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Can You Put Coffee Grounds In Garbage Disposal?

Many people say that it is okay to put coffee grounds down the garbage disposal, but others say not to. Which is true?

You shouldn’t put coffee grounds in a garbage disposal. While they will not damage garage disposals, coffee grounds lump together when wet and they are not easy to be washed away. Over time, they will pile up and clog the drain pipes.

Coffee grounds in a spoon ready to be thrown into a garbage disposal

Why shouldn’t you put coffee grounds in a garbage disposal or a sink

Coffee grounds will not affect your garbage disposal. In fact, many people suggest using coffee grounds to clean or sharpen garbage disposal blades due to their abrasive action. This is bad advice, however.

Even though coffee grounds will not damage your garbage disposal or affect its working, they will clog the pipes when regularly added in large quantities. The keywords here are ‘regularly’ and ‘in large quantities’. It is no problem to wash away the coffee grounds left in your cup; they are not enough to clog the drain pipes. The problem comes when coffee grounds are added in bulk. Regularly adding that large bulk from your coffee machine is a terrible idea. Use your trash can instead to save all the trouble.

The same happens when you dump coffee grounds down the sink without a garbage disposal. So do not put coffee grounds down your sink or your garbage disposal.

What are coffee grounds

So, what are coffee grounds? Coffee beans are roasted, ground, and mixed with hot water to make coffee. The leftover mass of what is remaining in your cup or the coffee machine is called “coffee grounds.”

There is hardly anyone who doesn’t drink coffee in the USA. It is like a national drink, the most popular drink in the USA. According to NCA, 62% of Americans drink coffee every day. Imagine the amount of coffee grounds this leaves!

Why you should not use coffee grounds as your garbage disposal cleaner

Like I said before, many websites advise dumping large amounts of coffee grounds down the garbage disposal in an attempt to clean it. You may be able to get your disposal cleaned this way, but as I said before, it will result in future clogs in the drain pipes, causing you more problems than you can imagine.

You can use ice cubes instead of coffee grounds to clean the garbage disposal. Ice cubes not only provide abrasive action but also melt away without clogging or damaging the disposal and the drain pipes.

You can also use a combination of baking soda and vinegar, or garbage disposal kits available from local stores. Here is a detailed guide to cleaning the garbage disposal for your further reading.

How to unclog a drain clogged with coffee grounds?

When you get into a terrible situation by dumping coffee grounds in a sink or garbage disposal, how can you unclog the drain? The best way is to be on the alert.

Plunge the pipes:

The best way to unclog a clogged drain pipe is to use a plunger. A plunger’s compression will exert enough force for water and coffee grounds to pass through the pipes. To plunge the drains, plug the cup of the plunger onto the sink drain. Add some water into the sink so that the flange of the plunger head remains sealed to the sink. Pump up and down vigorously several times until water begins flowing through freely again.

Snake the drain pipes:

If plunging didn’t break the clogs, the next best option is to snake the drain pipes. Open the p-trap under the sink and see if it is clogged. A bucket or basin should be placed under the sink to catch any water that may escape from the pipes. Remove whatever coffee grounds are in it using a bottle brush. Reconnect the p-trap and run some water to see if the sink drains easily. If this works, your job is done. But if the water is still draining slowly, you will have to remove the rest of the pipings and clean them until all the clogs are found and removed.

Do not use harsh chemicals to unclog the drain pipes as they can do more damage than good.

4 Best ways to dispose of coffee grounds

There are many things one can do with coffee grounds. Here are a few ideas:

1. Use coffee grounds as fertilizer

Coffee grounds are an excellent fertilizer for plants and can be a natural way to provide nutrients for many plants. It adds nitrogen to the soil and better its aeration and water retention. It also helps to attract worms and bacteria, which are beneficial to the growth of plants.

2. Use as a natural pesticide

Coffee grounds also are an excellent weed killer because they will destroy the weed’s ability to get its nutrients from the soil.

You can use coffee grounds for pest control. It can be utilized as a drenching agent, and it is a very effective pesticide. When applied to vegetation, it can serve as a repellant due to the caffeine which is present in the grounds.

3. Add to the compost pile

Alternatively, they are simply added to the compost pile along with all other organic matter as they break down into the soil by decomposition. This will release the nutrients from the coffee grounds. The coffee grounds are rich in nitrogen, so they will also help to make the soil more fertile for growing plants.

4. Put them in the trash

If you don’t have the time to manage a garden or compost, simply put the coffee grounds into the trash can. Never put them in your garbage disposal or sink.


Try to avoid putting coffee grounds into your sink. It is alright to wash away what is remaining in your cup but make sure to avoid putting them into the sink in large quantities.

If you want to read further, here is a list of other things you shouldn’t put in a garbage disposal.

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