How To Clean A Coffee Grinder?

For some reason, I’m always the one who gets stuck washing dishes.

I’m not sure Jack would eat if it meant he had to wash a plate!

Which means I’ve had to learn how to clean every weirdly shaped appliance.

One of the trickiest is the coffee grinder.

So I read up on what I didn’t know, and I’m gonna break it down for you all.

How Cleaning Your Coffee Grinder
Is Useful?

If you want a fresh cup of coffee, you’re gonna want to clean that grinder.

Otherwise oils from the beans start to build up and become rancid.

Those oils can ultimately make their way into your coffee.

Unfortunately most times you can taste their presence.

Cleaning your device regularly combats these oils and their nasty taste.

What To Consider 
While Cleaning Coffee Grinders?

You’re going to have to take some things into consideration before cleaning.

Tiny coffee particles can get stuck in small crevices in your grinder.

Over time, oils can also accumulate and become rancid.

Something to think about is, what type of grinder do you own?

Depending on the style, you may have to use different techniques.

I have looked into different types of grinders and how to clean them.

Cleaning A Hand Crank Coffee Grinder

If you’re worried about not finding how to clean your vintage grinder, you can relax.

First thing’s first, you want to remove the top of the grinder.

Then, remove the screws from the bracket holding the burr in place.

Finally, grab the shaft with some pliers and twist the handle until all parts can separate.

Now, clean each part with your solution of choice!

I, personally, like to use a baking soda paste.

Cleaning An Electric Coffee Grinder

Cleaning an electric grinder may seem scary at first.

Loads of thoughts may run through your head.

Should you use water?

What if you break your grinder?

Worry not, there is an easy solution to cleaning it without damage!

All you need to do is avoid water, and grind a substance that collects oils left behind.

Cleaning A Blade Coffee Grinder

There are many ways you can clean a blade coffee grinder.

As a general rule, the process for a blade grinder is pretty easy.

You can follow the same technique as for an electric grinder.

Or you can just scrub/wipe the grinder down with your solution of choice!

Soap and water would be what I use for this style.

Cleaning A Burr Coffee Grinder

Before you even attempt cleaning your burr, know to NOT use water.

Water can lead to corrosion of the metal, and the need for a new grinder.

You’re going to want to start by taking the machine apart.

Then, using some sort of brush, dust off all the accumulated coffee residue.

Finally, put it back together and grind some more beans!

What Are Some Quick Easy Solutions?

There are ways to keep your grinder usable without taking the time to deep clean it.

For one, wiping out as much leftover grounds as possible.

Also, try taking a paper towel to wipe the oils of the sides of the machine.

Clean your burr, instead of constantly running other substances through to help clean.

Finally, replace your burr every few years to avoid degradation.

Cleaning Grinder

With Rice

Believe it or not, grinding rice is a good way to clean electric or blade grinder.

The powder it’s crushed into is great at clumping with oils.

It helps pick up all the rancid oils left by ground beans.

I’ve taken the time to write it out step-by-step for you all!

Step-by-Step Guide

1. Grab Rice - Measure about ¼ cup rice (varies based on grinder type).

2. Grind Rice - Pour rice into machine and run through.

3. Dump Rice - Dump out rice powder that has mixed with oils.

4. Wipe Grinder - Wipe sides with damp towel.

5. Dry - Let sit out to air dry before next use.

clean grinder with Bread

With Bread

If you don’t have rice available, there are plenty of other options for you to use.

Maybe you’re like me and really dislike wasting food.

If so, try using a piece of old, stale bread that will never get eaten!

It works the same way as using rice to clean does.

Step-by-Step Guide

1. Grab Bread - Find a piece of stale bread.

2. Cut Bread - Cut the slice into quarters (skip step for commercial device).

3. Grind Bread - Depending on your grinder size, grind 1-2 bread quarters.

4. Dump Bread - Dump out resulting crumbs.

5. Wipe Grinder - Wipe sides of grinder with damp towel.

With Tablets

Don’t feel like taking apart your grinder or taking the time to clean it?

That’s okay, there’s a much easier solution!

Purchase coffee grinder cleaning tablets, instead.

These get rid of coffee particles and oils, and take barely any time to use.

You can even buy them online so you don’t have to leave home.

Step-by-Step Guide

1. Read - Check tablet container for amount to use (depends on product).

2. Grind - Place the correct amount into the grinder and start grinding.

3. Dump Powder - Dump out resulting powder.

4. Grind Coffee - Grind some coffee beans.

5. Toss Out - Discard grounds (do not use) to make machine ready for use.

Other Solutions

Looking for something already in the house and don’t have anything mentioned above?

Don’t worry, you don’t have to go out and buy anything.

There are plenty of other options for cleaning your grinder.

I found as many ways as I could, and will list them for you to find one best for you!

Using Salt

Grab some kosher salt and run it through your grinder.

It can help get rid of residue and odors.

Using Oatmeal

Oatmeal has the same effect as everything previously mentioned.

You may have to run the oats through a couple of times. 

Clean Grinder using sugar

Using Sugar

If you want to focus more on getting rid of odor than residue, try salt.

It can help remove old grounds, but it’s best at removing smells. 

Using Grinder Brush

If you don’t want to run anything else through your grinder to clean it, try a brush.

This way you can easily scrape off any old particles stuck inside.

It is also very cheap compared to the other options.

You can buy a brush once every few years, if you decide to even replace it.

This way you don’t have to buy more of something every time it needs cleaned.

Using Vinegar

If odor is your biggest issue, vinegar is the way to go.

Dip the end of a paper towel into white distilled vinegar.

Then, wipe down your grinder with the paper towel.

Let it completely air dry, and you’re good to grind again!

Using Vacuum

If you’re looking for a way to clean your machine very quickly, buy a mini vacuum.

You should only have to buy it once, and you can remove grounds in seconds!

All you need to do, is turn on the vacuum and suck out all the old particles.

This option does more for residue than odors.


How Cleaning A Commercial Coffee Mill
Is Different?

Overall, commercial coffee grinders make a lot more coffee than those at home.

It is able to grind more coffee at a given time.

For this reason, there is more surface area that a larger amount of beans touch.

This results in more to clean, and a longer process.

Fortunately, the process isn’t all that difficult.

People also want to learn: How to Clean Any Coffee Maker?

1. Remove hopper and wash with soap and water

2. Towel dry the hopper before use.

3. Pull the dosing lever multiple times to empty grounds from chamber.

4. Brush particles out of grinder.

5. Use a paper towel to gently wipe the outside of your grinder

How Often Should I Clean Coffee Grinder?

A lot of people think they can wait years before cleaning out their grinder.

This is wrong, as most grinders should be cleaned about once a week.

Another way to know, is to look for buildup.

As soon as you see some, it’s time to clean!

How To Clean A Coffee Grinder
To Use For Spices?

Coffee grinders also used for spices typically have a more pungent odor to them.

Since this is the case, cleaning these is usually a 2-part process.

First, you want to remove the old particles.

To do this, you can run one of the many substances listed above through your grinder.

Next, you’re going to want to get rid of that smell.

For this you can use vinegar or baking soda, which are strong odor removals.


While cleaning your grinder can be easy for the most part, you still should be careful.

Things can always go awry.

You should watch out for certain things, depending on the device you own.

I’m sure none of us want to wind up with a broken grinder because we tried to clean it!

Take a look over these risks, and look out for them while cleaning.

Be Careful About Water With Metal

If you own a metal grinder of some sort, it is best to stay away from water.

Generally water and metal do not mix well, long-term.

If you do wind up getting water on the metal, it can lead to corrosion.

This would be detrimental to your device.

You may possibly have to buy a new grinder if this happens, which no one wants.

Don’t Use Water With Electronics

This is a pretty obvious statement, but some people still do it!

Water around electronics period is a bad idea.

Not only can it put your health at risk, but also your grinder.

Chances are, if you use water to clean your electric grinder, it will break.

Then you’ll have to invest in another grinder and way to clean said grinder.

Think About Safety

Before cleaning your device, ALWAYS UNPLUG!

You don’t want the machine starting while you have your hand inside of it.

Not only will you have to pay for a new grinder, but also a hospital bill!

Remove The Blades

If possible, make sure to take the blades out before cleaning.

This way there is no way for you to accidentally knick your finger.

Also be very careful while removing the blades to not cut your hand.

The same goes for cleaning the blades, try to stay away from the sharp edges.

Be Cautious About Abrasive Tools

If any of your device is easily scratched (glass, paint, wood), use soft tools.

Hard bristles can tear into the surface.

Sponges and paper towels avoid risk of damaging the grinder.

It may not seem that bad at first, but scratches can wear your grinder down a lot faster.

This is why it is a good idea to take precautions about surface damage.


As you can see, cleaning a grinder isn’t as hard as it may seem!

Sometimes it can seem like a daunting task, so hopefully this helps you.

I’ve started to even have fun cleaning my grinder with my little girl’s help.

If you follow the steps for your type of device, you should be golden!

Sarah Price

Creator & editor here at House Of Arabica. I'm a proud mother of one baby girl. Passionate about coffees and their variations. Love to review coffee accessories! Please feel free to put your comment below.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 0 comments