Can Coffee Grounds Go Down the Sink? What Happens?

Some people put coffee grounds into the sink, thinking it would reduce the foul smell. But can coffee grounds go down the sink? What happens?

The value of pouring coffee grounds into the sink is one myth that is circulating online. Some people believe that this will minimize the sink’s bad odor. They don’t know that the only thing that can happen when they do this is clogging their sinks. Their drains will soon be blocked with ground coffee if they keep doing this.

Coffee is not like your usual food. When you put water on coffee grounds, they clump together instead of breaking down. So, if you pour coffee grounds down your sink, they will build up inside the drain over time. This will create clogs that can inhibit the free flow of water. You should always put coffee grounds in the garbage can instead of the sink.

Read on to learn more about the consequences of putting coffee grounds down the sink.

Can Coffee Grounds Go Down the Sink?

can coffee grounds go down the sink

People Believe the Practice Can Minimize Foul Smell from the Sink

Some people believe in the value of putting coffee grounds down the sink they share in their posts on the internet. They believe this practice will minimize the foul smell coming from their sinks.

However, the only thing that can happen if you do this to your sink is it will get clogged. If you continue doing this to your sink, coffee grounds will clog the drain.

Clumps Together When Wet

You see, coffee grounds are not the same as regular food. When you put water on them, instead of dispersing, they clump together.

Can Form Into Big Lumps Causing a Clogged Sink

So, if you keep on putting coffee grounds into your sink, they will build up inside the drain. They will eventually form into big lumps of coffee grounds. Finally, you will end up with a seriously clogged sink where wastewater cannot freely drain.

The only place you can safely put unwanted coffee grounds is in the garbage can. Garbage disposals can’t even process coffee grounds. These machines are not designed to handle these small and fine but tough coffee grounds.

Can Coffee Grounds Go Down the Garbage Disposal?

Coffee grounds are too fine for the mechanism inside the garbage disposal machine to process. They could even jam the system of the machine.

Use Coffee Grounds as Compost or Throw Them in the Garbage Can

The best way you can deal with useless coffee grounds is to throw them in the garbage can or to use it as compost.

If it’s the first time you pour coffee grounds into your sink, it may not get clogged immediately. However, don’t think that just because it didn’t happen at first, you can continue doing it whenever you want.

You see, water is not able to break down coffee grounds. Although they are very fine, they are still tough as nails.

In addition, when they come in contact with fats, which you usually pour down into your sink, they stick to each other. This is the perfect combination that will surely clog your sink.

Use Them as a Scrub

Some people also transform these ‘tough as nails” coffee grounds into a scrub that they use whenever they take a shower. Some drop down the shower drains as they use the coffee ground scrub. They could also accumulate, build up and clog the shower drain eventually.

Why Coffee Grounds Can’t Go Down the Sink

Can Combine with Grease to Form Sludge

People will only stop doing what they are used to if they are given valid reasons why they shouldn’t do what they are doing.

Coffee grounds will clog your sink since they cannot break down like other foods. When combined with grease or fat, they will become part of the drained sludge, which is very difficult to remove.

Other Reasons Behind a Clogged Sink

Don’t be mistaken. Coffee grounds are not the main reason why your drain is blocked. The primary reason is the accumulation of grease and fat on the drain pipe. You also wash down their grease contents when washing your kitchen utensils, dishes, and plates.

These fats stick and thicken to the walls of the pipes. The fats and grease on the drain pipes accumulate as you continue washing your dishes and pans in your sink.

Now, when you flush down coffee grounds in your sink, the fats, and grease on the walls of the pipe will catch them and will never let them go, no matter how high the pressure or hot the water is.

If you do this continuously, the number of coffee grounds on the fat and grease inside the pipe walls will build up over time. In due time, you will have a blocked drain pipe. Then you will have a problem with a non-draining sink.

Other Food Wastes That You Should Not Pour Down the Sink

There are other food wastes that you shouldn’t pour down your sink, including the following:

  • Starchy foods such as potato peels, potatoes, rice, and pasta.
  • Oil, grease, and other types of fats
  • Non-food items include sponges, wood splinters, cigarette butts, small metal pieces, and glass shreds.
  • Items with fibers such as fish skins, egg shells, celery, and banana peels.

Kitchen Sink Clogged Past Trap – How to Fix – 6 Steps

Are Coffee Grounds Safe for Septic System?

Need to Pump Out the Debris in the Septic System More Often

Some believe pouring coffee grounds down the sink is not a big deal.

However, suppose you will consider that some communities live on properties using a septic system. In that case, it is essential to know that the coffee grounds that you pour down your sink won’t break down and won’t eventually affect your area’s septic system. Isn’t that a big deal?

Repeatedly pouring down your unwanted coffee grounds down your sink will continue the buildup of the layer of solids that do not decompose in the septic system. If you insist on doing this, you need to pump out the debris in your septic system more often.

Waste of Money

Undoubtedly, pumping out accumulated debris in a septic system involves a lot of money. This is a waste of money, considering that you can avoid it by just throwing your unwanted coffee grounds on the ground – like compost.

Coffee Grounds Can Disrupt the Decomposition of Waste

Coffee grounds can also skew the pH of the septic system. They will acidify it. When this happens, there will be an adverse effect on the function of the bacteria inside the septic system or septic tank. You will disrupt the decomposition of wastes inside the tank.

So, as you can see, pouring your wasted coffee grounds is a big deal – especially if you do it without any concern for your environment. If you accidentally do it, then that’s fine. But if you do it constantly because it is convenient, that’s a big problem.

Best to Throw the Coffee Grounds in the Garbage Can

If you throw coffee grounds down the sink instead of the garbage can, you will have a problem with your blocked sink and drain. You will have to call a plumber to correct the issue, or you may have to watch YouTube videos on how to unclog your drain.

Again, can coffee grounds go down the sink? Coffee grounds tend to clump together in the water. So, over time they can accumulate and clog your sink. You can throw them in the garbage can or use them as compost.

Is It Safe to Dump Coffee Grounds Down the Sink

can coffee grounds go down the kitchen sink

Many thought pouring down coffee grounds on their sinks won’t do much harm. Some have even praised the ‘good’ effects of the coffee grounds on the drain. They thought that they were keeping the pipes smelling fresh by doing it.

However, after giving it sufficient time, they discovered that that’s not the case. Those who tried to remove the coffee grounds from their sinks found that these little things could be sticky and grippy.

They also discovered that these fine coffee grounds formed an impenetrable and very stubborn blockage in their drains over time. Not even garbage disposals can handle these coffee grounds.

They are too fine for the garbage disposal to process. It is much better to dispose of them naturally – throwing them in the garbage can or using them as compost.

How to Fix a Clogged Sink From Coffee Grounds

Many drain cleaners in the market can easily remove coffee grounds. However, most people find them too harsh, with some potentially dangerous when used in the kitchen. There are other options that you can use which are much safer.

1. Try to Manually Unclog the Sink

Firstly, you should try to clear the clog manually. You can use a plunger to release the pressure from the clog and then follow it up with a plumber’s snake to force the clog through. If you don’t have a plumber’s snake, you can use an old wire coat hanger instead.

2. Use Baking Soda and Vinegar

After releasing the clog, remove the blockage from the drain and not leave any debris. You can do this safely with the combination of baking soda and vinegar. This mixture will trigger a chemical reaction inside the drain pipe.

What you need to do is first pour a cup of baking soda down the drain. Then pour half a cup of white vinegar. Wait for the chemical reaction to take place.

You will find that foam will start to develop. Hopefully, this will be enough to push the mixture down to the pipe and unclog your sink drain.

3. Wait for Around 30 Minutes

Allow the mixture of baking soda and white vinegar to work for around 30 minutes.

4. Pour Boiling Water Down the Drain

Then pour boiling water down the drain. Now, check if the blockage has been removed.

Pour water into the drain. If it drains fast enough, you have unclogged it. But if water still drains slowly, you have to repeat this process.

How Do You Get Rid of Sink Smells?

Now, you know that you can’t use coffee grounds to improve the smell of your sink. What can you use instead? There’s something in your laundry supplies that you can use to combat the foul smell that comes out of your sink from time to time.

You can add a small amount of degreaser soap to your sink. Then run hot water down the sink for about 30 seconds. Hopefully, this will be enough to freshen up the smell coming out of your sink.

Signs of a Clogged Sink From Coffee Grounds

If you have been pouring ground coffee down your sink, it could be clogging your drain. You need a garburator to remove the blockage.

You can use other kitchen plumbing repair tools if you don’t have this garbage disposal unit. You need to use any of these tools if the condition of your sink is like any of the following:

  • Water is slow in draining from the sink
  • Food wastes are visible in the sink after using the dishwasher
  • Water is backing up from the sink drain
  • The foul smell of rotting food wastes coming from the drain
  • Gurgling noise coming from the sink.

If after trying to free off the blockage from your sink and you are not successful, perhaps you need to call for help from a professional plumber. They will have the tools and experience to unclog your sink from stubborn coffee grounds.

How to Properly Dispose of Used Ground Coffee Beans

To avoid having your sink clogged with ground coffee beans, you should know how to dispose of them properly.

Here are some practical ways to get rid of coffee beans without causing any problem with your kitchen sink or bathroom drain:

1. Compost or Mulch

Waste coffee grounds can be used as compost. They can benefit the grounds in your garden by making them more fertile. If you are fond of drinking coffee, you should also have a compost bin, where you can throw used coffee beans instead of throwing them in your kitchen sink.

2. Coloring Dyes

Used coffee grounds can be used as coloring dyes. If you have white clothing, you can transform its color to a golden hue by using the coffee grounds as coloring dye. You can also turn plain white paper into antique stationery by dipping them into water imbued with ground coffee beans.

3. Garden Pest Repellant

You can use waste-ground coffee beans as a pest repellant. Distribute them among your favorite plants in your garden. They will discourage insects and pests from attacking your plants.

4. Exfoliant

Coffee grounds are good for exfoliating or scrubbing away dead skins. Mix them with coconut oil and scrub the mixture on your dead skin cells to remove them.

In the same way, coffee grounds can be used to scrub away stubborn fluids or smells from mechanical works.

5. Candle Scent

Candles that are coffee scented emit a great smell when lighted. Their essence can lift your spirits. To make coffee-scented candles, you have to melt the wax. Then mix it with coffee grounds.

And then, pour the melted candle into paper cups with candlewick. After they solidify, cut the cup, and use the candle.

6. Pet Shampoo Treatment

If your dog has fleas, you can add fine coffee grounds to its shampoo. Coffee is effective in repelling fleas. So if you add coffee grounds to its shampoo or put them directly in their hide, fleas will no longer infest your pet.

Frequently Asked Questions

can used coffee grounds go down the drain

If you still have questions about this topic, perhaps reading the answers to the most often asked questions about it will help you understand this subject a bit more:

Will the Foul Smell on My Sink Disappear If I Pour Coffee Grounds Into It?

Unfortunately, no, but it will give you another more severe problem: your sink will get clogged. Clogging of your sink will happen because of the buildup of ground coffee inside the drain.

If there is already some fat and grease in your drain, the fine coffee grounds will stick to them and accumulate over time if you regularly pour coffee down your sink.

Can You Put Coffee Grounds Down the Sink?

No, it is not ok to put ground coffee in your sink. It is not even ok to rinse coffee in your sink. Coffee grounds, while fine and small, are very tough.

Water can’t break them down. If the wall of your drain pipe is already full of fats and grease, the fine and small coffee grounds will stick to them. In time, they will accumulate and form a formidable blockage on the drain that is difficult to remove.

How Can I Safely Dispose of My Waste Ground Coffee?

You can dispose of your used ground coffee in many ways without creating problems in your sink and the environment.

  • Compost them
  • Use them as an exfoliant
  • Use them as coloring dye for your clothes
  • Use them to repel pests that attack your plants
  • Use them to treat the flea infestation of your pets
  • Use them as a candle scent

In Closing: What Happens If Coffee Grounds Go Down the Sink?

One myth that keeps on circulating online is the pouring of coffee grounds down the sink. Some people do this thinking it will reduce their sinks’ foul smell.

However, the only thing that will happen is that their sinks will get clogged. If they continue doing this to their sinks, their drains will soon be clogged with ground coffee.

Ground coffee, although fine and small, are tough. Water can’t break them down. So, if you pour them down on your sink, they will attach themselves to the fats and grease already there. Over time they will accumulate and cause clogging in your drain pipe.