Anybody who has ever used a French Press coffee maker is already too familiar with the arduous task of cleaning the thing. A big clump of wet coffee grounds at the bottom of a cylinder that my hand is too fat to fit in is a mess waiting to happen.
Why don’t I just rinse the grounds down the garbage disposal? Well, I would, but apparently, that is a faux pas, as it may clog my garbage disposal/sink. Otherwise, believe me, I would do that.
There is also more to cleaning a French Press than simply emptying out the used coffee grounds. Like any coffee maker out there, you need to give a thorough cleaning from time to time to prevent bitter, bad-tasting coffee from brewing on a consistent basis. So let’s outline the steps to cleaning a French Press below.
- Remove Used Grounds
- Disassemble and Soak
In the following sections, I will illustrate how you can properly clean a french press, and also how to make this chore easier. So read on!
What Do You Need To Properly Clean a French Press?
- A nonmetal spatula: for scrape out the spent ground
- A mesh sink strainer: if you are lazy to scoop out the used grounds
- Dish soap: To remove the oil in the vessel
- Water: obvious you are going to need water.
- Sponge and/or bottle brush
- Baking soda (optional): if you want your french press to be extra clean.
How to Clean a French Press: Step by Step
1. Remove Used Grounds
Ok, I realize this may be an obvious step, but for many people, the best way to remove coffee grounds from a French Press isn’t so obvious.
Since we now know that grounds shouldn’t go in your sink or garbage disposal, the best place to dispose of them is a good old-fashioned garbage can. If you want to be really politically correct, toss them into a compost bin.
If you can’t get all of the grounds out by simply tapping the bottom of your French Press, you should use a long spoon, spatula, or brush to scoop out the remainder. By the way, a little bit of ground coffee won’t hurt your sink…so feel free to wash any remaining coffee grounds down the sink.
If this still sounds like an awful process to you, consider purchasing the Tambaroo (make sure you get the right size). It is a cool little device that you can place at the bottom of your french press to catch used grounds and easily dispose of them afterward. Check it out below:
How to remove coffee grounds from a french press even easier
If you are just too lazy to dig out all the spent grounds in the vessel or buy a french press ground collector on amazon.
You can try the following method, it is just quick and easy: All you need to do is to get a small sieve or fine mesh sink strainer!
Here’ how it works:
- Put a little water in the french press
- Swirl the french press around
- Dump it right in the strainer.
Since you grind coarsely for French press coffee, it forms a pile and doesn’t run through the strainer.
2. Disassemble and Soak
Go ahead and separate all of your French Press components (the lid, plunger, plunger screen, cylinder) and submerge in hot water with light dish soap or baking soda. Many coffee snobs use baking soda because it could never compromise the long-term taste of the brewed coffee. However, if you decide to use dish soap you should be fine. Just make sure to rinse it thoroughly…nobody wants to taste soap in their coffee (or anything else for that matter).
If you want to get really fancy, you should consider a coffee machine cleaning powder like Urnex Cafiza. The stuff is apparently great (although we’ve never tried it). It’s supposed to get rid of all leftover oils that coffee inevitably leaves behind. Leftover coffee oils can be particularly problematic with a French PRess.
3. Scrub a Dub Dub
Using a small brush that won’t scratch up your beautiful glass French Press, scrub along the inside walls of the carafe thoroughly with the warm water/baking soda solution (or soap). Next, give your plunger and plunger screen a thorough scrubbing, making sure that all remaining coffee grounds are removed.
Keeping the parts separated, lay all of the pieces out on a drying rack. Or, if you need to use the coffee maker immediately, you can dry everything off with a dishtowel. Please note: this is easier for people with little hands.
More To Note…
Can you put the French Press into a dishwasher?
Most French Presses are dishwasher safe, so feel free to use one if you are lazy. Still, be careful if yours is made of glass.
Is it OK to put coffee grounds down the garbage disposal?
Nope, please collect your used grounds and throw them into the trash can. The coffee grounds will accumulate in drains and pipes, and eventually clog your garbage disposal. Another thing to note, the coffee grounds won’t harm the garbage disposal and they’ll actually help eliminate odors though. Despite that, do not do it.
best way to dispose of coffee grounds from a french press
Find a compost bin around you. If that isn’t an option, rinse the grounds, then spread them directly over your garden/plants (including indoor plants!).
If you don’t do any gardening and don’t have a lawn that could benefit, give them to a friend or neighbor who can make use of it.
If none of the above is applicable, throw them in the trash.
You may want to put the grinds for the french press in a container and let them dry out first (to avoid excess water/weight in your trash).
The larger chunks will act as a natural deodorizer, but the soggy base will start to grow mold, so toss it sometime before that happens.
Now it’s your turn…how do you clean your French Press? Please share in the comments below!