The Aeropress is a piston-style plastic-bodied coffee brewer that brews just a single cup of coffee at a time. It steeps the coffee for a minute or less before forcing it through a special filter directly into your cup.
After you make your quick cup of coffee, you may be wondering about what the best way to clean an Aeropress is. Can you put it in the dishwasher? Do you soak it in vinegar? Just rinse it off in the sink?
I’ve got you covered below.
Tips for Cleaning an Aeropress
A good thing about the Aeropress is that there are not that many parts to it. However, you want to make sure you do a thorough cleaning of your Aeropress to ensure your coffee tastes great every time.
The different parts of the Aeropress consist of the plunger, the chamber, the filter cap, and the funnel. There is also a rubber gasket inside of the plunger, which is removable.
Sometimes, the oils from the coffee can build up in the crevices of the gasket. Over time, these oils can negatively affect the flavor of your brewed coffee.
After each use, the chamber should already be cleared of all coffee debris, due to the plunger wiping the chamber clean with each press.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to simply submerge the parts in a vinegar solution occasionally just like you would when cleaning a traditional drip coffee maker.
The Best Way to Clean an Aeropress
The basic instructions from Aeropress advise you to wipe the seal (or run under warm water) after each use.
If the seal on the plunger gets sticky, it is recommended by Aeropress to remove the seal and wash with warm water and dish soap. If your Aeropress seems extra sticky or dirty, you can wash the chamber with vinegar.
It can be helpful to remove and soak the rubber gasket in white vinegar for a few hours, if it appears that there is a lot of buildup.
This deeper cleaning of the Aeropress is helpful every few months to lengthen it’s expected lifespan. Alternatively to white vinegar baking soda can be used when dissolved in warm water to achieve a similar cleaning effect. Again, cleaning with baking soda is similar to how you would use it to clean a French press plunger, dentures, or removable pieces of a coffee maker like a Keurig puncture needle.
Why Does The Aeropress Plunger Get Sticky Even After Cleaning It?
So, why exactly does that aeropress’s plunger get sticky?
The Cause of a Sticky Plunger
This question is actually a very common one. A quick online search reveals a list of inquiries by various people to the Aeropress company directly about this issue.
Approached with the question, Aeropress has indicated that when their machines are left out or stored in warm temperatures, the plunger can begin to discharge a sticky substance.
The company has also explained where this substance originates.
They have said that this substance is a mixture of coffee oils and various other broken down substances that are by-products of the brewing process. Basically the residue from past uses absorb into the plunger & gasket and don’t clean out easily.
This substance is completely harmless, despite being incredibly sticky and a little bit gross so let’s look at the best way of cleaning it out for good.
For me I almost always rinse my Aeropress out under running water first and then once every few uses I send it through the dishwasher. When I’m short on vinegar I sometimes soak the parts under apple cider vinegar or lemon juice to cut oil and mineral deposits that can be hard to see on the gasket.
See this post for more help on choosing the amount of vinegar needed.
How to Clean a Sticky Aeropress Plunger Gasket
The easiest way to clean your Aeropress’s plunger and remove that dreaded stickiness is to take apart the Aeropress and prepare a detergent bath for the various pieces. The plunger being the main culprit of the stickiness, it is important to focus most of your cleaning power on it.
The detergent bath you prepare for the plunger and other parts can be produced using various coffee cleaning supplies. The most recommended supply for preparing this detergent is carafe cleaning tabs.
These tabs are produced by various companies like Urnex and Cleancaf. If you would rather opt for a liquid detergent than the company Goo Gone produces a cleaning agent that has received some praise for its effectiveness.
Either way, all of these products create a detergent bath for the Aeropress’s parts when combined with water. It is best to soak the plunger and other parts for sometime before removing them.
If you deep clean your parts frequently then these dedicated products may be overkill, that may be why I don’t use them very often myself opting for vinegar baths most often. For timing and frequency tips on cleaning to prevent problems see this post.
After you remove the plunger from the mixture, you will see that the sticky oil has dried up into a paste like substance. This substance can be easily removed with the quick wipe of a paper towel.
Can You Clean an Aeropress in the Dishwasher?
Here’s a common question I hear all the time.
Yes, you are able to put the Aeropress in the top shelf of the dishwasher.
However, this is not necessary to do after each use. I do it myself but only every now and then. Usually I just rinse the unit out just like I do for my travel mugs then run through the dishwasher after a few uses between deep cleans.
How Should You Store Your Aeropress After it’s Cleaned?
After the Aeropress is clean, you should store it with the plunger pushed all the way through the chamber. This means that the seal of the plunger should not be sitting inside the chamber at all, it should be pushed through to the other side.
This will help to prevent compression of the seal, which leads to a longer life for your Aeropress. When the seal becomes compressed, the plunger will not work as well and may leak.
You should make sure that your Aeropress is completely dry before you re-insert the plunger into the chamber.
In summary, the best way to clean your Aeropress is to ensure that all the coffee residue has been removed after each use.
Daily, you can rinse under warm water and wash with soap if desired…and if you don’t want to use vinegar or cleaning store-bought cleaning agents then make sure to see my post about cleaning coffee stuff without vinegar for a few other ideas.
Every few weeks, remove the rubber gasket and do a deep clean to ensure that oils and debris aren’t building up in the gasket, which will affect the taste of the coffee.
In a worse case scenario situation the gasket can usually be replaced. Parts like this are usually available on sites like Amazon.