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When choosing your next coffee maker, you can save yourself money by picking one with a reusable filter. This saves you from needing to buy paper coffee filters each month, but you need to clean the reusable filter regularly.
In this article, we’ll go over a few simple methods for how to clean a reusable coffee filter, as well as talk about the pros and cons of each technique.
The Importance of Cleaning Your Coffee Filter
Reusable filter designs use a very fine mesh for the filter section, so the coffee doesn’t flow through into your cup. The downside of the design is that you have to dump the grinds and clean the filter as soon as you’ve made a cup of coffee. That means you need a small bowl or dish to dump grinds into or a small trash can right by your coffee machine for the purpose.
Why not dump them in your large trash can?
You will probably want to take out this trash regularly since coffee grounds, like eggs, can start to smell bad after a day or two. A small trash can lets you tamp out the grinds from each cup of coffee and easily empty it at the end of the day. If you do not tamp out the grounds and clean the filter between uses, it can develop mold in the tightly packed mesh.
In your efforts to make a stronger cup of coffee, you might become tempted to add coffee to existing grinds. As disgusting as it sounds to a purist, many military personnel learned this trick in the field. It makes their coffee rations last longer. They continue the practice once they come home from deployment. Not only will this process ruin the taste of your coffee, but it will also encourage mold growth.
How to Clean a Reusable Coffee Filter
This section explains the best possible cleaning methods and cleaning agents to use. You don’t have to buy a special cleaning pod as you would with a Keurig, and it differs slightly from cleaning a Ninja coffee machine.
But if you are just looking for how to clean a metal coffee filter, a copper mesh coffee filter, or any other standard drip coffee maker filter, you should be able to use any of these methods (except as noted below).
Use a dishwasher
You have a wide array of choices about how to clean a reusable coffee filter since most of these coffee filters let you pop them into the dishwasher. You should check your owner’s manual first, though.
- Before washing your reusable coffee filter in the dishwasher, dump the grounds into the trash can.
- Then Rinse the filter.
- Place the filter in the safest area of the interior of the dishwasher – the area where it will undergo the least wear and tear. Since dishwasher designs differ, this varies, but typically, treat your filter as an item that can only go through the cycle on the top shelf.
- Wash the filter using the gentle cycle or light wash cycle in the machine. Your coffee machine’s user manual should note if any specific cleaners cannot be used on the filter. It may recommend a specific brand of soap.
- Don’t let the dish sit for a long time in the washer if you’re washing the coffee filter in it. As soon as possible, after the dishwasher cycle ends, unload it or at least remove the filter. It should be dry and ready to re-insert into the coffee filter.
Your other options fall into the category of hand washing. Regardless of which method you use, washing the coffee filter takes about seven minutes, including gathering the supplies.
Use soap and water
You can wash your reusable filter using the same method you would for the rest of your dishes. Fill your kitchen sink or large ceramic bowl with warm water and add dish soap. Using a clean cloth or sponge, submerge the filter and wash it inside and out. Rinse it with warm water and let it air dry before you re-use it. If you use this method regularly, you can avoid using vinegar on your coffee filter.
Use vinegar and water
If you run out of dishwashing detergent, don’t worry because there is more than one cleaning agent to use when learning how to clean a permanent coffee filter. You can use vinegar with warm or hot water. Vinegar also works well as a disinfecting method when your reusable filter grows too dirty for dish soap.
If you’ve had your coffee maker for a while but have not cleaned the filter, you probably need to start with a vinegar cleaning. If your reusable filter appears to be made of copper or gold, do not use vinegar on it. Otherwise, fill a sink or large bowl with one part vinegar and two parts water. Fully submerge the filter in the mixture. Let it soak overnight. Rinse it off under warm water and let it dry naturally.
Use baking soda
One of the simplest methods of how to clean a coffee filter uses only baking soda and a sponge. Pour a couple of tablespoons of baking soda into the filter and scrub it with a clean, fresh kitchen sponge. Note that you don’t use water when cleaning using this method until you rinse it off. The baking soda’s abrasive nature rubs off the grime.
What Shouldn’t You Use to Clean Your Coffee Filter?
- Avoid using bleach first and foremost. Your coffee filter will taste terrible afterward, and you could eat away at the filter’s mesh over time.
- Never use harsh household cleaners on a reusable coffee filter.
- Avoid using ammonia to clean the filter, too.
- Never use a Brillo pad, steel wool, or another harsh cleansing tool.
Cleaning your coffee machine and its filter regularly is important if you want to avoid bitter coffee or a burnt-tasting cup of joe. Freshness is incredibly important to the coffee brewing process. Oh, and regular cleaning can save you from troubleshooting coffee maker problems later on.
Are you looking for more ways to brew better-tasting coffee? You can improve the freshness of your coffee by grinding whole bean coffee in a budget coffee grinder instead of buying pre-ground coffee. Swapping out that stale grocery store French vanilla for some premium flavored coffees or single-origin Guatemalan coffee beans helps, too.