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How to Clean Coffee Filter Mesh: Stainless Steel, Gold, Pour-Over, & Coffee Maker Baskets

March 16, 2021 5 min read

How to Clean Coffee Filter

Switching to a reusable coffee filter can significantly reduce your waste without compromising the taste of your favorite drink of the day - learn how to clean every kind of reusable coffee filter with our simple guide below!

With the growing need to reduce our collective carbon footprint, many of us are looking to switch some of our day-to-day waste to better alternatives.

Americans drink 400 million cups of hot coffee every day, making reusable coffee filters a complete game-changer in terms of waste reduction. Better yet, they're reasonably easy to maintain with a few simple household cleaners you likely already have at home. 

We'll teach you how to clean permanent coffee filter baskets of all types to keep every cup of coffee tasting delicious to the last drop. 

Why do coffee filters need to be properly cleaned?

Reusable filters can get filled with bacteria, mold, and coffee gunk, especially if you've got a three-cup-a-day habit (we've all been there). These can potentially harm your body or make you sick, and at the very least, the coffee film that forms on the filter can give your cup of joe a strange taste. 

Luckily, many of them are dishwasher safe and should only require a deep clean every few weeks or even months, depending on how well your maker works and how well you clean the filter.

After every brew, you should dump the extra grounds and give the filter a good rinse, which can help keep the filter in decent shape for days on end. For the deeper cleans, follow our simple instructions below. 

How To Clean A Reusable Coffee Filter Basket

Permanent coffee filters come in all sorts of materials, including gold, mesh, plastic, and cloth. 

No matter the type of washable coffee filter you have at home, it's essential to use non-abrasive, gentle cleansers to extend the filter's life as long as possible. 

How to Clean Metal Coffee Filter Baskets

One of the best reusable pour-over coffee filter options is metal or stainless steel. It's relatively durable and naturally hygienic when cared for properly. If your filter is metal, one of the best parts of cleaning your coffee filter is that stains are very easy to spot. 

Rinse your coffee filter after every use under warm running water.

There are two main methods to clean reusable coffee filter baskets using simple household products: vinegar and baking soda.

The Baking Soda Method

  • Take any removable components off of the permanent coffee filter, if any. 
  • Soak your metal filter for 5-10 minutes in hot soapy water to loosen and debris. 
  • Scrub your filter with a soft-bristled dish brush or toothbrush. 
  • Take a tiny sprinkle of baking soda on your dish brush, then gently rub the soda on your filter to remove any leftover stains. 
  • Rinse with warm water until clean, and then dry with a clean towel or leave to drip dry. 

The Vinegar Method

  • Mix vinegar and warm filtered water in a 1:1 ratio, then place your coffee filter in the mixture and leave the filter to soak for 5-10 minutes. 
  • Using a soft-bristled dish brush or toothbrush, scrub your filter to remove any coffee stains. 
  • Rinse the filter well, then dry well with a clean, dry cloth or leave to drip dry. 

Both methods will give you a sparkling clean coffee filter basket!

Try to clean your reusable coffee filters at least once every few weeks - the more often you do it, the less build-up you'll have to deal with!

How to Clean Gold Coffee Filter Baskets

Much like stainless steel, a gold-tone mesh coffee filter is easily washable, too. The strong acids found in coffee may damage your gold filter a little quicker than steel, so it's essential to wash a gold filter after every brew. 

Luckily, the after-brew cleaning is relatively simple - toss the extra grounds in the garbage, run the gold reusable coffee filter under hot water, and make sure you clean it in your dishwasher once every week on the top rack only. 

  • To hand-wash, a gold filter, squirt some gentle dish soap inside.
  • Scrub the filter with a soft dish brush, inside and out. You may also use a toothbrush. 
  • Rinse the gold filter until you remove all soap residue. 

How to Clean Pour-Over Coffee Filter Baskets

We love the delicious cup of coffee we get from a gooseneck kettle and a pour-over coffee maker, and better yet, with a reusable filter, it's a very low-waste coffee option!

Cleaning a pour-over filter uses the same steps above as cleaning a metal coffee filter. Pay extra close attention and ensure you're cleaning both sides of the filter well, helping to lengthen the filter's lifespan. 

How to Clean a Coffee Filter Basket in a Coffee Maker

Most coffee makers have coffee filter baskets made of hard plastic - these are, for the most part, easier to clean and maintain. Beware, as if you don't maintain them, your coffee maker can grow mold within its parts, some of which are near impossible for you to access. 

For easy maintenance, run a cycle of clear water at least once a week through your machine. It helps keep mineral scale down in the machine's water reservoir and keeps that gross coffee maker film out of your cup. 

If your coffee maker ends up with more build-up than usual, add a 1:2 mixture of white vinegar and filtered water, then run the cycle through. 

How to Clean Coffee Filter Basket - Deep-Cleaning

  • Fill a small spray bottle with white vinegar, spray the basket, and then leave it to soak for 5-10 minutes. 
  • Dip a soft-bristled scrub brush or toothbrush in warm, soapy water, and scrub the coffee basket. 
  • Place a paper filter in the maker's basket to catch any falling residue, and run a clean water cycle through the coffee maker. 

How do you get mold out of your coffee filters?

When reusing coffee filters, beware of any mold you see forming, as you'll either need to remove the mold or toss the filter and buy a new one. 

You can try to remove the mold from any filter by soaking it in a 1:1 mixture of water and white vinegar overnight, then clean with a soft-bristled scrub brush and mild dish soap. 

Leave the filter to dry completely - if you still see mold on the filter after this cleaning process, get rid of it!

Final Notes: Can you clean a disposable coffee filter?

While some people choose to clean and reuse their paper coffee filters several times, they'll eventually start to disintegrate. 

The best way to reduce your household waste without compromising your cup is with a reusable filter meant for use over and over again!


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