Can You Put Coffee Grounds Down the Sink?
Coffee grounds, leftovers, grease—it was all fun and games until the kitchen sink clogged. Unfortunately, our kitchen plumbing can’t always handle the things we feed into it. Even with a garbage disposal, it’s wise to understand what your kitchen sink drain can and cannot handle.
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Coffee Grounds in the Sink: An Old Plumbing Myth
Coffee grounds absorb odors. Out of this property, a myth was born that coffee grounds are good for our drains and plumbing. Unfortunately, when coffee grounds combine with grease, fats and other food particles, it creates a nearly impenetrable clog.
Coffee grounds are one of the most common causes for clogged kitchen drains, which means the benefits of odor absorption don’t outweigh the plumbing repairs you’ll need down the line. It can be argued that coffee grounds can be flushed from your plumbing system by running water after sending them down the sink, but in most homes this would require an immense amount of water, which is bad for the planet and your wallet.
What to Do with Coffee Grounds Instead
For the conservation-minded homeowner, it may seem wasteful to simply toss coffee grounds in the trash. Luckily, there are plenty of useful ways to use coffee grounds, including:
- Composting—add coffee grounds to your compost heap or houseplants to stimulate growth and deter pests.
- Coffee Scrub—exfoliate with a coffee scrub by combining coffee grounds with coconut oil. A very small amount of coffee grounds is safe for your plumbing, just not what’s left over after brewing your morning mug on a daily basis.
- A Natural Dye—coffee grounds can be used to give white fabric or paper a golden hue. Help the kiddos make a treasure map or give white cloth a rustic look.
Garbage Disposals: What to Avoid
Aside from coffee grounds, there are many misconceptions about the types of foods that are safe to feed into a garbage disposal. To keep your drains safe and efficient, avoid adding the following food items:
- Fibrous fruits and vegetables, like asparagus. The stringy bits on these can get caught on the blades of your disposal, preventing it from working and leading to costly repairs.
- Beans, as these form a paste-like substance that leads to kitchen sink clogs and backed up drain pipes.
- Foods that expand in water, like rice and quinoa.
- Eggshells. The sharp pieces formed by eggshells are prone to getting stuck in plumbing and catching other food particles, eventually forming monstrous clogs.
- Grease and cooking oils. As mentioned above, when grease finds coffee grounds in your plumbing, it’s game over. Grease, fats and cooking oils can line piping, attract other food particles and solidify. These foods are better left to solidify in the pan, then scraped out and disposed of in the trash.
When it comes to drain clogs in the kitchen, prevention is key. If you do end up with a backed-up kitchen drain, avoid pouring harsh chemicals down your plumbing. Small clogs can often be cleared with a plunger or a drain snake, also called an auger.
Always be sure to turn off and disconnect a garbage disposal unit before investigating a clog. If you’re unable to fix the issue yourself, or you’re ready to skip the troubleshooting, reach out to a professional Dallas plumber, like Dial One Johnson, immediately.
Garbage Disposals: What’s Safe?
Once familiar with the foods to avoid putting down the kitchen sink, you might wonder what’s safe to feed into a garbage disposal. After all, isn’t that what it’s for? While modern disposals can handle anything from peach pits to small bones, the plumbing in your home isn’t always as agreeable.
It’s wise to have your local Dallas plumber evaluate your system and make recommendations as to the foods you can safely send down the drain. Small pieces of cooked meat, ice, and small, non-fibrous fruits and vegetables are often safe to put into a garbage disposal.
It’s important to note this only goes for those kitchen sinks that have garbage disposals installed. If you do not have a garbage disposal in your home, avoid putting any food scraps down your drain. Instead, opt for a drain strainer to catch any leftovers and dispose of food scraps in a compost heap or in the trash can.
The Benefits of a Compost Heap
If you have a yard, you might consider starting a compost heap as a way to use food scraps productively. Compost heaps reduce waste in landfills and they provide a wonderful, sustainable way to feed your garden by fertilizing soil and promoting healthy plant growth. While meat and dairy products should be avoided, the following foods make excellent additions to a compost heap:
- Coffee grounds
- Egg shells
- Vegetable peelings
- Fruit waste
- Tea bags
- Corn cobs
- Old, dry pasta
- Pits from mangoes, peaches, plums, etc.
A successful compost heap will help enrich soil and reduce the need for chemical fertilizers. If you don’t have a yard but know someone who does, see if they would benefit from additional compost. Compost bins are always an option where space is limited, and nothing beats running your household in a sustainable, environmentally friendly way.
Kitchen Sink Clogged? Call Dial One Johnson Today!
At Dial One Johnson Plumbing, Cooling and Heating, our team is fully trained, licensed and insured to help whenever you find your kitchen sink clogged. We offer professional plumbing services and HVAC repairs in Duncanville, TX.
Our customers always receive a 100% satisfaction guarantee on our workmanship, and we’re proud to offer financing options to help cover unexpected repairs. Give us a call today at (469) 557-2703 or visit us online to book an appointment.