How To Dispose Of Coffee Grounds From French Press

With the rising popularity of French press coffee makers, many coffee drinkers find themselves with a surplus of used coffee grounds after brewing their morning cup. With its glass carafe and plunger mechanism, a French press can make a robust and full-flavored coffee but leaves behind wet grounds stuck to the bottom of the carafe. These grounds from the French press need to be disposed of properly to avoid clogging drains or attracting pests in the garbage.
Dumping the grounds from the French press down the kitchen sink drain or into the trash is not the best way to dispose of French press coffee grinds when you clean a French press. When washed down the drain, the oils, and fine coffee particles can cling to pipes and breed germs. Leftover coffee grounds are also damp and acidic, so putting them straight into the garbage can encourage mold growth.

There are better, more eco-friendly ways to dispose of used coffee grounds from your French press. Composting the French press coffee grounds is an excellent way to recycle their nutrients in the garden for plant and vegetable growth. The grounds can also be repurposed around the home and garden as fertilizer, natural cleaners, and pest deterrents. With some thought, those leftover coffee grounds in the bottom of your French press don’t have to be waste.

In our guide, you can learn the do’s and don’ts for disposing of the coffee grounds from your French press. By the end, you’ll better understand the best way to dispose of coffee grounds that doesn’t include dumping coffee grounds down the drain. (Learn How To Set Cuisinart Coffee Maker Auto On)

coffee grounds french press

Should You Put French Press Coffee Grounds Down The Drain?

The first instinct for many is to dump the remaining coffee grounds down the sink drain. However, this is not recommended, as coffee grounds can quickly clog drains and pipes when washed down. The oils and fine particles in coffee grounds build up over time and cling to the sides of your drain. Eventually, this can lead to a backed-up kitchen sink or bathroom drain.

Coffee grounds contain oils and tiny grain particles to coat and clog a drain. Dumping French press coffee grounds down the drain regularly can lead to plumbing issues. The grounds may go down at first but will leave a residue. Over time, this oily buildup accumulates, and even water can turn a lively drain into a slow-flowing one.

Should You Put Coffee Grounds In The Trash?

To dispose of French press coffee is as easy as to dump the grounds in the garbage. However, several issues can stem from this.

Coffee grounds are damp and acidic. When left sitting in a trash bin, they can encourage mold growth, in addition, grounds will stick to your trash bag, leaving stains and oily residue. This can attract pests seeking food scraps in your garbage. Raccoons, rats, ants, and flies are often drawn to the smell of coffee grounds in trash cans.

coffee ground trash

Can You Put Coffee Grounds Down The Garbage Disposal?

What about using your garbage disposal to grind and drain the used coffee grounds? This can work well as an occasional solution. However, routinely pouring French press grounds down the disposal is still not a best practice.

While garbage disposals grind up food waste, coffee particles can still accumulate. Occasionally, flushing some grounds down a running disposal is unlikely to cause problems. But dumping all your daily leftover coffee from a French press into the disposal can shorten its lifespan and lead to jams or leaks. (Read Do Coffee Grounds Attract Rats)

Compost Coffee Grounds From French Press

One eco-friendly option for dealing with as many excess French press coffee grounds as possible is composting. Coffee waste is considered “green” compost material. The used grounds offer lots of beneficial nitrogen and traces of carbon when tossed on your compost pile.

Mix the wet grounds with other compost ingredients like fruit and vegetable scraps, grass clippings, leaves, straw, and wood chips. The grounds will break down and decompose with other organic matter in the compost bin.

The nutrients from coffee grounds help fertilize your composted soil. After 2-3 months, compost enriched with used coffee grounds becomes an excellent natural fertilizer for gardens and house plants.

If you don’t have space for a dedicated compost pile or bin, you can bury the coffee grounds around plants in your garden. Both vegetable and flower beds will benefit from the nitrogen boost. Dig a small hole 6-8 inches deep and bury the French press grounds.

Dispose of French Press Coffee Grounds Around The House And Garden

Instead of throwing French press spent grounds away in the garbage, consider reusing them in a variety of ways around your home:

  • Coffee grounds are a great fertilizer for tomato, carrot, and flower plants. The extra nitrogen stimulates growth once you put coffee grounds on the soil around your acid-loving plants.
  • Mix used coffee grounds can be used in potting soil when re-potting indoor plants for an added nutrient boost.
  • Dry coffee grounds can also be used to scrub pans, clean the grill, or exfoliate skin. The coarse texture is great for removing residue.
  • Put the coffee grounds around garden beds and pathways. Slugs and snails will be kept away when grounds are near, as the caffeine and scent can be used as a natural insect repellent.
  • Quickly add coffee grounds to a dish under sink cabinets or in the fridge to absorb odors. The ground coffee can soak up unpleasant smells lurking.

With some creativity, many coffee grounds can be reused once you’re done drinking coffee instead of heading to the trash or drain. Check with local coffee shops; many are happy to leave excess grounds for compost and gardening. Even a coffee filter can go on your compost pile when you dispose of French press waste from the bottom of the press. (Learn Can You Steep Coffee Like Tea)

cleaning french press

Tips For Cleaning Out Coffee Grounds From French Press

Once you brew your coffee using a French press, you’ll need to clean out the wet grounds stuck in the bottom of the glass carafe. Here are some tips for quickly cleaning out the plunger and carafe:

  • Scoop the grounds from the glass, put your coffee grounds into a paper towel, and dispose of your coffee grounds in the garbage can.
  • Once you get the grounds out of your French press, add a small amount of water back into the carafe and swirl the French press to loosen the remaining coffee grounds in a French press.
  • Place a small wire drain strainer or sieve over a container and carefully pour the grounds and water into the strainer. Adding a small piece of paper towel makes cleanup even more straightforward. When using a paper towel, grounds collect in the paper and strainer while the water drains.
  • For stubborn old grounds, pour water in the French press carafe. Use a few inches of water and use a long-handled brush or spoon to scrub the interior glass.
  • Once most grounds are removed, dump out the scrub water and give the carafe a final rinse before your next use.

Getting into a habit and properly disposing of the grounds after using the coffee press will make cleanup quicker and easier.


Instead of letting old coffee grounds from your French press go down the drain with your dirty dishes, there are a few better alternatives. You may produce a healthy fertilizer by composting the used grounds.

The grounds from the French press also make an excellent addition to your garden soil or potted plants when mixed in or sprinkled on top. Reusing the spent coffee grounds as homemade scrubbers, deodorizers, and pest deterrents around your home is another great way to get more value from your leftover French press coffee.

With some creativity and thought, those wet coffee grounds stuck in the bottom of your French press don’t have to be wasted. They can improve your garden, freshen your home, and keep your pipes clog-free when disposed of properly.

One final thing to try is to take the grounds from the glass carafe at the bottom of a French press. Soak the grounds in hot water, and as the coffee beans contain plenty of flavor, you could find your coffee grounds are good for a second cup. (Read How To Make Coffee With A Kettle)

FAQs Disposing Of Coffee Grounds From French Press

Should I put coffee grounds from a French press down the garbage disposal?

Only occasionally as a small batch. Routinely dumping all grounds down the disposal can lead to clogs and motor issues.

Is it bad to put coffee grounds in the garden?

No, used coffee grounds are an excellent natural garden fertilizer when mixed into soil or compost. The nutrients help plants grow.

What’s the most eco-friendly way to dispose of coffee grounds?

Composting used coffee grounds is one of the most sustainable disposal methods. The grounds break down into a nutritious fertilizer over time.