Can Coffee Grounds Go Down the Drain?
Book Now
Book Now
Blog 11/19/18

Can Coffee Grounds Go Down the Drain?

A quick Google search will lead homeowners to some very conflicting results on this particular matter. There seems to be a group of people that swear by coffee grounds as a remedy for foul-smelling sinks and dirty disposer, and those who will caution never to put coffee grounds in the drain line, with or without a waste disposer. There are also people who suggest using citrus rinds as a fresh smelling drain solution, but more on that later!

Our expert plumbers have found lots of causes for buildup and clogs, and coffee grounds are one of them. Bill Howe Plumbing certainly falls into the camp that advises never to put coffee grounds down the kitchen sink.


What Happens When Coffee Grounds Go Down the Drain?

A few things can happen when coffee drains are put down the drain or are used to “clean” the disposer. Ideally, nothing could happen, which often occurs with clean, new, or ABS drain lines. With enough water, the grounds will be pushed down through the drain and never wreak havoc. Or, coffee grounds will settle in the drain line, attaching to the grease buildup and eventually cause a clog.

What if homeowners ensure they never put food waste and grease down the sink? Scraping plates into the waste bin and making sure nothing gets thrown down the drain is great practice. However, even the cleanest plates after dinner can leave residue that, when rinsed, will allow fats, oils and grease into the drain. Over time, this can build up on the sides of the drain lines.

How Do I Keep Drains Clear?

Keeping drain lines clear from buildup is all about prevention. If homeowners continue to ensure nothing goes down the drain unnecessarily, that is a good start. To help dissolve small amounts of oils, residue, grease and fats in the drains, homeowners can use a simple household item to help keep them clean.

Degreasing Dish Soap + Hot Water

Once a month, put a small amount of degreasing liquid soap in the kitchen drain and run hot water for about 30 seconds. For homes with a disposer, run the disposer while the water runs.

Citrus Rinds in the Disposer

Just like coffee grounds, some people swear by citrus rinds for a dirty disposal and smelly kitchen sink. According to Insinkerator, a popular brand of disposers, it is okay to put small bones, leftovers, peels, fruits and vegetables into a disposer. Bill Howe Plumbing politely disagrees.

Most disposers, even the smaller ¾ horsepower, have the capacity, blades and strength to grind up organic food items. This does not mean those items should go down the drain, especially starchy foods like potato peels. Anyone with a clogged drain on Thanksgiving knows this firsthand. The best place for all of these items is a compost system, or the trash bin.

Disposers will process food items, and in homes with plastic piping they will not stick, but these items do travel down and into main sewer lines where they can accumulate and clog, which could require repair services. When you find yourself with a clogged drain and last night’s dinner coming up through the bathtub, you will experience this firsthand.

If your pipes are cast iron, that is even more of a reason to not allow large amounts of food items or other materials in the drain as they can attach to the grease in the line, building up on the inside of the cast iron over time. Cast iron is good material for pipes because it is sturdy, quiet and long lasting. However, it is also a more porous material than ABS or PVC plastic piping and allows for accumulation of anything that goes into the line.

Even though a disposer may break up the rinds, it is not good for the drain lines themselves. If the disposer is older, it can also get jammed by anything in the blades leading to a broken disposer. Most often, a drain repair is not possible and a replacement will be the only solution.

How Do Homeowners Eliminate Drain Odors?

The best way to eliminate foul kitchen drain odors is keeping food waste out of the drain. Odors occur from grease and food buildup in the line that sits and causes the smell. If homeowners do have a disposer, treat it gently by only using it for small particles left on plates. A disposer’s best job is to push those last particles down the line. Use a degreasing soap once a month and always use water when running the disposer.

If there is a large amount of buildup and homeowners are experiencing bad smells and constant clogs, it is recommended that they invest in a kitchen drain hydro-jetting service. Using high powered water through a jetting machine, plumbers can eliminate the buildup and restore the inside of the drains diameter to clear the line. Many restaurants perform this as ongoing maintenance, but homeowners can experience the same buildup and clogs through daily use.

Drain Maintenance

Homeowners often wonder if there is maintenance for kitchen drain lines. While plumbers will snake a line as a preventative measure (unless there is already a clog), it is not effective at preventing one. Most plumbers’ advice is to save the money on unnecessary snaking or jetting.

The best drain maintenance is not putting waste, grease, oils, and other items into the drain or disposer. Homeowners should, however, schedule an annual plumbing check up for their home. During this, plumbers will check how drains are running and can investigate any potential issues and recommend further snaking services for current clogs.

If homeowners are currently experiencing clogged or slow drains, call the experts at Bill Howe. Since 1980, Bill Howe Plumbing has been the leading drain expert in San Diego and has experience with all drains, small and large. Call 1-800 BILL HOWE (245-5469) for free drain quotes or to schedule service today.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts


Signs Your Furnace Is Broken

Do you ever wonder how well your furnace is working? If you wake up on a cold winter night with no heat, it is obvious you’re in need of a furnace repair or replacement....

3 days ago Share Icon
Read More

How Long Does A Furnace Last?

Investing in a new furnace is a big expense, but one that can help keep your family comfortable year-round. Unlike other more disposable appliances, a natural gas furnace could last you more than 20...

5 days ago Share Icon
Read More

How Do Furnaces Work?

Natural gas furnaces have basic components that create the warm air circulating through your home. Thermostat A thermostat is the furnace component homeowners use the most. From programming to troubleshooting, the thermostat controls the...

3 weeks ago Share Icon
Read More

Residential Drainage Systems 101

San Diego has near perfect weather, but we do get winter storms and with them comes heavy rains. These rains can wreak havoc on the roads and also cause flooding across the county, including...

1 month ago Share Icon
Read More

How to Prevent Clogged Drains

No one usually thinks about drains until they are clogged. Learn how to prevent clogged drains here. How to Prevent Clogged Drains At best, a clogged drain will run slow giving homeowners time to...

2 months ago Share Icon
Read More

What Andy B. via Lennox Pro says about us

We have been using Bill Howe Plumbing’s service for more than 25 years and have been pleasantly surprised at how consistently they perform an excellent service call. We use them for our home and our rental properties, and their dispatchers and technicians have always been the best at problem solving; our tenants have told us how great the service is as well. When we needed air conditioning service, naturally we called Bill Howe first. There’s no reason to call anyone else. I know the job will be done right the first time, with fair pricing and professional service.

March 2017

Heating & Cooling

What Cristina C. via Yelp says about us

This time we had a major issue with our sewage line related to roots. Was terrible. But we called Billy Howe and Mike came and did an Incredible job. Not only he explained really well what was going on but he was careful and knowledgeable. I was so relief that not only we trust in BH team but we were lucky that was Mike coming to execute the service.

March 2017

Lining Solutions

What Uvonne Albers says about us

Water damage is a terrible thing to go through; however, it helps to know that Bill Howe’s Restoration and Flood Services will be there quickly and efficiently when needed. Christian and Carlos make a great team. They are friendly, polite, and hard working. They are a credit to the Bill Howe Services, and I’m glad they were here to help me. Thank you Christian and Carlos and the Bill Howe crew. I always call Bill Howe Plumbing, and recommend their services to State Farm Insurance, neighbors and friends. Thank you,

March 2015

Restoration & Flood

What David Chatham says about us

We have used Bill Howe Plumbing many times in the past. The technicians are always pleasant, professional and do outstanding work. Our last experience was with Jason who went above and beyond our expectations. His communication skills and advise were spot on. As well as just a really, really nice man!!!

March 2015


What Esther La Fuze says about us

You have an incredible team! My suite has had major issues constant backups. In the last few months we had a horrible flood that caused us thousands of dollars in repairs. Your team was so attentive and took care of all the repairs. Just yesterday another back up called them immediately and like quick responders they were there to take of it! A huge thank you from my La Costa providers and staff! We appreciate your hard and dedicated work!

March 2015

Restoration & Flood

What Heather K. via Yelp says about us

Bill Howe responded promptly to my request for remediation services for my place and the condo below my unit. They were clear about their pricing, up front.

March 2017