I have a double-layer tea filter like this one:
tea filter

I use it to filter rooibos tea, which can have very fine particles. The problem I have is that over time, many tiny particles have become trapped between the two mesh layers, shown by the arrow.

The only way I can think of to remove them is by burning them using a blowtorch. However, since the mesh wire is so fine this would probably destroy it.

Is there a better method?

  • You're probably right about destroying the fine mesh with a blowtorch.
    – Stan
    Jan 28 '18 at 3:27

No doubt, by now, you have rapped, tapped, blown, washed, rinsed, and repeated.

You gave me the idea about burning them, but not with a blowtorch—with chemicals.

If nothing else has worked, you can Try a household oven cleaner to "burn" the particles from between the screens. Lye, from a hardware store, will work faster; but, would cost more than replacing the tea filter.

Follow instructions on the label. "oven" cleaners contain corrosive alkalis that will have a very similar effect on the tea leaves as a blowtorch would. It just takes longer.

After overnight treatment, neutralize the stuff as suggested (in cool water), wash and rinse thoroughly. Better? Repeat.

  • This is probably the best solution, but I think I'll use a single layer strainer in future.
    – EmmaV
    Feb 26 '18 at 11:01

The answer from DrMoishe Pippik is very good, and will probably do the trick.

Also, I would suspect that the "top" mesh is less fine than the "bottom" mesh. Therefore, if you turn the tea filter over, the more spacious mesh (which was on the "top") will be below the finer mesh (which was on the "bottom"). That should allow those small particle to get washed out more easily, since they only have to make their way through the more spacious mesh. So turn your filter over, then run water through it for a few minutes. That should clean out most, if not all, of the particles.enter image description here

  • Thanks for your suggestion. It doesn't work unfortuanately. Both mesh layers are the same.
    – EmmaV
    Feb 26 '18 at 10:57

High pressure air (from lab or garage) or high pressure water (e.g. "water pick" dental tool) might do the job, perhaps followed by using a dishwasher.

  • Thanks for your suggestion. I bought a water pick tool, but it didn't have any effect.
    – EmmaV
    Feb 26 '18 at 10:58

I'd recommend using VWP cleaner, or something similar.

It's a food safe cleaner, that is very popular with home brewers for cleaning and sterilising brewing containers, which can accumulate very stubborn debris in hard to reach places.

Apart from homebrew, I use it to clean all manner of food containers, drinks flasks, teapots, coffee and tea filters. It removes stubborn debris and leaves containers looking brand new, and removes any odours.

It works well on filters, so I believe it's an ideal choice for your tea filter.

A tub of this stuff lasts a long time, you only need a couple of teaspoons of powder to make 5 litres of cleaning solution. In my opinion it's very good value. It's an essential tool in my kitchen cleaning toolbox.

  • If it leaves a "fresh" smell, it shouldn't be used for tea nor homebrewing. And I'd be very careful about trusting a product that claims to "sterilize", as sterilization is extremely difficult (the claim is a lie).
    – piojo
    Jul 30 '19 at 6:12
  • 1
    @piojo, sorry for the misunderstanding. I meant that it removes any odours, and leaves it smelling of nothing. There's not a fresh smell, just the lack of whatever the container had in before. This is particularly useful when cleaning out flasks that have had fruit cordial in, in my experience, the aroma of cordial can hang around, but this type of cleaner gets rid of it. Jul 30 '19 at 13:21
  • @piojo, I've got a lot of experience with these products, and homebrewing. It is very important that your equipment is sterile, otherwise your brew will be tainted by unwanted bacteria/mould/etc, as you're making what is a very nice environment for foreign bodies to thrive. As I've seen from experience, the claims of being able to sterilise the equipment is accurate. Jul 30 '19 at 13:30
  • I do multiple biological hobbies, so I've read about of a handful of ways to sterilize: flame, autoclave, ethylene oxide, ozone, maybe glutaraldehyde, OPA, peracetic acid. Very few others. Not boiling, not bleach, not iodine, not hydrogen peroxide, not vacuum, not oxyclean, not alcohol. Most certainly not a home cleaning product that doesn't list its ingredients. And I thought it was scented because the web site says it leaves a fresh smell. I appreciate the clarification!
    – piojo
    Jul 31 '19 at 4:15

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