How to Clean a Coffee Grinder: A Step-by-Step Guide

It is a good idea to clean your coffee grinder every few weeks to ensure it stays nice and sanitary. Here’s how to clean a coffee grinder.

You already know that it is important to periodically clean your coffee maker. But did you also know that it is important to clean your coffee grinder? In this article, we provide guidance on how to clean a coffee grinder.

When you grind coffee beans, spices or other items in your grinder, certain oils are released. After a few uses, the oils start to build up on the blades and can affect the taste of the grounds, leaving the flavor a lot more muddled than most people enjoy. This is especially true if you frequently switch blends or use your grinder for spices in addition to coffee.

Instead, it is a good idea to clean your coffee grinder every few weeks to ensure it stays nice and sanitary without affecting the flavor of your brew.

Steps to Cleaning a Blade Coffee Grinder

Different types of coffee grinders need a variety of cleaning regimens. In this case, a blade-style coffee grinder requires a specific set of steps to clean it. Follow these steps:

  • Use rice to start. Add about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of dry, uncooked white rice to the hopper portion of your grinder. There’s no special blend needed for this. In fact, the more basic and cheaper the rice, the better.
  • Run the grinder. Let the grinder continue to run with the rice inside until a white powder with fine consistency forms. This will help soak up the oils and remove them from your grinder.
  • Remove the rice powder. Dump the rice into the trash can to dispose of it. Yes, this step is really as simple as that!
  • Wipe out the grinder. Add a little bit of water to a paper towel or kitchen towel. Wipe out the inside of the grinder until all the rice powder is gone.

Steps to Cleaning a Burr Coffee Grinder

In contrast, a burr coffee grinder requires a different set of steps to clean it, mostly because it is a lot more intricate as to how it crushes coffee beans. Instead of using a sharp blade, this type of machine presses the beans between two metal burrs. This often leads to more oils leaving residue deep inside the grinder, which in turn makes it more difficult to clean.

For a quick clean, use a tablet. The easiest method for cleaning your burr coffee grinder is to use a specialized tablet. All you have to do is place the recommended size tablet into the hopper and run the grinder like normal. Dump out the piece and any loose grounds; then wipe everything down with a damp cloth to remove excess oils.

For a deep clean, disassemble the unit. This is probably the most difficult way to clean a coffee grinder. Start by taking any removable parts from the burr grinder and washing them by hand with warm soapy water. With the hopper removed, run the unit for a few seconds to help knock loose any remaining grounds and then unplug it.

Remove the inner and outer burrs carefully. Use a small brush to remove any stuck grounds deep inside the machine, but do not use water on the burrs. Wait for any piece you hand-washed to dry completely before reassembling the machine.

Frequently Asked Questions About Cleaning a Coffee Grinder

Of course, this is just the start of what you might encounter while maintaining your machine. Here are a few common questions people have about cleaning coffee grinders.

Can you wash a coffee grinder? It is not advised that you submerge your coffee grinder in any sort of water, such as a sink full of soapy suds or in the dishwasher. For starters, the electrical components are not designed to hold up to this kind of moisture. But additionally, water can even cause problems for manual grinders. Instead, follow the instructions listed here.

How do you clean an old-fashioned coffee grinder? Cleaning an antique coffee grinder is basically the same as maintaining a burr grinder. Take apart the unit and hand-wash any removable parts. If grounds are stuck on any of the parts, use a specialized cleaner to soak them off.

How do you unclog a coffee grinder? A low humming noise is a good indication that your coffee grinder is clogged. To fix this, try removing the beans and attempt to run it again. If that doesn’t work, your grinder might need a much more thorough cleaning, as we’ve detailed.

How often do you need to clean a coffee grinder? The schedule for maintaining and cleaning your coffee grinder is probably a whole lot more often than you would think. The rule of thumb is a moderate cleaning once a month and a thorough cleaning every three to four months. If you don’t use your unit daily, you can probably space the cleaning out a bit more.

Buy a Coffee Grinder Cleaning Kit

Of course, it is always a good idea to have the right tools to get the job done. Coffee grinder cleaning kits make brushing away excess grounds, wiping away oils, and getting rid of clogs an easy task. Here are a couple of quality kits to consider:

ACKLLR Coffee Grinder Cleaning Brushes: This handy set of tools features just about everything you need to keep your unit in top shape. It comes with brushes in four different sizes and shapes for a variety of uses.

Grindz Professional Coffee Grinder Cleaning Tablets: If you’re using tablets to clean your coffee grinder, this three-pack is a must-have to keep around the house. Best of all, they’re all-natural and food-safe.

Urnex Scoopz Tool: For stuck-on grounds and tough stains, this soft-bristled brush is an excellent option.

Final Word About How to Clean a Coffee Grinder

Cleaning a coffee grinder is not a difficult task if you have the right tools and know the right process. However, it is necessary to have a routine for cleaning your grinder on a fairly regular basis. In the end, this gives you a better-tasting cup of coffee on a more consistent basis.


  • Aisling O'Connor

    Aisling is an Irish food and drinks writer and journalist fueled by coffee and herbal tea. She followed up her journalism degree with nutrition studies. Find Aisling on LinkedIn.