Smothering yourself in rich, dark-roast Intelligentsia grounds was, up until now, an indulgent shower treat. But after one editor’s DIY javaddiction resulted in a plumbing emergency, we went to the experts to see just how bad those homemade coffee scrubs really are for your pipes.
“Coffee scrubs are one of the worst things you can put down your drain,” says Jim Steine, the president of Atomic Plumbing in Virginia. Sorry, Pinterest enthusiasts. “Even if you use a finely-ground coffee scrub just once a week, it will eventually mix with the oils in your pipes and coagulate.”
And no, Drano won’t cut through this beauty clog. “Household chemicals can’t break down grounds, so if you get a blockage, you’re going to have to call a plumber, and it could get expensive.” Plus, those leftover morning grounds might just be destroying your complexion. “Coffee grounds straight from the machine aren’t cosmetically smooth like products on the market, so they can cause micro tears across your skin as you rub,” says Mona Gohara, a dermatologist at Yale School of Medicine.
Bottom line: Unless you’re willing to seal off your drain and scoop out the grounds when you’re done with your scrub—or stand in a bucket outside of your shower, as one devoted editor does—cut the coffee and opt for something a bit more gentle on your body (and your drain). We like Aveeno Positively Nourishing Smoothing Body Scrub, which uses rice beads and walnut shells to exfoliate your skin.
Speaking of showers, here are Anna Kendrick’s surprising (and brilliant) shower thoughts: