Can You Flush Coffee Grounds Down the Toilet? (And Clever Ways To Dispose of Them)

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Coffee is a renowned beverage in most households across the world. It’s something that keeps us awake while getting ready to start each new day. 

Regardless of the method, you obtain your coffee grounds; you’re often left with a lot of waste once you brew each cup. Good news! There are better ways to get rid of the used grounds than throwing them into the trash bins. 

I’m guessing that you might have thought of flushing your coffee grounds down the toilet and you’re skeptical whether or not it’s a good idea. After all, flushing items down the toilet isn’t a hassle as long as they don’t clog your pipes. 

Unsurprisingly, coffee grounds are believed to be useful to your plumbing system by reducing odor, which is the case to most bathrooms. So let’s find out whether or not it’s safe to flush coffee grounds down the toilet. Shall we? 

Can Coffee Grounds Be Flushed Down the Toilet?

No, you should NEVER flush coffee grounds down the toilet. Coffee grounds always clump and after some time, they could clog your toilet.

Instead of flushing coffee grounds down the toilet, it would be best to throw them away in a compost bin, which you can use in the garden as a fertilizer. 

Can Toilets Get Clogged If You Accidentally Flush Coffee Grounds?

Yes, your toilets CAN GET CLOGGED after some time if they happen to build up and settle. However, this will depend on the number of coffee grounds you accidentally flush. If they are too many, then your toilet will get clogged after some time. 

More often, coffee grounds will clump and settle beneath the toilet bowl, which later accumulates in your drainage systems. Even worse, coffee grounds can absorb food and oil materials, further restricting water flow.   

As a result, your drainage system will clog. In case you experience such a scenario, please invite a plumbing professional to help you out with your clogged toilet. 

Is It Okay to Put Coffee Grounds Down the Garbage Disposal?

NO, don’t put coffee grounds down the garbage disposal because coffee grounds don’t break down easily; instead, they clump together in dumb surfaces. You are free to let food leftovers go down the garbage disposal, but not for coffee grounds.

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Therefore, refrain from draining coffee grounds inside your sink as they gradually accumulate, resulting in clogged drainages. Always dispose of coffee grounds inside the trash can and later utilize them as garden fertilizer.   

Other materials that should go inside the trash can instead of garbage disposal include:

  • Fats, oils, and greasy substances
  • Foods made of starch, including potato peels
  • Fibrous substances such as fish skins, eggshells, banana peels, celery
  • Non-food items such as metal, wood, cigarettes, glass, sponges, and more. 

Similarly, these materials can clog your drainage systems or stuff the garbage disposal. Embrace the culture of putting all your kitchen waste inside a trash can to avoid being a victim of clogged drains.  

What if Your Mistakenly Put Coffee Grounds Down the Garbage Disposal?

Once in a while, you may forget and throw coffee grounds down the garbage disposal, and that’s okay. However, your garbage disposal needs instant repair should you experience the signs below:

  • Water overflowing off the sink drains
  • Slow water drainage in the sink 
  • A bubbling noise originating from the sink
  • Food rot odors coming up from the sink drain
  • Notable food particles in the sink after running water. 

What Are the Various Ways to Unclog the Toilet If Coffee Grounds Get Clogged?

1. Plunge the Toilet 

a) Let your toilet overflow

A little tip: Don’t give your toilet more than a single flush even when it hasn’t flushed properly. This will only lead to more water, getting pumped into the toilet bowl. Instead, close the toilet flapper to prevent excess water from entering the bowl. 

To control the water entering the toilet bowl, use your hands to close the flapper. After all, the water in the tank is clean. 

b) Prepare your bathroom 

When unblocking your clogged toilet, it’s undeniable that water will splash on the floor. To enhance the cleaning process, put paper towels or newspapers to soak up the water on the floor. Also, make sure that the room is well-ventilated to eliminate the foul odors. 

And because toilets are unsanitary, make sure to use elbow-height rubber gloves to protect your hands from pathogens. Also, you may want to use your set of old clothing just in case things go messy.  

c) Try to clear the obstruction 

Sometimes you don’t need to invite a professional plumber to your house. If you can identify the cause of the clog, use your hands to remove it from your toilet. Better still, you can reach it using an object rather than plunging it.  

2. Leverage An Enzyme Product 

a) Purchase an enzyme product 

More often, enzyme products are used in septic systems to liquefy waste materials. When you apply these enzyme products into your drainage systems, rest assured it will break down the coffee ground waste.  

Such products are available in home improvement stores so feel free to purchase one for your septic tank should you experience a clog. Most households prefer enzyme waste removal to drain-clearing chemicals because they are eco-friendly. However, it’s worth noting that enzyme products are only useful for organic objects and not any other objects.  

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b) Follow the instructions 

Following the product instructions’ prompts, pour the recommended amount of enzymes into the toilet bowl. Meanwhile, you’ll have to wait overnight for the enzymes to clear the clog. Once the clog has cleared, your toilet will drain automatically. 

How to Dispose of Coffee Grounds (Other Common Ways to Dispose of It)

Coffee has a lot to offer rather than the caffeine itself. And while flushing the coffee grounds down the toilet isn’t recommended, there are tons of creative ideas you can make out of the leftover grinds. So instead of disposing them of the trash can, consider:

1. Throwing them Away 

a) Throw them into the trash 

Throw your leftover grinds into the garbage just like you would have done to any other kitchen waste. Coffee grounds can help eliminate foul odors, resulting from food rots. Also, there are various ways you can utilize coffee grounds leftovers rather than sending them to the landfill, thus protecting the environment. 

b) Keep coffee grounds away from sinks 

Again, refrain from draining leftover grinds down the sink drains. This is because they accumulate over time, causing clogs in the drainage systems. In addition to clogging drains, coffee grounds can impose severe damage to septic tanks. 

c) Offer them to a compost service 

If you’re fortunate to be residing in areas where the government or public agencies have taken the initiative to provide bins for compostable food waste, including coffee grounds, feel free to offer them to a compost service. 

Meanwhile, do an online search and see if this service is available in your location. If it’s available, make sure to get a replacement upon picking it up. Additionally, you can develop your compost heap when you don’t intend to incur extra expenses paying for the composting services. 

2. Reuse Your Coffee Grounds

a) Dry them 

Using a newspaper, cover your baking sheet and spread the grounds in not more than two layers for even drying. The thinner you scatter them, the faster they’ll dry. If the weather is sunny, allow them to settle outside in about two to three days to dry completely. 

Alternatively, oven-dry your grounds at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for a maximum of half an hour. After every ten minutes, make sure to spin the baking sheet, checking their level of dryness. Often, dump coffee grounds will encourage mould growth, so ensure they dry properly before storage. 

b) Use them to scrub residues 

Because leftover grinds are abrasive and acidic, utilize them to scrub off residues on pots and pans. Coffee grounds tend to leave behind a brown tinge, so whatever you’re using to clean with should be stain-resistant. 

Also, keep in mind that coffee grounds can clog your drainage systems, so when using it to scrub your pots, use a kitchen sink plug along with a mesh strainer to filter the grounds, them throw them in a trash can. 

c) Use them to exfoliate your skin

Did you also know that you can utilize coffee grounds for a face scrubber? Well, just by mixing one tablespoon of olive oil and 59 ml of leftover grounds, you can obtain an exfoliating scrub without any hassle. For moisturizing skin, use the scrub to gently massage areas of dryness, then rinse off using lukewarm water. 

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If your skin is oily, don’t include olive oil instead, massage your face with coffee grounds alone then rinse. If the coffee grounds exceed a teaspoon amount, make use of a drain stopper to collect the grounds rather than allowing them down the drains. 

d) Soak and make dye 

Once you’ve obtained the coffee grounds using a drain stopper, place your grounds in a coffee filter and use a rubber band to tie it tightly. Soak it in 470 ml of water and let it sit for ten minutes or even more for intense color.

Once the mixture is set, add a teaspoon of vinegar to set the dye. You may now proceed and apply your dye on paper, clothes, fabric, or dye your hair naturally. 

e) Mix them with unneeded drugs 

There’s always a way you can dispose of your unneeded medicine, and that’s through a drug-take program. If that is not your desired option, you are free to throw these drugs together with coffee grounds.

First, you need to wrap the medicine in a bag, fill it with coffee grounds and throw it away. Reach out to your local pharmacy and ask them about their take-back program to be sure. 

3. Other Ways to Dispose of Coffee Grounds

a) Use as a fertilizer 

Coffee grounds contain nitrogen and are acidic, which makes them a good fertilizer option for both outdoor and indoor plants. There are two ways you can apply coffee grounds in your garden.

Firstly, you can spread them directly over the soil or sow them into the soil using your hand. And why should you use coffee grounds as a fertilizer? Coffee grounds help to retain water in the soil and gives your plants the desirable amount of nitrogen they need. 

b) Use as a hair product 

For most women, hair is their most essential asset, and they have to be treated with a lot of care. The exfoliating and stimulating nature of coffee grounds makes it a perfect choice for human hair.

Now, there are chances that you have some build up in your hair because you have been using serums and other hair products. But did you know that coffee grounds can help clear out all the build-up? Sure, it can, and you should give coffee grounds a try. 

Ensure that you have thoroughly washed your hair once you have applied coffee grounds in your hair. It is the coarse texture of the coffee grounds that are responsible for the breaking and clearing of the residues present in your hair.

Once you have washed your hair, it should come out extra shiny and smooth. Finally, coffee grounds can also act as a short-term solution if you want to dye your hair

c) Use as a pest repellant 

Finally, you can utilize leftover grinds for pest repellants. All you need is to collect a full jar of moistened coffee grounds with different inches and align it with double-sided sticky tape. After a while, a scent will be produced and attract pests like cockroaches into the trap.

Also, you can use coffee grounds to manage garden pests by sprinkling the grounds around your farm. Make sure to build a protective wall around your vegetables to protect them against ants, snails, and slugs. 

About Sarah Walker

Sarah is a homemaker and is passionate about fixing little things in and around her house. She loves to do DIY hacks and keeps on writing about those things on her blog. When she is not writing, she keeps herself busy with her twins Cathy and Mickey.