Are Coffee Grounds Good For The Garbage Disposal?

If you have a garbage disposal, you’re probably familiar with the specific dos and don’ts of the device. They’re great for multiple reasons: lesser food waste, no more issues with smelly food waste in the trash, and so on. Given their inherent convenience, it’s no surprise that these devices are common in millions of kitchens worldwide. 

Although garbage disposals are a convenient addition to nearly any kitchen, there are a few things to keep in mind. This article tackles the topic of coffee grounds and garbage disposals, so stick around to learn more!

Are Coffee Grounds OK For The Garbage Disposal?

Are Coffee Grounds OK For The Garbage Disposal

When it comes to the safety of coffee grounds in the garbage disposal, the reviews are mixed. Some professionals argue that coffee grounds are perfectly fine in the garbage disposal, while others insist that finely ground beans can wreak havoc on the system.

Most of us have dumped coffee grounds down the drain, never thinking twice about it. Although it may not hurt to dispose of them via the garbage disposal every now and again, it can lead to unwanted results. 

So, can you put coffee grounds down the drain? Technically, yes. Should you put them down the drain? Nope, it’s not the best idea. Why not? Well, the problem lies with clumping issues. 

Although coffee grounds look deceptively easy to rinse down the drain while they’re dry, it’s an illusion. When coffee grounds get wet, they turn into a thick, clumpy paste that can cause all sorts of issues in the drain and the following plumbing. 

If you have a reusable coffee filter (or even the disposable ones), you’ve probably seen this in action. You put the dry, powdery ground coffee beans into the filter, then run the system. 

Once the coffee is done, you need to dispose of the used coffee grounds. If you take a look at them once they’re saturated, you’ll notice they clump together (which can make them hard to get out of single-serve reusable filters). 

What Food Items Can’t Go In the Garbage Disposal?

Besides coffee beans and grounds, there’s a lengthy list of food scraps that shouldn’t go down your garbage disposal. Each item can cause issues in slightly different ways, but the result generally remains the same: it will damage the plumbing or cause clogs. We don’t know about you, but we’d like to avoid that outcome altogether. 

Here are a few items that should never go down your garbage disposal:

  • Pasta, rice, and bread: These three food items absorb water and expand, which can quickly clog the drain. A few miscellaneous grains of rice or pasta shouldn’t be an issue, but large quantities can cause problems. 
  • Animal bones: Bones are extremely hard and can damage the disposal. Small fish and chicken bones usually don’t cause issues, but larger bones will damage the disposal’s grinding mechanisms.
  • Nuts and shells: Like bones, nuts and shells tend to be solid and hard to grind. Even softer nuts, like peanuts, aren’t a good idea for your garbage disposal. They will create a paste (tada, peanut butter) that can clog the drain.
  • Pits and seeds: These two are additional items to avoid. They tend to be hard to grind and will bounce around the garbage disposal, making an excessive racket.
  • Eggshells: While you may not think the fragile shells can do any damage, they have membranes lining the shell that can wrap around the impellers. A few eggshells here and there shouldn’t be a problem, but a regular diet of eggshells isn’t a good idea.
  • Onion layers: These create a similar effect as eggshells. The outermost layer of the onion has a membrane that can wrap around the grinder’s blades.
  • Fibrous fruits and vegetables: Many fruits and veggies are fibrous in nature, which can cause issues for your garbage disposal. Items like banana peels, celery, asparagus, and rhubarb aren’t good for the disposal. 
  • Potato peels: The starch in potatoes can cause issues with your garbage disposal. Even if they do make it past the disposal, they may get caught in the drain pipes. 
  • Oils, grease, and fat: While these may look safe to pour down the drain in their liquid state, they’re not. Once they solidify, they can clog your drain. If you use cold water to run your garbage disposal, these materials will congeal faster, halting progress through the disposal or drain pipes.

How Do You Dispose Of Coffee Grounds?

Dispose Of Coffee Grounds

The easiest way to dispose of coffee grounds is by tossing them in the trash. They can help cut back on smelly odors wafting from the can between trash days. 

Or, if you have a garden, use them as a fertilizer and add them to your compost pile. They contain loads of nutrients that can benefit the soil. If you turn the compost regularly, you’ll add nitrogen to the compost, which is essential for plant growth, as it helps the plants make the proteins and amino acids necessary to build their own cells.

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