The Simple Guide to Keeping Your French Press Coffee Maker Clean

french press coffee maker

It is a well known fact – coffee stains. We have all spilled it on our favorite shirt or tie, or worse, our computer keyboard. It also has a very distinctive smell. While we may love the smell of coffee in the morning, smelling it lingering hours later in our car or office is less than ideal.

Most traditional drip coffee machines end up with a stained pot and hard water spots. They are a nightmare to keep clean, which may be why some coffee lovers have switched to a french press coffee maker.

A French press coffee maker is the easiest machine to clean – period. Here is a simple guide to keeping your French press coffee maker clean (and looking brand new)!

Start with Basics

Cleaning a French press coffee maker may be different than what people are used to. Sometimes the little invention can look complicated, but in truth it could not be more simple.

First, start with the basics – remove all the coffee grounds. This might be where some people will make the argument that with a drip machine, you can easily throw the grounds away because they are collected by a filter.

That very point can also be what makes a French press more environmentally friendly. There are no filters in a French press, the grounds are scooped directly into the carafe.

Use a wooden or plastic spatula to scrape the concentrated grounds from the bottom of the carafe. A metal spoon could scratch (plus it makes an awful sound). Used grounds shouldn’t be put down a garbage disposal or down your sink as build-up over time can cause issues. Dispose of them in your garbage, or your compost bin if you happen to have one.

You can rinse the coffee grounds out with water, but don’t be tempted to let them go down the sink. Be sure to have a mesh strainer handy if you want to go that route.

Wash or Soak

There are coffee machine cleaning powders on the market, but the easiest and most common way to clean your French press is to wash or soak.

You should rinse your coffee press out with hot water almost immediately after you use it. Be sure to let it cool down if needed, but don’t let the carafe or filters sit too long. If you’re in a hurry, a good rinse and air dry is sufficient for cleaning and you don’t even need to take everything apart.

If you use your French press regularly (daily), you may want to do a heavier cleaning every week with a good soak.

Take the coffee press completely apart, separate every filter and the carafe, and wash or soak with soap and water. This method is the most obvious choice, and very effective. You will want to be mindful of rinsing all the parts completely so that there is no aftertaste of soap during your next use.

Another option is to wash the French press with baking soda for less chance of an aftertaste. A mixture of white vinegar and soapy water can also remove coffee stains from a carafe if soaked. After rinsing, your French press will look almost like new.

Dishwasher Safe

You definitely can’t put a drip coffee maker in a dishwasher, making the French press an automatic winner for convenience in regard to dishwashers.

It is recommended that once you remove the excess grounds, to fully disassemble the French press and place the filtration pieces in the silverware basket. Place the plunger and carafe in the top tray of your dishwasher.

Just as with dish soap, dishwasher soap can leave a film or flavor behind. You might want to rinse the French press after it’s washed in the dishwasher and let it air dry completely before the next use.


There will be times when a rinse and a soak aren’t sufficient enough to completely clean a French press coffee maker. If you have traveled a few times with your model, it’s possible it wasn’t properly cleaned after each use, and the grime can build up over time.

Coffee grounds leave a slimy, brown residue when left for too long, and it can stain glass, especially when it gets hot. When soaking and rinsing aren’t enough, you have to scrub the French press – but carefully.

Use a non-scratching scrubber (foam, or very soft brush), to scrub all coffee grounds off of the filters, plunger, and carafe. Be careful with foam scrubbers as sometimes they can get caught in the filtration clots and crevices and rip or tear.

A French press coffee maker allows you to see, touch, and clean each part. That makes it one of the easiest things to clean in your kitchen.