How to Clean The Cold Brew Coffee Filter

By Evelina •  Updated: 06/28/21 •  6 min read

The Short Answer:

The way to remove coffee grounds from the filter is by pouring hot water through the filter and waiting for it to drip down into your cup. This removes all of the grounds out of the filter but does not affect the quality or taste or texture for sure. It’s a simple task, very quick, if the ingredients to wash are appropriate and the technique is right.

The most common way that people prepare cold brew coffee is to press ground coffee into the machine’s filter, pour into it a glass of water, and let it soak for 12-24 hours. 

After that, we prepare the coffee by pouring hot water through the filter to drink it or adding it later to various recipes.

However, based on the method in which this process occurs, you have to clean the cold brew machine’s filters, after every usage. Coffee grounds will thickly build up on the filter and begin to affect negatively the quality and taste of future brews.

The leftover dusty coffee will produce oils and dust in the form of a thick paste, making the machine hard to clean if it’s used unwashed many times.

Related Article: Best Coffee for Cold Brew

1. Use Vinegar and Water

Use a tablespoon of white vinegar and water to scrub the filter gently, letting the coffee maker drip, soak in that  mixture for 30-60 seconds.

The white vinegar will suck up all the coffee grounds, leaving the filter clean and ready for reuse. Also, it will absorb all the bad smells too, from the machine and will disinfect everything.

After cleaning with the vinegar, rinse out the filter really well with cool water and soap. This step comes after rinsing out the vinegar.

Finally, put back together and brew a batch of cold brew!

2. Use Dish Soap with Water

Use dish soap and water to clean the cold brew coffee maker’s filter. Let the soap with the water to stay inside the coffee maker drip for 1 minute and then scrub. By that way, you let the soapy water to soften the hard crusty, leftover coffee that stayed in the filter.

Dish soaps encompass a wide variety of cleaning solutions, most of which are made from vegetable oils or animal fats and have surfactants (detergents) as their primary active ingredient.

These products work well on coffee grounds because they have ingredients with long carbon chains of fatty acid. The carbon chains break up the coffee ground particles due to electrostatic repulsion, allowing them to slip off the filter. However, dish soap will not fully rinse all the coffee out of the filter.

3. Use Lemon Juice

You can use lemon juice to clean the cold brew coffee maker’s filter.

Lemon juice will work fine, just like vinegar, but it will not help to remove the old coffee smells from the filter, but if that doesn’t bother you, it’s the best choice.

4. Add it in The Dishwasher Machine

The dishwasher will clean the coffee grounds off the filter.

If you have a dishwasher, it will be easier to use it to clean out your cold brew coffee maker filter because of its steam action. The steam action will loosen up the ground so that they are removed more easily from the filter.

5. Baking Soda

Use baking soda on the coffee grounds.

Baking soda is used in cooking and cleaning, especially with metals and minerals. When dissolved in water, it suspends the minerals and metal particles from the filter. The baking soda will not remove the flavor from your filter, but it will leave it clean so that you can reuse it again in your cold brew recipe.

6. Use A Knife

After separating the filter from the coffee maker, use a knife to scrape off all of the coffee grounds. You want to be careful when using knives because you do not want to cut through the filter.

7. Use Paper Towels

Wrap three or four paper towels around your finger and then run it through the coffee grounds. The paper towel will absorb all of the coffee grounds and make the cold brew coffee maker filter clean.

8. A Metal Spatula And Soap/ Water Mixture

This is another way of removing all the coffee grounds off of your filter without having to use a knife or other sharp object, but it takes longer than using, paper towels, hot water or lemon juice. Using a metal spatula allows you to scrape all the coffee grounds off as if you were scraping out batter from a cake pan into another container.

9. Use Compressed Air

Air pressure can be used to remove not only the coffee grounds, but also the oils and fats that have been sitting on coffee grounds for a while. If you are very careful with your work, you can remove all of the oil and grease off of your filter without having to do any cleaning other than rinsing after each use.

Using compressed air you can clean all hard-to-get-at parts in the filter.

Compressed air is often used in metal working and repairing machinery, which explains why it is such an effective tool to use in cleaning your cold brew coffee maker’s filter.


Frequently Asked Questions: FAQ

Can you strain cold brew with a coffee filter?

Yes! The purpose of the coffee filter is to strain out any grounds that are floating around in your brew. You can use a paper coffee filter to do so, but there are other options as well (metal filter)

What is the fastest way to filter cold brew?

The fastest way to filter cold brew is by using a pour-over method. You can use any type of coffee filter that you prefer, but this method is most effective when using paper filters. It will also be the cheapest method as well because you will not need to buy any special equipment in order to start filtering your cold brew.

Last Thoughts

In this guide, you learned how to clean any cold brew coffee filter. Whether using vinegar, lemon juice, soap and water, baking soda or compressed air, you will be able to clean your filter and reuse it again.

As you can see, there are many ways to clean your cold brew coffee maker’s filter after making cold brew. You should try out the methods that work best for you and develop your own way of cleaning the filter so that it can be used for future brews.

Coffee Lovers Have Fun!


Evelina’s passion for coffee could never been hidden. Having worked as a barista, she learned the true value of the coffee bean and its secrets. As she continued to evolve as a barista, so did her knowledge, techniques on making different coffee blends and most importantly how to operate every kind of gear when it comes to coffee. Having a degree in biomedicine and being a barista, allows her to provide our community with in-depth knowledge surrounding the topics of coffee.