Let’s set the scene.
It’s early in the morning, and you’ve just made yourself that essential cup of pick-me-up. Before getting on with your day, you spend a few minutes cleaning up your mess. When you come to the coffee grounds, you’re confronted with the same dilemma you face on a daily basis: Should you put the coffee grounds down the drain or throw them away? If you’re like most Boston homeowners, you typically opt for the drain. Coffee grounds don’t seem too damaging. Plus, your garbage disposal has handled worse, right? Well, it’s not that easy.
Let’s take a deeper look at whether or not your plumbing can really handle that daily allotment of coffee grounds.
Setting the record straight
Despite what you might have heard from fellow coffee enthusiasts, consistently pouring coffee grounds down your kitchen sink can cause plumbing problems. Coffee grounds tend to latch onto other compounds commonly found in pipes such as grease, oils, and other fatty foodstuffs. As these substances flow through the plumbing, they tend to create a layer of coating around the pipes. This drain sludge acts like a magnet for coffee grounds, leading to even more build-up and eventual drain clogs. Even if coffee grounds are broken down before being flushed, they’ll eventually accumulate within your piping.
Can my garbage disposal handle coffee grounds?
If your kitchen plumbing is equipped with a garbage disposal, you probably don’t think twice about putting coffee grounds down the drain. It’s handled much worse, so ground-up coffee beans don’t seem like an issue. But, as with many plumbing issues, what seems intuitive isn’t always true.
In reality, coffee grounds can actually jam your garbage disposal if not flushed out regularly. When not rinsed thoroughly with water, the coffee grounds can dry and pose problems for the propellers. Although it’s ideal to avoid putting grounds down the drain altogether, make sure you flush them extensively if you do.
How to know if coffee grounds are clogging your drains
The symptoms of a clogged drain are the same no matter the cause of the backup, and coffee grounds are no exception to this rule. If you notice that water is draining slower than before or not at all, there’s a good chance your pipes are blocked. Because coffee grounds build up over time, you should notice slower drainage before it’s completely backed up. This gives you a window of opportunity to call a plumbing professional in the Boston area before things get too bad. Some other potential signs of a clogged kitchen drain include the release of air bubbles and a layer of greasy film near the plughole.
Better ways to dispose of coffee grounds
Use it as fertilizer.
Believe it or not, coffee grounds are an excellent fertilizer. They’re rich in magnesium, iron, calcium, and other nutrients plants benefit from. Coffee grounds can even absorb some nasty metals contaminating your soil. Your drains stay unclogged, and you get an effective fertilizer. It’s a win-win!
Throw them away.
It’s admirable to try and avoid throwing food waste in the trash, but sometimes it’s the best decision. If you don’t have a reliable place to recycle coffee grounds and no place to compost them, your normal trash is the next-best solution. On the bright side, no matter where your coffee grounds end up, they’ll decompose easily.
Keep nasty critters at bay.
Coffee grounds can also be used as insect repellent. Whether you want to keep critters away from your garden, back patio, or deck, simply sprinkle the grounds around the parameter of the area you want to protect. The smell will keep ants, snails, slugs, and other pests away. Over time, the grounds will decompose into the ground without requiring any extra disposal efforts on your behalf. If you’re experiencing plumbing problems or require a routine inspection, contact Boston Standard Plumbing right away. We’ve been proudly serving the Boston area for years and always strive for the highest quality solutions to ensure your home is fully functioning.