The First Thing You Should Do When You Open a New Bag of Sugar

published Dec 21, 2022
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Someone holding a bag of sugar.
Credit: Sarah Crowley

When it comes to reminders of what needs cleaning and when to clean it, we’re really into “triggers” around here. Trigger Cleaning (if I may use a phrase that I think I made up?) is a way to build reminders into everyday life to do often-forgotten-about tasks. This practice actually builds habits and removes one pressure of remembrance from our overloaded minds. One thing reminds you to do another. James Clear of the must-read Atomic Habits talks about triggers that make habits stick, and it’s one of my personal favorite ways to keep my house running smoothly with little effort. Why not use triggers to remember to clean things? Hence, Trigger Cleaning.

For today’s good-habit-forming bit of advice, I’m going to talk about something inventive and practical you can do with sugar, aside from turning it into cookies. Opening a new bag is the perfect trigger to remind you of one of its unsung uses: cleaning a coffee grinder. 

Credit: Sarah Crowley

Use Sugar to Clean Your Coffee Grinder

Coffee grinder blades work hard for you — particularly if you’re a habitual coffee drinker. What we might not often think about is how oils from coffee beans get deposited onto the blades. Oils turn rancid, coffee grounds build up, and the combination eventually taints the taste of our brew. Coffee grinders typically can’t be washed, and trying to get all the gunk out with just a paper towel isn’t the most thorough, safe, or quick option. 

Enter: your fresh sugar (the first few tablespoons or so from your just-opened bag!). Sugar is perfect for cleaning blades because it’s absorbent and pretty neutral, so it will suck the oils off your blades and won’t leave any lingering flavor behind. Simply put about 1/4 cup sugar in the grinder, grind it to a fine powder, dump it out, and then wipe out the grinder with a damp paper towel. This trick is also great for cleaning your coffee grinder after you use it to grind spices.

How often you should clean your grinder depends on how often you use it, but in general, clean it whenever you notice buildup or, if you tend to forget to even look like I do, whenever you open a new bag of sugar! 

This post was originally published on Kitchn. Read it there: The First Thing You Should Do When You Open a New Bag of Sugar