How To Remove Coffee Stains From A Plastic Filter Basket

There are many ways you can reduce your carbon footprint in your kitchen, and one of the ways that many coffee lovers choose to do that is by using a plastic filter basket.

Unlike the paper filter baskets, these plastic filter baskets are designed to be washed and reused, reducing the amount of waste in your kitchen.

While plastic filter baskets are great, the coffee grounds can stain them over time, especially if you do not rinse your filter basket immediately.

The stains can be unsightly and can disguise growing mold; luckily, we’ve done the research.

Learning how to remove coffee stains from your plastic filter basket is easy if you follow the steps below, leaving you free to enjoy better-tasting coffee while saving the environment.

What You’ll Need

You’ll need a few simple household items to remove coffee stains from your plastic coffee filter basket.

Now that you have everything you need continue reading to learn how to remove coffee stains from your plastic filter basket.

1. Rinse Your Plastic Filter Basket

The first thing you should do to remove the old coffee stains from your plastic filter basket is rinse it in warm water and scrub the plastic filter with your scrub brush or old toothbrush.

Doing this will remove any leftover coffee grounds, allowing you full access to the stained areas.

Pro tip: Some people prefer to do their cleaning with a sponge or a cleaning cloth, but we have found that an old toothbrush works best for this particular cleaning.

It is intended to scrub tough stains in tight areas, making a toothbrush perfect for cleaning all the nooks and crannies of a plastic filter basket.

We advise using an old toothbrush so that you do not confuse it with your current one.

2. Soak Your Filter Basket in a Mixture of Water and Vinegar

Using either the kitchen sink or a bowl, mix 2 cups of white distilled vinegar for every gallon of hot water.

I recommend using Lucy’s Family Owned – Natural Distilled White Vinegar.

I have had great success with this product plus they are a family-owned business and get excellent Amazon reviews.

Place the plastic coffee filter in the mixture and let it sit for 10-15 minutes.

Doing this will allow the vinegar to break down the oils holding the coffee stain to the filter, making them easier to remove.

3. Wash Your Filter Basket with Soap and Warm Water

Once you have soaked your plastic filter basket in the vinegar and water mixture, wash your filter with dish soap and warm water.

As you’ll see from the video below, we recommend using a strong cutting soap such as Dawn Ultra Dishwashing Liquid Dish Soap.

Use your cleaning brush or old toothbrush to work the dish soap into the crevices and grooves of your filter.

The dish soap will remove the oils and the stains of the coffee from the filter, leaving your plastic filter basket looking much cleaner.

4. Rinse your Plastic Filter Basket Again

Finally, after you have washed away the coffee stains, rinse your coffee filter again with water.

Doing this will remove any residual traces of vinegar and dish soap, allowing you to enjoy a fresh-tasting cup of coffee in the morning. 

The below video demonstrates how to clean your plastic coffee filter with simple household items.

Start the video at 1:20.

1:39—Fill a small container with a mixture of water and white distilled vinegar.

1:41—Put the coffee filter into the water and vinegar mixture.

2:17—Scrub the coffee filter with an old toothbrush to loosen and remove some coffee stains.

2:51—Allow the plastic coffee filter to sit in the water and vinegar mixture for an hour.

2:58—Place the plastic coffee filter in soapy water and scrub it with an old toothbrush.

3:26—Rinse the coffee filter in running water.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I clean my plastic coffee filter if I cannot remove it from the machine?

Some coffee machines come with the plastic filter basket built-in, which means they aren’t always removable.

Even if your plastic coffee filter is not easily removable, you should still clean it regularly, both to maintain cleanliness and to reduce the appearance of coffee stains. 

To clean your non-removable plastic coffee filter and to reduce the coffee stains, start by spraying vinegar on your filter basket.

Be generous with the vinegar and allow the vinegar to sit for 5-10 minutes.

After that time, mix dish soap and warm water, and scrub your coffee filter with an old toothbrush or a cleaning brush.

We find that a toothbrush works better because it is more beneficial for cleaning in tight spaces.

Ensure you are thorough as you scrub, applying the soap to every inch of your coffee filter.

Finally, fill your coffee machine’s reservoir with clean water and run a water cycle on your machine.

Ensure your coffee carafe is in place to catch the water and any debris or residue from your now clean plastic filter basket.

To prevent any potential debris from the carafe from settling onto your filter, we recommend inserting a paper filter during the rinse cycle. 

What should I do if I suspect there is mold growing on my plastic coffee filter?

Mold in your plastic filter basket can be dangerous for your health, and it’s nasty.

While sometimes the mold has worked itself so deeply into the plastic that you should throw it out and buy a new one, you can first try to remove the mold.

To do so, make a mixture of one part water and one part vinegar, and place the plastic coffee filter into it.

Allow the filter to soak overnight; vinegar will naturally kill mold, and this ensures that the mold is exposed to the vinegar long enough to eradicate it completely.

In the morning, clean your filter thoroughly with dish soap and a cleaning brush or an old toothbrush.

Doing this will remove the mold from the plastic filter basket, but if any remains once you have finished washing and drying it, you should throw the filter out to prevent any potential health risks.