How (and How Often) to Clean a Coffee Grinder

There’s nothing like the smell and taste of freshly ground coffee!

But I must confess: I used to totally ignore my coffee grinder after use. Maybe I’d clean it once every few months at most?

You might be able to relate. What’s the worst that could happen…?

Why Cleaning Your Grinder is Important

It’s true – your coffee grinder isn’t touching much liquid right? Only coffee beans.

Well, coffee beans release oils that build up in your coffee grinder over time. Just like normal food, coffee oil can go bad!

The result: foul smell and bad tasting coffee!

clean grinders will smell better

Goes against the point of freshly ground coffee when you have spoiled coffee oils in your grinder…

Blade grinders and burr grinders become less effective if you don’t clean. Coffee residue makes your coffee grinder less sharp. Meaning that you’ll have uneven coffee grounds, which also means worse tasting coffee.

Another reason: cleaning often will help make your coffee grinder quieter. Your family and neighbors will thank you!

Last thing to consider: maybe you want to grind very different coffee beans. Then if you don’t clean your coffee grinder: you will mix flavors from different types of coffee beans.

How Often to Clean a Coffee Grinder

In short: I would clean a coffee grinder at least once a month.

I found this helped gave me the best chance at a delicious cup of brewed coffee!

But you can consider this to be a general rule. See below for more factors on how often to clean your coffee grinder:

Big Issues: Odor or Clogging

You should deep clean your coffee grinder ASAP. Follow the guide below until the odor or clogging is completely gone.

Type of Coffee Beans and Grind

  • Darker coffee beans leave more coffee residue in your grinder. Light roasts could mean you don’t need to clean as much.
  • Finer coffee grounds means more coffee dust. Then you would need to clean more often.

Blade Grinder vs Burr Grinder

A blade coffee grinder doesn’t need to be cleaned as much as a burr grinder.

Burr coffee grinders have more hard to reach places where coffee bits can get stuck.

Complete Guide to Cleaning Coffee Grinders

How to Clean a Blade Grinder

Step 1: Get These Cleaning Supplies

  • A damp paper towel
  • A used toothbrush
  • A damp cloth
  • A dry microfiber cloth
  • Uncooked rice

Step 2: Unplug the Blade Grinder and Remove Leftover Coffee Grounds

Use the paper towel to wipe down the blades. This removes static electricity as well.

Then use the toothbrush to get rid of excess coffee grounds.

Step 3: Use Uncooked Rice to Clean

Measure 1/4 cup or 60 mL of rice. Then pour the rice into the bean hopper.

Plug in your coffee grinder and then turn it on for about a minute. The rice will scrub off leftover coffee oils from the bean hopper and blades.

Then unplug the grinder again, and discard the rice and coffee mixture.

rice is great grinder cleaner
rice is great grinder cleaner

Step 4: Wipe and Dry the Blade Grinder

First use the damp cloth to clean the inside of the grinder. Be careful to not cut yourself!

Rinse the cloth and repeat until you have a good cleaning!

Finally, use the dry cloth to dry your coffee grinder. Leave it out to air dry completely before you grind coffee again.

Pro tip: turn the grinder upside down so extra moisture will dry faster.

How to Clean a Burr Coffee Grinder

Step 1: Get These Cleaning Supplies

  • A damp towel
  • Two dry cloths
  • A small, soft brush
  • Either a vacuum cleaner or can of compressed air

Step 2: Unplug the Burr Grinder and Remove Leftover Coffee Grounds

Use the vacuum cleaner or compressed air to remove coffee grounds from the burr grinder.

compressed air is a great grinder cleaner
compressed air is a great grinder cleaner

Step 3: Clean the Bean Hopper

Remove the hopper and then use hot, soapy water to rinse it out. Dry it with one of the cloths.

Step 4: Clean the Burrs – One at a Time

Remove a burr from the grinder. Read your coffee grinder’s cleaning instructions to find out how.

Though usually you can either twist or unscrew to remove the burr.

Use the brush and gently remove coffee oil and other tiny particles from the burr. Don’t brush too hard because you don’t want to damage the burr!

use the brush to clean the upper burr and lower burr in your grinder
use the brush to clean the upper burr and lower burr in your grinder

Step 5: Wipe Down Your Burr Grinder

First use the damp towel to wipe down the inside of the coffee grinder. Then use the other dry cloth to get ride of extra moisture.

Wait until it air dries completely.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do I need to clean a manual coffee grinder?

A: Yes, manual coffee grinders need to be cleaned as well. You can follow the guide for blade grinders above. (The guide for burr grinders also works, and you don’t need to be as careful about possible damage.)

yes, you need to clean manual grinders too
yes, you need to clean manual grinders too

Q: Do I need to replace each burr in my burr grinder?

A: Check the manual that came with your burr grinder. Burr lifespan depends on several factors: type of coffee beans, how often you clean, and the quality of the grinder. You might notice that you can’t get fine grind coffee anymore. This could be a sign of dull burrs that need to be replaced.

Conclusion

So hopefully you get it now: you need to clean your coffee grinder often!

While you don’t need to clean your grinder daily or every few weeks, you shouldn’t wait multiple months. Leftover coffee oils from beans can spoil! Which means you won’t get food safe coffee!

Especially for burr grinders with conical burrs: please aim for a deep cleaning once a month.

The guides in this article will work for most grinders. You won’t even need your grinder’s manual unless you have a complex burr coffee grinder.

With just a few moments each month, you can keep your coffee grinder running smoothly and get the perfect cup of coffee.

Happy brewing, coffee lovers!

Bryan Han

By day, Bryan is a software engineer with experience at startups and top software companies. By night, he runs and writes for My Kitchen Sensei. Bryan is especially proud of his cheap excursions to cheap Michelin rated restaurants throughout Asia and in Hong Kong during his exchange there. His favorites include nitro-cold brew coffee and steak.

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