Stop Washing Coffee Grounds Down The Drain, Seriously

Dumping coffee grounds down the sink seems like an easy way to dispose of them — just rinse them away and they're gone, right? Wrong! While they seem to flow down the drain effortlessly, inside your pipes, it's a different story. Coffee grounds cling and harden, leading to costly plumbing repairs. It's puzzling, right? Shouldn't coffee dissolve or break down in water? Sadly, it doesn't really work that way.


Instant coffee dissolves easily in hot water due to its crystalline structure, created through brewing and dehydration. On the other hand, regular ground coffee — which is just crushed-up coffee beans — releases oils, caffeine, and antioxidants when brewed, leaving behind about 70% insoluble organic matter. This residue doesn't dissolve and tends to adhere to surfaces, easily causing potential drain blockages.

Even if some grounds pass through, they can still build up and trap other debris, leading to a blocked pipe. And if you have a garbage disposal, it's not much help. The blades can't prevent clogs, and coffee grounds may even dull them over time.

What to do if your sink is clogged

So, you've accidentally already washed coffee grounds down your sink, and now you have a blocked pipe. What do you do? Fixing a kitchen sink that's clogged with stuck coffee grounds can be quite challenging, but there are several effective DIY methods you can attempt before resorting to calling a plumber for help.


First, it's important to avoid using chemical drain cleaners like Drano, as they can corrode your pipes over time. One effective method is snaking the drain. However, this method can be tricky as it often requires some basic plumbing knowledge to locate the clog.

​​Another option is to use a plunger. If the clog isn't due to severe grease buildup, a plunger can temporarily clear the blockage. For sinks with two sides, put a plug in the unaffected drain and use a sink plunger on the clogged side. This can dislodge the clog and provide temporary relief. However, if the clog persists despite plunging, especially in cases of severe blockage, it may be time to call a professional.

Creative ways to repurpose coffee grounds

How about we avoid this whole mess in the first place? Instead of tossing out used coffee grounds, repurpose them in creative and practical ways. In your garden, coffee grounds are a fantastic natural fertilizer, enriching the soil with essential nutrients like nitrogen, calcium, and potassium. They also serve as a natural pest repellent, keeping insects and slugs away when sprinkled around plants. Adding coffee grounds to your compost pile enhances its nutrient content and overall quality.


Beyond the garden, coffee grounds are a great DIY tool in household cleaning and personal care routines. Their gritty texture makes them perfect for scrubbing tough surfaces, polishing cookware, and removing odors from your hands after handling garlic or onions. As a natural exfoliant, coffee grounds mixed with water or oil create a body scrub that sloughs off dead skin cells and boosts circulation.

Hopefully now instead of throwing your grounds away or washing them down the drain, you can use them for other purposes.