How You Should Be Cleaning Your Coffee Grinder

It may not make the list of appliances we should be cleaning with regularity but don't (i.e., ovens, fridges, coffee machines, and dishwashers), but whether you own a blade or a burr coffee grinder, there are a number of good reasons why cleaning this often-overlooked gadget should be a task you set for yourself every few weeks — particularly if you're fussy about the coffee you drink.

Roasted coffee beans may not look particularly greasy, but they're, in fact, covered in aromatic oils, which are released as soon as coffee is ground — that's why grinding coffee can be such a heady, aromatic experience. Unfortunately, because all those coffee oils have no place else to go, they stay in the coffee grinder, along with coffee dust and particles, which have a habit of collecting in the same space. Together, all three substances build up and eventually clog the appliance, per Driftaway Coffee.

Unless the oils are cleaned out regularly, the oils eventually turn rancid, leaving you with a grinder that not only smells of spoiled coffee, but will have an impact on all your future cups of java, too.

How to clean a burr grinder

Burr grinders are the weapon of choice for coffee fans, because they're known to produce a consistent, high-quality coffee grind. This type of grinder makes use of two separate burrs equipped with rough abrasive surfaces, which grind your coffee beans down to the size they need to be.

To clean a burr grinder, America's Test Kitchen recommends using grinder cleaning tablets, which have the ability to absorb any leftover oils, and to remove any leftover coffee dust. Just remember to grind a small batch of coffee beans afterward to ensure no residue from the cleaning tablets remain.

It's also possible to clean your burr grinder by hand, first by unplugging the grinder and then removing both the hopper and the grounds bin — both of which can be washed with soap and water by hand. You'll then want to clean the removable gasket with a soft cloth or a paper towel, and then gently remove the burrs using a brush to clean out its "teeth."

You can also use a brush to deal with the grinding chute where the ground coffee makes its exit. When all the parts are clean and dry, you can put your grinder back together. Make sure you have your manual, or whatever reference material you need that will guide you into putting your machine back together properly.

How to clean a blade grinder

They're handy, they're affordable, and they're a gateway to the world of better coffee. Blade grinders may not be a top pick for those who truly love their freshly ground coffee, but they can be found in many kitchens because they're cheaper and much easier to use. As such, you can expect that cleaning a blade coffee grinder will not carry the same level of difficulty as cleaning a burr grinder.

As CNET explains, blade grinders are powered by a motor, which spins up to three blades, cutting down everything in its hopper. Blade grinders are versatile because they just don't grind coffee, they can cut up spices, too. Because of this, it's important to keep blade grinders free of any residue from the different types of grinds.

To clean a blade grinder, all you'll need is a quarter cup of uncooked rice. Grind the rice down in the coffee grinder until it's a fine powder. Dispose of the rice powder and wipe down the hopper before using it again. The process can be repeated every time there's a smell.