I’ve been cleaning coffee grinders for most of my career in the coffee world, so I know how much of a pain it can be.
But throughout that time, I’ve discovered some effective solutions for cleaning them.
It’s really important to keep your coffee grinder clean, but unfortunately it’s not as simple as just giving it a wipe down each time.
So, stay with me as I show you how to clean every single type of coffee grinder and discuss the best solutions for each.
We’re going to be looking at the following:
Keep reading to learn more.
- The best method across the board is to use cleaning tablets
- It is possible to use rice in certain circumstances
- Proper cleaning is best carried out every couple of weeks
Why is Cleaning Your Coffee Grinder Important?
If you hadn’t thought about it before, there are a couple of key reasons to clean your coffee grinder:
- Making your coffee taste better: Stale coffee residue inside your grinder is naturally going to affect the taste of any coffees you make in it. It shouldn’t have too much of an affect on taste for a couple of weeks, but after this you’ll really notice it.
- Extending the life of the grinder: Another problem with coffee residue is that it can cause the metal of your grinder to deteriorate which means that the life span of your grinder might not be as long as it would be if it was cleaned regularly.
Which Cleaning Method is Best for Which Type of Grinder?
Before we get started on the processes, here’s a look at my recommendations for cleaning methods of different types of coffee grinders:
|Coffee Grinder||Cleaning Method||Cleaning Frequency*|
|Conical burr||Cleaning tablets||Every two weeks|
|Flat burr||Cleaning tablets||Every two weeks|
|Blade||Cleaning tablets or rice||Weekly|
|Smart||Cleaning tablets||Weekly or every two weeks|
As you can see, the frequency you should clean your grinder varies too. This is because different types of coffee grinders are more vulnerable to build up of dirt than others. Make sure to keep an eye out for this as well!
This recommendation is for a deep clean. I’d also say it’s really important to continue wiping down your coffee grinder daily. Otherwise, the actual fortnightly or weekly cleaning is going to take a lot longer.
In the table, I mentioned that cleaning tablets are the best method for all grinders, but you can use rice with a blade grinder. Let’s take a look at the cleaning tablet method first, as this is my favorite way to do things. It’s what I do at home all the time!
How to Clean a Coffee Grinder with Cleaning Tablets
Simple grinder cleaning tablets are the best way to clean a coffee grinder. They’re clever cleaning products that clean your grinder effectively and with the minimum of fuss.
You can find coffee grinder cleaning tablets with a quick Google search. They really shouldn’t cost much. Every couple of weeks, a couple of dollars worth of tablets should be enough to keep your coffee grinder in its best possible shape.
The tablet that I use the most at home is Urnex Grindz. It’s pretty much the industry standard of coffee grinder cleaning tablets.
You can save money by opting for a cheaper tablet but generally, it’s worth spending a little more to keep your grinder in the best possible shape.
Once you’ve picked up some coffee grinder cleaning tablets, just follow these simple steps to use them:
- Empty the grinder: Make sure to remove any leftover coffee before you start the cleaning process.
- Add tablets according to instructions: Each brand of cleaning tablet will have a different strength, but the label should tell you how much you should use. If not, a cap of the jar or a thimble full should do the trick
- Run the grinder on a medium setting: Just operate your grinder for the time it would take you to grind up a handful of beans with the tablets inside.
- Wipe down: You might still see a little residue but the chances are that it’s been detached from the metal at this point, so just give it a quick wipe with some warm water and you should see that you can remove it.
- Repeat if needed: If there is still any stubborn residue (for example, if you’re cleaning your coffee grinder for the first time in a while), you can always repeat the process.
For the record, certain tablets are not recommended for smart coffee grinders, so check out the label for any tablets you’re looking at before you go ahead and use them with one of these.
Also, here are a couple of extra tips that you could try out above and beyond the basic steps I’ve detailed:
- Use a soft brush: You could use a soft brush to remove stubborn coffee residue. This can be done before or after you use the cleaning tablets.
- Try toothpicks: A toothpick is a great tool to use to try to remove even finer, stubborn residue.
If you still can’t get your grinder perfectly clean after trying all of these methods, skip forward a couple of sections to ‘a more intense grinder cleaning method’.
It also might be better for you to use the more intense effort more often if you have a particular brand of grinder. Some are easier to clean than others (a Breville coffee grinder could be easier to clean than a Krups coffee grinder, for example).
How to Clean a Coffee Grinder with Rice
Some people swear that using rice to clean a coffee grinder is the best option. I’m not convinced by this based on my experience though. It doesn’t seem to be nearly as effective as using cleaning tablets.
So why would you want to use rice instead of cleaning tablets? The only real times you would want to are if you really want to save money or you simply don’t have any in the house at the time.
I’d only recommend ever trying this with a blade grinder though. Using rice with burrs is going to be pretty ineffective as the mechanisms are too complex and the rice won’t be able to fit into all of the gaps, leaving behind a lot of residue.
Plus, rice can damage your grinder’s mechanism if you’re not careful. It’s going to be worth spending the extra money on cleaning tablets in case you end up damaging your grinder. And this is much more likely to happen with a blade grinder.
By the way, if you’re not sure what we mean about blade and burr coffee grinders, take a look at this article on the differences between the two.
Anyway, if you want to have a go at it, here are the steps to take:
- Open your blade grinder and remove any coffee inside: Like before, be sure to get rid of as much coffee from inside the grinder before you get started.
- Add around ¼ cup of rice: For an average-sized blade grinder, I’ve found ¼ cup to be about the right amount of rice for this process.
- Run the grinder until the rice is pulverized: You’ll want to keep spinning the blade until the rice has turned into mush, as this is the most effective form for cleaning.
- Remove the rice: Tap out as much of the rice as you can.
- Wipe down the grinder: Now, wipe off any excess pulverized rice and any coffee residue from inside the grinder. It’s best to use warm, soapy water for this step.
- Repeat if needed: If you’ve still got coffee residue stuck to the blade or the inside of the grinder, then you will want to repeat the process.
As the table above shows, I recommend cleaning a blade grinder weekly. This could get pricey with cleaning tablets, so it could be worth using the rice method on rotation. But, I’d suggest using cleaning tablets some of the time anyway.
How to Clean a Coffee Grinder After Grinding Spices
I recommend keeping your spices away from your coffee at all costs. Spices can be incredibly stubborn and hard to remove. So, if you can, buy a separate spice grinder to keep away from your coffee grinder.
But, it might be too late for you, and that might be why you’re here. If so, I recommend that most people refer back to my steps on how to clean a coffee grinder with cleaning tablets if you’ve been grinding spices. This is going to be the
You might want to use slightly more cleaning tablets than what the bottle suggests because of the stubbornness of the spices. The last thing you want is to leave behind any spice residue and have this impact the taste of your coffee in the future.
You can still use the rice method for cleaning your coffee grinder after grinding spices, but only if you have a blade grinder. Rice is actually fairly good at loosening up the excess oils that spice leaves behind.
It is also possible to clean your coffee grinder with other household foodstuffs. Some people have been known to use oats and bread.
I have used both of these methods in the past to find out how good they are. Oats can be a pretty handy fix that you could try (just use the same technique as for the rice above).
However, I did find that using bread to clean my coffee grinder wasn’t so effective. It’s only worth using this as a last resort, and never with a burr grinder.
A More Intense Grinder Cleaning Method
Still having some issues with cleaning your grinder after trying one of the steps above? Here’s another more vigorous method I’ve been known to use from time to time.
You shouldn’t really have to go this far unless you haven’t cleaned your coffee grinder for quite some time. But still, it’s pretty good practice to do it every few months anyway so that you know you’re cleaning every tiny part of the grinder.
Here’s how to go the extra mile:
- Power off the grinder and unplug: You’re going to be working with water here, so make sure the grinder is completely detached from the mains.
- Take the grinder apart: Take the burrs out of the grinder.
- Shake out excess: Remove any excess coffee from the bottom of the grinder and
- Scrub the grinder: Take some warm soapy water and a scourer and scrub out inside of it.
- Let the burrs soak: Place the burrs into a bowl of warm soapy water for around half an hour so that they can soak and deep clean.
- Wipe the grinder down: . At this point, it’d be good to use the brush or toothpick to remove anything stubborn.
- Let it dry and put it back together: Make sure the grinder is completely dry before you assemble it. Once it is, you should be good to go.
NB: Some coffee grinders are easier to clean than others. It could be different between a De’Longhi, a Cuisinart or an Oxo grinder. So don’t be too disheartened if the more lightweight effort doesn’t work the first time!
FAQs on Coffee Grinder Cleaning
Here are the answers to a couple more questions we’ve been hearing about using a coffee grinder.
Should I clean a coffee grinder before the first usage?
I’ve always been in the habit of giving any new coffee grinders a good wipe down before I use them for the first time. It’s probably not worth going for a full deep clean before you first use it though.
How long should it take to clean a coffee grinder?
Some people say that cleaning a coffee grinder will take an hour. Of course, the longer you take, the better the cleaning job will be. But, in my experience, it should only take half an hour or so to do a good job.
How do I clean a coffee maker?
If you’re looking to clean more than just your grinder, I’ve got the perfect article for you. Everything you need to know about cleaning a coffee maker can be learned here.
Is it possible to put the grinder in the dishwasher?
In my final method, I talked about soaking the burrs in warm water. If you prefer, you can just put them in the dishwasher. But this is the only part of your coffee grinder I’d recommend putting in there.
How do I clean the coffee grinder hopper?
Cleaning your hopper isn’t going to be as tricky as cleaning the grinder itself. All you’ll really need to do is wipe out the hopper with a brush or some kitchen roll, then give it a wipe with a little warm, soapy water.
Cleaning a Coffee Grinder: Last Thoughts
It might not seem like the most attractive chore in the world, but I can’t stress enough how important it is to look after your coffee grinder. I’ve seen some neglected coffee grinders over the years and I implore you to do everything you can to not let that happen to yours!
With the information in this article, you should be in a prime position to keep your coffee grinder as clean as possible and not waste any time in getting it right by using the right cleaning process.
Make sure to keep an eye on how often you should clean your coffee grinder and do it in the right way. With that, you shouldn’t run into any problems.
By the way, if you’re looking to upgrade your grinder at any time, you can check out our directory of the best ones here.