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Old 06-05-2013, 07:44 AM   #1
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coffee grounds


I don't have a problem, but trying to determine if I'm causing one...

How bad are typical coffee grounds for plumbing?

The reason I ask is that I've become a fan of cold brew coffee which involves steeping several cups of grounds directly in cool/cold water. Then you pour the mixture through a sieve.

The trouble comes in becomes sometimes you will wash a few grounds out as you pour, and even after dumping the grounds the steeping container will still have quite a bit clinging to the sides/bottom that need to be rinsed out. At the end of it the process I'd say that each time I do this (about once per week) I end up losing/washing a maximum of about 1/2 cup of wet coffee grounds into my kitchen sink.

The grounds will initially float, but after becoming water logged they do not... so I'm wondering if anyone else out there--especially any plumbers--have experienced coffee ground related plumbing issues that I should be watching out for? I'm imagining a trap filling with grounds slowly, or a build up of ground in the lower pitched plumbing in my house (or outside) causing build up of other stuff over time...

I could close off the sink and capture the majority of that 1/2-cup to throw away with the rest... but it would make the job longer and much messier... However if keeps me from disassembling a clean out some day I'll gladly do it...

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Old 06-05-2013, 08:55 AM   #2
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I rinse out the basket for my coffeemaker every day. Been doing it in this house for almost five years. Never had a problem. I'm guessing it would take about a thousand years or so to fill my septic tank with coffee grounds.

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Old 06-05-2013, 08:59 AM   #3
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I'm guessing it would take about a thousand years or so to fill my septic tank with coffee grounds.
Hopefully you pump the septic more frequently than that

In your case the fact that they don't float once water-logged is probably a good thing because they're less likely to head to the leaching field.

I have municipal sewer, so my concerns are indoor plumbing and the ~20' of 1960-1990s vintage sewer pipe running out to the street (my house was built in 1950 but original had a cesspool, municipal sewer was added sometime later, I don't know when, but based on how cheap the owners from 1956 to 2010 were, they would have only hooked up if it was free or absolutely necessary)
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Old 06-05-2013, 09:30 AM   #4
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grease into empty tuna cans and everything else is stopped by the wire mesh strainer, then --> trash can
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Old 06-05-2013, 10:09 AM   #5
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I have never even remotely heard of coffee grounds causing any problems in the drainage system of plumbing. On the contrary, ground would be like a mild abrasive and would tend to scour the inside of pipes.

What you should do every once in a while is put the plug in your kitchen sink, fill it up with hot water and pull the plug to clear the trap. I do this with boiling water and vinegar every once in a while too. Keeps your pipes clean.
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Old 06-05-2013, 10:17 AM   #6
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What you should do every once in a while is put the plug in... fill it up... and pull the plug to clear the trap... Keeps your pipes clean.
Good for other things well beyond the kitchen too.
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Old 06-05-2013, 10:29 AM   #7
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Yeah, they're great as part of compost.

But think of it another way, why put the extra load on the sewage system? Give the container a few good whacks over the trash can instead. Better to have a bit of water get into the trash bag than to load up the sewage system with grounds that don't need to go there.
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Old 06-05-2013, 11:27 AM   #8
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What you should do every once in a while is put the plug in your kitchen sink, fill it up with hot water and pull the plug to clear the trap.
I do this for the kitchen and bathroom sinks on a regular basis, maybe one a month... I also fill the disposer chamber with ice (I have a huge bone crushing disposer which is basically never used since I almost never put anything down it, but I heard somewhere that running ice through can help keep the disposer clean, and as a side benefit it keeps the ice in my ice maker moving along as the 3-4 cubes per day I use in my iced coffee may not).

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Yeah, they're great as part of compost.

But think of it another way, why put the extra load on the sewage system? Give the container a few good whacks over the trash can instead. Better to have a bit of water get into the trash bag than to load up the sewage system with grounds that don't need to go there.
Actually I do compost the bulk of them, I just didn't say it--there are 4 cups of grounds used in the process the way I do it, I capture the vast majority and dump them into a bucket with egg shells and vegetable waste, etc, which later goes out to a 3'Hx12'Wx4'D compost bin I built--but I can't get all the grounds out of the steeping container without rinsing it ... the total volume of grounds that ends up in the sink is about 1/2-cup maximum if I'm sloppy, it may be more like a 1/8-1/4 cup or less if I'm careful about dumping the container.

I know the grounds are organic so they will dissolve away to some degree, but wasn't sure if it would be the equivalent of putting soil into my drains... where it would build up faster than it would go away.

So anyway, sounds like it's a non-issue, thanks!
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Old 06-05-2013, 11:43 AM   #9
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My Mom used to save all of this type of stuff and have me turn it under where we had a huge garden. We buried egg shells, coffee grounds, all kinds of stuff. My dad and I fished off Sandy Hook and caught a lot of "Door Mats" (Fluke) and we buried their remains after we filleted them.

The produce that came out of that garden was incredible. We canned and froze everything. Fish, Venison, Strawberries, Tomatoes, et. etc.

Regardless of all the BS that goes on today about recycling and conservation, years ago people were much more "Green" than they are today.

We have generally gone backwards in everything.
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Old 06-05-2013, 12:17 PM   #10
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I dump the majority in the garbage can, some dump them in their garden. Any few remaining grounds, gets washed down the pipe with a lot of running water.
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Old 06-05-2013, 06:14 PM   #11
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My Mom used to save all of this type of stuff and have me turn it under where we had a huge garden. We buried egg shells, coffee grounds, all kinds of stuff. My dad and I fished off Sandy Hook and caught a lot of "Door Mats" (Fluke) and we buried their remains after we filleted them.

The produce that came out of that garden was incredible. We canned and froze everything. Fish, Venison, Strawberries, Tomatoes, et. etc.

Regardless of all the BS that goes on today about recycling and conservation, years ago people were much more "Green" than they are today.

We have generally gone backwards in everything.
"My buddy did the same thing and had the best tomatoes I ever tasted".
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Old 06-05-2013, 08:50 PM   #12
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http://www.target.com/p/mesh-sink-st...k/-/A-13795128. If you're worried you can pick up a mesh strainer that fits over your sink drain for less than $5 from Target. I'm sure if you search online you could even find a finer mesh some place.
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Old 06-05-2013, 09:02 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NealInTexas View Post
http://www.target.com/p/mesh-sink-st...k/-/A-13795128. If you're worried you can pick up a mesh strainer that fits over your sink drain for less than $5 from Target. I'm sure if you search online you could even find a finer mesh some place.
Bed, Bath, Beyond also has them.
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Old 06-05-2013, 09:08 PM   #14
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We use the coffee grinds in all the flower beds, and flower pots.
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Old 06-05-2013, 09:24 PM   #15
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I have dumped my coffee grounds daily down my sink for 20 years. Never had it blocked yet. I also run water at the same time.

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