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Can You Put Coffee Grounds In Garbage Disposal?

Done drinking coffee?

The cup goes into the dishwasher, but where do used coffee grounds go?

Maybe you can throw coffee grounds in garbage disposal?

Well, technically, you can.

But that can do more harm than good.

Let’s elaborate on that.

Should You Put Coffee Grounds in the Garbage Disposal?

used coffee grounds

I’m sure many coffee lovers are guilty of throwing the coffee ground down the kitchen drain. 

But that’s not something you should be doing.

The coffee grounds won’t damage your garbage disposal. But once they go down the drain and end up in the U-bend, that’s where they’ll stay until they get in contact with water.

And that’s where all hell breaks loose.

I’m not even kidding, because once wet, the coffee ground will clump up into a paste. The more coffee grounds you throw in the sink, the greater the paste becomes.

Over time, your sink will drain slower until it gets completely blocked. Once that happens, you’ll need the help of a professional to solve that problem.

How to Properly Throw Away Coffee Grounds?

So, if they can’t go down garbage disposals, how to properly dispose of coffee grounds?

Well, you have several options.

Without a doubt, the easiest way to get rid of used coffee grounds is to throw them in the trash. Plus, since coffee grounds absorb odor, they can make your trash smell less.

But, there are other ways you can throw away coffee grounds that are actually helping you reduce the amount of trash sent to the landfill. If you want to be more environmentally friendly, consider composting.

There might be a curbside composting service in your area, where you could take your coffee waste.

Furthermore, many private companies, as well as governmental organizations, offer composting bins. They’d be glad to take up your old grounds.

Alternatively, you can make your own compost at home.

If you add coffee grounds directly to the composting pile, remember to treat it as green compost material. In other words, ground coffee, just like grass clippings or food waste, is rich in nitrogen. And for proper compost, you need to balance that out with sufficient brown material.

If you use paper filters for your coffee, you can throw them along with the coffee grounds. That makes cleanup even easier!

PRO TIP
There are tons of ways you can reuse old coffee grounds before you get rid of them for good. They work great as an abrasive cleaner, skin exfoliator, and even cellulite scrub. 

How to Unclog Garbage Disposal from Coffee Grounds?

The damage is done. Now what?

It’s not the end of the world. There are a few things you can do to unclog your garbage disposal from clumped coffee grounds.

Baking Soda and Vinegar

baking soda and vinegar

If there’s a tiny amount of coffee grounds in your pipes, then using baking soda and vinegar is good for drain cleaning. This little mixture will also prevent your drain from stinking.

Here’s how to use these two ingredients:

  1. Pour baking soda into the garbage disposal.
  2. Follow up with vinegar. It should start fizzing once it gets in contact with baking soda.
  3. Let the concoction sit for about 20 minutes.
  4. Pour some hot water down the drain.

Store-Bough Drain Cleaner

These products are generally affordable and widely available at stores. They’re easy to use and work quickly, but at a cost.

You see, many of these products consist of harsh chemicals that can damage the drain pipes. That’s why you should always read the label before buying a drain cleaner. 

Make sure the product is safe to use with plastic pipes as well as in the garbage disposal. 

PRO TIP
Enzymatic cleaners are less damaging overall, although they work slower. Chemical cleaners, on the other hand, are more harmful but sometimes necessary to dissolve the grounds. 

Plunger

woman using plunger

Probably every house owns this little handy tool. If you do, it will come in handy now.

Using a plunger is pretty straightforward. 

  1. Place the plunger cup on top of the sink drain. Make sure to create a tight lid.
  2. Apply pressure with the handle, then release. Push and pull for about 20 seconds.

After a while, drain clogs should go out, and you can manually clean your sink. But I warn you, it will smell and look nasty!

Drain Snake

If you don’t know, a drain snake is a piece of wire that you send down the drain, and it should push the clog enough to get it unblocked.

Drain snakes are also readily available at stores, although using them requires a bit of practice.

They can successfully remove larger clogs, but they won’t clean the accumulated grease or spilled coffee grounds that stick on the walls of the garbage disposal. For it, you will need to use chemical drain cleaners.

Call a Professional

plumber fixing a garbage disposal

In some cases, we can’t clean the clogged drain ourselves. If that’s the case, then it’s time to call a plumber who knows how to unclog a drain.

Plumbing services can offer both the skills and tools for the job. Plus, you’re not risking damaging the plumbing along the way.

FAQ

Still have unresolved questions about old coffee grinds?

Let’s solve them right away. 

Is it OK to flush coffee grounds down the sink?

You should refrain from throwing old coffee grounds down the drain. Once in contact with water, the grounds clump up and can create a buildup. In time, your drain can get clogged from too much coffee waste.

Are used coffee grounds good for plants?

Ground coffee beans are rich in many minerals important for plant growth, such as nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. For that reason, you can use them as plant fertilizer. They will also attract worms that are beneficial for your garden.

Are roaches attracted to coffee grounds?

No. In fact, cockroaches are repelled by coffee grounds. Therefore, you can even use old grounds to keep these little pests away from your kitchen.

To Sum Things Up

Once you’re done using coffee grounds, you should dispose of them the right way.

That doesn’t mean sending them down the garbage disposal, as your drain can get clogged. Instead, there are many better ways to get rid of them, like composting.

However, if you do end up throwing them in the garbage disposal, there are several ways you can clean the pipes. And if nothing helps, you can always call a professional to do it for you.

Want to reuse coffee grounds before throwing them away? Here’s our guide on different ways you can use them again.

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Viktoria Marks
Viktoria is a writer and a journalist who can't imagine sitting by her computer without a large cup of java in her hand. She loves sampling coffee from all over the world as much as writing about it.