to learn how to unclog a kitchen sink as well as cleaning a coffee press.

But there is a proper way to clean a french press, and it can be done in a few minutes. This is one of those house cleaning checklist items I forget to do. But once I saw the build-up that was being missed by the dishwasher machine, I’m all in favor of cleaning a french press properly. Here are the steps for cleaning a french press coffee maker.

What you will need:

  • Warm water
  • Dish soap
  • Soft sponge
  • Gloves
  • Baking soda (for hard stains)
  • Vinegar (optional)


Step 1: Remove the coffee grounds

The first part of the process to do is to get rid of your coffee grounds. If you have compost, you can put them in there. We have a countertop compost for these and quickly dispose of them in there. Next, we rinse out the last of the grounds onto a paper towel in the sink and throw them out. One of the two biggest causes of clogged sinks are coffee grinds and grease. Together they will clog your sink, maybe not right away, but over time it will build up.


dirty french press

Step 2: How to disassemble a french press

This next step can be tricky. At first glance, it may look like French presses are made up of two parts, the plunger, and the pitcher. But the plunger can be taken apart and is actually multiple pieces.

parts of a french press

We need to take it apart because the coffee oils from your beans are coating everything in your press. And as you can see, the grounds can get stuck in places that aren’t visible. Take the items apart to make sure you get rid of all of the oil and build up.

  1. First, take a picture of the plunger; this will make it easier to reassemble once you have cleaned your french press.
  2. Next, remove the plunger from the pitcher.
  3. Next, take the plunger and unscrew the plunger rod from the cross plate and mesh filter. To do this, place one hand on the plunger rod while holding the bottom of the plunger (mesh filter and cross plate). Turn counterclockwise to unscrew the rod from the base.

Your coffee press may have come with a tool to disassemble the plunger. Every french press is different, but the majority of the plungers will come apart. We got our French press from Ikea, and it’s been great but for the price.


Step 3: Clean the individual pieces of the french press

Once the french press is disassembled, you can properly scrub and clean each part properly.

Clean the inside of the pitcher

  1. Start by rinsing off each piece under warm water.
  2. Add some dish soap to the pitcher, fill it halfway with soapy water.
  3. Scrub it with a soft kitchen sponge. You don’t want to use anything that will scratch the glass.
  4. Finish cleaning the inside of the pitcher by rinsing with hot water.


Clean the parts of the plunger

Next, wash the individual pieces of the press with dish soap. If you are cleaning your coffee press regularly, this should be enough.

How to remove stubborn stains on your french press (Deep Cleaning Your French Press)

If you have some stains that didn’t come off when you were cleaning it, you may need to up your game. There are two ways to do this; one is with dish soap, the other with vinegar.

  1. Grab a small bowl and get a toothbrush (having a toothbrush is an essential part of our home cleaning supplies list), some baking soda, and some dish soap.
  2. Mix the dish soap and baking soda to make a paste.
  3. Then scrub that paste onto your build-up. The baking powder is abrasive and will help to cut down the grime and dissolve the build-up. Combining it with the dish soap, you will break down the oils from the coffee that have built up over time.

Finally, rinse with hot water, and the stains should be gone. Use a paper towel to dry off each part individually if you are wanting to make another cup quickly.


How do you clean a French Press with vinegar?

Some people don’t like to use dish soap as they feel it can have an impact on the quality of the coffee. In that case, you can use white vinegar instead.

baking soda and vinegar mixture cleaning french press

  1. Get some baking soda and white vinegar, mix even parts of baking soda and vinegar together.
  2. Get a bowl and add the two together to make a paste; then, using a toothbrush, scrub the paste onto the hard to clean areas and let it sit for a few minutes.
  3. After it has sat, scrub the paste in with a toothbrush.

Finally, rinse with hot water, and the stains should be gone. Give everything time to air dry on a drying rack, or use a paper towel to dry off each part individually if you are wanting to make another cup quickly.

parts of a french press clean

Step 4: Reassemble the French Press

Grab your phone and reassemble the french press the way it was. Aren’t you glad you took a picture?! 😉 I am because I tried without the picture and got it wrong.


how to clean french press

FAQ about Cleaning a French Press


How do you clean a French Press Mesh?

Our mesh was a disaster the first time we took it apart. We ran it under water and tried soapy water, but nothing worked.


how to clean french press mesh

To clean a french press mesh, do the following:

  1. First, take the plunger apart and remove the mesh.
  2. Next, use the baking soda and vinegar mixture using a 1:1 ratio. Create a paste (after the fizzing stops) with the two and use a toothbrush to clean the mesh with the. Be careful not to apply too much pressure, or else you can damage the mesh and will need to replace it.
  3. Rinse the mesh under warm water to remove any remaining paste.
  4. Dry and reassemble the plunger.


How often should you wash a French press?

Your French press should be washed after every use.

Check out more of our top cleaning tips here.


How to keep your French press clean longer?

If you want to keep your press cleaner longer and you use it every day, make sure to do the following for cleaning your French press daily.

  • Empty out the grinds immediately.
  • Rinse clean.
  • Leave to air dry.


Final thoughts on how to clean a french press coffee maker

Cleaning a French press can take a few minutes, especially the first time, if there is build-up on the mesh. But the more frequently you do it, the easier it will get. All you need is some of your basic household cleaning supplies, and you are good to get cleaning. Good luck!

Looking for more cleaning articles? Read these…

  1. How to clean a stainless steel sink
  2. How to get rid of a ring in the toilet
  3. How to remove hard water stains in a toilet
  4. Kitchen cleaning checklist
  5. How to clean your Keurig needle (step by step)
  6. Keurig Descale Light stays on: How to fix it
  7. Weekly cleaning schedule template
  8. How to clean electric kettle
  9. How to descale a Cuisinart coffee maker
  10. Why does my Coffee Tastes Metallic?
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