Can I drink from this: French press edition
July 3, 2022 7:25 AM   Subscribe

I recently rediscovered my old stainless steel French press at the back of the kitchen sideboard and decided to start using it again. However, there are some.. issues.

It appears that it wasn't actually washed out the last time it was used (yes, that's gross, but we're not handing out blame here, we're moving on as a people and a community). That was at least a year ago, if not more. There's been old coffee grounds sitting in there that whole time. Luckily it looks like there was an airtight seal and there isn't any grody mold present (I've witnessed disgusting stinky French press mold before and would definitely recognise it). It didn't even smell that bad, the grounds were just quite solid.

I washed it out with dish soap and lots of hot water, multiple times, and dissembled the mechanisms and washed those too. Then I let it all sit in a bleach and hot water solution for a while and I've put it in the dishwasher as the next step.

The whole thing, mesh included, is stainless steel. There isn't any rust or anything. How safe is this to use again, post-dishwasher (assuming a very hot cycle with lots of soap)? Am I overthinking that there might be some secret deadly coffee bacteria lurking in there somewhere? I don't mind getting rid of it but I'd like to keep it if possible.
posted by fight or flight to Food & Drink (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: It’s fine, use it. Zero risk.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 7:32 AM on July 3, 2022 [14 favorites]

Best answer: I'm immunocompromised and would use this without hesitation. It's thoroughly clean! Enjoy!
posted by twelve cent archie at 7:34 AM on July 3, 2022 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I would have been happy to use it with just the dish soap wash and no bleach. You're fine.
posted by flabdablet at 7:39 AM on July 3, 2022 [4 favorites]

Best answer: I would toss the metal parts into a pot of boiling water for a few minutes just to really get into all the curly parts and screw threads.
posted by nouvelle-personne at 7:43 AM on July 3, 2022 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks folks! I'll let the dishwasher do its thing and dunk it another couple times and then we're back on the French press coffee train (and not leaving it with grounds inside this time for sure!).
posted by fight or flight at 8:07 AM on July 3, 2022

Best answer: Regular soap can often have difficulty cleaning coffee oils, regardless of how hard you blast them.

I would pick up a container of Purocaffe (used by cafes to clean espresso equipment); it's the 'right tool for the job' when cleaning coffee gear, and one container will last a normal human a goddamn lifetime. A dime sized little pile will clean a french press extremely well, and work its way into all the little springs and screens and nooks that you can't really readily reach. If you have any other coffee gear like a thermos or carafe, this can be used for that as well, and will bring it basically to new, even if you haven't cleaned it in a hundred years.
posted by furnace.heart at 9:56 AM on July 3, 2022 [4 favorites]

Best answer: If there are still stains or residues, try denture cleaning tablets. I've had good luck with those on coffee/tea stained mugs, and with enamel cookware.
posted by dws at 10:32 AM on July 3, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Like when I get ash in my camp dinner and call it "fire herb," this is just character. Just kidding -- use it without fear. Bon appétit!

If you really worry, go to your favorite cafe with a small container and ask if they have any urn cleaner they could hook you up with to clean out a super-gross French press. (furnace.heart mentions a specific brand, but I wouldn't be choosy in your situation!)

It's just a strong solution of stuff that you rinse through the pot, and then wash away with clean water.
posted by wenestvedt at 12:07 PM on July 3, 2022 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Do not bleach stainless steel unless you want it to start pitting and rusting. Bleach removes the layer of chromium oxide that makes stainless steel actually stainless.

Cleaning it with soap and water is fine. Putting it in the dishwasher will sanitize it. You don't need to do more than that.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:12 PM on July 3, 2022

Fill the carafe with hot water and a teaspoon or so of Cafiza and let that soak for a while before rinsing it off. Do the same with the disassembled parts of the plunger, screen, etc. (easiest is to just drop them into the carafe when cleaning that). Everything will emerge squeaky clean and gleaming. Cafiza is really the best way to keep a press pot clean. All you have to do is empty out the spent grounds, fill with hot water from the tap, drop in a big pinch of Cafiza, put the top on and depress the plunger around half way. Five to infinity minutes later, churn the plunger up and down a few times, then dump it out and give everything a rinse. 90 seconds of effort and your stainless press pot will stay looking brand new.
posted by slkinsey at 5:57 AM on July 4, 2022 [1 favorite]

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