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Can you put coffee grounds down the sink

Can you put coffee grounds down the sink? Some say it helps the kitchen’s garbage disposal run better, some say it clears out other items in the drain and makes everything smell “fresh”. It is unclear where this rumor started, or how it spread, but any plumber will agree: do not put coffee grounds down the drain! 

Why Coffee Grounds Don’t Belong in the Kitchen Sink

Surprising to many homeowners, there are very few items outside of water that should be put down a sink with a garbage disposal, and fewer still that go into a drain without one. What makes coffee grounds a particularly dastardly culprit is the ability for the grounds to clump together. 

As an organic material, coffee grounds are great at absorbing and retaining water. Because the material is already thoroughly soaked from making coffee, the grounds retain the moisture from brewing as they move through the kitchen pipes, allowing the individual granules to stay connected, and preventing water alone from breaking down the grounds. 

Additionally, as anyone who has had the very last cup of coffee from a pot knows, coffee grounds are heavier than water, allowing them to quickly settle below the liquid surface. Once the grounds reach a bend or low spot within the pipes, and as the pressure in the pipes begins to lessen, the grounds will begin to settle, forming a larger sticky mass as more grounds enter the same spot. This growing lump can quickly become a full pipe blockage, trapping other materials within, and preventing any water from moving through. And that is when the more major plumbing issues begin.

What to Do with Coffee Grounds

For most, the alternative to dumping coffee grounds down the kitchen drain is to turn around and toss them in the trash. Again, as an organic material, this isn’t the worst choice, as eventually, the coffee grounds will break down naturally. However, there are two alternate, more environmental choices that homeowners can consider:

Composting — Nutrient-rich, coffee grounds are an excellent addition to compost piles. Surprisingly pH neutral (the majority of the acid is retained in the coffee itself after brewing), coffee grounds add structure and are a good home for worms that help a compost pile thrive.

  • Gardening — In addition to the benefits coffee grounds bring to composting, coffee grounds also encourage the growth of microorganisms when mixed with a nitrogen fertilizer. They don’t have an expiration date, so coffee grounds can be stored throughout the year, and used in the spring to get the most from planting season.

The moral of the story: coffee grounds have multiple uses, but putting them in the drain is not one. If you have already put coffee grounds down the drain, and you’re beginning to see the telltale signs of a pipe blockage — faucets losing pressure, drains backing up, etc. — or if you suspect another culprit is causing plumbing woes, reach out to the professionals at Duane Blanton Family Home Services. Knowledgeable and reliable, with over 30 years of quality service experience, the technicians at Duane Blanton will be able to diagnose and correct any plumbing issue presented. Contact Duane Blanton Family Home Services today, at (815) 781-2567, or schedule an appointment online, through their convenient online scheduling portal.

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