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Hobohob
08-31-2007, 03:52 PM
Can they be used to keep pipes clean?
My roomy says that would work. His logic, coffee doesn't form a hard mass in the drain, like mashed potatoes, etc. So the coffee would slide down "scouring" the pipe and knocking off all the fat that collects from when he pours bacon grease down.
So far we've had no problems, but I'm sure this can't work, can it?

beowulff
08-31-2007, 04:00 PM
you're likely to clog your trap that way. Grounds are heavy, and will get stuck in the trap.

Hobohob
08-31-2007, 04:03 PM
No, grounds are not heavy, they usually float, which would "scour" at the water line, not the bottom, but maybe that's what you want.

Hobohob
08-31-2007, 04:05 PM
Actually, checking a DIY site, they say sending ice cubes down your garbage grinder will scour the pipes, and that certainly won't leave a residue. But they don't talk about grounds, which roomy prefers.

gotpasswords
08-31-2007, 04:15 PM
The better plan for keeping the plumbing happy is to not put bacon grease down the drain in the first place.

No, grounds are not heavy, they usually float.
No, they sink. In my experience, they always sink. If I dump a percolator basket of used grounds into the kitchen sink, odds are that the sink will clog up. With a disposer, the remedy is simple - turn on the disposer and the grounds are sent on down the pipe. It's not so happy in a sink without a disposer.

beowulff
08-31-2007, 04:18 PM
No, grounds are not heavy, they usually float, which would "scour" at the water line, not the bottom, but maybe that's what you want.
Oh yeah? Do a Google search for "coffee grounds drain trap" and see how many people agree...

ouryL
08-31-2007, 04:29 PM
Whether grounds float or sink may depend on how darkly they are roasted. However, our sink when it clogs always yields coffee grounds when it's unplugged.

crazyjoe
08-31-2007, 04:41 PM
Earlier this year I had to have my sewer snaked. It wasn't because of coffee grounds.

However, I had to wait for the plumber, who was working on a clogged drain in a kithen sink. It was clogged with coffee grounds.

Don't put coffee grounds down the drain.

postcards
08-31-2007, 04:52 PM
The OP is obviously a renter, not an owner.

When you own the pipes (and pay the plumber) you take better care of the plumbing, and don't do stupid things.

panache45
08-31-2007, 05:36 PM
You're better off throwing your coffee grounds into your garden.

Harmonious Discord
08-31-2007, 05:41 PM
I think the coffee grounds thing is to be blamed on advice columnists telling people they made a garbage disposal smell better. You know how people change things by word of mouth.

Hobohob
08-31-2007, 06:22 PM
The OP is obviously a renter, not an owner.

When you own the pipes (and pay the plumber) you take better care of the plumbing, and don't do stupid things.You really ought to read the OP before you comment.
Since you failed to do that, you made three mistakes: I never pretended to be an owner. The word "roomate" should have tipped you off that it's not a house, it's a room. And it's not me putting anything down the drain, it's my roommate.
And I'm not stupid for doubting my roommate.
So try to get your facts straight before you post.

I think the coffee grounds thing is to be blamed on advice columnists telling people they made a garbage disposal smell better. You know how people change things by word of mouth.
I think you hit on the answer. I'll pass it by Roomie and see if it rings a bell. Thanks for the observation.

Xema
08-31-2007, 11:01 PM
You really ought to read the OP before you comment.
Well, I'll note that postcards' comment didn't imply that you had claimed to be the owner, and could be taken to apply to your roommate, not to you. IOW, it wasn't necessarily a serious snark.


My experience of clearing clogged drains has led me to place my coffee grounds in the garbage. Expecting them to improve the plumbing seems like wishful thinking.

Q.E.D.
08-31-2007, 11:30 PM
The word "roomate" should have tipped you off that it's not a house, it's a room.
The term "roommate" is commonly used to describe a person sharing any living arrangement, whether a room, a house or an apartment. This usage, while technically incorrect, is common enough that no assumptions can be made in regards to the type of living arrangement based on the use of the word alone.

MyglassISfull
09-01-2007, 07:49 AM
You're better off throwing your coffee grounds into your garden.

... (assuming you mean into a composter) along with vegetable peelings, fruit, shredded paper, tea bags, egg shells and any old fruit/vegetables but definitely NOT bacon grease or anything cooked.

vetbridge
09-01-2007, 09:21 AM
When I was a kid, I spent a day with my dad (he was a plumber) working on a neighbor's house. Their drain could not be cleared by a standard snake. The problem was a totally blocked 3 inch pipe plugged solid with coffee grounds.

Annie-Xmas
09-01-2007, 09:26 AM
I work in rental property management, and I says, I says:

DO NOT PUT COFFEE GROUNDS DOWN THE DRAIN OR THE TOILET.

If they do clog it up, they are a bitch to get out.

And if you have a grease clog, do not use drain cleaner, which is lye. The two combine to make soap!

Annie-Xmas, head of the Straight Dope Marching Band & Anti-Drano Society

Ignatz
09-01-2007, 11:36 AM
When I was on a navy ship the practice for making na new urn of coffee in my third deck flag office involved dumping the old grounds down the commode in the head across the passageway. Then one day, it wouldn't flusl so they had to get a firehose and force it down the commode to clear it. Then they had to clean the passageway. A true SNAFU.

Captain Carrot
09-01-2007, 04:23 PM
And if you have a grease clog, do not use drain cleaner, which is lye. The two combine to make soap!
But why would soap in your pipes be a bad thing? Wouldn't it wash away and eliminate the clog?

Moirai
09-01-2007, 04:26 PM
I understand that coffee grounds are quite good for your garden- straight, not in a composter.

Make the pipes smell better? Doubtful, although citrus peels chopped by the disposal smell great because of the oils.

Most kitchen sink pipes have a pretty significant u-bend in them. We once had a terrible experience in our kitchen involving coffee grounds and egg shells down the drain. Nasty.

A.R. Cane
09-01-2007, 04:45 PM
The 'coffee grounds down the drain' thing is a household hint that ain't true. It's been around for years and was touted as a way to clean the pipes which assumed that the grounds would act in a scouring manner. In fact, they tend to mix with such things as grease, oil and soap residue to form a solid.
You should never put animal products into compost, they take much longer to decay and will create a very foul odor.
Coffee grounds in the flower garden is an old trick, but I don't know how beneficial it really is. My granny did it decades ago, egg shells too.
Lye based drain cleaners are dangerous and not very effective. If they don't work and you need to follow up w/ mechanical methods, the lye can be a burning hazard. Plumbers dislike the practice as they are the ones who often end up dealing w/ the aftermath.

Nikki Tikki Tavi
09-01-2007, 05:21 PM
I have a reusable coffee filter. When I dump the grounds, quite a bit sticks to the sides, even when I tap them. Am I destroying my kitchen drain by rinsing the rest down it?

A.R. Cane
09-01-2007, 05:45 PM
I have a reusable coffee filter. When I dump the grounds, quite a bit sticks to the sides, even when I tap them. Am I destroying my kitchen drain by rinsing the rest down it?

Probably not, a small amount, well flushed w/ water isn't going to be a problem, all else being equal; ie: well flowing drain w/ regular use and you aren't doing it a couple dozen times a day

rock party
09-01-2007, 07:43 PM
Compost piles are for raw vegetable matter only. Definatly no meats but also no cooked vegetables (beans, soups..ect). The city I live in occasionally puts a notice in our sanitation bill saying anything other than raw vegetable matter can attract mice and rats for miles. And the smell can be horrible.

MyglassISfull
09-01-2007, 07:57 PM
Why not grease or anything cooked? Isn't all food naturally biodegradable? And isn't all cooked food safe from a germ aspect?

Source: My parents :dubious:

You'll get rats.

GorillaMan
09-01-2007, 08:01 PM
Compost piles are for raw vegetable matter only. Definatly no meats but also no cooked vegetables (beans, soups..ect). The city I live in occasionally puts a notice in our sanitation bill saying anything other than raw vegetable matter can attract mice and rats for miles. And the smell can be horrible.
I can understand a sanitation department making a blanket statement along these lines...but does coffee really attract vermin?

rock party
09-01-2007, 08:11 PM
My response was to Why not grease or anything cooked? Isn't all food naturally biodegradable? And isn't all cooked food safe from a germ aspect?

I would think coffee grounds would be ok in a compost pile. But if you notice any rats running aound all hyped up with a caffine buzz, you might start just throwing the grounds in the trash.

Ferret Herder
09-01-2007, 09:46 PM
But why would soap in your pipes be a bad thing? Wouldn't it wash away and eliminate the clog?
I think the idea is you'll get a bar of soap with its mold being the inside of the pipe. In other words, a nice, thick, solid clog.

Annie-Xmas
09-03-2007, 08:23 AM
I think the idea is you'll get a bar of soap with its mold being the inside of the pipe. In other words, a nice, thick, solid clog.

Exactly. If you've ever seen a removed pipe with nasty green-black soap inside it, you'll understand.

Jeff Lichtman
09-03-2007, 02:33 PM
Think about what happens if you put lye down the drain and it doesn't work. Your pipes will be full of lye, which will be a hazard if you need to clean out the drain mechanically (e.g. with a snake or by taking the trap apart).

Here's a method for clearing drains that's worked for me: get the water out of the sink, then pour dishwashing detergent (the type used with dishwashing machines) down the drain, followed by a bit pot of boiling water. The combination of detergent and hot water will break apart almost any clog.

Rick
09-03-2007, 09:01 PM
FWIW I just had to remove the trap under my sink to do a repair. I installed this trap, the dirty arm* and new plumbing to the main stack in 1994. So everything is 123 years old. I dump coffee grounds in my sink about 50% of the time, and wash it down with a fair amount of water.
There was zero build up in the plastic trap and maybe 1/8" of build up on the bottom of the 1.5" dirty arm pipe.
I am not going to get overly excited about coffee grounds in my disposal. At the rate stuff is building up, I will be long dead and forgotten before it becomes an issue.
Disclaimer: I have a top of the line garbage disposal, and I don't scrimp on the water when I use it. I don't dump grease down the disposer. Did I mention I use lots of water?




*A dirty arm is the horizontal pipe run from the sink trap into the wall.

Sattua
09-03-2007, 09:21 PM
Dood... I'll let you off easy, because you're a guest and can't search. Not that ignorance is any excuse!!!

http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=417434&highlight=coffee+grounds+sink

(stumps off grumpily) (where's the love?)