Coffee grinders and spice grinders are awesome little contraptions that make our lives easier, but they just do not like to stay clean. If you use yours a lot, you may notice that a residue build up happens, and different oils and leftovers from the various items that have been ground start to make it smell kind of rancid or funky. If you have reached your wit’s end when trying to devise a plan to keep this contraption clean, we do not blame you! But we are also here to tell you there is hope.
We have done our research on this matter and have made a list of the best ways to clean a coffee grinder. There are a few great techniques, and it may depend on the type of grinder you use or maybe just the type of items you grind (coffee, seeds, spices, etc.). Check out the great ideas and hacks below!
Cleaning Coffee & Spice Grinders
- All you need is water, paper towel and about a quarter cup of any type of rice you might have laying around. Rice soaks up oils and moisture really well so when you put the rice into your grinder and grind it for about 30 seconds to a minute, it will effectively clean out the oils and residues left behind by your coffee or spices. After grinding the rice, all you have to do is dump out the rice flower and wipe the inside of the grinder with a moist paper towel. This is a great thing to do weekly or monthly depending on how often you use it. Or even between uses of different types of items to clear out the flavors that may have been left behind.
- Along the same lines as the rice solution above, you can also use a piece of bread! It is absorbent as well and will soak up the oils possibly even better than the rice (some say). So if you do not have rice, this is a good alternative!
- You can also add some baking soda to the rice, and that will help with extra bad odors left over from certain spices and coffee oils.
Salt & Sugar
- This is one of our personal favorite ideas because it is less wasteful, and it is totally delicious sounding. Be resourceful and clean out the grinder with either sugar or salt and then use it afterward. If you have been grinding spices, clean it with salt crystals after and the salt will soak up the flavor and be a great addition to whatever meal you use that spice in- or anything you can imagine, really. With sugar, it is an awesome idea to clean the grinder with it after grinding coffee so that you can use that coffee-flavored sugar in your coffee! Genius.
- There are actual special brushes made for the sole purpose of cleaning out a coffee grinder. They are meant to be used immediately after every single use in order to keep the oils and particles from building up. Simply use the brush to brush out the remnants of what you ground up, and it also takes most if not all of the oils with it too. Make sure to wash your brush regularly though for it to be most effective.
- Another similar option is to use small silicone brushes or paint brushes. You can get them at grocery stores and dollar stores for much cheaper than the special grinder brush. However, they do not work as well for picking up oils and odors.
- After tapping out the excess dust, take a cotton ball or paper towel with vinegar on it and wipe out the inside of the grinder and cap. This is extremely useful when dealing with extra strong spices and smells. The vinegar cuts through the strong smells and after letting it dry, it does not seem to interfere with the flavors of anything ground after it.
- One trick that professional baristas do to keep the particles cleaned up is to use a vacuum extension to suck away the tricky pieces out of hard to reach areas of the grinder.
Stopped Up Blade
If you have let your grinder go for much too long without proper cleaning, they have been known to get stuck or blocked. The motor works, but the blade will not budge due to a build-up of dust and residue. The way to fix this is to take rubbing alcohol or 151 Rum and soak the blade in a quarter of an inch of it for a while.
After you have let it sit, you can take the blade using a pair of pliers and move it back and forth to loosen it up and let the alcohol into the seal. The alcohol will begin to dissolve the buildup and loosen the blade so you can now try to push the button and turn the blade again in 5 to 10-second bursts. Once it starts moving smoothly again you can pour out the alcohol and soak it in hot water and dish soap for a few minutes.
When you are working with sharp blades, it is necessary to take precaution. Cleaning out a grinder is pretty simple but so is getting sloppy and cutting yourself. If your blade detaches, do that first before cleaning anything else. For cleaning the blade, use soaking methods before trying to use manual methods of cleaning. If you do take a paper towel or cloth to it, make sure it is doubled up and thick in order to protect yourself from the sharp blades. Rubber cleaning gloves are a good option too.
We know the frustration of trying to keep the oils and flavors from completely separate grinding jobs from messing with what we are making so we also know the relief of knowing how to clean a grinder easier, faster and better than before. We hope our little chunks of knowledge have helped you out as well.
To maintain your grinder, read further on 4 Quick Ways to Maintain your coffee grinder.
Additional tips on how to clean your Burr Grinder.
Here is another list on how to clean your coffee or spice grinder at home with cleaning lessons from the Kitchn.