How to Clean Manual Burr Grinder: The Complete Guide

How to Clean Manual Burr Grinder

Owning a manual burr grinder is an excellent decision if you love enjoying fresh and strong coffee. Freshly ground coffee beans deliver a superb flavor and aroma, unlike pre-ground coffee that you can get from the supermarket. However, not cleaning the manual burr grinder means that the residue from the ground coffee will build up, affecting the taste of your coffee in the long run. So how do you clean a manual burr grinder?

Glad you asked! You probably clean the mug and brewer or espresso machine, but you shouldn’t ignore cleaning the grinder and its burrs from old coffee residue. In this article, you’ll learn how to clean the manual burr grinder and keep it ready for the next batch of coffee.

What Do You Need to Clean a Manual Burr Grinder?

Retro manual coffee grinder

A manual grinder is an excellent piece of equipment that you should buy if you’re interested in having fresh and strong coffee. Pre-ground coffee is more accessible, but it tends to lose its flavor and aroma with time. If you’re interested in designing your coffee corner, a manual burr grinder will be an essential tool to get.

Author Note: Avid coffee drinkers prefer buying their favorite coffee beans after picking the most suitable roast, so they can grind them on the spot. However, most people don’t think about cleaning the grinder regularly.

The residue from the last batch of coffee beans you grind will hide into every narrow nook and cranny on your manual grinder. The oil from the beans deposits on the corner of the grinder and on the burrs, affecting the taste of the next batch of coffee beans that you’re going to grind. Although you’re grinding fresh coffee beans, your coffee might taste stale and have an old taste because of the rancid oils.

Moreover, if you’re switching between two different types of coffee or roasts, this step will be mandatory. You will be able to get rid of all the old taste and aroma and season the grinder with your new coffee to get ready for the new fresh beans.

Here is what you need to clean the manual burr grinder.

  • Soft brush.
  • Grinder cleaning pellets.
  • Mild dish soap.
  • Wood toothpicks and cotton swabs.
  • Soft sponge.

These tools are easy to obtain, but you need to learn how to use them properly.

Soft Brush

Having a soft brush with a long handle allows you to clean all the hard-to-reach places. You should be able to clean the crevices of the grinder and remove all the microscopic particles that deposit over time.

It will also help break the oily particles that build up to affect the way your grinder functions. Pick a soft-bristled brush or toothbrush that won’t damage the parts of the grinder.

Grinder Cleaning Pellets

These are suitable if you want to give your grinder a deeper cleaning. You can also use soap, but the pellets contain special chemicals that dissolve the oil buildup.

Some people use rice as a substitute because it can absorb the oils. However, rice is abrasive and affects the way the manual burr grinder works. Moreover, the wet rice can create a sticky residue that is difficult to clean. Rice can also violate your warranty as you’re not supposed to use it to clean your manual grinder, as it might build up and damage the mechanical parts.

Wooden Toothpicks and Cotton Swabs

Wooden toothpicks allow you to reach all the small crevices in your grinder. You should buy high-quality wooden toothpicks that won’t break and end up in your grinder. The small wooden pieces can damage the internal parts of the grinder when you start using it.

Cotton swabs are flexible and soft, so they won’t damage the delicate parts of the grinder. You can use the cotton swabs to clean the chute from the color of dark roast beans.

After cleaning the grinder, it’s a good idea to grind a small batch of coffee beans. The oil beans will put some oil into the machine, so it’s ready for work. You can also do this step if you’re switching between two different types of coffee.

How to Clean Manual Burr Grinder

Traditional manual coffee grinder

A coffee grinder will get dirty every time you use it. While you don’t have to clean it thoroughly after every use, you need to clean it every now and then.

Top Tip: By thoroughly examining the burrs, you might be able to see the grime. This means that you have probably ignored cleaning the grinder for a long time.

Moreover, if you have been trying to change the grinding adjustment on the manual grinder, the oil residue might make the process more challenging. This means that you might not be able to grind your coffee beans to the right size.

Cleaning the different parts of a manual grinder in the dishwasher isn’t recommended, as the extra heat can damage the parts of the grinder. Some of the smaller parts can also get lost. Here are the steps you need to follow in cleaning the grinder properly.


There are several ways to clean the coffee grinder. You can use the grinder cleaning pellets and run the grinder to let them remove the residue. Doing this once or twice a month is enough. However, if you’re planning to switch between two types of coffee, deep cleaning is needed.

The other way is to disassemble the different parts of the grinder. Unplug the grinder and remove the handle, hopper lid, and ground catcher to be able to clean every part properly. It’s extremely dangerous to clean the grinder while it’s still plugged in.

Next, you should unwind the knob and pull out the inner burr. You should also remove the centerpiece of the inner burr to be able to clean it properly.

Use a screwdriver to remove any parts but keep the nails where you can see them. Losing one of them can damage your grinder because it won’t function properly. Detach the spring, plastic washer, and metal washer.

Every grinder is different, and you should only pull out the pieces that are supposed to come out. You shouldn’t pull something too hard, as you might break your manual burr grinder.

Shake and Clean

You should put the grinder upside down and shake it properly to remove any coffee dust. You will be surprised by how much coffee dust can be trapped inside the grinder.

Use the soft brush to rub all the internal parts before they get wet. The brush will be able to reach all the hidden parts without damaging anything.

You can also use the wooden toothpicks to remove any stuck particles that the soft brush isn’t able to get rid of. If there are any clogs, use the cotton swab to push them until the grinder is working fine.

Wash the Parts

The handle and the hopper lid can be rinsed well. You can give these parts a good soapy rinse with a soft brush to remove the oily residue and any old particles. Use mild dish soap that won’t leave any residue. Rinse everything well and let all the parts dry before putting them away.

The plastic parts can turn dark with time due to the color of the coffee beans. You can prepare a mixture of baking soda to clean the plastic parts as it will effectively remove all the dark stains and leave your grinder as good as new.

Soak the Burrs

Author Note: Whether your grinder has metal or ceramic burrs, these can be a little more challenging to clean. Using a brush can scratch the burrs and damage them in the long run.

It’s best to soak them in a bowl of soapy water until the soap has dissolved all the oily buildup. Next, you can use a soft sponge or cotton swabs to remove all the small particles and oils. Before putting anything away, you should dry everything to get rid of the extra moisture.

Put Everything Back Together

The old coffee grinder stands on the table next to the box

It’s time to put all the dry parts together. Put the metal rod at the top of the grinder, then the plastic washer, metal washer, and spring. Fit the centerpiece right into the inner burr and slide the rod up to the outer burr. You should make sure that the rod is twisted correctly until the burrs are completely closed.

This step is significant, as you should agree that the burrs are secured before turning the manual grinder on. You should also count the clicks to find the right setting from the manual grinder. This will allow you to grind coffee coarse or fine, depending on the brewing method that you prefer. Your grinder will be able to grind coffee beans with great precision.

Wrap Up

A manual burr grinder allows you to grind fresh coffee beans every time you want to prepare a tasty coffee cup. However, most people ignore cleaning the grinder as often as they clean the coffee machine or brewer.

There are simple steps that you can follow to get rid of the old coffee particles and oily residue. Make sure that you use the right tools and clean the grinder at least once a week to ensure that it’s working properly.

Stay caffeinated friends!

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