So we’ve all done it before, haven’t we? We’ve all dumped a coffee pot or 2 down the sink or toilet thinking that it’s pretty harmless and perhaps even beneficial as an odour neutraliser in our drains.
However, did you know that nothing causes more blockages and clogged drains than coffee grounds and grease?
Even if you don’t put them down the drain at the same time, they’ll meet up and form a sludgy impenetrable nightmare. No amount of flushing your drain normally will clear these clogs. It’s just simply not worth it!
Why you shouldn’t flush coffee grounds down the toilet
As you may have gathered already from this article, it’s never a good idea to flush your coffee grounds, even down the toilet.
The 4 main reasons for this are;
- Firstly, flushed coffee grounds tend to clump and settle in your pipes which can lead to build-up in your drain pipes which can lead to a blocked toilet over time. And NOBODY wants a blocked toilet…
- Secondly, coffee grounds and septic tanks just DON’T MIX! Ground coffee beans will eventually break down when composted in the ground however, they don’t dissolve in a septic tank system, even if you’re using an enzyme-rich septic tank activator. Instead, they will change the pH balance of your septic tank. Coffee grounds tend to acidy the tank and upset the bacteria in the system. When the bacteria are not thriving, nothing in the tank will decompose.
- Thirdly, flushing solids that cannot break down in the septic tank will take up unnecessary space and fill up your tank a lot faster.
- Fourthly, and finally, ground coffee is hard and rough in texture. Coffee grounds tend to sink to the bottom of the septic tank like gravel turn into a semi-solid sludge layer which you’ll eventually need to get pumped out of your septic tank by a professional.
Why you shouldn’t flush coffee grounds down the sink
Coffee grounds have the horrible tendency to clump together in water rather than breaking down. These clumped coffee grounds then build up inside your drain, attracting other food particles and oil. The grounds then form clumps and blockages and ultimately affect your drainage system.
How do I safely dispose of them?
Get creative! Here are just a few ideas but a simple internet search will make you a pro!
- Compost Them
Simply adding compost to your garden can significantly improve the health of your soil and plants. Coffee grounds can help increase nutrient levels by adding nitrogen to your compost pile. Adding coffee grounds to your compost heap may even decrease the greenhouse gas emissions of your compost!
- Feed your plants
To improve the drainage, aeration and improve the water retention of your soil, add coffee grounds directly to your garden. You will also be adding several key nutrients required for plant growth, adding organics material to the soil, helping beneficial microorganisms thrive, decrease the levels of heavy metal in the soil AND you will attract Earthworms to the soil.
Plants such as Azaleas and Blue Berry bushes thrive with the addition of coffee grounds to their soil.
- Repel Insects
Create a pest-free garden by adding coffee grounds to the soil around your plants. Not only will it help to create a barrier that snails and slugs hate crawling over, but it contains toxic compounds which insects such as fruit flies, mosquitos, and beetles find unbearable.
- Neutralise Odours
We’ve more than likely all experienced a piece of aging broccoli in our fridges? There is nothing quite like the sulphuric stink that lingers in your fridge even after the offending broccoli has been thrown into your neighbour’s garden. Put a container of used coffee grounds into your fridge and sit back while the coffee grounds absorb the foul odours contained within!
What to do if you’ve already flushed them down the toilet?
Ok, so it’s done. Your coffee grounds are down the toilet or kitchen sink. By now you know that the chance of the drains being blocked is high, so watch out following the following signs that you’ll need to call in a plumber to clear your drains professionally;
- Water backing up out of the sink
- Slow draining water in the sink
- A gurgling noise coming from the sink
- Odour of rotting food coming up from the kitchen drain
- Food particles visible in the sink after you run the dishwasher
- Your toilet is flushing ineffectively
- Water is rising in your toilet
In summary, it’s just really not worth flushing/rinsing those coffee grounds down! Get creative and save yourself the trouble (and expense) of getting your pipes cleaned professionally. However, if your drains and or toilets are blocked don’t hesitate to contact Absolute Plumbing, we’re here to help in any way we can.