What Dissolves Coffee Grounds? – Tips to Stop Clogging Your Drain

Published Categorized as Journal

All coffee lovers know the struggle of trying to find what dissolves coffee grounds, but not everyone knows these tricks to prevent a blockage from happening! Read ahead to find out what you can do to clear a coffee ground-blocked drain, how to keep it from blocking in the first place, and alternative ways to use up your coffee grounds.

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Table of Contents

Coffee beans beside coffee grounds preparing to be dissolved

Will Coffee Grounds Clog A Drain?

Unfortunately, the answer to this is yes. The same goes for garbage disposals, so it’s unsuitable for disposal in this manner too.

But why do coffee grounds clog drains when they dissolve during coffee pressing, and not after?

The reason for this is because once the grounds are initially ‘activated’ with hot water, they become fibrous. This means that the grounds will not dissolve, and become prone to accumulating until they form a clog in your pipes.

This is why its imperative to avoid disposing of coffee grounds by dumping them out into the garbage disposal or sink. Fortunately, I’ll be going over a few different alternative methods you can use, as well as some uses you may have for your coffee grounds.

But first, let’s go over how to dissolve a coffee ground caused clog.

Can You Dissolve Coffee Grounds?

Whilst used coffee grounds do not dissolve with hot water, you can unclog your drain by using other means. The most guaranteed way is to use manual labor to unclog your drain – this can be with a plunger (such as in the video below) or with some more heavy duty tools.

However, these methods are not accessible or preferred by everyone, so read ahead if you’d like to find out which chemical cleansers work to dissolve coffee grounds.

Coffee beans in a steel wok how to dissolve coffee grounds

How Do You Dissolve Coffee Grounds In A Drain?

Best Method To Dissolve Coffee Drains

Surprisingly enough, the best way to clear a drain of coffee grounds is by using products that most people already have in their pantries – namely, baking soda. This tends to work better than name-brand cleansers – especially in the case of coffee grounds.

This is due to the fact that coffee grounds react more to alkaline cleansers than acidic solutions. Since baking soda is alkaline, it reacts strongly with coffee grounds, breaking them up well and allowing them to pass through your drain.

Another reason why coffee grounds clump is because the oils they release during the initial brew causes them to stick them together. To dissolve these oils, a lot of baking soda is required. This causes a chemical reaction in which the baking soda will break down the bonds in the oil and cause the grounds to separate, ensuring your drain is cleared.

Ultimately, any method using baking soda to cause a chemical reaction is likely to work. You can pair it with salt and water or vinegar, and still get a similar reaction from them.

What Dissolves Coffee Grounds – Different Methods

To unclog a sink filled with coffee grounds, you will need some a fair amount of baking soda, hot water, and some patience.

This video by YouTube channel Joy Home Remedies demonstrates 8 different easy methods to use when cleaning out your drain. The timestamps for methods that work best for coffee grounds are 1:19-2:50. Before using methods involving hot water, be sure to check that your pipes are metal and not PVC, as these methods may damage your pipes.

Tips And Tricks For What Dissolves Coffee Grounds

Before trying to drain the blockage, take a look under your sink and see if you can find the drain trap. This should look like a ’U’ shaped pipe.

Drain traps (or P traps, as they’re sometimes called) are made for trapping sewer gases, but they can also trap debris. While this is convenient for keeping your pipes clean, it can cause blockages in your drain. Before trying to empty out your drain trap yourself, make sure to open the windows and consider wearing a face mask to avoid any foul odors.

What To Do With Leftover Coffee Grounds? 4 Suggestions

Now that you know you shouldn’t be chucking coffee grounds down the garbage disposal, you’re probably wondering what to do with them. In this case, read ahead to find out how you can repurpose those old coffee grounds!

1. Gardening

Coffee grounds – like dried eggshells and cinnamon – are some kitchen byproducts that are surprisingly useful in gardening. They’re particularly useful if your soil is depleted of nutrients as they’ll end up helping aerate your soil and fertilize your plants.

Additionally, coffee grounds have been said to absorb heavy metals! This is excellent, especially if you live in a contaminated area, as it will make your garden safer for wildlife. The minerals and nutrients present in coffee grounds are sure to give your plants a boost. If you’re curious about using kitchen items in gardening, I’d recommend checking out this video.

You can also use grounds as an insect deterrent – both in the garden, and out. To do this, simply leave out bowls of grounds outside and by any open windows and doors. You can also sprinkle grounds around your plants.

2. Exfoliation And Skincare

Depending on your skin type, coffee grounds can make wonderful exfoliants. To exfoliate with coffee grounds, look for a recipe that suits your skin type.

3. Flea Preventative

A natural alternative to flea collars, coffee grounds can work well to treat milder cases of fleas. Although it is less effective than prescribed products, it can still make a good preventative. If you decide to use this method, be careful that your pet doesn’t ingest any – coffee grounds should only ever be used externally. Most importantly, ask your vet before using this method. This goes doubly if your dog has sensitive skin or other topical conditions.

4. Natural Dyeing Agent

Whether its for arts and crafts or to deepen light hair, there are so many different ways to use coffee grounds as a natural dye. Let your little ones go wild with their creative side and get rid of some kitchen waste in one go! If you’re using grounds to dye clothes, just be sure to wash them in cold water with mild laundry detergent before wearing.

Dissolved coffee grounds being repurposed for gardening person holding a green wildflower in front of the camera while someone else gardens in the background

How To Keep Kitchen Drain From Clogging

While removing blockages can be difficult, its actually pretty simple to keep them from happening in the first place. There are just a few small changes you can make to keep your kitchen drain clean – the first of which is refraining from dumping out coffee grounds there in the future. And DEFINITELY don’t pour grease into the sink.

For general maintenance, consider investing in a mesh drain strainer/cover. This will keep food particles from getting into your pipes! Its also good practice to quickly rinse your drain with hot water after washing up. To keep your pipes fresh and moving, try flushing them every month or two with some vinegar and baking soda!.

While these are just some basic tips, there’s still much more plumbing advice you can implement into daily life.

coffee beans being processed in a machine how to dissolve coffee grounds

What Dissolves Coffee Grounds – FAQs

How to dissolve coffee grounds in water?

Unfortunately, it is not possible to dissolve coffee grounds with water alone. This is because once the coffee has been brewed, the soft grounds are dissolved. This leaves you with only hard, fibrous coffee grounds. Because of their constituents, these grounds do not break down in water – thats why it is necessary to use certain cleaners and methods when clearing out coffee blockages.

Will vinegar dissolve coffee grounds?

Vinegar used on its own is unlikely to dissolve coffee grounds because it is acidic. As coffee grounds don’t react strongly to acidic substances, the oily bonds between the clumps of grounds are unlikely to break down. Try mixing some vinegar with baking powder and a little bit of dish soap instead!

Will Drano dissolve coffee grounds?

Drano generally works well to dissolve coffee grounds! This is because it is incredibly alkaline, meaning that its more likely to break down the bonds between the coffee grounds.

Will Liquid Plumber dissolve coffee grounds?

Liquid Plumber, like Drano, is also likely to clear your blocked coffee grounds because of its alkaline pH. However, if you suspect your drain blockage has lead to standing water, it’s highly recommended to not use strong chemical drain cleaners. This is because it will make manually removing the blockage much more dangerous – and this is pretty much the only course of action left if a chemical cleaner doesn’t work.

What dissolves coffee grounds?

Any alkaline cleanser will work to clear your drain from coffee grounds. It’s generally recommended to use milder cleansers like baking soda rather than strong chemical cleansers.

Coffee Grounds: To Dump Or Not To Dump?

I hope that after all this your answer was a triumphant ’NO!’. Coffee grounds should never be dumped Down the sink drain OR garbage disposal! Prevent a blockage in the first place by using your coffee grounds after brewing, or investing a drain cover. The best (and safest!) way to deal with a blockage once its happened is to use a homemade drain cleaner made of baking soda, not a store-bought chemical cleaner. Now get on out there and make that iced coffee or iced latte free of ground-induced fear!

By Anna

Hey, I’m Anna; writer, editor and amateur cook extraordinaire! Food has been my life and my passion for the most of my life – it’s crazy to think I didn’t pursue a career in cooking. I’m obsessed! However, keeping cooking as an obsessive hobby has worked for me – my passion grows as the years pass by – maybe I wouldn’t say the same if it was also my day job! I hope you find cooking inspiration, entertainment and “stop and think interesting tid-bits” throughout my writing – and I’d love to hear from you if you’ve got anything you want to share. Food feeds the soul – so get eating!

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