How To Clean A Coffee Grinder With Uncooked Rice

Having a coffee grinder on hand for grinding your own coffee beans has plenty of advantages, from always having the freshest ground coffee to being able to adjust the size of the grind for the best brew in your drip coffeemaker, espresso machine, or French press. Plus, it's a handy tool for other kitchen tasks like grinding spices and herbs, making flour from nuts or grains, and even transforming granulated sugar into powdered sugar. But if you're putting this small but mighty appliance to work on the regular, you'll want a fast and easy way to clean it. That's where rice comes to the rescue.

With regular usage, even with just coffee beans, the inside of your spice grinder becomes coated with coffee bean particles and oil during the grinding process. The residue that remains after grinding can not only negatively impact the flavor of your coffee but can also hinder the grinder's ability to do its job. Plus, not cleaning it regularly is, of course, unsanitary. There are brushes,cleaning tablets, and other tools on the market to do the job, but simply giving some uncooked rice a whirl in the grinder may be the easiest and least expensive method to use.

How to clean your coffee grinder with rice

The first step to cleaning your grinder with rice is to choose the right variety. There's no need to get fancy with this — save your arborio rice for whipping up a risotto. Instead, choose a quick-cook rice with less starch and isn't quite as hard as other varieties. This will minimize the wear and tear on the grinder as well as the amount of residue left behind by the rice.

Once you have your rice, simply add it to the grinder as would your coffee beans, and run the grinder for a minute or so. Just like rice can save your phone after it comes in contact with water, the rice will absorb the oils in the grinder. While it's whirling around, it will also grab onto the pesky coffee dust that has been left behind during previous grinding.

Depending on how much residue needs to be removed from the grinder, you may need to repeat the process a few times. Just dump out the first batch of rice, replace it with new grains, and run the grinder again until it's clean. You'll still need to gently wipe it with a clean kitchen towel or paper towel when the process is complete, but you will have saved yourself the elbow grease of trying to scrub away the oil.

Potential pitfalls when cleaning a coffee grinder using rice

While this method for cleaning a coffee grinder is relatively straightforward and easy, there are a few caveats. The most important part is making sure to use the right rice — if you use a starchier version, you risk damaging your grinder. And, of course, the rice should be dry when placed in the grinder for cleaning.

Next, if you have an active warranty on your grinder, you may want to check it before cleaning it with rice. Some manufacturers may void a warranty if rice is used in place of specific cleaning products that are recommended.

Finally, after you have emptied the rice from the grinder, be sure to unplug the grinder before reaching in to wipe the inside. Also, during this step, you may need to slightly moisten the paper towel or kitchen towel — be sure to use a minimal amount of water to avoid potentially damaging the grinder, and do not submerge the grinder in water, even when unplugged.