Can Coffee Grounds Go Down The Sink Drain? (Safe Or Not)

When it comes to disposing of used coffee grounds, many people’s first instinct is to throw them down the sink.

It seems like an easy choice, but unfortunately, throwing the grounds down the sink can cause expensive damage.  

In this article, we'll explain why it's not safe to pour coffee grounds down the sink, and explain how to remove used coffee grounds from your drain pipes. We'll also show you the best ways to get rid of used coffee grounds safely. 

While throwing your grounds down the sink may seem natural, it isn’t safe, and it will likely clog up your drain.

Coffee grounds are one of the reasons for drain clogs, especially in the kitchen. When wet, grounds can clump together and stick to the buildup of curdled grease and other organic material that goes down your kitchen sink drain pipe.  

Ground coffee beans don’t break down; they just accumulate until they become part of the drained sludge. So if you're continuously dumping coffee grounds in your sink, it will eventually cause a drain blockage, which will cost you money if overlooked.  

While coffee grounds aren’t the leading cause of kitchen drain clogs, they can heavily contribute to it. This is due to the fatty substances, such as vegetable or coconut oil, that go down the drain whenever you rinse your dishes with hot water. 

As the grease flows down, it thickens and sticks to the sides of the pipes, which then accumulate over time. This can block your sink trap and cause wider issues to your plumbing system.

So, when you put the coffee grounds down the drain, and even if you keep flushing them with lots of hot water, the used grounds will just stick to the sludge buildup and won't make it to the city sewer. 

That’s why it’s not safe to throw your coffee grounds in your sink - not even a small amount.

The ground coffee beans can slow down your drain or eventually cause serious clogs. So, it’s safe to say that it’s a myth that coffee grounds can unclog your sink drains, and please don’t ever put coffee grounds down the drain at home.  

Kitchen Sink Draining Water

How Do You Unclog A Sink With Coffee Grounds? 

If you have been disposing of your coffee grounds down the drain, you should stop now. It could lead to worse problems and eventually clog up your drain. 

The good news is unclogging your drain can be an easy task depending on the severity, and you can easily do it without the need of a plumber. We have listed down the different ways you can unclog your sink below.  

1. Liquid Declogging Solutions & Chemical Drain Cleaners 

When a sink gets clogged, many homeowners turn to shelf products such as liquid declogging solutions and chemical drain cleaners, like Drano, to clear the drain.

There’s no question about the effectiveness of drain cleaners. Unfortunately, however, these solutions can do more harm than good.  

Declogging solutions use powerful chemicals that can break down organic material and help dissolve small clogs, but they can corrode some drain materials if you don't use enough water, which can cause deterioration over time. They can also harm the environment because of the chemicals in them. 

This is the only solution on our list that you shouldn't use if you have a garbage disposal because it can wreak havoc on the heavy metals of the internal mechanism and cause lasting damage.

However, if you really don’t have any option and would need to use a chemical drain cleaner, make sure to read the labels and only buy those that would work for your drain pipe material. But if you can, it is best to avoid them.  

coffee grounds ready to throw away

2. Drain Snake 

If you like a more hands-on approach to fixing your clogged drain, you can try to use a drain snake to clear the clogs in your sink.

A drain snake is a long piece of wire that you can push down your sink and unclog the ground coffee blockage by jiggling it around.

However, this requires some basic plumbing knowledge and understanding to determine if the clog is in the drain trap, disposer, or beyond cleaning.   

Apart from that, using it can be a slippery slope. It can be easy to use, but if you don’t know how to handle it correctly, you might end up breaking your drain.

So before doing this method, make sure to research how to use it and how to determine where the clog is.[1 

3. Plunger 

If you need a temporary fix to your clogged drain, and the clog isn’t from severe grease buildup, then a plunger will be your best friend.

Most households already own a plunger, and many people are pretty familiar with how to use it. You can also use this method if you have a garbage disposal.

Here’s how you can use it to unclog your drain:  

  • 1
    Make sure to fill your sink with enough hot water to submerge the plunger’s rubber cup and cover it.  
  • 2
    If the sink has two sides, cover the other side using a drain stop. If you don’t own one, you can use a small towel.   
  • 3
    Plunge vigorously and wait until the drain unclogs. This may take a few tries, so be patient as the plunger does its job.  

Again, this is a temporary fix. If you're unable to clear the drain, you still need to call a plumber to fix the problem.  

4. Plumber 

If all else fails, it’s time to call for help. A plumber is equipped with the proper knowledge to unclog your drain quickly and remove any buildup stuck in your pipe.

They might cost you money, but they can address your sink’s problem efficiently and can give you advice on what to throw and not to throw in it.

Don’t be surprised if they tell you that coffee grounds shouldn’t be thrown in the sink because they are really bad for it.  

plumber fixing sink drain

How Do You Properly Dispose Of Coffee Grounds

Throwing coffee grounds down the drain is a big no-no, but no need to worry about how to dispose of them.

For most people, used coffee grounds go in the trash bin. This is an effective way to stop the sludgy impenetrable nightmare forming in your sink, and protective your plumbing.

However, we have listed some other things that you can do to them before chucking them in your garbage can:  

  • Plant Fertilizer
    Coffee grounds, along with other kitchen scraps like potato peels, can be used as a plant fertilizer, and many plants can benefit from its nutrients. If you live in a flat or it's a commercial building then this may not be an issue, but if you have a garden, sprinkle your coffee grounds there instead of your sink; your plants will thank you. 
  • Exfoliating Body Scrub
    You can use coffee grounds to pamper yourself by using it as a scrub to remove the dead cells from your skin. Simply add coconut oil or your favorite essential oil to level up your grounds. 
  • Hair Mask Or Serum
    This may seem like an old wives tale, but caffeine can promote hair growth. If you use it as a hair mask or serum it can do wonders for your hair and give it more vitality.
  • Odor Neutralizer
    Coffee can neutralize foul and strong odors. You can use it in your freezer or your trash can to absorb foul odors. 
  • Insect and Pest Repellant
    Coffee can help repel insects and deter pests such as squirrels, chipmunks, and slugs. If you don’t like animals in your yard, sprinkle coffee on the ground. A small amount can have a big impact, but don't use too much or it can harm the soil!
  • Nitrogen For Compost Pile
    Putting coffee grounds in your compost will speed up the decomposition of other items in the pile, thanks to its nitrogen content. 

Frequently Asked Coffee Ground Disposal Questions

Will Liquid Plumber dissolve coffee grounds? What about vinegar? 

Liquid Plumber can help unclog the drain, but it won't dissolve coffee grounds. It will also remove the grease buildup and other organic materials in the drain. It is also the same with vinegar.[2 

Can you flush coffee grounds? 

Flushing coffee grounds isn’t safe, like throwing it down the sink. They clump together, which can lead to buildups in your drain and eventually clog it.  

Is it safe to put coffee grounds in the septic system? 

No, it’s not. Coffee grounds solidify in your septic tank, which will make it difficult to empty your tank. To be safe, don’t throw coffee in your drain so it won’t go to your septic system.  

Can you put coffee grounds in the garbage disposal? 

Putting coffee grounds in your garbage disposal can also lead to clogged drains. So it is best to avoid throwing it there.  


Coffee grounds don’t dissolve in your drain, and anything that doesn't dissolve clumps together, which can clog your drain.

So, if you can, always avoid throwing ground coffee beans in the sink to prevent any plumbing issues.  




Kim Fernandez

Kim Fernandez

Kim Fernandez is a freelance writer whose love for coffee goes beyond just drinking it--she enjoys writing about it too. When she's not writing, you'll find her sitting in a cafe, reading a book while drinking a freshly brewed cup of joe.

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