How Rice Can Help Clean Your Coffee Grinder

For people who love freshly ground coffee and those that love freshly ground spices, there's one small kitchen appliance that comes in handy for both camps — the coffee grinder. Long a must-have for coffee superfans, as grinding your coffee beans fresh will produce a tastier cup of joe than opting for pre-ground, lots of home cooks have also taken to using their coffee grinder for grinding whole spices such as cumin, coriander, and cinnamon (via Easy Home Coffee).

Grinding coffee beans right before using them allows them to maintain much more of their aromatic and flavorful compounds, as opposed to them being degraded by oxygen, according to Homegrounds. This is the same principle that makes freshly ground spices much more bold and robust than pre-ground. Once crushed, the flavorful oils in the spices are exposed to air, and quickly evaporate — along with the spice's taste.

For these reasons, lots of folks use their simple blade coffee grinders not only for those caffeine-loaded beans but for tasty spices, as well (via Drinks Without Borders). But whether you're grinding coffee or spices — or especially if you're grinding both, and need to clean the unit in between — it's important to know how to clean out your grinder, and rice can be a great tool for that.

Rice will absorb the dirt and oils built up inside a grinder

If you use a simple blade coffee grinder at home, whether to pulverize coffee beans or whole spices or both, then you've probably noticed that over time, the oils from both coffee and spices along with their fragments and dust build up inside the grinder. This creates a durable residue that's painstaking to remove via commonly suggested methods, such as wiping with a damp towel (via Kitchn). Since coffee grinders shouldn't be washed, either, it can be hard to know how to clean them most effectively.

That's where plain, dry rice comes in. As explained by Kitchn, you can simply tip about a quarter cup of dry rice of any kind into the grinder, then grind for about a minute. The oils and residue inside the machine should cling to the pulverized rice, which you can then simply tip out into the trash or compost bin. Wipe the inside of the grinder with a damp towel, and you're all set. The outlet recommends repeating the process weekly, or as needed to keep your grinder clean and pristine.