How to Keep Your Espresso or Coffee Grinder Cleaner

by Ben Coleman Updated: March 19, 2024 4 min read
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Just like an espresso machine, it’s important to clean your coffee grinder on a regular basis. It doesn’t matter if you have a conical burr or flat burr coffee grinder, If you don’t keep it clean, ground coffee and oils will build up inside the mechanism. 

This not only makes your grinder less consistent, but, left unchecked, it can actually cause your grinder to seize up and cease functioning altogether. 

Luckily, grinder cleaning is a fairly simple process. 

Ideal Espresso Grinder Cleaning

The absolute best way to make sure your home grinder stays in peak performance condition is to prevent the build-up of grounds and oils as much as possible. 

If you happen to have a shop vac in your home, doing so is actually incredibly easy: simply remove the bean hopper from your grinder and affix the vacuum hose to the top of the bean chute (you may have to use your hand as a sort of conduit to ensure you have a tight seal). 

Plug the grounds dispensing chute with your other hand and turn the shop vac on. If the only thing inside your grinder is freshly ground coffee beans, they won’t be caked on and the shop vac will easily clear the grind chamber of any residue. 

If you haven’t cleaned your grinder in a while (or if you don’t have a shop vac handy) you may need to take it apart and clean the burrs by hand. 

Thorough Burr Cleaning

In order to access the burrs inside your grinder to clean them, you’re going to need to take your grinder apart. 

Don’t worry—this isn’t like taking a watch apart. In most cases, all you’ll need is a phillips head screwdriver and just a little bit of elbow grease. 

Here’s how to do it: 

  1. Before doing anything else, make sure your grinder is unplugged. The last thing you want is to accidentally turn it on while your fingers are inside. 
  2. Open up your grinder so you can access the burrs. Unfortunately, how you do this is going to differ somewhat from grinder to grinder, so a universal playbook isn’t really viable. Check your grinder’s user manual or the manufacturer’s website for specific instructions (though, to be honest, a little ingenuity and a screwdriver is probably all you need). 

PRO TIP: As you’re working, make sure to pay attention to any screws or springs you remove so you remember how to get them back in the right place. 

  1. Use a stiff coffee grinder cleaner brush to remove any coffee grounds that have accumulated on the burrs, plates, neck, and threads. 

Deep Cleaning Brush
How to Keep Your Espresso or Coffee Grinder Cleaner

Urnex Scoopz Espresso Brush

23 Reviews

Specifically designed to clean espresso machine group heads, the Urnex Scoopz Espresso Brush features an ergonomic shape for easy use and effective cleaning, a splash guard to protect hand from hot water, and a measuring scoop at the end of the brush for cleaning powder.

  1. Once all caked-on grounds have been loosened, use the tube attachment on your vacuum cleaner to suck all the loose grounds out of the grind chamber (it doesn’t have to be a shop vac).
  2. Give the internal surfaces a final wipe down with a paper towel or microfiber cloth to remove any remaining debris.  
  3. Reassemble your grinder!

Using Coffee Grinder Cleaning Tablets

One way you can help to ensure your grinder stays nice and clean without having to take it apart every few weeks is to use grinder cleaning tablets. 

Grind Cleaner
How to Keep Your Espresso or Coffee Grinder Cleaner

Urnex Grindz Grinder Cleaner - 15.2oz Bottle

45 Reviews
Urnex Grindz are an easy, food safe way to remove stale grounds and coffee oils from your grinder's burrs.

Such tablets are food safe and compatible with any type of grinder.

All you need to do is fill your grinder hopper with the recommended dosage of cleaning tablets—after removing any remaining coffee beans, of course—and grind them through. The process of grinding these tablets will clean your burrs and remove caked-on coffee grounds.

Once you’ve ground the tablets, you’ll want to grind another 20 grams or so of coffee to make sure no cleaning agent remains—the tablets are food safe, but it’s not exactly the kind of thing you want in your coffee. 


How often do you need to clean a burr grinder?

We recommend doing a quick vacuum of your grind chamber once a day after using it (see above for more details). Doing so will prevent coffee grounds from caking on and therefore you’ll need to do a deep clean much less often. If you don’t do this, you should clean the grind chamber at least once a month. 

What happens if you don’t clean your grinder?

If you don’t clean your grinder, coffee grounds and oils will build up in the grinding mechanism. At first, you may not notice much other than less consistent grind sizes and doses. Left unchecked, however, enough residue can build up to cause your grinder to seize up and stop functioning altogether. 

Can I run rice through my coffee grinder to clean it?

Do not run rice through your grinder in order to clean it. Coffee grinder burrs are specially designed to grind coffee—not rice. You could damage your grinder if you use it to grind anything other than coffee beans. Or, of course, specially designed grinder cleaning tablets (see above for more details). If you want to clean out your grinder without taking it apart, use these instead.