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How to Clean a Reusable Coffee Filter

reusable coffee filter cleaning

If you’ve ever run out of paper coffee filters, you know why keeping a reusable filter on hand is crucial. Not only can you always brew the perfect cup — without running to the store — you can also avoid papery flavors, make less waste, and enjoy the full-bodied flavor of coffee with its natural oils.

There is one drawback to reusable coffee filters, though, and that’s cleaning them. Since they’re reusable, you can’t just toss them out and get on with your day. Here’s how to make your coffee filter cleaning as easy as possible!

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Why do you need to clean coffee filters?

Permanent filters are easy on the wallet and the environment. But if you don’t clean them regularly, your taste buds won’t thank you — no one wants to drink murky, bitter coffee!

how to clean a reusable coffee filter

Why is this cleaning important? Over time, minerals in your water, coffee oils, and even fine coffee grounds can get stuck in the fine mesh of your filter. You could even end up growing bacteria or mold in your filter!

So if you have a permanent coffee filter, you’ll want to clean it regularly. This is true no matter what kind of filter you have — from the filter basket that comes with your coffee machine to the metal filter you bought for your favorite pour-over.

How to Clean Reusable Coffee Filters:

Regular cleaning:

Every time you brew coffee using your reusable filter, you’ll want to rinse it out and let it dry completely. Don’t let old coffee grounds or water sit in the filter — unless you want to start growing mold! Scoop out the grounds and rinse the filter from the inside out. If you have a spray nozzle attached to your faucet, carefully spray it on the outside of the filter to remove any leftover coffee grounds.

reusable filter soap

Then put dish soap on a kitchen sponge and gently scrub the filter. Warm, soapy water will keep your filter clean — just like your dishes! Make sure you rinse the filter thoroughly to avoid leaving soapy flavors. Leave the filter to dry on a dish rack or pat it dry with a towel before putting it away.

Another option? Put your filter in the top rack of your dishwasher. Before you try this, check the user manual for your specific brand of filter, as not all brands recommend this.

Thorough cleaning:

When it’s time to give your filter a thorough cleaning, you’ll need a couple more tools. Start by thoroughly rinsing your filter. Then mix one part of white vinegar and two parts of cold water in a large bowl. Let your coffee filter soak in the mixture for at least a few hours — ideally overnight — and then rinse it. This should thoroughly descale and clean your filter, letting you brew a clean cup of coffee.

reusable coffee filter vinegar

In a rush? You can hurry the deep cleaning along by using baking soda instead of vinegar. Pour baking soda into your filter and scrub gently with a kitchen sponge. The buildup on your filter should come right off!

What to Avoid:

Cleaning your reusable filter is a simple process, but there are a few things you’ll want to avoid.

  • Don’t use anything abrasive like a metal sponge to scrub the filter. You may remove stains, but you’ll probably damage the filter at the same time!
  • If you have a gold-tone filter, you may want to avoid using vinegar. The acidity of the mixture can wear down the metal in your filter.
  • Be careful putting coffee grounds down your sink drain! Even if you have a garbage disposal, the grounds can clog your pipes, leading to an expensive plumber bill. We recommend dumping coffee grounds straight into your compost or trash bin — or collecting them to use in your garden!

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The Bottom Line

There you have it: how to clean coffee filters without breaking a sweat! We hope this guide answers your questions — like why you need to clean your filter — and helps you avoid common cleaning mistakes. A tasty, non-funky cup of coffee awaits!

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Kate MacDonnell

Kate is a lifelong coffee enthusiast and homebrewer who enjoys writing for coffee websites and sampling every kind of coffee known to man. She’s tried unusual coffees from all over the world and owns an unhealthy amount of coffee gear.

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