Cleaning your Aeropress in the Dishwasher?
The Aeropress is one of the simplest brewing methods and has one the biggest followings in the coffee world. As diverse as the methods and recipes are the cleaning process is a murky labyrinth of bad information. Can you clean your Aeropress in the dishwasher? Will vodka really clean it? Reusing filters to save money?! Read on to get five tips on how to clean and keep clean your Aeropress like a boss!
1. Can you clean your Aeropress in the Dishwasher?
Yes! From the aeropress website they describe it as dishwasher safe saying the FAQ, “You can in the top shelf, but a simple rinse is sufficient because the plunger wipes the chamber”. But should you? Many aeropress users have noted that fragrant soaps can get trapped in the materials and cause off flavors. I know I don’t want my tasty Sumantran tasking like Dawn or Cascade (hints of phenolic and petroleum, most disagreeable)!!
2. Hand Wash only
Really a good hand wash is all you need to keep you Aeropress working great. The method for brewing with an Aeropress is basically optimized to clean it as part of the process. The plunger acts as a wiper as you press your coffee. After you press and eject your coffee puck it’s really a matter of rinsing and drying it off.
No soap or scrubbing required if you do it immediately. One issue I did notice was without scrubbing the rubber seal it can get a residue on the rubber seal from the coffee grounds. I didn’t have any issue removing this with a light rubbing under warm water (still no soap). If you clean immediately you won’t need to use soap. And honestly why risk contaminating your Aeropress with soap anyway?
3. A vodka tonic anyone?
This next tip from a Reddit user is unconventional but makes sense. If you are getting off flavors in your coffee chances are you may have some bacteria/soap/residue built up in the press, most likely in the rubber. This creative Reddit user suggested vodka as a cleaner. Basically press yourself some vodka, using the inverted method of course 😉
This will definitely serve to sanitize your press as well as a method to make a tincture of bacteria and nastiness. Be aware that alcohol will sterilize but will not necessarily clean soil off your equipment (without scrubbing). Off flavors will come from two places-bacteria and residue. Bacteria means you are probably not cleaning it well or leaving it in the sink with the dirty cat food plate! Clean it early and well!
PS please never leave your coffee gear in the sink with dirty dishes. That’s like leaving your Ferrari convertible with the top down in the rain in a bad neighborhood!
4. No rinse sanitizer
This one also caught my attention on Reddit. Using no rinse sanitizer, which is common in beer brewing to clean your gear. Again the key here is it’s a sanitizer. As a beer brewer you learn a lot about germs and dirt and how to not introduce them into your fermentation. The key is cleaning early and well. A sanitizer is a legal definition for the percentage of germs it will kill on a surface and is often as a misnomer for a cleaner.
This method will do little to clean residue like dried coffee grounds. Sanitizer is not a solvent. I would guess if you have off flavors in your aeropress coffee it’s a residue problem. Near boiling water will sterilize bacteria in a few minutes time. This means every cup of coffee you brew is sterilizing the press. Bacteria should never be able to take hold (unless it’s full of Fluffy’s Meow Mix form the sink ;).
5. Never use olive oil on your press or reuse filters!
In the many tips and tricks I have researched a few stand out as bad ideas. The worst of the worst is the olive oil on the rubber seal. Please don’t use a strong flavored oil to coat your porous material with a substance that they use to grow bacteria in labs. If you need to lower the friction of the seal please just run it under water first then insert it into the press.
Olive oil will contaminate the flavor of your coffee guaranteed!! Before you say it I know, the SCAA flavor wheel has olive oil on it. That’s true but it’s a small flavor category that generally is not very common. When’s the last time you had a coffee that made your think of olive oil? Leave it in the comment if you have, I’ll try it decaf or not!
Please don’t save Aeropress filters either. If you need to save, rinse and reuse Aeropress filters then you can’t afford to Aeropress. At a whopping $0.01 per filter it’s not worth the water or effort. I find this one of the strangest tips I have seen overall and definitely not a smart move. You would be better off just grinding a Turkish coffee grind and putting it in your mug directly.
To wrap it up…
There you have it, my five tips for cleaning and keeping clean your Aeropress, and avoiding big mistakes to ruin your coffee. To summarize it is dishwasher safe but not needed as its almost self cleaning. Also rinse it often, early and well to avoid having to do a deep cleaning. If yours does have old cat food in it from being submerged in the sink you could try vodka or no rinse sanitizer to clean it up but these are really methods to kill bacteria not clean residue.
Stay tuned for my detailed review of Dunkin Donuts Decaf. Spoiler alert I find it papery, woody and cardboard like and that’s not be a bad thing.
What’s the best technique to use to clean your Aeropress? Leave a comment and let me know your secret methods and tips for cleaning your Aeropress.
Drink Coffee, Not Caffeine!