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Best Way To Clean a Cheapo Coffee Bean Grinder

A recent clean-out of the dreaded Tupperware cupboard unearthed an old White Westinghouse coffee bean grinder.

We bought it years ago when our old grinder died and we were still deciding what to purchase next. Now I'm thinking it would be ideal to repurpose for spice grinding but I'd like to give it a good clean out first since there's some slight coffee residue in there and it smells of coffee.

Does anyone have a suggestion for the most effective way to do this?

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  1. I've heard running through a few batches of raw rice does the trick.

    2 Replies
    1. re: grampart

      White bread then raw rice.

      I've also ground up some rolled oats in it into oat flour for cookies and the hint of coffee flavor was great.

      1. re: ohmyyum

        I alsouse a toothpick to clean screws on bottom

    2. Raw rice....rinse-repeat a couple times.Works great.

      5 Replies
      1. re: petek

        +1 on the rice, but "rinse"???? I do a wipe with a damp paper towel, I don't think I'd "rinse" or you're going to ruin the motor.

          1. re: grampart

            Then of course the best way to get rid of the rice residue is to run some coffee beans through it.....

          2. re: thimes

            <+1 on the rice, but "rinse"????>
            I meant like shampooing minus the water..and shampoo :)

          3. re: petek

            Raw rice works great! But what is better is just put the damn thing in the dish washer!!!!!

          4. Actually, you'll want to use a short-cook 'minute rice' type of product. What you're looking to do is absorb oils & displace old grounds. Raw rice is extremely hard on the grinding surfaces & not great at absorbing stale coffee oils. 'Minute' rice (generic is fine) is much more friable & porous, making it a much better grinder cleaner.

            Alternatively, you can buy a product called Grindz, but it's much more expensive & is basically the same thing as generic 'minute' rice.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Eiron

              That makes sense and I would be relieved of any guilt for wasting good rice. ;-)

            2. In her excellent book on Thai food, "Cracking the Coconut", Su-Mei Yu advises, " (put) 2 to 3 tablespoons of sugar in it and grind for a couple of seconds. Discard the sugar and wipe clean with a paper towel."

              3 Replies
              1. re: dickgrub

                I'd stay with the rice. Why bring something with a possible "sticky" aspect into the operation?

                  1. re: bear

                    Pardon my frustration, but the blade 'grinder' is not even a grinder. it is a 'chopper'. It does not need rice, bread, or any other thing but a clean towel to clean the insides.

              2. I've always used a piece of chewy white bread. Run a small chunk through, dump out the crumbs and repeat until the bread stays white.

                1. We are talking about a burr type grinder here, no?

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: grampart

                    Not a burr grinder grampart, just an inexpensive entry-point grinder similar to this one:


                    1. re: Breadcrumbs

                      People are replying to you,thinking you had a burr grinder. Just wipe the insides down. it will be perfectly good for spices.

                      1. re: poser

                        I use rice in my blade grinder to clean it too - especially after I've used it to grind a lot of chili peppers so that I don't get the residual heat/oils in whatever I'm grinding next.

                        1. re: poser

                          I assumed it was a non-burr grinder when I recommended the bread.

                    2. Big thanks to everyone for your help. I'll go with the bread first since I think the slight moisture in the bread will pick up any of the dusty coffee residue. Then I'll move on to the rice. I don't have any quick cook rice so I'll roll the dice and go w regular rice.

                      I'll let you know how I make out. Thanks again!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Breadcrumbs

                        Just an update on this. Thanks again for all your suggestions. I started out running the rice through. After two batches, the interior stainless was looking bright and clean. There was some coffee residue still sticking in the seams where the steel met the plastic casing. I then ran some bread through and the moisture picked up some of the residue but not all. Finally I ended up using a toothpick and that did the trick. I haven't ground any spices yet but I'm good to go when I need to.

                        Thanks to all for your suggestions.

                      2. Yea, I also heard about using rice.

                        1. I use the regular rice, I let it grind to a powder and save it in a jar to use in thickening sauces.

                          1. Since spices all have different flavors, why are you bothered? Surely you won't be cleaning the grinder each time you switch to a different spice? Just wipe it down with a paper towel - slightly moist if necessary.