The One Thing You Need to Know Before You Try This TikTok Hack for Cleaning Your Coffee Grinder

published Nov 11, 2022
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closeup of person using a coffee grinder
Credit: Benedict Kraus/EyeEm/Getty Images

Lots of steps go into brewing a perfect cup of coffee, and some of them involve taking care of (and cleaning!) your equipment. You probably already know you should be descaling your drip coffee maker and kettle regularly to keep your morning brew tasting fresh. But did you know you should be habitually cleaning out your grinder, too? 

Short of taking it apart and rinsing it out, I hadn’t thought too much about how to maintain a coffee grinder. So I was equally surprised and pleased to find out there’s actually a very simple way to refresh a grinder, and it doesn’t involve any pricey specialty cleaners or hard-to-follow steps. All you need is rice.

How to Clean Your Coffee Grinder with Rice

The tip comes from TikTok creator @SidneyRaz, who shares super-smart life hacks on his feed. Apparently, you can clean the inside of your coffee grinder by running dry rice through it.

In the video, the creator simply removes the top of the grinder and pours what looks like 1/2 cup to 1 cup of white rice inside the grinder. Then, he runs the rice through the grinder for 30 seconds and dumps the contents out in the trash. His results, a sparkly clean grinder, make the trick seem promising.

If you have a standard blade grinder like this one, then you should be able to clean it out with rice from your pantry. (Although, don’t expect the rice to sharpen your blades, according to a coffee technician in the comments.) But I had to wonder whether it’s safe and effective on every type of grinder, including mine. 

When You Shouldn’t Clean Your Coffee Grinder with Rice

When I scanned the video’s comments, I learned there’s an important caveat to keep in mind when thinking about caring for your grinder: Before trying this at home, it’s important to identify what kind of coffee grinder you have.

The TikTok demonstrates the hack on a blade grinder. (If you open up the top and you can see the bladers (like a blender) then you have a blade grinder). But I saw a couple of baristas chime in that people definitely shouldn’t be trying out this hack on a type of grinder called a burr grinder. Also called burr mills, these grinders crush beans between two flat, serrated rings inside the grinder. According to coffee experts in the comments, the rice method won’t be effective (and could damage) burr grinders. 

If you can’t see the blades of your grinder and there’s a hopper for storing beans on top, it’s likely you have a burr grinder. You can also look yours up online. I googled my grinder, a Mr. Coffee model, and found out I should skip the rice hack because it uses burrs. Some commenters recommended a product called Urnex Grindz, which you can run through a burr grinder to remove residue from inside. (One person says, ironically, it’s actually made with finely ground rice.)

Let us know in the comments if you try the hack at home and whether you liked it!