A spice grinder sounds like a luxury that only fancy-pants chefs need. Not true. The days of using a mortar and pestle to grind spices are long gone. Mechanical grinders make preparing fresh spices much easier. Plus, the best spice grinder on the market (a small coffee grinder made by Krups) can be purchased for less than $20.
Once you have said spice grinder, how do you clean it? A simple wipe with a dry paper towel is sufficient on a regular basis, but after a while, spice smells will start to linger.
With my spice grinder, I had even more potent odors to contend with. My spice grinder is my father’s old coffee grinder. He happily passed it on to me, but it had been used for years to grind coffee and then sat unused with stale coffee grounds inside.
I wiped the grinder with a paper towel, but the coffee scent lingered. Then I turned to my secret weapon: a 1/8 cup of white rice. Rice is perfect for cleaning spice grinders for two reasons: the ground rice absorbs the oils from the old spices (or coffee). The rice also knocks loose any grounds that may have gotten stuck under and around the grinder’s blade.
After grinding the rice for 30 seconds, there was essentially no coffee smell. I did another round of cleaning, just to be extra thorough. The grinder was as good as new and ready to start its second life as a spice grinder.