It feels as if there’s a constant war of information about what can and cannot go down a kitchen drain or kitchen garbage disposal. You may have heard that you should pour cold water down the disposal when you run it—or you should run hot water. (We’re on the cold water side, as it solidifies fats, oils, and grease so they’ll wash down the drain easier.) And you’ve probably heard conflicting information about coffee grounds going down the sink or disposal:

Which is it? As professional plumbers, we can give you an expert opinion, which is…

Keep the grounds out of the drains—any drains!

The idea that coffee grounds, whether damp or dried, can help clean a drain and remove odors is a myth. We can understand why people might think it’s true: the small grounds seem harmless, and maybe they have scrubbing action. Plus, most people like the smell of coffee. (There’s also the simplicity of it. When emptying out the coffee maker, it’s so much easier to dump the grounds right into the nearby drain than to pour them into the garbage and risk them spilling.)

The plain fact is that coffee grounds can create clogs and other problems for sink plumbing. The main reason is something you’ll see when you pour out damp coffee grounds: they tend to clump together rather than breaking down in water. You don’t want this clumping action to occur in your drains where it can lead to clogs. And you also don’t want these clumps jamming up your disposal, which they will do. There isn’t anything for a disposal to “grind down” with coffee grinds, and the small particles will get trapped in the mechanical parts. 

The best way to get rid of old coffee grounds is to put them into the trash or a composting bucket. If you’re interested in a recycling use for grounds, they work well as fertilizer in a garden. 

The best way to freshen and clean your drains

If you have a drain that smells bad, there are several ways you can deal with the problem without dumping toxic chemicals down them. One popular remedy is a mixture of a ½ cup of baking soda and ½ cup of lemon juice. However, if your drain is giving off a rotten smell that won’t go away, the problem is likely from an excess build-up of organic waste along the drainpipe walls. This will take more than baking soda to fix—you’ll need a professional plumbing service in Rockville, MD to clean the drains. Powerful scour jetting will completely remove the build-up and restore the drain to like-new condition.

The same applies to drains that are starting to clog up. Although plungers can help with simple clogs, if you want a real cleaning, leave the coffee grounds (and the chemical drain cleaners) aside and instead call us for professional drain cleaning. 

At Tuckers Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing, we pledge to exceed expectations at every turn! Call us for drain cleaning and drain repair services.