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What Dissolves Coffee Grounds? Tips For Easy Cleanup

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By Daniel Bruce

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What Dissolves Coffee Grounds

Drinking coffee is a wonderful experience. Yet, it’s before cleaning your coffee maker or dealing with stubborn coffee grounds clogged in the drain.

Coffee grounds are tricky to clean because you have to dissolve them first. You need to use the right techniques and materials to handle this problem.

What dissolves coffee grounds? We will recommend the best options here. Follow our lead, and coffee grounds won’t ruin your day!

Why Are Coffee Grounds Difficult to Dissolve?

Cleaning coffee grounds requires a lot of labor and time because they are difficult to dissolve. Here are the reasons:

  • First, coffee grounds release natural oils once brewed. The oils will turn solid when you pour them out because of cold water. Then, the solids combine with the coffee grounds and form a sticky mass.
  • Second, the size of the coffee particles is big enough to change their solubility. More specifically, finely ground coffee with more surface area contacts with more water. Hence, it will be more soluble than coarsely ground coffee.
  • Third, coffee grounds have insoluble fibers. Even after the roasting process, they can only become partly soluble.

What Dissolves Coffee Grounds?

Coffee grounds are stubborn, but you can deal with them easily by choosing the right solution. So how do you find one?

Coffee grounds are pretty acidic. As a result, cleaning them with acidic solutions won’t be a good idea. Instead, alkaline products can better dissolve the oily connections between the particles.

Baking soda

Baking soda is alkaline, making it an excellent choice to dissolve the oils that clump your coffee grounds.

To clear coffee grounds from your kitchen drain using baking soda, please follow these steps:

  • Pour hot water into the drain and add some baking soda.
  • Plug your sink with a drain cover.
  • Soak it for about 10 to 15 minutes for the baking soda to dissolve the coffee grounds.
  • Rinse the sink again with soapy water.

If your sink still gets stuck because of the coffee, consider mixing vinegar and baking soda to form a stronger cleaner. Then, follow the steps above but remember to add vinegar before rinsing the drain with soapy water.


Vinegar, like baking soda, is a familiar kitchen ingredient. However, they can work as cleaners. Interestingly, vinegar is strong enough to clean coffee grounds stuck in your drain sink.

Furthermore, vinegar can deal with oil sticking to the food remnants and debris. It works by weakening the bonds between them.

Another benefit of using vinegar to clean things is that it doesn’t damage the joints and pipes in your plumbing system. This cheap solution, therefore, is popular for DIY cleaning projects.

You can perform the same steps as the first method to dissolve coffee grounds in your drain sink. And similarly, mix it with baking soda to strengthen the cleaning solution.

Drain cleaner

If friendly ingredients like baking soda and vinegar can’t defeat coffee grounds, think of off-the-shelf cleaners. These products are highly alkaline and will dissolve the coffee oils effectively.

However, please note that drain cleaners contain strong chemicals. If you use them carelessly, they will cause eye and skin irritation. So, wear gloves before you start.

Besides, choose alkaline cleaners instead of acidic ones. Each product has all the composition ingredients on the label for customers to check.

Coffee machine cleaning solution

The drain sink is not the only thing you struggle with. Coffee grounds leave residue in your coffee maker, too. In this case, you may want to select a coffee maker cleaning solution to eliminate the stain.

Using specialized products to clean your coffee machine offers tons of benefits. For example, the solution works for delicate parts of the machine. It can also handle robust plumbing well.

Cleaning solutions work differently, depending on the specific product. Besides, they can be powders or liquids. As a result, you have to check the instructions carefully.

Unfortunately, using a coffee machine cleaner on household pipes is not a good idea. Manufacturers don’t offer big package sizes for this task. Meanwhile, using regular cleaner sizes to clean your kitchen drain will be costly.

Alkaline powder

If all the above methods can’t help, the alkaline powder is your last resort. Powered cleaners can eliminate the most stubborn clogs caused by ground coffee.

Restaurants often use these cleaners to unclog drain lines. However, their strong substances may break household piping.

Moreover, some alkaline powder products are hazardous. As a result, you must wear safety gear and follow the guidelines strictly.

Be careful when handling alkaline powder

Other Tips For Cleaning Coffee Grounds

There are various methods for cleaning coffee grounds. Aside from some options mentioned above, bear in mind these tips to get an ideal outcome:

  • Hot water can dissolve coffee grounds, too. So you can pour it down the drain to clean your piping system.
  • Coffee grounds will be messy and leave stains on your hands. Moreover, you may use chemicals to eliminate them. Hence, remember to wear gloves before you start.
  • Avoid using bleach, although it’s a powerful cleaner product. It will react with coffee grounds and produce toxic fumes.
  • While cleaning the coffee grounds, be careful with delicate surfaces like glass and marble.
  • No matter which cleaning product you use, always rinse the treated area thoroughly with water at the end to remove residues.
  • Do not pour coffee grounds down the drain. Instead, we will recommend the best ways to deal with them correctly.
Tips for handling coffee grounds

Alternatives To Dissolving Coffee Grounds

If you don’t want to work with solutions, consider the options below:

Use a plunger

If your drain sink gets blocked because of mild ground coffee waste, you can use a plunger to unclog it. Do it by plunging the sink hole like a toilet drain.

The process is more complicated if you work with a double sink. In this case, remember to plug the other sink before plunging. Otherwise, the dirty water will pour out due to pressure changes.

Use a drain snake

A drain snake is a bristled wire. You will slide it down the pipe and twist it around to break the ground coffee blockage.

This method can help you get rid of coffee grounds quickly. However, some pipes are too small for the drain snake to get into. In this scenario, do not try to slide the snake too harshly, or you will break the pipe.

Disassemble the sink

There is a drain trap under the sink. It has a U shape, collecting coffee clogs at the curve. Thus, you can find most coffee grounds there.

With that thought in mind, you can disassemble the trap to remove the accumulated coffee grounds there. Then, your drain system will recover.

Before disassembling the drain trap, keep a bucket at hand to catch water leaking. Besides, prepare a face mask because there can be bad odors from the drain.

Contact a plumber

You don’t have to do everything yourself when you can ask for help. A qualified plumber will check the plumbing system and perform the proper steps to remove coffee grounds.

You may need to work with the piping system

How To Dispose Of Coffee Grounds Correctly?

Prevention is better than cure. So rather than thinking of how to dissolve coffee grounds, you need to find some ways to dispose of them correctly.

Discard coffee grounds in the garbage bin.

It’s simple; when you no longer use something, put it in the garbage bin. Your house should have at least one bin for leftover food or trash to go into.

Reuse coffee grounds

Throwing away coffee grounds is OK. However, people have discovered multiple ways to reuse them.

For example, coffee grounds are biodegradable materials. Hence, you can discard them in an eco-friendly way. Composting is one of the best solutions in this regard.

You can add coffee grounds to your compost bin. They will provide nitrogen in your compost. That’s how organic materials, like food scraps and leaves, work in gardening.

Besides, you can reuse coffee grounds in these ways:

  • Mix them with coconut oil to create a paste. Then, scrub it gently on your skin to remove dead skin cells.
  • Put coffee grounds in your fridge or pantry to absorb unwanted odor.
  • Sprinkle coffee grounds around your garden to deter pests.
  • Spread them around your plants to keep slugs and snails at bay.

You can explore to ideas for reusing coffee grounds from this video:

Coffee grounds have many applications


Coffee grounds are a troublesome problem when they get stuck in your kitchen drain or coffee maker. Luckily, you can dissolve them effectively with simple methods.

In addition to specialized cleaning products, household ingredients, like baking soda and vinegar, can help you with this task. And if you don’t want to work with those solutions, try unclogging the drain with a plunger or drain snake.

By following those tips and tricks, you can say goodbye to stubborn coffee grounds. Then, feel free to enjoy your tasty cup of coffee every morning!

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